Here is your weekly dose of clarity in the confusing world of career and professional growth.
1 RECENT ARTICLE
Recently, one of my clients received his dream job offer.
He’s transitioning from being a designer at a health care UX agency in Boston to senior product designer at Verily, the health care unit of Alphabet. Not to mention, he’s getting a $60K salary bump! (he’ll need it in the Bay)
Positioning impacted everything we worked on together over 5 months — from his design portfolio to his interview answers. One of the biggest challenges during his interviews was framing his agency experiences to make a strong impression on in-house software development teams. We practiced and refined his stories continuously based on interviewer feedback — right up until he got his offer letter.
Check out this article to learn how to apply positioning to your job search.
2 INSIGHTS FROM MY OBSERVATIONS
I. Reflection — One good question to ask yourself every 3 months, “What is one prior assumption you had that changed over the last quarter?”
I asked this to a close friend recently, and his answer hit close to home: that your hidden scripts stay with you forever. (paraphrased)
One of my assumptions was that sharing details of my own career journey would hurt me when engaging with clients. Now I know that my clients choose me as a coach out of many options, because they connect with these stories.
I’ve noticed a similar assumption shows up for my clients too in their interview preparation. They leave a lot of context out from their stories, because the details are too “personal.” But often that’s an issue of framing, not substance. The substance adds valuable context that’s missing from their stories.
II. Compensation — One tool for triangulating the “market rate” salary for your role: Ask others, “Are you making over or under X?”
Depending on your team’s culture, you may be able to ask your colleagues directly about their compensation. But even if your colleagues aren’t willing to share an exact number, you can always ask “over or under?”
Given enough data points, you can close in on a $5-10K range which gives you baseline as a starting point. If you’re a woman or underrepresented minority, 81cents also offers a useful, anonymous service for you to get salary feedback from hiring managers and recruiters, as well as tips for your negotiation. (full disclosure: I’m a reviewer on their platform)
3 RESOURCES WORTH VISITING
The cartoonist behind Dilbert wrote an excellent WSJ article (and book — which I loved) several years ago about the counter-intuitive ideas that he believed helped him propel his career forward.
Some of these ideas: systems over goals, passion is for losers, failure is an asset. I’ve found his take on self-development to be refreshing, because of his unique combo of wit, relatability, and smarts. Plus his stories are just dead-funny.
II. Focused and Diffuse: Two Modes of Thinking (Farnam Street)
Shane Parrish’s most recent piece talks about the benefits of both focused and diffuse modes of thinking. The former driving our execution; the latter driving our creativity. It’s a powerful framework to apply: are you better able to solve the problem at hand using an intense, analytical approach or through a more expansive, idea-generating approach?
I see this framework being useful in job searches as well. The earlier stages of identifying your dream job is a creative exercise, but once you have a destination in mind, the rest of the process starts shifting more into a focused workstream.
III. Here’s Google’s Secret to Hiring the Best People (Wired)
Quote from the article: “Most interviews are a waste of time because 99.4 percent of the time is spent trying to confirm whatever impression the interviewer formed in the first ten seconds.”
Fascinating article from a former Google VP of People that reveals how good ol’ confirmation bias thrives in our interviews. Even though this article was written in 2015, much of the hiring world hasn’t changed very much since then. Friendly reminder that when you step into your interviews, a bunch of cognitive biases are still at play.
With that said, these biases can be influenced… with persuasive storytelling. Working on your storytelling skills is one underrated way of increasing your chances of interview success.
Have a good weekend,
Career Coach and Writer