Envision this. You’re an “A” player at your company. You exceed quota month after month, quarter after quarter, year after year. You’re the safe bet for any project and well recognized throughout the company. You’re the ambitious type, so OF COURSE, you’ve expressed that you aspire to keep growing in the company, however possible. FINALLY, there’s a management position open and you’ve been told that this is the best opportunity to grow in the company!!! You’re getting a big raise too! Oh, the excitement! But wait… “I’ve never managed before, how do I do this?” But, leadership has always relied on you to be the “independent, self-motivated” type, and certainly weren’t expecting to have to spend a lot of time with you. FIGURE IT OUT!
People, this is a common scenario. Suddenly, this “A” player is thrown into an entirely new world of challenges that come with management. This person is now one of the most important people in his employee’s lives, and he’s charged with being their coach, leader, mentor, and director. WOW, no stress, right?! Even more, the success of the employees under this new manager largely hinges on their ability to create and communicate clear objectives, while still being attentive to the ‘human element.’ Of course, we would want to arm this person with all of the skills needed to be the best manager they can be, and continue to be that “A” player in their new role?? Nope, so many companies don’t see this as necessary. Their leaders never got trained on this stuff and ‘are doing just fine,’ so why make an unnecessary investment to give this person the requisite skills to be great at their job. The grim reality is times are often not as smooth sailing for these kinds of leaders as they might lead you to believe. They frequently do WAY more hand-holding than they’d like, along with many other challenges they face which might have been avoided if they got the appropriate training themselves.
Let’s take a deeper look at this. Imagine the stress this new manager has. They were always the Rockstar of the group and now maybe they’re struggling to get their employees to do what they need to hit quota month after month, quarter after quarter (and sometimes year after year). They try a lot of approaches to motivate their employees and drive results, but nothing’s working. Now they’re stressed, their employees are floundering OR LEAVING, and the leadership is extremely disappointed and stressed (They’re “A” player is no longer an “A” player). Remember though, this new manager wants to do a great job. They are self-motivated and reliable. They just need to get a strong understanding of what they need to do to be successful.
Would you want a pilot driving your plane without any formal training? I sure wouldn’t. Their ability to fly and land that plane successfully affects a lot of people. Managers are REALLY important to a lot of people as well. Although, usually nobody is going to die if managers do a bad job! They’re just going to disengage and be emotionally drained.
Moral of the story. As leaders, invest the time and resources to make your managers great. Give them the training they need. You’re making sure your software developers, financial analysts, etc., are getting trained right? How could they ever do a great job if they never got the training? Different skills for sure, but managers need the investment as well. AND managers, invest in yourselves to be great!
By Carrie S Ahmad, SPHR, SHRM-SCP
You’ve landed the on-site interview, now the big question…what to wear? In today’s casual work environments, it can be tough to know how you should dress for the interview. Too often I hear from clients that candidates show up for an interview in the proverbial “what not to wear” attire; and from the start the candidate has made a bad impression from which it is tough to recover. You can be the ideal candidate, but if you miss the target in how you dress and groom for the interview, the role that was yours for the taking has quickly slipped away.
Common Sense and Culture
About 6 months ago I had a candidate show up for an interview in jeans and a sweatshirt. He read the company culture accurately – most of the staff wore very casual clothes to work; however, he misread the message he would be sending about himself by showing up for the interview this way. He interviewed with six people (managers and peers), and all six were astounded by how he dressed. They felt he showed a lack of confidence and a lack of interest in the company. Needless to say, he didn’t get the job. Even if a company’s culture is laid back (jeans and t-shirts), employers will be impressed when you make an effort to show respect for the interview process by dressing nicely for the interview.
What Should You Wear?
So, how do you avoid this interview faux pas? Research, ask, and when in doubt dress “up.”
- Research: Check out the company’s website. If there are employee photos, consider how the employees are dressed. Look company employees up on LinkedIn. How are they dressed in their profile photo?
- Ask: When the recruiter, HR Manager or Hiring Manager calls you to schedule the interview, ask the person: “What is your company’s culture as it relates to attire? Do you have recommendations for what I should wear?”
- Dress “Up”: When you just aren’t sure, always dress up more than you think you should.
Simple Tips for Looking Great at Your Interview
Here are my suggestions for preparing for the interview as it relates to dress & grooming:
- Dress one step up:
a. If the culture is very casual: men should wear slacks and a nice polo or button down shirt; women should wear slacks/skirt with a nice sweater or top.
b. If the culture is business casual: dress professionally – dress slacks with button down shirt & tie for men; dress, skirt or dress slacks and a nice blouse/sweater for women.
c. If the culture is business professional: wear a suit.
- Shower the morning of the interview and take time to ensure your hair looks groomed.
- Go easy (or not at all) on colognes and perfumes.
Remember, in an interview you should dress to impress!
By Kimberly Spikes
I get asked a lot about whether a cover letter is still important in today’s world of work. The short answer (as with many things job-search related), is, it depends. The key determining factor in whether or not you should carefully craft a cover letter is to look at whether the company is actually asking for one or not. If a company isn’t mentioning a cover letter, or they make it optional as an inclusion with your resume, then either don’t include one or at least don’t spend a lot of time on it. Just fill in the company and job-specific elements of a cover letter you’ve used in the past.
BUT! If the company you’re applying to does require a cover letter, then it’s worth taking the time to go beyond simply filling in the company’s details, and write a customized message to them. If the company requires a cover letter, then they are likely using the cover letter as a key element in their initial screening process — or, in other words, it’s far more likely someone actually will read it!
So, what do I mean when I say, write a customized message to the company? Well, the cover letter is a great opportunity to go beyond your resume in providing another voice and further insight into who you are and how you align to the organization — not only with your skills and experience, but also in terms of your values alignment and your passions.
Read the company’s pages around “Careers,” “About Us,” “Our Team,” etc. How do they talk about themselves — who they are, who their audience is, and what they believe in. What do they prioritize? How do they describe their culture? How do they talk about their customer/user/guest, etc.? If the company calls their HR folks their People team, then address the letter accordingly using the same nomenclature (of course, that’s assuming you aren’t able to identify the hiring manager directly).
Your resume is the most important place to talk about your skills and experience; the cover letter is where you can highlight the most relevant skills and experience for their job posting, but it’s also where you need to tell your story to the company about how else you match up with what they’re looking for to add to their culture. Love their mission statement? Mention it in the opening paragraph as the reason you’re excited to apply! Can’t get enough of their products? The cover letter is where you let them know.
And, while it’s important to keep an overall tone of professionalism in the cover letter, this is also where you can show off a bit more of your personality than in the resume. As you review the company’s pages as described above, jot down keywords or even emotions that come to mind for you – then weave language into your cover letter that matches that tone.
Got a question on resume writing, cover letters, or job searching? Let us know! We live and breathe this stuff every day, and we’d love to partner with you!