5 Questions to Ask When Starting a New Job

Professional transitions | Employment | Success in the workplace  |Career advice

by Michael D. Watkins | April 09, 2019

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Peter Cade/Getty Images

The actions you take during your first few months in a new job have a major impact on your success or failure. Build positive momentum early on and it will propel you through your tenure. Make some early missteps and you could face an uphill battle for the rest of your time in the job.

The biggest challenge leaders face during these periods is staying focused on the right things. You are drinking from the proverbial fire hose while trying to get settled and figure out how to start to have an impact. It’s easy to take on too much or to waste your precious time. So, it helps to have a set of questions to guide you. Here are the five most important ones to ask…and keep on asking on a regular basis:

How will I create value?

This is the single most important question. Why were you put in this role? What do key stakeholders expect you to accomplish? In what timeframe? How will your progress be assessed? As you seek to answer this question, keep in mind that the real answer may not be what you were told when you were appointed or recruited for the job; it may also evolve as things progress and you learn more. Remember, too, that you will probably have multiple stakeholders to satisfy, not just your boss, and that they may have divergent views of what constitutes “success.” It’s essential to understand the full set of expectations so you can reconcile and satisfy them to the greatest degree possible. Read more…

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Getting these 5 questions wrong can ruin your chances in a job interview

Interviewing | Job search | Employment |Career Advice |Mentoring

03.19.19 | Fast Company

Making a good impression at a job interview involves a lot more than just dressing appropriately, being on time, and researching the company. Here are five key questions to answer for yourself if you want to make it to the next round.

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[Photo: jacoblund/iStock]

1. How will I strike a balance between selling myself and praising the company?

Everyone knows that pitching yourself is key, but overdo it and you’ll turn the interviewer off. You need to strike the right balance between talking about the company you’re interviewing with and talking about yourself. Suppose you start off with, “Here’s why I’d be great for this job. Here are my accomplishments.” You’ve just dug a hole for yourself, because you’re making the interview all about you.

Instead, start with explaining how you admire the company, its accomplishments, and leadership. If you can, show you know something about the person interviewing you. Express your excitement about that particular position. In short, talk about the opportunity–and then show why your qualifications make you such a good fit. Your interviewers will be impressed. You’ve made the connection between the job and your abilities, and so will they. Read more…

Get a job! (Ep. 32. ALA Dewey Decibel Podcast)

Mentoring | Career advice | Success | Librarianship

Looking for a job can be arduous and anxiety-inducing. It’s not surprising: The end results can be life changing. And organizations looking to hire new employees face challenges, as finding the right candidate for a job can be difficult if the search isn’t conducted correctly. What can job seekers and employers do to improve the process to everyone’s benefit? In Episode 32, we find out.

First, ALA Editions acquisitions editor and Dewey Decibel contributor Jamie Santoro speaks with Caitlin Williams, author of Be Opportunity-Minded: Start Growing Your Career Now (ALA Editions, 2019), about tips for those on the job hunt and job market trends.

Next, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries associate editor Phil Morehart talks with David Connolly, recruitment ad sales manager for the American Library Association’s JobLIST, about what job hunters should be doing to find the right fit and what employers should be doing to find the right candidates.

How to Figure Out How Much Influence You Have at Work [HBR]

by Maxim Sytch | February 18, 2019

Informal leadership | Mentoring | Career advice |Success |Relationships |Impact

A banker in Southeast Asia wanted to allow employees of a car rental agency to buy used cars from the employer. But not a single business unit was able to put together that product. Different units were stopped either by the existing product portfolio, the underlying risk, or regulatory guidelines. One of the banker’s colleagues, however, was able to facilitate valuable introductions across the company. That led to the solution being co-designed and jointly offered by two business units.

Credit the success of this new financial product to the banker’s informal power. Informal power — which is unrelated to your formal title — can enable you to mobilize resources, drive change, and create value for the organization as well as yourself. And in the modern workplace, informal power is increasingly pivotal and can secure your place within your organization. Read more…

What Library Leaders Can’t Fake | Leading from the Library

Leadership | Academic Librarians | Mentoring

by Steven Bell | Jan 24, 2019

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One school of thought in leadership suggests those who do it well can role play some area of their work for which they are less than authentically passionate. While that may be a useful leadership skill for unique situations, there are some things leaders should never fake.

From frontline reference librarian to library director, I’ve had the great experience of serving in a wide range of positions in academic libraries of different types. For the most part I avoided suffering extended bouts of impostor syndrome, a fairly regular topic of discussion in our profession. However early in my career, in my first reference librarian position at a top ten business school library, the first year was one of self-doubt. There was little discussion of impostor syndrome back then, though it’s likely that I was experiencing it. For the first six months as a library director, I occasionally gave in to thoughts of being unqualified and unlikely to succeed as that library’s leader. But in these and other positions, as I achieved small successes my confidence grew, and I came to believe more strongly that I was the right person for the job. A recent webinar on impostor syndrome I attended, wanting to better understand how this affects librarians, got me thinking about what it means for library leaders. Leaders need to recognize how impostor syndrome impacts their own progress, but they should also recognize and support staff who may be experiencing it. Read more…

The Most Valuable And Timeless Skills You Need to Thrive in The 21st Century

Career advice | Emotional Intelligence | Workplace |Employment

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The evolution of skills is accelerating, fast.

We live in a world of constant change, where skill sets can become obsolete in just a few years, you have consistently upgrade and reinvent yourself.

“Skill is the unified force of experience, intellect and passion in their operation.”

John Ruskin could not have defined skill any better.

When you strive to consistently improve your skills, you enjoy more success in life and at work.

Don’t give up on lifelong learning. Ever.

Research shows that it pays beyond the skills you acquire.

More than ever before, a challenged, stimulated brain may well be the key to a vibrant later life.

“Every skill you acquire doubles your odds of success,” says Scott Adams

Start spending time preparing for the future even when there are more important things to do in the present and even when there is no immediately apparent return to your efforts.

Begin to plant seeds every day that will yield the best and most fulfilling life now and in the future.

These valuable skills can radically improve your life. They may not seem earth shattering at first glance, but you’ll be surprised at just how much they can affect your life and career now and for the rest of your productive life.

Read more…

Your Workplace Isn’t Your Family (and That’s O.K.!)

Workplace | Career Advice | Employment |Relationships

It’s fine to have warm, supportive relationships with your co-workers. But remember the context.

Welcome to the Smarter Living newsletter. The editor, Tim Herrera, emails readers with tips and advice for living a better, more fulfilling life. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

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“We’re like family here.”

It’s a line that seems enshrined in the collective unconsciousness of American workers. We spend more than 2,000 hours per year with our co-workers, so it seems only natural that we should think of them as family. We celebrate birthdays together, honor anniversaries, hang out at happy hours … these people are like a second family. Right?

Not necessarily, says Alison Green, who runs the career advice blog Ask a Manager and whose latest book, which has the same title, published earlier this year. Read more…