5 reasons you SHOULD apply for a job or promotion

There are good reasons to decide to apply
It's not that you're not ambitious. Or that you don't want a job.

But for many of us the decision to apply for a new role or promotion can leave us plagued with doubts. 

"I don't have every single thing they have asked for in the advertisement" to "I'm not the front runner - there will be too many other people applying" to (even worse) "if they wanted me to apply they would have asked..." 

Sound familiar? (Not from you, of course...other people...) 

Not applying for a job or roles that you are capable of performing holds you back in your career. And it's not just because you miss out on the role - you're also missing out on the chance to tell and sell who you are and the value you would bring to a role.

Here's 5 reasons why I think it's important to put up your hand and apply for the job you want:

1. You might actually get the job!

Changing jobs often provides a major leap forward for your career. It's the optimum time to increase the breadth of your accountabilities and to negotiate a higher salary.

Even if you are not the most obvious candidate (in your mind anyway) you may be the best fit and get the job. If you don't apply - you will never know!

2. The process to be recruited or promoted is an opportunity to quantify, reflect on and assess your career progress.

It takes preparation, time and effort to put a credible application together. The process of updating your resume, writing a cover letter and preparing for an interview is an ideal opportunity to think about what you have delivered, where you are in your career and where you want to go next. 

You'll need to be prepared for the "Why do you want this role?" question that is sure to be asked at an interview. Preparing that answer will help provide clarity about where you are headed and how the role fits into your overall plan. 

3. The opportunity for exposure 

Not the hypothermia / need to go to hospital type exposure - I mean it's an opportunity to have dedicated time with more senior people in your company (or a different organization) talking about you! 

Whether at a job interview or even through the process of having your resume evaluated - a job application is the ideal opportunity to tell who you are and outline (in quantifiable terms) exactly what you can do, have done and the value of what you have previously delivered. 

You'll be highly visible to people who are in the position to make decisions about your career, either now or in the future.

4. Signal that you are ready to move on or up

You might not get the job you apply for (sad, but sometimes true) but managers often remember the people they have interviewed previously and consider them for future roles. I have seen many instances where someone has applied for a role and their manager has said. "I didn't know they wanted to move / ready for a change" etc. Many times this has actually resulted in the person being offered additional training, a mentor or other development opportunities. If your manager is any good at all - it should at least lead to a discussion about your future plans and aspirations.

5. Increases your credibility

An application for a role that is aligned with your career plan allows you to be a credible applicant. It can reinforce that you have a aspirations and a plan and these can be persuasive indicators that you are a professional. 

If you think you have the credibility to apply for a role...there's lots of reasons why you should...it's up to you to decide to apply!


- Karen 

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Job Applications are an opportunity....

Others won't know you're there or what you have done if you don't tell them!

Even if you're not the front-runner or don't have 200% of the requirements of a job, as long as you are credible - an application can be a great way to let people know who you are, what you've achieved and that you are interested in moving forward in your career.

You can download this tip here!

How I found my business network

Networking can be as simple as a coffee catch up

Do you remember the scene in Shrek (the first movie) when Donkey was making an absolute pest of himself, jumping up and down behind all the fairy-tale creatures, repeatedly, until in the end he wore Shrek down and was picked to go on the quest to find Lord Farquaad?

Hilarious, but not so funny was that this was how I saw business networking for many years.

 I was at a sales conference many years ago, the dinner was over, the speeches were done and we were meant to be ‘networking’

I can still recall looking across the room and seeing a number of my colleagues gathered around the management team, and rather like Donkey, trying to be seen and impress how clever, witty or capable they thought they were.

I didn’t want to do that. I didn’t know how to do that (what on earth do you say, I wondered?) and frankly, I didn’t think that the end of a long day after a couple of red wines was the time for a best-impression. 

So I chatted for a while and made my excuses.

Which I also did on many a Friday night when the sales team I worked in was headed down the pub to ‘network'’ with the support staff and technicians who looked after our customers.

I don’t know about you but by Friday night I’m done.

I had friends to catch up with, grocery shopping to do, dinner to cook or even some stolen moments in front of the TV to fit in. I’d worked long and hard enough by Friday night and I wanted to go home.

“You need to network” I was told when I declined yet another Friday night invitation and headed off to my life – now feeling guilty that somehow I wasn’t fitting in everything I needed to do. I also felt incredibly uncomfortable going to ‘networking’ events where I’d go home with a pile of business cards and no idea what to do with them.

Everyone tells you that it’s important to network. 

And I truly believe it is. 

When you develop deep business relationships, they are an unbelievable and generous source of information, ideas, contacts and even support when things don’t go your way. I thought I was missing out big time.

And then one-day I woke up (it wasn't just one-day, but you get the gist!) and discovered that I had an enormous network. I just hadn’t realised it.

I had worked at the one organisation for many years and worked with and for many great people.

I’d had coffee and lunches with them, worked on exciting and successful projects and on others that were stressful and hard work; laughed with them, helped them and been helped by them. 

Along the way my connections with the ‘people I worked with’ and ‘people I met through work’ had developed into deep mutually beneficial business relationships (and some into friends – but that’s another story) – and hey, presto - I did have a network!

It took moving away from the day-to-day contact for me to realise that’s what they were. The clues about how to keep them in my network were in the past – a coffee here, a lunch there, an occasional email on topics of mutual interest and I was networking. It just took a bit more thought and organisation than when they were sitting in the same office.

The real surprise came when I moved to my next company and realised that it was expected that I would still be keeping up with past colleagues and the last industry I had worked in. Woo Hoo! 

Networking was a legitimate activity I was meant to be doing as part of working in business. I didn’t have to sneak out at lunch time, make excuses or feel guilty!

My network has changed as I, and the ‘people-I-know’ have progressed in our careers, I’ve met new people and my network now extends to people in all sorts of jobs and organisations and many are scattered all over the world.

I do attend a couple of formal networking organisations now because I met some new great people that I share interests with - and it's fun.

It’s my network – why shouldn’t it be?

And not a donkey in sight!

- Karen

5 Fast Tips for when you don't get the recognition you deserve (at work, anyway...)

Get the recognition you deserve
Recognition can be a formal award or reward or it can be as simple as a thank you.

We often don't do what we are doing because we want the recognition. We do it because it's our job, we want to, we get paid for it or a whole host of other reasons.

But sometimes when it's missing - it can be gut-wrenching.

Ever been looked over for a promotion? A salary increase or bonus? Or feel you deserved a "thanks, good job" that you didn't get?

It can make you feel like your contributions aren't valued? That you are taken for granted? Or that you must have accidentally slipped on Harry Potter's invisibility coat?

Repeated occurrences can be a symptom of a bigger issue like a bad manager or a toxic work environment. Or something very minor like bad timing or people having too much on their plate to notice.

It might be that your achievements and contributions weren't visible enough and you need to work on being seen to raise your visibility. Or it might be that there is something else going on that you don't know about.

Whatever the reason a disappointment can be used to assess where you are and what you should do next.

Here are 5 Fast Tips to consider:

1. Evaluate how important the issue is...if it's a one time miss or a repeated behavior this can have a significant bearing on whether you just want to 'let it go' or follow up and find out why and what you can do about it.

2. Consult with your mentor...or a trusted adviser and get their opinion on the situation. This can be a really good guide to whether your reaction is valid and if there is an issue that should be explored further.

3. Ask questions...to really dig into the issue. Talk with your manager and ask whether you were considered for the opportunity or for a little bit of background information on the issue. Sometimes there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes that we don't know about - and if you ask you have a lot higher chance of finding out than if you don't!

This can be an opportunity to uncover if you're considered 'not ready' for whatever the opportunity was and opens the door for a training or coaching conversation. Or even just a chance to share your goals and aspirations;

"If you don't tell people what you want it significantly reduces your chance of them helping you get it!"

Or you might be on the way to deciding you're in the wrong job or working for the wrong manager (for you!)

Whatever the outcome ...whatever you find out...it means that you have an opportunity to do something about it...

4. Use the opportunity...and put a plan into action. It could range from a proactive campaign to increase your visibility, an opportunity to work on your objectives with your manager or the start of the realization that you need to make some changes (Career Plan B, anyone?). Whatever the opportunity you will be further ahead than before you followed up.

5. File away the disappointment...after you have asked for feedback, evaluated what you have learnt and (if necessary) put a plan into place...let it go and move on. Holding onto disappointment or resentment will only make you feel bad (for longer, anyway!)

Learn don't yearn! Any thoughts?

- Karen

Ever had what you said at work misinterpreted?

It happens to us all!

So many words have different meanings and interpretations. Dictionary.com has 97 definitions of the little three letter word "run"...and that's just the verb!!

Increase the chances that what you mean is what is heard by thinking about the words that you choose. Sometimes the simple ones are the best!

You can download this tip here!

What to do when...you start writing a career guide

You write a blog about it?

Sound like good creative avoidance to not get started?

Well, kind of...but not really. 

(That's my story and I am sticking to it!)

Where I want to start is by asking you, the potential readers, to get involved and tell me what kind of everyday career dilemmas you experience?

So I can include them in the book (and on the blog too!).

Because there is a very real chance that if there are situations at work that you are not quite sure what your options are - or even just need a choice of alternatives to consider - there are others in exactly the same kind of predicaments!

The idea is for the book to be a reference guide with a range of different situations that you might encounter at work, or more generally in your career - and provide a range of options and ideas for you to consider. Think of it like a career version of Wikipedia!

The plan for the book so far ranges from what to do when you need to raise your career visibility, to when you work with someone you don't get on with, to when you get an email that makes you angry. And a whole lot of other topics in between.

I'd love it if you could help and let me know the situations at work where you would like some ideas and options to consider...or where this would have been of value in the past.

Please leave your ideas below, on facebook or twitter. Or email me directly (and confidentially) at karen@careerchickchat.com

I look forward to chatting with you!


PS Watch out for future updates and I'll let you know how I am going with the writing!

A thought for the end of the working week...

"Besides the noble art of getting things done, there is a nobler art of leaving things undone. The wisdom of life consists in the elimination of non-essentials."

- Lin Yutang

When exactly is asap?

Ever been asked to do something ASAP?

Or asked someone else?

It's not a word. But we all know what it means.

Don't we?

Of course we do!

As soon as possible.

That's what the dictionary says.

That's certainly what it stands for. But what does it really mean when someone asks you to do something ASAP?

Does it mean "drop everything else you are doing and get this done before you go home"?

Or, "This is the next thing I want you to do"?

Or maybe, "I still need the other thing I asked you done first, but then do this"?

Is it due today, tomorrow or next week? By close of business or 8 am in the morning?

Without specific information it's really difficult to meet the expectations of an asap request.

I've heard managers talking about people at performance review time and saying that someone fails to meet deadlines. "I ask Alice to do things asap and they're always submitted late". My question is, "Does Alice understand what you mean by asap?"

An ASAP request does not set you up for success. It's ambiguous.

If you don't know when it is, how do you meet the deadline?

I heard a great quote recently "ASAP is not a day or a date". Exactly!

But there is a simple way around this.

"When you are given an ASAP request...ask the questions that will help you be successful"

Find out exactly what is meant by ASAP.

Depending on the amount of work involved or the particular scenario you could ask what time or day is it needed by. If you're working on something else (which you no doubt are ☺) confirm which is the priority.

If the new task is going to impact on other work - let you're manager know that this will have a flow on effect by raising the issue. "I'll get on this straight away and have it back to you by Thursday and the <whatever you're working on> will be ready by Friday afternoon" will go a long way to confirming that you have an exact deadline and the impact that this new task will have on your other work.

Alternatively, if you are in the position where you are asking others to complete work and rearrange priorities

"clarify for others exactly when things are due".

Even better ask some questions to understand how long the task will take and the impact that this will have on other work. When you ask questions sometimes you'll find out things can't be done when you need them. At least you'll know though and can explore alternatives.

If both parties have the same understanding of what ASAP actually means there's a much better chance that expectations and business requirements are going to be met and nobody will get disappointed.

There's too much to do without having to guess your deadlines! Whether you're the manager of the worker - ask questions and clarify!

Have you got an ASAP story to share?

Let's chat!