Sandy Neumann on October 7th, 2014

Getting ahead is easier than you think. But it requires courage. The kind of courage it takes to act like an executive or CEO.

Related: 7 Signs Of Job Burnout (5 Ways To Fix It)

Here are a couple simple rules to follow to get ahead without becoming a workaholic:

1. Understand what’s most important.

In order to get the big picture of the company’s goals and directions, you may have to think outside your department. Research your company’s goals and initiatives. Find out what’s important to them, what kinds of things they publish in press releases or the kind of image they promote in advertising. Learn how your role promotes the overall company initiative.

2. Pick one project, and be willing to let others slide.

Select a project of yours that, if completed, would have the most impact. It is better to have one project produce a solid, impactful result than to have many important projects that bring mediocre results, or worse, never reach completion.

Since the goal is not become a workaholic, you will have to decide that everything on your plate is just not going to get done. An executive makes tough decisions daily. By devoting himself to the success of the most important projects, he agrees to failure lesser ones.

3. Move the needle on lesser projects.

List your top projects on a piece of paper. Then, list one or two things you could reasonably accomplish in a day that, if completed, would move each project forward just a little. Just enough to show some progress each day. The secret on the lesser projects is to not neglect them altogether but apply a ‘slow and steady’ chipping away, moving that progress needle just a little bit forward every day.

4. Manage your day better, around that main project.

Get to work one to two hours earlier. Far better than taking work home in the evening when you are exhausted or when you should be spending time with family. Not only will you beat traffic, you’ll create a solid block of uninterrupted time to hash out important deliverables. I’ve used this in my corporate role, and still use it in my real estate business today. When your most important work is done before your phone starts ringing, it’s easy to fit in meetings, appointments, and time in front of people.

If you find yourself too tired to arrive early, make sure you’re going to bed earlier and getting eight hours of sleep. In the morning, fuel your body correctly with lots of water and a healthy breakfast, then go straight to work on your project with email closed. Take your coffee break and check your email AFTER your time block is done, and when everyone else is arriving and creating distractions.

5. Just say no.

You can’t please everyone and you can’t spend all day responding and reacting to other people’s requests in your email inbox. The new you is not a message-taker; you are a leader directing the activities of yourself and others. As long as you take a reactionary approach you’ll never be able to get ahead.

When it’s time to check email, decide who you need to reach out to and whose response you need to look for before you even open your email inbox. Send your message, search for the response you were waiting on, then shut it down! Don’t open your email until the next designated break. If something arises that truly can’t wait one hour, that person will likely call you or visit your desk.

6. Get out of the box.

In order to have the kind of creativity that gets you ahead without becoming workaholic, you’ve got to get outside the office. With only one main project (and a commitment to merely move the needle daily on the lesser projects) this should be easier now.

Use lunches to network or hang out with neglected friends. Plan a fun and engaging activity every single weekend. When you are out of the office, be out of the office. Try new things, take a class, read a book that challenges you, take your kids to the zoo, book a night away with your spouse in the neighboring town.

On Monday morning, you’ll be relieved to know that you haven’t forgotten anything and that your work is still there. You may even find yourself eager to work, and your confidence soaring because of the quality time spent with family and friends.

More importantly, the way you challenged your brain by experiencing new things and allowing yourself to “play” has actually boosted your brain’s ability to think creatively. Don’t be surprised if a light bulb goes off on an old problem you struggled to solve or if a book you’re reading gives you an idea for a new angle on your project.

There is no separation between work and home life. What happens at home affects you at work. Time at work affects relationships at home. Use these principles to do better at work and at home!

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Sandy Neumann

About the author

Sandy Neumann is an entrepreneur and published writer. She is Marketing Director for the real estate firm she and her husband have run since 2009. Sandy’s passion is helping professionals and small businesses leverage ‘Words + Internet Marketing’ to stand out in crowded markets. Her unique story shows people how to get free from the “grind” and become entrepreneurs.


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Laura Smith-Proulx on October 7th, 2014

Creating your resume, but stumped for ideas beyond your job titles, places of employment, tasks, and education? Getting employers to pick up the phone requires a much stronger brand message!

Related: 3 Ways To Quantify Your Experience With Numbers

If you haven’t focused on your ROI – the benefit companies get when hiring you – your search can go on indefinitely. You might believe that recruiters or HR managers will “get” this message from reading about your past jobs or span of authority – but guess what?

With plenty of resumes to review, most hiring authorities won’t take the time to connect the dots in your background. Therefore, if you’ve made a significant difference at past employers, but your resume doesn’t provide this evidence, you’ll lose your shot at winning an interview (while employers hire your competition instead).

3 Ways To Emphasize Your ROI On Your Resume

Consider adding these quantifiable measures of your performance to your resume:

1. Comparisons To Others

Do you wear many hats at your current job? Employees who can perform more than one job simultaneously are often credited with generating increases in the bottom line.

On your resume, you’ll be able to show the savings gained by helping your employer avoid the need to hire or train an additional staff member, as in these examples:

Cut 34% from training budget by assuming new project leadership role for Global Standards initiative.

Eliminated need to hire new team members by performing dual roles in operations and sales, with estimated $80K annual savings.

ROI can also be demonstrated by comparing your work to others on your team, or to a predecessor who held the same role prior to your tenure.

You may be more efficient or better able to understand customer needs – saving your employer additional effort (such as multiple sales calls or additional work on technical problems) – than your counterparts.

If so, put this savings into a dollar figure by calculating the cost of rework for use on your resume.

2. Revenue And Profit Improvement

Will anything get an employer’s attention faster than telling them you’ll bring sizeable profits? Not likely.

However, unless you’re in a sales role (or another revenue-specific job), you might find this exercise difficult. After all, how does a project manager or operations director make money for the company?

The secret to pulling out a revenue or profit figure (when your job isn’t tied directly to money) is to look higher in the company for the impact of your work.

This means taking into account the value of the project to your employer (a new service line that will create revenue opportunities), or the impact of the new equipment you implemented (improving production and fulfilling more orders).

As in this example of a resume statement, your work as part of a larger effort can be conveyed in the impact of the entire project:

Played key role in $23M project slated to improve operational efficiency, with 45% reduction in call center hold times and expected $7M annual savings.

If your job involves technology, consider the monetary value of the improvements gained with a new solution you implemented.

Once you put the emphasis on your work at a company or department level, the revenue or profit equation can make sense. Of course, you’ll need to share the credit for creating more $$$ with your team or colleagues, but it’s an important measure of your benefit to a new employer.

3. Cost Containment

Cost savings are a high-priority area for many companies, especially those in industries directly affected by the economic downturn.

Of course, showing your impact on expenses is easy if you’re the one negotiating new vendor contracts or preparing a budget.

Even if your responsibilities don’t seem related to costs, think about your ability to produce work faster or with less resources – then add the costs associated with this acceleration into your resume.

For example, an office manager who arranges shifts to cover the phone (without hiring an additional employee) is directly saving significant payroll and training costs. An IT Director might be able to point out the projects completed in less time due to a newly acquired software tool, with related opportunity costs allowing the team to take on other projects.

These examples show different ways to state cost savings on your resume:

Saved division nearly $700K with switch to Agile Development methodology and training for 3 team members.

Reduced marketing spend $35K by learning social media techniques instrumental in promoting company services.

Perhaps you’ve monitored expenses within your team, and figured out ways to generate the same amount of revenue with less overhead.

These figures can be estimated, or specified in percentages of savings, to show your impact on costs.

The bottom line? Your employment automatically comes at a cost to your employer.

If you can demonstrate a substantial ROI over the expense of hiring you, companies will be eager to bring you on board – even with a raise in salary – despite a competitive job market.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Laura Smith-Proulx | Multiple Award-Winning Executive Resume Writer

About the author

Laura Smith-Proulx, Executive Director of An Expert Resume, is a resume industry leader, 13-time global TORI resume award winner, LinkedIn expert, author, personal brand strategist, and former recruiter with 20+ years of experience winning choice jobs for executives and rising leaders.


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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Rosa Elizabeth Vargas on July 21st, 2014

Does your personal brand need an update? A careerist said to me, “I need your help. I need to REBRAND my resume.”

Related: Are You Doing Enough To Promote Your Brand?

Okay. So, I was expecting, “I need a resume like yesterday.” Perhaps, “What is resume branding?” But, an outright “rebrand” — well! If I wasn’t already sitting…

Is Your Personal Brand Wrong?

Why A Rebrand?

You see, this careerist had developed a strong brand; earned a reputation as a ‘department savior.’ The problem? Most of the job offers were coming from companies in need of an immediate and truly challenging rescue. (It is a logical result. Don’t you think?) The issue is this careerist no longer wishes to come in and organize mayhem.

Now, it is not this person is not willing to ‘roll up their sleeves’ and work hard. But that their most prominent qualifications, the brand that was exuding from resume shouted, “give me your poorest, most chaotic department, with little or no employees, and non-existing resources—I like that!” The solution? A rebrand.

The Complexity Of Branding

Many careerists in a quest to outdistance other job seekers work on developing a personal brand—and that is great. The mistake is sometimes a careerist will launch a personal branding campaign based on what they have been told repeatedly they are best at. What’s the problem with that? Many of us are often cast into roles that we do not ENJOY just because we are good at them.

Yes, perhaps, when we first begin our careers that is good enough. Nevertheless, as we grow, learn more about ourselves, discover through experience what we truly take pleasure in, we often desire personal fulfillment in conjunction with meeting our financial needs. Consequently, we need to reevaluate, and yes—REBRAND!

The Value Offer (Unique Value Proposition)

First, let’s be clear. In order to win that job, you must solve a problem for employers. (Yes. This is true.) Please know companies are looking for candidates because they need to solve a problem. So, if boarding a sinking ship, steering it, and hoisting it out of turbulent waters is what you enjoy—ahoy! But (pay close attention now), as an example, if you do not desire to save a department from flounder—what then is your value offer?

Perhaps taking the department to the next level? Offering higher returns? Guaranteeing more efficiency? Promising to train even better employees? Yes, you can present a solution to a challenge they have not yet faced. Think about the latter. How often have you purchased a product you originally didn’t know you needed but as it turns out it has made your life easier? Branding. Targeting. Marketing!

You and only you can answer the question of what your value offer is, but be assured you must offer value.

What This Means For You

You must pay close attention to what you are offering via your resume and brand. What you promote most prominently will attract those in need of just that. It is that simple. It is not just about outdistancing and differentiating yourself (although it is a key component of branding) but it is about attracting the right employer by targeting the right market and promoting the right brand.

Developing the right brand is a very complex self-analyzing process. You must be extremely cautious you do not promote an undesirable brand; coming into a department and sustaining things as they are is not a bankable or differentiating brand. Thus, you must evaluate and identify what you offer a corporation that provides them with an added value and concurrently position yourself to leverage the strengths you wish to implement in your daily work life.

What is your resume/brand saying about you? What is the value you are offering? And dare I ask you, what would make you happy?

This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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RedStarResume on May 11th, 2014

Ideally, the best thing you can do is try to find an internship that’s related to your degree or passion. This is the best way to gain real life experience as well as having something terrific to put on your resume. In reality, however, you have left finding an internship to the last moment, and now you find yourself searching for a job that pays well without consuming your entire summer.

Related: 11 Ways To Enjoy Summer When You’re Working A Full-Time Job

No matter what job you’re doing over the summer, never forget to network. Speak to people, ask questions, learn new skills, and most importantly, have fun. And if you think you’re too good for a summer job, think again.

Some of the biggest stars in the world spent their summer mopping floors at a local Dairy Queen (Gwen Stefani) or saved up some extra cash as a paper boy (Tom Cruise). Matthew McConaughey found himself short of cash when travelling around Australia (before he was famous) and took a job on a farm moving chicken manure.

Here are a few great summer jobs to consider:

Top 20 Best Summer Jobs

  • Sales (The skills you learn in a sales job will help you for the rest of your life.)
  • Post office worker (Great pay!)
  • National Park services
  • Camp counselors (Not great pay but accommodation and food is free.)
  • Resort or country club (Get paid to live by the pool.)
  • Tour guide
  • Restaurant staff
  • Web design
  • Tutoring (Be your own boss – great pay!)
  • Telemarketing (Can you sell? Are you a talented speaker? Telemarketers may annoy you but the good ones can make a lot of money.)
  • Campus jobs/Working in the labs (Check out jobs area in your university.)
  • Construction worker
  • Valet
  • Pet and house sitting
  • Writing articles for sites that will pay you
  • Convention worker (Is the boat show in town?)
  • Landscaping
  • Lifeguards
  • Dog walker
  • Barista

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Robin Schlinger on November 2nd, 2013

Your job search might alert you to opportunities far from your hometown. While you are willing to relocate, many companies are hesitant to interview, let alone hire, out-of-state applicants.

If you want to relocate out-of-state or away from your hometown, realize many companies will not pay for relocation in the current economic environment unless they cannot find a local candidate. Here are a few techniques you can use to increase your chances for an out-of-state job:

  • Find a mailbox company (or a friend) with an address perceived as within the commuting distance for the job. Also, get a phone number (use Skype or Google Voice) to get a phone number that is in the area code where the job is.
  • In the cover letter, mention although you are currently working in another city, you have begun the transition to the new location. This is true if you have established an address and phone number in the new city.
  • I do not recommend that your resume list name, email address and phone number only. That bare-bones information can get you eliminated from the application, since the company will assume you are hiding something.
  • In the cover letter or email that accompanies your resume mention that you are open to relocation. Even better, if you already have plans in place to move to the state, let the company know when you will be a resident.
  • The easier you make your relocation for the company involved, the more likely they will be to consider you. You may want to consider paying for your own transportation to the interview.

Of course, the most important consideration is your resume and cover letter highlight the skills, accomplishments and experience that companies in your target state are looking for.

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