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How to work online, remain productive, and connect with people

I am always giving my clients tips on how to work online. Here are the key complaints I hear from clients and friends:

  • It’s hard to connect with people
  • It’s hard to keep productive
  • It’s lonely, and
  • There’s a tendency to work too much

 I feel this happens for several reasons:

  • We’re just not that used to it – yet
  • We are trying to work using old routines and models that are better suited for face to face
  • We still have a few issues feeling comfortable in front of a camera, or with technology in general, and
  • For those working from home, this means working from what is/was our personal space. Considering how much of our personal space we want to share on-screen is still something many are struggling with.

But, working online is now the main aspect of white-collar working life. Many office workers who, pre-pandemic, had to commute to work now can work remotely. Even if they go back to the office, you may find it empty, and most of the work you do is still in front of the computer anyway. So for transitional office-based companies, virtual companies, working for yourself, or job hunting, I hope you will find these tips helpful.

I work from home all day, every day. Here are my top tips:

1. Be ruthless with emails

I check them every day, early in the morning and last thing at night. I don’t advise everyone to do this; quite the contrary. I do it because it suits my line of work. It works for me because I have clients globally. I just invite you to consider the following: what email management routine will help you cope with your work? Then apply it daily, and stick to it.

Another email rule is that I don’t answer emails after hours or on the weekend. Many of my clients email me during the weekend because if they are working, this is the time they have to work on their career plans and job search. But I need my break; otherwise, I will burn out. I will still read the emails every morning, even on weekends, because I need to keep an eye on emergencies. If it’s not an emergency, it can wait.

2. GIFs and Emojis are fine

We need to find ways to show emotions when working online. I’ve learned to love to by observing how the millennials and Gen Z use them. I used to think they were childish. But now, I hardly see anyone face to face, and if an emoji will translate my facial expression or emotion and make people smile, then I am a fan. It’s important to be playful and have some fun during work. But keep in mind that you need to know when and who to send them to. Of course, GIFs and emojis are not for every communication. In my case, if you get an emoji from me, it’s because we’re already pals.

3. Videos and voice messages are your friend

I am addicted to Loom, a video messaging platform that has replaced at least half of my written emails. Here is an example: in this video, I am teaching how to disable the “People also viewed” box on LinkedIn. I always recommend that all my clients do this when they’re looking for work.

I copy-paste the link to the Loom video into an email, send it to a client, and this is how I coach between sessions. I also communicate with my family in Australia and overseas with voice messages on WhatsApp. This way, it’s more personal, and I don’t have to look at the screen and type all day. I can record when I’m walking. It’s much more fun for me to receive a voice message from a friend on the other side of the world than read her text.

4. Look good on video

  • Show up on camera as much as possible. There’s nothing worse for a meeting organizer or event speaker when everyone’s camera is off. I also believe it’s better for your career
  • Invest in a camera with clear image and audio. I will link here the camera I use. It sits either on my monitor or on a tripod
  • Have it at your eye-level
  • Ensure you have a background that denotes professionalism
  • Avoid fake and blurry backgrounds: they are suitable for emergencies, for example, if you’re traveling. Another exception is for corporate branding only, such as when you’re holding a public event or conference.

5. Create fun traditions and opportunities working online

I am a fan of a Zoom open-door policy. It’s like the old-fashion open door, but on Zoom, Google meet, or wherever you hold your online video meetings. I also know that some workplaces are trying new traditions such as trivia nights and drinks. And finally, make the most out of your online work environment by posting, sharing ideas, and contributing to others who take the lead and share. Please, everyone, try to give these a go.

6. Have at least two monitors

Having at least two monitors is an essential aspect of working online. It helps with so many different tasks. Drag and drop, presentation view, and working while checking the Slack activity. It ’s the best investment you will ever make.

7. Find time during the week to have real coffee with a colleague or a walking meeting. 

I know that for some people, the comfort of working from home is hard to give up. But it’s really important to maintain connections with colleagues and your professional network. In a few days, I will have a walking meeting with someone I have not seen for over two years. I am happy she reached out and glad that the pandemic has made it ok for us to have a professional conversation while walking on the beach, wearing leggings.

New times, new traditions!

The Job Hunting Podcast

The Job Hunting Podcast
138. How to work online, remain productive, and connect with people

» Click here to listen


This article was first published on the The Job Hunting Podcast Blog.

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A pocket coach for ‘people moments’.

Who hasn’t ever struggled dealing with the real people stuff? The difficult conversations, the underperformance, anxiety, imposter syndrome, hybrid working, juggling family, team dynamics. All of it. How hard is it and how much mental anguish can it consume?

In response to this dilemma a bunch of very smart (Australian) people have created People Spot. Take a look!

In our field of work, Slade Group is introduced to a large array of HR Tech, but to date haven’t come across an application like this one – an available on-the-spot solution, a business coach in your pocket kind of idea.

We’ve found it has a super user-friendly layout, is easy to understand and follow, and can help anyone in the workplace navigate ‘people moments’.  

We’ve tested it and are sure of its broad relevance: the new graduate employee, frontline customer services workers, mid-level leaders learning how to performance manage, specialists juggling home schooling and remote teams, and the high-flying C-suite exec – with access to further education, travel and individualised support. We all need quick, easy answers to help navigate all those tricky people moments.

The people behind People Spot are Colin Beattie, leading business coach, David Kennedy who returned to Melbourne after working with Apple in Silicon Valley, and psychologist Nerissa Beattie. They’ve all actively wanted to create a solution to help people better navigate the often messy moments of human interaction.

They needed backing and support and brought in some trusted names from Australia’s largest businesses, from finance to tech: Nigel Dalton former CTO from REA Group, Nat Feehan Chief Customer & Commercial Officer for Estimate One, along with Kate Temby former Goldman Sachs Managing Director and now Partner at Affirmative Investment Management.

It launched earlier this year and we’re hoping The People Spot might help us all! They’re excited that it’s struck a chord with us and have offered an exclusive offer to readers of The Slade Report, use our discount code SLADE10 at thepeoplespot.com to save 10% on any order. 

What have been your hardest People Moments in your world @work?

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Tech professional? Cybersecurity specialist? Multiple offers? Our top tips to make the right career decision in a bullish market.

With spend in Australian cybersecurity expected to surpass a whopping $5.1b in 2021, the natural flow-on effect from an increase in enterprise requirements in the sector is a need for more staff.

Since launching Synchro Partners earlier this year, there’s no doubt that it’s the most ‘job-heavy’ market we’ve seen in several years. It may seem like halcyon days for recruiters, but with virtually every business across the country on the hunt for a full range of skillsets as they build their ‘dream team’ of cybersecurity experts, it’s a lucrative opportunity for candidates.

With a hard stop on overseas talent due to covid related border closures over the past eighteen months, we have seen a major skills shortage across the technology sector. Naturally, due to the laws of supply and demand, salaries and contractor rates have increased substantially over the period. On average, we have seen an increase in remuneration expectations of over 7%, and in certain streams (IDAM/PAM, Cloud Security and Penetration Testing) a pay demand upturn of up to 25%. This in turn has created a true candidates’ market, with a plethora of career opportunities for jobseekers and those currently employed in the cybersecurity field.

Whilst this bullish job market is certainly advantageous to Tech professionals, it can be a double-edged sword – exposure to multiple opportunities at any given time increases your risk of making the wrong career move.

How do you make the right decision?

Article image: How do you make the right

Every day, Synchro Partners help candidates between role transitions. what we’ve learnt through our experience is that having a well-defined vision of your career goals will help you make the right move. We’re sharing our top tips on how to evaluate each role when presented with multiple offers from different organisations, to ensure you make the right career decision.

What is the ‘ROI’ for you, if you join this organisation?

As much as they are investing into you, you also are investing in them. What is more important than dollars is consistent development and sustainable growth in what you are worth. As a cybersecurity professional, evolving your skills is the only way to keep up with the pace of the market. What new skills will you pick up? What certifications will they support you in pursuing? What kind of programs will you be working on? These are all crucial factors for your ROI and the future for your career.

What’s the organisational culture really like?

It is easy for an employer to say they have an amazing culture. But do they really? What’s the work culture like? It’s high-performing, but is it collaborative? Is there a culture of innovation specifically in the cybersecurity space? A good mix of both work culture and social culture should be identified for you to enjoy your role and to be successful too. Dig deep and ask questions such as: Could you give me an example of a time when the team have shown real comradery? What social activities do you organise? If they struggle to give you a warm and authentic answer, you should have reservations.

What do you look for in a leader? Will you align with your direct manager?

How do you envision each leader treating you and will they help you to be happy as well as succeed within the business? The cybersecurity market is a tight-knit community in Australia. What’s their track record? What’s been their contribution(s) to the community? When it comes to the hiring manager, what does their industry profile look like? Having the ‘right’ leader is pivotal to your success; having the ‘wrong’ leader could be your Achilles heel, and even stop you from reaching your goals. Simon Sinek says, “The courage of leadership is giving others the chance to succeed, even though you bear responsibility for getting things done.”

Be Discerning

Cybersecurity professionals are discerning individuals in their day-to-day roles, so why not take a discerning approach to jobhunting (a full-time job in itself). Having ‘a good feeling about this one’ is your intuition telling you that this is the most logical option. Use your instincts as your compass, backed up by facts for your reassurance.

Finally, money is a by-product of where you are currently at; what you can become is where you will see true job satisfaction (and financial gain). Join a company that will provide a vehicle to accelerate you as a better professional, rather than simply utilise your current skills.

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Fear of success: Why it happens and how to overcome it.

In a recent episode of my podcast, The Job Hunting™ Podcast (ep.100), I discussed success, but with a twist. I see the following behaviour happening all the time with my clients: when job hunters go from getting zero responses to suddenly getting calls from recruiters and job interviews, they freak out.

The happiness and the excitement about finally getting opportunities can quickly turn into anxiety. This happens with all my services. From getting more views following a LinkedIn audit service to coaching clients who get a fantastic job offer, the success leads to conflicting emotions. But why?

Success and Failure

Success doesn’t feel like what we think it would feel. With success comes more work (get ready for the calls and interviews) and more responsibility (now you have to do the job you wanted!). When we dream about success, we usually don’t think about the day-to-day reality of achieving our goals. You may have envisioned yourself as feeling confident once you reach your success goal. In reality, when you achieve your goals, chances are you don’t feel ready!

In this episode, I discuss the most common feelings I have observed as a coach, explain the reasons behind them, and how to overcome the anxiety and enjoy the spoils of your hard work. We talk a lot about impostor syndrome, but in my view, there are many more success fears that we need to address.

How to overcome the “freaking out” period of success.

1. Understand it: Sword of Damocles

Sword of Damocles is an old tale about a King, Dionysius, who allowed one of his men, Damocles, to experience what it feels to have great power. Damocles sat on Dionysius’s throne, surrounded by countless luxuries. But above his had, Dionysius arranged that a sword is held at the pommel only by a single hair of a horse’s tail.

In this episode, I discuss three different meanings for this story, which I believe should be considered by anyone willing to advance in their careers.

2. Educate yourself: Stoicism

Some things are within our control, and some aren’t. When you are job hunting, there are so many variables affecting your recruitment and selection and your work. You can control your output – job application, answers to job interviews, but you can’t control what others are thinking of you. So the key is to move forward with tranquility, knowing you won’t be able to control every aspect of this experience.

In the episode, I also discuss how we suffer not from facts themselves (i.e., you got the job), but from how we imagine what that means (i.e., I don’t know if I can do a good job. What if I fail?).

3. Be strategic: coaching

Working with a coach can be incredibly beneficial for executives. It can speed up steep learning curves and avoid career-limiting moves done at the heat of the moment.

Freaking out due to success is why I usually continue to work with clients as they onboard their new jobs until they feel they have better control of their new situation.

If being freaked out is a problem you wish you had, I’d also be happy to help! Please go to my website, renatabernarde.com, to learn more and book my services.


Renata Bernarde, the Host of The Job HuntingTM Podcast. I’m also an executive coach, job hunting expert, and career strategist. Click here to download Renata’s free workbook The Optimized Job Search Schedule.

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Have you updated your LinkedIn profile since you set it up?

Or since you got your new job? In the last 12 months? If not, you may be missing out on leveraging from LinkedIn, big time!

In Episode 91 of The Job Hunting Podcast, I share my journey and evolution using LinkedIn and how I updated my profile and activity over time in line with my career plans. I also share the results I got and how they helped my career advancement.

What you will learn in this episode of The Job Hunting Podcast:

  • my personal journey and evolution on LinkedIn: How and why I changed my profile and activity over time.
  • The results I got and how I believe LinkedIn has been instrumental in supporting my career advancement and my transition into business ownership.
  • The importance of being intentional and having a strategy in mind to get the same results (or even better!) on LinkedIn.
  • I’m sharing the top 3 things you should consider doing right now to elevate your executive presence on LinkedIn a few takeaways that I think will help you a lot.

When I say LinkedIn will support your career, I really mean that it will get you new job opportunities! I have plenty of personal and client experiences to back this claim. So if you are a bit sceptical, remember that you are working with a sample of one (i.e., you), whereas my sample is much larger!

How I updated my LinkedIn profile and activity over time.

I believe the following years were the key tipping points of my career, where I either used LinkedIn to propel me forward or adjusted LinkedIn in line with where my career was progressing. In the podcast episode, I explain each milestone in more detail to share with you my personal journey and evolution on LinkedIn when it comes to my presence and messaging, and how and when I update my profile and activity:

  • 2008 – The beginning of LinkedIn
  • 2010 – Moving sectors 
  • 2012 – Senior national role
  • 2014 – CEO role
  • 2016 – Liberation and LinkedIn articles
  • 2018 – Doing a 180 on my profile, articles, and posts to match my business
  • 2021 – Crystalized my business on LinkedIn, resulting in lots of new clients

The results I got by using LinkedIn strategically. 

I believe LinkedIn has been instrumental in supporting my career advancement and my transition into business ownership. These are the key steps I took on LinkedIn:

  1. Being intentional and having a strategy in mind.
  2. Always adjusting my message on LinkedIn in line with my career phase and future plans.
  3. Making great connections over time: headhunters, recruiters, colleagues, and like-minded people. 

The 3 things you should consider doing right now on LinkedIn.

I discuss the following three strategies in more detail in the podcast episode. I believe that activating them can help elevate your executive presence on LinkedIn and help you now and in the future:

  1. Your top banner is your blue-chip LinkedIn real estate: invest in getting it appropriate for you, your industry, and your employer.
  2. Don’t try to imitate others – it won’t work for you.
  3. Your activity is just as important as your profile, if not more!

Conclusion

When I say LinkedIn will support your career, I really mean that it can get you new job opportunities. And it does not require you to be there all day long! I believe one hour per week is enough to activate the LinkedIn muscles to help you achieve your goals!

Sign up for a free Job Hunting Masterclass with Renata Bernarde on Tuesday 3 August at 9am or 6pm.

If you are ready to take a step further and guarantee that the time you spend on LinkedIn pays off and brings you the connections, networks, invitations that will support your career in the short, medium, and long term, then consider attending one of the masterclasses on Tuesday 3 August 2021 at 9AM or 6PM (Melbourne, AEST). Learn more here.

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How to start a successful role even before you get the job

Here’s a fact you have probably already heard of: the first 90 days in a new job are crucial to your success in the role. And it’s not about passing your probation! It’s about building the credibility, reputation, and personal brand that will carry you over the next few years and impact your short-term career progress with your new employer.

During the first 90 days, the employer will evaluate if you are in fact a good fit for the company. But more than this, it can set the tone for the rest of your tenure in the organization. A few weeks ago, I invited Sue Zablud, an experienced consultant, executive coach, and trainer, to an interview for The Job Hunting Podcast Episode 68. She said, “In the first days in your new role, you should also consider what impression you want to make, your new manager’s expectations from you, your KPIs, and the adjustments you have to make to guarantee that you are the best fit for the organisation.”

Sue listed the two critical strategies you have to nail in the first days and weeks in a new job to advance and excel in your new organisation:

1. Achieve the outcome that you have promised. Do it well, and do it in a way that looks good for the organization instead of making you look good.

  • What are your new manager’s expectations of what you should do in your first few days?
  • What are your KPIs?
  • What do you need to do to ensure you will “fit” in the organization?

2. Build good relationships. This includes customer relationships, managing up, and demonstrating that you’re a good member of the team.

  • What is the impression that you want to make?
  • You have to get on with your team, be accepted by clients, and win your peers’ respect.

Above and beyond the probationary nature of the first 90 days in a new job, there is also a lot more at stake that can determine your new role’s success. Just because you were great in your last job does not mean you will be great in a new one. You have to be ready and have a plan. You can do this with a coach to understand what you should do to prepare for this period. Working with a coach is especially recommended if you are moving sideways (i.e., into a new industry or career track) or upwards (i.e., a more senior position).

Now that you have a clearer idea of how to leverage the power of your first 90 days, you can apply these strategies to a successful transition into a new role.

If you would like to learn more from me:

  • Visit my website: renatabernarde.com.
  • Listen to The Job Hunting Podcast on all good podcast apps, or find it here: renatabernarde.com/blog.
  • Sign up to Reset Your Career: a short course delivered in collaboration with the Slade team and available to you on-demand.
  • Sue Zablud delivers a special masterclass inside my signature program, Job Hunting Made Simple. Learn more about Job Hunting Made Simple and register for the next group intake.
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Navigating disappointment during internal recruitment

Recruiting from within can be a strategic and often efficient process for any organisation. Not only are you able to engage a candidate with existing knowledge of your workplace, products and/or services, but they are also often a relatively known commodity. In addition, knowing that there are opportunities for internal movement and advancement can help provide a strong incentive for employees to remain with your company as they can see potential to progress.

However internal recruitment processes can at times be somewhat difficult and must be undertaken with care so as to minimise the potential for a negative fallout from unsuccessful applicants. Where multiple internal applicants apply for an advertised position, there is likely to be at least some disappointed parties who may disagree with the hiring decision. Such feelings can run the risk of tension and/or jealousy arising, and employees may feel disheartened that they were not selected.

So as to assist in navigating what can at times be a challenging process, we have outlined below some steps that can be taken to help minimise the potential risks that can occur.

1. Undertake fair and consistent recruitment processes.

Ensure that your organisation has a formalised recruitment process in place so as to ensure that all candidates are managed consistently.

Ensure that your recruitment process for both internal and external recruitment activities mirror each other, with all candidates moving through the same selection process.

It is essential that the selection criteria for all advertised position is clearly set out and communicated. All applicants should be clear on what capabilities the successful candidate will need to possess for the role. 

2. Managing candidate rejection.

When advising an internal applicant that they have been unsuccessful, it is recommended that you have a face-to-face conversation with the applicant rather than providing them with notification of their application status via email.

Have a plan of what it is you would like to say to the employee. Doing so can assist you in not getting caught up in the emotions of the conversation. Make sure that you have allocated sufficient time to talk through the feedback with them.

Unsuccessful candidates may be sad and disappointed with the outcome of the recruitment process and may feel rejected. It is important to reassure them that they are a valued and appreciated employee despite not being the right fit for that particular opportunity.

3. Support your employees.

It is essential that your unsuccessful candidates continue to feel valued and supported so that they do not feel inclined to leave your business.

It is recommended that you work with each candidate to develop a plan or strategy that will help support them to continue to develop and achieve their career ambitions, where practicable. This is a good opportunity to work with the employee to review the strengths that they currently bring to your organisation and to identify any development and capability needs.

This article was originally published by HR Advice Online. For more information about our partnership, click here.

Information in HR Advice Online guides and blog posts is meant purely for educational discussion of human resources issues. It contains only general information about human resources matters and due to factors such as government legislation changes, may not be up-to-date at the time of reading. It is not legal advice and should not be treated as such.

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The secret to a successful career transition: Five key strategies to guide you towards your new job.

Whether you’ve been job searching for months or you have just started, I encourage you to press reset, sharpen your focus and go through the list of key success factors below. Make sure you are reviewing and addressing them every day during your transition. I hope that by being strategic and building a healthy job search routine, you will – like my clients – have a shorter transition that leads to the best possible outcome for you in 2021.

Regardless of the magnitude of your career goals: be it finding a similar job or making a bolder career change, the strategies below will help make your pitch crystal clear to recruiters and hiring managers:

  1. Understand who you are as a professional and what you offer to employers. Find out what your strengths and transferable skills are. Even though different sectors require different expertise, they need common essential skills, such as communication, analytical skills, people skills, etc. Please write down your transferable skills and include them in your job search materials, not as a jumble of words, but as the most relevant competencies applied to you. Whether it be an interview, your resume, or in your profile, ensure you can speak confidently about the skills you listed and that you have robust examples to back them up.
  2. Ask yourself, what industry, sector, and organisations do you want to work for? If you are unsure where to go next and curious about industries and companies you don’t know, investigate. You can read about them, and most importantly, talk to professionals who work there. Draw on your network, or start building one. For example, you can tap into your university’s Alumni, former colleagues, and friends. Think outside the box, talk to people from different areas and sectors. Then make sure you make these decisions before you start your job search. Yes, you can revisit later. In fact, you should be reviewing your job search strategy constantly. But sharpen your focus on the industries, sectors, and companies before going to market. Otherwise, there’s a great chance you will feel overwhelmed and pulled in too many directions.
  3. Once you identify your preferred industry, find out what knowledge, qualifications, experience, and skills are valued by the hiring managers. Your research will provide you with important clues that you should use to draft your cover letters, resumes and LinkedIn profile. It should also guide the way to interact with recruiters and even which recruiters to interact with. A good sector analysis will help you learn the sector’s language so you can better explain in writing and conversations how your strengths and transferable skills can support your new career transition. You will feel more confident about your prospects at this stage.
  4. Find a coach to support your transition or at least a mentor. It is not easy to shift sectors, and having a mentor can help access information to support the transition. And learning how to play the game and win as a job candidate in a sea of highly qualified peers is a steep learning curve. Investing in help at this stage can shave off weeks or months of unemployment, as well as keep you operating at high performance and low-stress levels. It is a competition, and there’s no way around it. The top players usually have top help. Be one of them.
  5. Know your values. What sort of culture and what kind of organization brings out the best in you? For example, do you work better in an organization where there is a lot of autonomy? Or do you work better in an organization where you’re part of a team? Use the interviewing process to learn more about the organisation, the same way they are using it to learn more about you. Values alignment will make a difference in how long you stay in that organization. Don’t just take the first thing that rolls up along the aisle because it could be a disaster. Transitions can be stressful, but you don’t want to regret your move a few months down the track because you took the first offer, and now you’re miserable again. I’m assuming you can have the privilege of making the most out of your transition period. However, if your situation requires you to find a job quickly, then it may have to be first in best dressed. In that case, don’t forget to keep working on your future career steps and don’t take too long to move again.

Keep in mind: success occurs when opportunity meets preparation. Next month, I will be discussing the importance of the first ninety days into a role and how you need to start preparing and planning for it before you start your new job.

If you would like to learn more from me:

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