Advice and words of wisdom to help guide your career.

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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.

Never Done in '21 - Reflections on the Past Year banner image

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.

Work From Home Setup Contest - THE WINNERS! banner image

Work From Home Setup Contest - THE WINNERS!

It's been about a year since most of us have been working remote, so we thought it would be fun to hold a Work From Home Setup Contest. We had lots and lots of submissions from our audience across all three categories. It was fun to see how people have transformed their homes into high-performing workspaces. 

If you ever need inspiration for your own Work From Home Setup, you can check out all the photos here:

1) Best Tech
2) Best Decorative Space
3) Best Use of What You've Got

After thousands and thousands of votes, we are excited to announce the winners! In addition to being able to brag about the distinguished honor of winning this contest, they have also won a $100 gift card from Wayfair - congratulations!!!

1) Best Tech - Winner: Project Room
Submitted by Walid Bendris, Senior Solution Architect at Klaviyo

2) Best Decorative Space - Winner: Bedroom Makeover
Submitted by Jess Iandiorio, CMO at Starburst

3) Best Use of What You've Got - Winner: Closet Renovation
Submitted by Adam Lawless - North American PR Lead at Vistaprint

Congrats again!!!

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Leadership of Your Life

I was having a discussion with a friend the other day, trying to explain observations I had made about the people who I see thrive both at work and in their personal lives.  He responded, “you are talking about leadership.”

While I focus on the concept of leadership often in both my writing and at work, it’s never occurred to me to think in terms of playing a leadership role in one’s own personal life.  And yet, once I started contemplating it, I realized that personal leadership is all about taking accountability in all aspects of your life to ensure you are headed in the direction that connects best for you. And, yes, one could argue there is a strong correlation embodying strong personal leadership skills and being a successful leader in the workplace. Fairly intuitive, right?  When you can take responsibility and lead through your own life decisions, you are likely to have a far greater impact leading and inspiring others.

If you believe yourself to be a strong leader in your work life, take a beat and check yourself against these personal leadership characteristics as well.  Chances are, if you aren’t embodying them in life, you might need to adjust a little at work to maximize your leadership impact at work.

POSITIVE MINDSET

It’s hard to lead others at work effectively if your mindset outside of the office is always leaning towards the negative.  Having a positive attitude and outlook about life and your approach to it is a critical component to building strong leadership that transcends your own life and affects the leading of others.  In other words, we all hit obstacles in our lives along our journey, but the ability to dust ourselves off and keep moving forward requires grit, resilience and a glass-half-full outlook.

GET FOCUSED

For the better part of the last year, we’ve been quarantined in our homes, and been witness to the world working through extraordinary challenges including mental well being, job loss, social injustice, and death of loved ones. In no way should we minimize those dynamics. And yet, if you reflect on the circle of people in your life, consider who’s thrived through this incredibly difficult time. Personally, my observations tell me that those “thrivers” are those who have taken a leadership role in their own lives by maximizing this unique shift in how we live our lives.  They’ve become focused, set lofty goals, embraced new opportunities to learn, and are choosing to view this pandemic as an opportunity. This is not to suggest that they were heartless robots who didn’t acknowledge big challenges along with the rest of the world; but it does highlight that when people have a sense of purpose and a passion to manage their lives to achieve and find ways to always move forward, it will translate to what they bring to those they lead as well.

EMBRACE BEING NEVER DONE

At Rapid7, one of our core values is “never done.”  It’s all about the need for embracing insatiable curiosity, and striving to always be learning, growing and developing. Whether it comes from books, podcasts, in-depth conversations, is irrelevant.  The point is, find what works best to inspire and challenge you to always be upping your game.  Broad perspectives and being open minded to new ways of approaching work and life will pay off in just about every area of your life.  It will also serve to draw others to you, thus enhancing your ability to influence, inspire and lead.

NURTURE YOUR TRIBE

Even the most motivated among us need a strong support system. At home, that might include a partner, family and friends. Just like at work, this is the team of people that you can rely on to provide support, guidance and can challenge your perspective and approach to keep you on track. Whether you have a singular personal “consigliere” or a cadre of trusted members in your tribe, these are the people that will both keep it real, and serve as your inner circle. You know each other well, and there is a strong level of mutual trust.  Again, having this strong network in your personal life translates to strong leadership at work as well. If you consider yourself a strong leader in your work life, you likely have people you turn to that advocate for you, challenge you, and just plain support you. Nurturing your tribe in your personal life serves the same purpose.

Developing your personal leadership isn’t just about setting yourself up to live your best life. It directly translates to your effectiveness as a leader in the workplace as well.  It’s easy to rest on your laurels with a title, and claim yourself a leader.  However, if you seek to continue to maximize your effectiveness as a leader in your work life, strive to be a strong leader in your personal life as well.


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

VentureFizz Event Recap - Path to VP of Engineering, Melissa Leffler of Drift banner image

VentureFizz Event Recap - Path to VP of Engineering, Melissa Leffler of Drift

We hosted our first event of 2021 last week and it was awesome! It was also the first event of a new series called "Path" - where we are interviewing executives to learn about their career progression and to share lots of useful advice for you to follow.

This event was titled: Path to VP of Engineering and it featured a one-on-one interview with Melissa Leffler, VP of Engineering at Drift.

The conversation lasts about an hour and we covered a lot of ground.  We discuss:

*  Melissa's experience at Lotus, which provided a solid foundation for her career and her experience leading engineering at multiple startups.
*  Why she passed on an opportunity in management to stay technical and why that was an important decision in her career, plus advice for engineers on how long you should remain technical before moving into management positions.
*  The key questions that everyone should ask themselves to help decide what career path they should pursue.
*  Why she joined Drift and how its engineering team is structured.
*  The difference between leadership and management and why progressing in your career doesn't always equate to management.
*  How her time is allocated as a VP of Engineering.
*  Advice on what we should be doing to develop more female leaders.
*  And more!!!


Keith Cline is the Founder of VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter: @kcline6.

The Blur: How to Win COVID Both Personally and Professionally banner image

The Blur: How to Win COVID Both Personally and Professionally

Over the years, I’ve written quite extensively about resiliency, adaptability, and the like. While most of my focus is centered on the need to strengthen these behaviors to maximize effectiveness in a work environment, I find most often they are directly transferable to our personal lives as well. In an age of chaos and disruption, I have realized that streamlining the number of things I need to “work on” is just plain good for my sanity, so finding areas that allow me to develop and evolve both personally and professionally simultaneously make it to the top of my priority list. I tend to think of this as “The Blur.”

It’s been a long year filled with challenges, but with an equal measure of opportunity. I’ll fully admit as we slide into the end of 2020, I’m just plain tired. While my exhaustion is largely fueled from playing a leadership role trying to keep our company thriving and motivated during these unique times and managing my kids and their remote learning, every single one of us has our own unique dynamics we’ve needed to navigate through. And while there is a light at the end of the proverbial COVID tunnel, we still face several more months working through this as cases surge and winter quickly approaches.  How to manage through this (hopefully!) last leg of the COVID marathon? Below you’ll find a few strategies to help bolster yourself through this winter, and perhaps benefit from your own “blur.”

ASSESS YOUR TRIBE

As we moved into self quarantine back in March, many of us relied on our families or a very small, close group of friends to create safety pods with. While much of the world is embracing the need to continue to wear masks and exercise caution, there is also a collective sense of “ugh...I’m so over this.”  As we head into the colder weather and the option to spend time outside like we did during the summer is likely to be more limited, WHO we share our time with becomes extra meaningful. Personally, I find myself spending far less time on video in social gatherings than I did during the early days of March and April. Rather, I gain energy from a small group of people (both from work, and from my non-work life) that I can be physically near, who tend to have upbeat, positive outlooks.

  • BLUR BENEFIT: Professionally, I can’t always surround myself with only the people who bring me energy. However, I find myself actively seeking out those positive folks as I look for help on special projects, provide new opportunities, etc. Actively seeking out people who give me energy rather than zap me of it is a key strategy in both work and my personal life.

PUT YOUR OWN OXYGEN MASK ON FIRST

I have never embraced the term “self care,” as it strikes me as incredibly self indulgent. And yet, when I alter the meaning and think of it as “putting your oxygen mask on first,”  I can get behind it. One of the best COVID-era decisions I made for myself was replacing my morning commute with running every morning. Not only does it clear my head and energize me for the long day ahead, but I physically and mentally feel better than I have in years. We are all busy, and often unmotivated to take on another project, but carving out time for yourself each day can make you a better, more present parent, friend, coworker, etc.

  • BLUR BENEFIT: If you identify at least one thing you can do for yourself on the regular that brings you joy, you’ll most likely benefit from the lasting effects of that all day long; fueling both the energy you bring to work, and in life.

GET OUT INTO THE WORLD AND HELP (EVEN IF IT’S FROM HOME)

While I am pretty good at finding the positive in any chaotic situation, I too have had my dark days during 2020. The thing that never fails to snap me right out of that funk is reflecting on what I have to be grateful for (e.g. my health, more time spent with my kids, a job I love that gives me purpose and keeps me busy…) as well as the realization that so many others in the world have it so much worse. Times of crisis and chaos allow each of us the chance to lend a hand to others in the world.

  • BLUR BENEFIT: Whether its a weekly take out order from your favorite local restaurant, participating in an online concert series, or virtually volunteering at a school, there is a way for every person to lend a helping hand in some way. Bonus points if you can identify aiding a person or organization that is meaningful to both you and your work. For me, it’s been leaning even more heavily into social justice this year. It’s important to me and it’s important to Rapid7. A win-win for all.

GAIN SOME MASTERY

Really want to impress yourself (and potentially your boss and/or team!) this winter?  Pick something new to learn, and invest a little time...every.single.day. The discipline might do you some good, especially in these rather unstructured times at home.

  • BLUR BENEFIT: Exercise was one of those things that I could never seem to prioritize. When we went into self quarantine, I committed to no excuses. By convincing myself I would never be gifted more hours in my day to reconfigure the way this time had been provided, I shunned sleeping in to finally tackle this goal. It has proven a wise choice. Not only am I feeling the personal health benefits of carving out that time to sweat nearly every single day but I am bringing the benefits back to work. I’m clear headed, my stress is minimal, and I am full of energy. Chipping away at a goal is a huge win, but actually getting better at that thing you thought you just couldn’t do - and gaining some mastery of it - is one of my biggest wins of 2020.

TURN OFF THE TV, AND TURN UP THE MUSIC

Of course when things are challenging, it’s easy to flip on the tv or bury our faces in our technology, secretly hoping to be updated on some magical cure or good news. I was glued to my tv in the early days of COVID, until I realized it was actually doing more harm than good. Instead, I turned off the tv, and turned on my record player. That’s right:  my old school albums have been in heavy rotation for months now. Why? Because The Stones and Miles Davis just seem to bring me joy. The point is, watching the news may keep us informed, but consume it in small doses. Instead, opt for cherishing those small moments you CAN control; whether it’s a great song, the smell of a fresh pot of coffee, or playing a board game with your family.

  • BLUR BENEFIT: Finding ways to identify and savor those small moments within your control is healthy. Obviously, there are the physical benefits like the serotonin boost which helps calmness and mood. That’s a huge personal win, but think about the applications to your professional life as well.  When you approach your work with a renewed sense of perspective and calm, you are bound to be more thoughtful and less reactive. You’ll find that advantageous to both your team and customers alike.

“Winning” COVID isn’t just about wearing a mask, limiting your exposure to others, and avoiding the virus. Just as important is taking control of the elements of your life you CAN control.  When you narrow it down to the most impactful things, hopefully you'll find they are aiding you holistically - both personally and professionally. May everyone you encounter and engage with benefit from your efforts.


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

Worried About the Gap in Your Resume?  Here's How to Tackle It banner image

Worried About the Gap in Your Resume? Here's How to Tackle It

Since spring, we’ve seen widespread devastation on a global scale with the Coronavirus pandemic, including in our businesses. Millions of people across the world have been struggling through job loss or furloughs, while attempting to juggle the upheaval to their health, financials, and families all at the same time.

To compound the stress, many displaced workers have become concerned with the unexpected gaps they now find on their resumes. Historically, unexplained periods of time have signaled to a potential employer that you may have been terminated or are for some reason unemployable. The good news?  Especially during this unique period of time, you are not alone.

The entire world has suffered from both the economic and health effects stemming from COVID. We've witnessed even the companies considered "unicorns" at the start of the year struggle with layoffs, so it is likely that your next employer will be incredibly empathetic and understanding of the blips in your career trajectory. Perhaps the question you ask yourself shouldn’t center on "how do I explain the gap in my resume?" but rather, "what did I do with that time to bolster my skills/knowledge so my next employer knows I’m able to still focus on development even during difficult times?".

Though many among us have chosen to focus on all the challenges this global pandemic has presented (the “2020 is a dumpster fire” attitude), it's also provided people - especially those out of work - with an opportunity to lean in and take accountability for their growth and development in a meaningful way. A quick Google search will unearth an abundance of tools and resources online and available (many free or low cost) to take advantage of. Why bother? Consider this:  if you are in an interview and asked "What have you been doing with your time since you were laid off?"... you'll want a substantial answer that goes beyond learning how to bake bread and bingeing the latest Netflix series. Taking the time to invest in developing skills, volunteering, etc. will go a long way towards crafting a story that screams, "I'm resilient, I made the best possible use of the time, and I'm ready to add impact to your company."

Simple Strategy To Start Filling In Your Gaps?

  • Look in the mirror: Identify where your gaps are, and create your own development plan. Unclear? While it may require a bit of vulnerability, ask former managers or colleagues for their insights on where you are strong, and where you might need to focus. If you can identify your strengths and challenge areas, then you can begin to craft a path to supplement those areas needing attention.
  • Don't just focus on the "hard skills."  Of course, taking that excel class or bolstering your project management skills could be incredibly beneficial. Also important, however, is ensuring you build on those core skills that may be impeding your progress. Functionally talented but can't find your voice? Invest your time developing your public speaking abilities.  Interested in managing others but have never had the opportunity?  Find ways to volunteer in the community (so many virtual opportunities exist right now) to mentor.
  • Adjust your attitude. There is no denying this has been a difficult year for nearly everyone, for a multitude of reasons. However, employers value resiliency and work ethic. If there was ever a year to revel living in sweats and enjoying some downtime, it’s now. However, to channel the words of the great Maya Angelou, “I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it.” Get up, dust yourself off, and get to work. You’ll thank yourself for those efforts when you score your next great job.

Losing your job and having gaps in your resume doesn’t have to fill you with anxiety. Rather, take a good hard look in the mirror, identify what's missing from allowing you to land the role of your dreams, and start investing your time in these areas. By doing so, you'll find you have plenty to include on your resume.


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

Advice for Job Seekers: How Long Should Your Resume Be?  banner image

Advice for Job Seekers: How Long Should Your Resume Be?

One of the questions that always seems to come up is "how long should a resume be?"  Are two pages ok, or should you stick to one?  We tackled the question by polling our audience, as well as asking some professionals for their thoughts. 


Audience Poll

According to our audience, almost half, 49%, believe that a multi-page resume is acceptable, while 28% believe that one page is the maximum length.

Resume Pie Chart

Professional Opinions

We asked some of the experts in Tech Talent and HR what they think on the matter.

Laura Ladd

Talent Acquisition Partner, Americas at Flywire

A resume should be a reflection of you and showcase your experience. I will never turn down a candidate just because a resume is two pages. Your resume should be an appropriate length based on your years of work experience and allow you to explain your career path, so we as recruiters understand what you have done and what you are looking to do.

 

Samantha Anderson

People Lead (HR Generalist) at Quil Health

Candidates do not need to keep their resumes to only one page but I would always encourage to keep it to 2 pages, 3 pages maximum. Candidates run the risk of the hiring manager and/or recruiter not concentrating on the most important aspects of their resume if it is too overwhelming, especially when they are screening hundreds of resumes for a position. Highlight your accomplishments in your previous positions and have multiple versions of your resume created based on the type of position you are searching for.

 

Diane Baker

Recruitment Manager at Poppulo

It's an interesting question and there is no right or wrong answer. In fact, CV length can be quite a subjective preference for an interviewer. In some respects CV length can depend on your experience level. Generally, a one page CV will suffice for graduates but two pages or more may be required for those with more experience. A good rule of thumb is to remember that a CV is a summary of skills & experience, not a shopping list of everything you have ever done! I would recommend expanding on 3 of your most recent or relevant roles and listing other roles to avoid making the CV too lengthy. Two pages are probably ideal but don't restrict an opportunity to sell yourself out of fear of going to an additional page. Remember, you can always outline some relevant information on a cover page and keep the CV concise and relevant.

 

Kristen Albertsen

Director of People Operations at Bevi

For most professionals, a 1-2 page resume is sufficient. Unless you are senior in your career, are applying for a highly specialized role, or have an extensive list of publications, patents or other accomplishments, your resume should not be longer than 2 pages. A resume should reflect your ability to synthesize your experience, not recount your autobiography.

 

Lindsay Knapper

Director of Talent at Lovepop

Your resume should be a summary of who you are as a professional and highlight your proudest accomplishments. For most people, a page is enough. Think of your resume as the hook for companies to want to learn more about you. It's a great idea to include a link to your LinkedIn profile and anything else that compliments you (a portfolio, website, publication). I'm ok with hobbies as long as they enhance the resume... club soccer team- yes! / bar crawl enthusiast- no!

 

Betsie Hundt

Recruitment Marketing Specialist at Dynatrace

I definitely think one page for resume length is sufficient. Even if you have pages worth of experience, choose just a few of your previous roles/accolades that align with the position you are interviewing for. With those top roles, I recommend giving only 3 or 4 bullets of detail for each as you can always bring up more specifics during your interview.

 

Samantha Yancich

Talent Acquisition at ProfitWell

Candidates who have been in the job market for a few years after graduating should only have a one page resume. If you've been in the job market for 5+ years, it's okay to have more than one page, but no more than that. There's a statistic that recruiters spend 10 seconds scanning your resume and putting aside the pros/cons of that practice, multiple page resumes are difficult to read. The goal is to identify and showcase the ROI of your efforts, not describe everything you've ever done. Talk about unique experiences/skills, customize your resume using language from the job description you're applying to so AI tools used to scan resumes that some companies use will pick up on keywords, and talk about results in a straightforward way. Let your resume be the intro to what you bring to the table, and then a conversation with the company is the opportunity to expand upon what your resume describes.

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