Advice and words of wisdom to help guide your career.

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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!!!

Leadership of Your Life banner image

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.

How to Land a Career in Product Management - Top Boston Product Talent Share Their Tips banner image

How to Land a Career in Product Management - Top Boston Product Talent Share Their Tips

Career Path is a regular series on VentureFizz where we connect with individuals from our BIZZpages, which are the fastest-growing tech companies in the Boston tech scene. We learn a lot about each person's background and what a day in the life is like for them.

We have compiled advice from some of the Product Managers that have been profiled. They share the details on how job seekers can obtain a career in the field of Product Management. 


"Seize any opportunity you can to take on product management-like responsibilities at your current company, even if there is no formal product management team structure. Express your interest, and take on small tech projects to get your feet wet in working through an initiative from inception, to design, through build, to launch. And if you don’t have a technical background, don’t let that intimidate you. You’ll get used to taking on something that seems insurmountable to understand, and by the end of it, knowing very well what the inner workings are and how to explain them to others. I still face this from time to time and always tell myself that, as long as I keep asking questions, it’s only a matter of time until I understand and can speak intelligently about it."

Read Shana's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at PlacePass.


"Reach out to people currently working in product. Ask to get coffee. Go to meetups and read as much as you can about the role. If you come from a technical background, that’s awesome, If not, don’t be intimidated or count yourself out of a career that really interests you. Figure out what draws you to product. Once you know, repeat that back to yourself and get good at telling that story to other people. If you come from a place of authenticity and genuine interest, people will respond well to that and want to help you as you jump into a new path."

Read Christine's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at SessionM.


"My biggest tip to someone considering a career in product management is to embrace their background. There is no traditional product manager; the team is made up of people with a wide variety of experiences (professional and personal). I would also advise people to stay current and curious – inspiration can come from anywhere."

Read Chris' Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at BCG.


Nick Leonard

"Discover your personal spike? Are you the connective tissue that breaks down organizational silos? Are you the brilliant empathizer that has an uncanny knack for understanding users? Are you the engineer’s best friends with your perfect articulation of features and needs? There are lots of things a Product Manager has to do. Understand your strengths and play to them. Where you are weak, you get to choose: Either improve them or build a team that mitigates your weaknesses."

Read Nick's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at Jobcase.


Maggie Brenner

"Talk to anyone you can who’s an engineer, product manager or designer. Learn about the variations between companies and which type of role you think will be best for you. I also went to a few meetups and introductory courses which gave me some solid baseline knowledge. There’s a ton of great literature out there about the PM role, product teams and how to work best with engineers which I would recommend reading. I found Cracking the PM Interview helpful in understanding what the interview process might look like. Think about what your best entry point is. For me, it has been beneficial to move internally. While I’m learning the role, I’m able to leverage strong knowledge of our product and customers."

Read Maggie's Career Path here.

Click here for jobs at Ellevation.


Colin Barry is the Content Manager for VentureFizz. Follow him on Twitter @ColinKrash

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