Memorize these scripts so you can call out microaggressions at work and support your colleagues

coworkers talking, meeting
Racism in the workplace is a lot more common than most would expect.

  • Microaggressions are subtle or unintended remarks that are racist or otherwise offensive. 
  • Researchers are examining the health impacts of microaggressions, as well as coping strategies
  • But it’s equally as important for allies to speak up and stop microaggressions, experts said.

Microaggressions are indirect or unintentional acts or remarks that are racist, sexist, ageist, ableist, or otherwise offensive. While they are often subtle in nature, they are a widespread problem with significant consequences on a person’s mental and physical health

Experiencing repeated discrimination, including microaggressions, increases rates of anxiety, depression, and heart disease, per a meta-analysis of multiple studies.

Researchers are currently exploring how people of color deal with microaggressions. A study by Michigan State University and Mills College published in the scientific journal Wiley earlier this month examined mental strategies Latin students use to deal with microaggressions. The researchers offered some advice and called for more research to help people of color better cope with racism. But while researchers develop coping strategies, it’s important for allies to stop microaggressions while they’re happening, diversity consultants told Insider. 

In the aftermath of 2020’s racial reckoning, allies need to step up and support their Black colleagues and colleagues of color, Beverly Tatum, a nationally recognized scholar and author of multiple books on race in America, previously told Insider. 

“A white person should think to themselves, ‘What can I do to make a difference?'” Tatum said. 

Business Insider asked experts what to do if you’re an ally, white or otherwise, and witness a microaggression against one of your colleagues. Here’s a few ways to respond, including sample scripts of what to say. 

Editor’s note: This article was originally published in June 2020. 

Speak up and address it in a calm, direct manner. 

It’s important for allies to stand up for their Black and brown colleagues at work, said Sheena Howard, associate professor of communication for the online Masters of Business Communication program at Rider University. 

If, for example, a white colleague asks to touch a Black colleague’s hair, or worse, does so without their consent, an ally should speak up and call it out. 

“A white colleague in this situation, let’s call her Jane, can explicitly stand up against this form of racism. Jane can approach it face-to-face in public, face-to-face in private, or via email with the person that is acting inappropriately,” Howard told Business Insider. 

Howard said you could say: “It’s really not appropriate to ask to touch anyone’s hair – that’s a microaggression and we don’t do that here.” 

Minda Harts, author of “The Memo: What Women of Color Need to Know to Secure a Seat at the Table,” provided additional insight. 

“Make them aware of how inappropriate touching someone else’s hair is without their consent. You can also add, ‘I realize it probably wasn’t your intention, but put yourself in their shoes,'” Harts said. 

Or perhaps a colleague accidentally uses a word with racist origins such as the word “uppity,” which some use today to me “arrogant,” but historically was used to describe Black people that “didn’t know their socioeconomic place.”

Bradley Brummel, associate professor of psychology at the University of Tulsa who specializes in harassment, said you could say something along the lines of: “I just read an article that the term you used has a problematic origin. I think we should use other terms or language for that idea.”

“If done kindly and without direct confrontation, the point can be made without escalating the situation or assuming aggressive intent,” he said. 

Ask a pointed question that draws attention to the problematic behavior. 

Putting the onus on a person to explain their racist remark or action is another way to draw attention to the problematic behavior.

For example, say you and a group of colleagues are in a meeting reviewing résumés of people you just interviewed and someone makes fun of not being able to pronounce a Black candidate’s name. 

An ally should intervene, and could do so by posing a question, Harts said. 

Here’s what she suggests saying: “What did you mean by that comment? What’s wrong with their name?” 

Speaking up in these situations matters, because it shows your Black colleagues you are an ally, and teaches everyone else what is and what isn’t allowed. 

“The more someone realizes their biases or racism will no longer be tolerated, the more we are actively reinforcing a no-tolerance zone for racism,” Harts said. 

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CEOs of companies like Best Buy, Lyft, and Adobe are hiring more execs from marginalized backgrounds thanks in part to this woman

100 People Transforming Business
Cathrin Stickney
Cathrin Stickney, Founder and CEO, Parity.org

  • Parity.org CEO Cathrin Stickney is helping to change the face of America’s corporate leadership.
  • She created public pledges on race and gender for leaders to advance diversity in leadership.
  • Over 600 CEOs of companies have signed on and are working with her.
  • Visit Insider’s Transforming Business homepage for more stories.

“We don’t hire women.”

With those four words, Cathrin Stickney’s career plans to work at a top architecture firm were smashed into a thousand pieces.

It was the late 1970s, and gender discrimination was categorically illegal in the US. Yet the male executive sitting across from her looked at her without hesitation and repeated his prejudiced reasoning.

After that, Stickney pivoted to a successful career in healthcare, but the damning feeling from the words the executive told her never subsided. In 2017, after attending the Women’s March in Washington, DC, she cofounded Parity.org, the nonprofit behind the Parity Pledge.

The idea is simple: Get CEOs of major companies to sign a pledge to interview at least one woman for every executive position. To date, over 500 companies including Ralph Lauren, Lyft, Best Buy, Adobe, Oracle, and Cisco have signed on.

While Stickney said she always envisioned women of color being part of the pledge, the country’s racial reckoning of 2020 inspired her to do more. Days after George Floyd’s murder, Stickney published an additional pledge for CEOs, one in which they interview at least one person of color for every position at the vice-presidential level and above. At least 145 companies have signed on, including AmerisourceBergen, Momentive, Overstock, and Ancestry.

Discrimination in corporate America isn’t as obvious as it was for Stickney in the ’70s, but it persists. The most recent data showed that women represented just 8% of Fortune 500 leaders; you can count the number of Black Fortune 500 CEOs on one hand. Stickney is committed to changing that through her Parity Pledges on race and gender. Signing the pledges is low stakes. There are no deadlines or quotas, and that’s been key to Stickney’s success, she said.

“The magic is in the public commitment. Our success is fueled by a top-down approach. There must be buy-in from the CEO, a member of the C-Suite, or the board to spearhead change,” Stickney told Insider. “We can already see progress in real time.” 

Changing the face of America’s C-suites 

The results of Parity.org’s work have been significant. Eighty percent of companies that signed the pledge reported adding and retaining at least one woman to their executive team, and 46% of companies added at least one woman to each of their board of directors.

And 65% of companies who signed the Parity Pledge to interview more people of color updated their recruiting practices to be more inclusive. Some established connections with historically Black colleges and universities, and others used more inclusive language in job descriptions. And 71% said they had been more intentional about interviewing people of color for open roles.

Josh James, the CEO of cloud-software company Domo, is a cofounder of Parity.org and a signatory of Parity.org’s gender pledge in 2017 and its race pledge in 2020. Since 2017, Domo went from having no women or people of color on its board to having 57% of its board hailing from underrepresented backgrounds.

Mark Irvin, Best Buy’s chief inclusion, diversity, and talent officer, said signing both pledges had helped the company hold itself accountable to diversity goals. (Best Buy has a female CEO, and 50% of the company’s board members are women.)

“Through pledges like this, we believe we can build a strong and vibrant company that takes action to make a positive impact for our communities,” he told Insider.

Signing the Parity.org gender and race pledges does not hold CEOs accountable to a specific goal or target date. Stickney said this made CEOs much more willing to participate because they could set their own goals and rate of progress. 

“Imposing a one-size-fits-all deadline or quota would just lead to failure on the part of many companies,” Stickney said. “When the goal is easy to achieve and the timetable is their own, companies tend to not just make a public commitment — they hold themselves accountable, embrace it, and go even further, faster.”

The future of Stickney’s mission 

Beyond getting CEOs to sign Parity.org’s pledges, Stickney and her teamwork with companies to conduct research into their retention and hiring practices of underrepresented workers. Now, the nonprofit is expanding to conduct pay-equity analyses based on race, gender, and age. 

“We get executives to see where they benchmark against their industry peers. And if you can see where you are, it makes you want to climb higher,” she said.

None of this information is made publicly available, but executives at participating companies can see how they stack up against their peers. Stickney said Parity.org would be publishing aggregated data in the future.

“CEOs are working with us because there is a desire to be more successful, create an inclusive culture of respect for each other, and ensure the workplace is a setting where opportunity for all abounds,” she said. “I’m feeling hopeful for the future of corporate America.”

Read the original article on Business Insider

What the union drives at Starbucks and Amazon mean for labor rights across the US

Starbucks workers unionizing in Buffalo
Union drives at Starbucks and Amazon have put a spotlight on labor movements across the country.

  • The labor victories at Amazon and Starbucks are bringing national attention to unions across the US.
  • John Logan, professor at San Francisco State University, says unions have returned to the mainstream.
  • He says these movements could help increase public and political support for stronger labor laws. 

Union drives have suddenly become hot news.

In a closely watched Nov. 29, 2021, decision, the National Labor Relations Board ruled that Amazon had committed serious violations of federal labor law during a union campaign at a warehouse in Bessemer, Alabama. In the decision, the NLRB attacked Amazon’s “flagrant disregard” for election rules, saying it “essentially hijacked the process.” The online retail giant won the union vote, held earlier this year, by a 2-1 margin but will now be forced into a do-over election.

Meanwhile in Buffalo, New York, baristas at Starbucks voted to unionize on Dec. 9, making them the coffee chain’s only unionized workforce in the United States in what has been touted as a “watershed” moment.

As a labor scholar who has tracked unionization efforts for 20 years, I believe we could be on the cusp of a new labor relations order, spurred in large part by increased media and public interest generated by these high-profile campaigns.

The organizing drive at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama by the Retail, Wholesale Department Store Union from January to March 2021 was one of the most closely watched union campaigns in decades. It generated media coverage of Amazon’s anti-union behavior and even arguably helped revive the so-called “labor beat” in newsrooms after years of languishing.

The NLRB decision provided negative headlines for Amazon. “Amazon made ‘free and fair’ Bessemer union election ‘impossible,’ labor official rules,” ran the headline of the Alabama news site Al.com. The Jeff Bezos-owned Washington Post ran with: “Labor board calls for revote at Amazon warehouse in Alabama in major victory for union.”

Even if it were to win the second ballot without violating the law, Amazon is highly sensitive about negative media, and company officials will likely loathe any coverage of another high-profile union election.

Labor rights go mainstream

The NLRB order itself was arguably less interesting — despite its huge potential significance at Amazon — than the fact that it resulted in lengthy articles in several major media outlets.

Over the past year or so, organized labor has seemingly entered the mainstream again. It follows decades of apparent dwindling interest in union drives in the public sphere. A Google Ngram — which charts the use of terms in publications — shows a decline in the appearance of “unionization” and “union drive” from the late 1970s to the late 2010s.

Labor organizing terms have dwindled in publications.

This decline correlates with the growing weakness of unions over that period: Unions represent only 10.8% of American workers today, down from 20% four decades ago.

Into this decline has come a recent wave of positive press for unions. It corresponds to almost record-high rates of public approval in unions. In fact, at 68%, support for unions is at its highest level since 1965. In addition, most Americans think union decline has hurt working people.

Labor law reform

The issue of labor rights has seemingly garnered the nation’s attention like nothing I have seen in my lifetime or even in the past half-century. And growing awareness of the issue could have an impact on efforts to improve the legislative environment for unionizing.

A recent poll found that 59% of respondents supported strengthening labor laws through proposals such as penalizing companies that retaliate against workers trying to unionize and eliminating “right-to-work” laws that allow employees to benefit from union contracts without paying dues.

In the past, lack of public awareness has helped torpedo labor law reform campaigns. In 2009-2010, during the campaign for the Employee Free Choice Act, it was rare to encounter anyone without a professional labor interest who had ever heard of the legislation, which attracted only lackluster support from the Obama White House and died in the Senate.

At present, the Biden-supported legislation aimed at strengthening the right to choose a union, the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, is firmly on the back burner despite support from a majority of voters.

In the face of opposition from Republicans and three Democrats, the legislation is seen as a long shot in the Senate, which historically has been the graveyard for labor reforms. The PRO Act might similarly die there, although pro-union advocates hope that meaningful financial penalties for employer violations will at least make it into the $2 trillion Build Back Better bill.

For the PRO Act to become a live proposition, it would likely need to convert its popular support into pressure on members of Congress.

This is the only way, in my view, to achieve meaningful change and make unionizing easier.

Headlines that focus on the coercive power that big corporations like Amazon exert over workers participating in elections could go some way to bolster support for union drives.

Labor is hot

Unions are set to continue to be a talking point in the national media with the Starbucks vote.

The coffee chain had been engaged in what was been described as “aggressive” anti-union tactics ahead of the vote, including forcing employees to attend mandatory anti-union meetings. Although it involves only a few dozen workers, the Workers United-SEIU union victory at Starbucks in Buffalo is seen as one of the most important labor organizing victories in several decades.

Corporate America has employed brutal anti-union campaigns for decades. What has changed, from my perspective, is that such activities are now seen as newsworthy — at least when the companies involved are household names.

This coverage provides a stark contrast with past media coverage, which often depicted unionized workers as “overpaid, greedy, and undeserving of their wealth.”

In the words of a New York Times article on Nov. 7, 2021, the “media loves labor now.”

Talking union

In addition to Amazon and Starbucks, in recent months an expanding number and variety of employees have been talking about forming unions at their own workplaces. In the past few months alone we have seen media, tech, and museum workers form unions and either stage or threaten strikes.

Coverage of the union campaign at Amazon is one reason talk of unionizing is seemingly spreading. But there are other factors, including the COVID-19 pandemic, which has spurred numerous labor fights — big and small — and safety struggles by Amazon warehouse workers and Amazon-owned Whole Foods workers. Meanwhile, the advent of social media has made it easier to create buzz around pro-union campaigns, such as the recent “#Striketober” hashtag campaign.

Organizing, it appears, can be contagious — under the right conditions.

Seizing the moment?

It’s not yet clear that unions and their allies can capitalize on this apparent newfound public attention and convert it into increased membership levels or changes in legislation.

But I believe we are at a unique moment in US labor history. The question is, will unions take advantage of the increased media attention — and the negative headlines for high-profile companies attempting to quash workers’ rights — and spur a new era of labor activism?

The Conversation

John Logan, professor and director of labor and employment studies, San Francisco State University

The Conversation
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8 negotiation skills you need to get a raise or ask for a promotion

Coworkers, a Latina female and white male, in discussion while in a meeting.
Having strong negotiation skills is crucial for getting what you want out of your job.

  • Negotiation is intimidating, but it’s an essential skill for all stages of your career.
  • To do it well, actively listen, problem-solve, show vulnerability, and practice self-advocacy.
  • Persuasion, emotional intelligence, and communication are also key negotiation skills to hone.

Let’s say you’re conducting a job search and aiming for an annual salary of $100,000, but a company you’ve interviewed with offers you $87,000. You could grudgingly accept it, walk away, or try to negotiate.

You decide to negotiate and tell the hiring manager you’re looking for $100,000 to start, but the hiring manager clearly states that’s out of reach based on their pay range. Again, you could grudgingly accept it, walk away, or continue to negotiate.

You decide to continue to negotiate but instead of repeating your original request, you change your tactic and ask the hiring manager if they could go up to $95,000 plus give you an extra week of vacation. This time the hiring manager comes back with a yes. While the salary isn’t exactly what you’d hoped for, you’ve still successfully put more money in your pocket — just in a different way.

Strong negotiation skills are critical to your success — not just during a job search but also on the job. And there are actually several different skills you need to draw on to negotiate successfully. With practice you can strengthen them — and make them work for you.

What is negotiation and why is it important in your career?

People are often intimidated by negotiation and wrongly believe that negotiating is akin to being confrontational. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Rather than going into a negotiation determined to win, it’s important to focus on finding a resolution that benefits both sides. That’s truly what negotiation is.

“When you go into a negotiation saying, ‘This is my hard line,’ then you aren’t negotiating, you’re just demanding,” said business and career coach Jackie Ghedine, cofounder of The Modern GenX Woman, who’s coached hundreds of women and some men on how to increase their success and wealth.

Persuasive negotiation skills can help you accomplish your goals and get your work done in an environment where people inevitably have different ideas, opinions, and priorities. These skills can help you build better relationships with your boss and coworkers, avoid conflicts, and lead you and your teams to better solutions.

And they come in handy not only when you’re discussing compensation for a new job, but also in a variety of other situations: when you’re asking your boss if you can work from home several days a week, when you’re building your case for a new title or promotion, if you’re asking your manager or leadership team for the budget and green light to hire an additional employee to work on your team, or if you’re working on a project across teams or departments and navigating various interests and priorities.

In any of these scenarios, rather than focusing on whether you’ll “win” the negotiation, you should focus on building a case that makes it easier for someone to say yes because the outcome also benefits them and others, not just you, Ghedine says. So let’s say you want to continue to work from home sometimes. You could explain to your boss that while the team will need to adjust to you being away from the office three days a week, that arrangement would give the team the flexibility it needs to deal with clients in other time zones because you could start work earlier in the morning than if you had to commute into the office.

Keep in mind that a negotiation is a conversation, not a monologue, says executive coach Anne Shoemaker, who’s worked with hundreds of women on how to negotiate career changes and higher salaries. It also doesn’t have to be resolved in one conversation. “It might be an issue you want resolution on but your boss or colleague needs time to think about it,” she said. That means you might have to leave it be and then come back to the conversation a few weeks later.

For some roles, such as sales or account management, negotiation is particularly fundamental to the job function. Think about how an ad salesperson might propose an advertising schedule and budget, talk through how that particular plan would help the client achieve their organization’s specific advertising goals, give the client some time to think the plan over, and discuss ways to tweak it before finalizing the deal.

However, no matter your role, developing strong negotiation skills will benefit you as well as your manager, colleagues, and organization in the long term by helping you to find better solutions and take action to achieve individual and collective goals.

Read more: Don’t let these negotiation myths hold you back — here’s how to shake them

8 skills you need to negotiate successfully

Here are eight skills to use the next time you and your boss, colleague, or client are trying to come to a mutual resolution on an issue.

1. Active listening

When you’re negotiating, be mindful that you’re actually paying attention. Often when we’re nervous or focused on our own agenda, we may not fully hear what the other person is saying, Ghedine says. To really listen, you might take a moment to pause after the other person speaks, for example, and essentially repeat back what you just heard, asking if you’ve captured it accurately. “This will allow your brain to catch up with what is being said, and give you time to process,” Ghedine said.

Read more: How active listening can boost your career (and how to do it right)

2. Problem-solving

To get to a solution that pleases everyone, you have to be able to see the issue from many different perspectives, not just your own, and brainstorm and evaluate potential paths forward even if they’re not clear-cut. “If you can figure out where your interests align, you can find a solution that will benefit everyone,” Shoemaker said.

For instance, if your boss says they can’t give you a 5% raise this year because everyone’s raises are capped at 3%, think about another creative way to achieve your goal that would benefit your manager. Perhaps you can ask them to create a year-end bonus that’s linked to you reaching specific goals or metrics that are important to the success of your department. Or maybe this is a good opportunity to begin a conversation about a promotion or title change to reflect the additional responsibilities you’ve taken on (the same ones you used to support your case for a larger raise), which could bump up your pay even higher even if it takes longer.

Read more: How to improve your problem-solving skills (and show them off in your job hunt)

3. Ability to read body language

While you’re negotiating, it’s essential that you pay attention to changes in other people’s body language because it will give you valuable clues about what they’re thinking or feeling. If they start to frown, wrinkle their brow, or cross their arms, that could be a sign that they disagree.

Be careful to keep your own body language and facial expressions neutral as well, leaving your hands at your sides, maintaining eye contact, and smiling. If you’re meeting in person, try to sit on the same side of the conference table to show you’re aligned, and if you’re meeting virtually make sure you both have your cameras turned on to allow you to read each others’ body language as much as possible, Shoemaker says.

4. Persuasion

To receive a raise or promotion or achieve any other aim you might have in a negotiation, you’ll need to identify a compelling reason and convey it in a way that resonates with your audience. Paint a picture and show them why they should say yes to your proposal — and be sure to equip yourself with evidence.

For instance, if you’re negotiating for promotion based on your creative storytelling skills, you need to persuade your manager that your skills are essential to your department’s success. For instance, saying, “My skills as a digital storyteller have helped this company grow its customer base by 20%. Remember the incredible engagement we got when the ‘Raise Your Paw’ pet food campaign went viral? That project alone blew past our projections for customer shares by 53% and caused a 15% spike in sales for the month,” is much more persuasive than saying, “I’m a talented storyteller.”

5. Emotional intelligence

Negotiation requires self-awareness, empathy, and the ability to manage your own emotions and recognize the emotions of others. Say your manager is fidgeting more than usual in your meeting and seems a bit flustered or distracted. That’s a signal that this may not be the best moment to bring up a non-urgent request you’ve been planning to make and you’d be better off waiting a few days.

Emotional intelligence also means not crying or yelling when you don’t get what you want, Shoemaker says. A good negotiator can stay positive and constructive even when they’re unhappy with the outcome.

6. Ability to communicate succinctly

Most people share too much information during negotiations, especially if they get nervous or haven’t thought through the case they want to make, Ghedine says. When someone asks you a question, stay focused on answering it rather than providing extra commentary, she says.

For instance, if you’re making the case to your manager that you should be able to work a four-day week, stick to the facts. Explain that you’ll work 10 hours a day, four days a week, and you’ll make sure that any deadlines from that week will be met before you clock out on Thursday. Refrain from discussing why you need Friday off or how it will benefit your family. It’s also a good idea to emphasize the point you want your boss to remember—that you’ll hit all your deadlines on or ahead of schedule. Ghedine recommends ending your pitch with your most important point and taking a short pause before and after the statement.

Read more: Your communication skills matter for every job — here’s how to use, improve, and show off yours

7. Vulnerability

Don’t forget to show your human side and ask for help when you’re struggling or for more information when you don’t know the answer. It helps you stay calm and fosters empathy in others, says career coach Jennifer Tardy, who’s helped hundreds of job seekers negotiate higher salaries.

For instance, if your boss drops a new project on your desk when you’re already struggling to finish your work, it’s best to be honest that you can’t complete everything on your to-do list. You could negotiate the added workload by saying, “I’m a bit overwhelmed right now. I’m already working on five high-priority projects. If you want me to pick up this new priority, I need to let something else go.”

8. Self-advocacy

Throughout your career you’ll need to advocate for things that are important to you, whether it’s a particular approach to a cross-departmental project or time off to be a caregiver. Self-advocacy might also mean standing up to a colleague who treats you unfairly or a boss who never seems to put you up for the projects you think will advance your career. It’s about having the self-awareness to understand what you need and want and building up the confidence to articulate it to other people — in other words, exactly what you need to do in many negotiations.

How can you improve your negotiation skills?

You may be thinking that this all sounds great in theory, but you’re simply not a natural negotiator. The good news is research shows that training and experience improve performance significantly — and that even just believing negotiation skills can be learned goes far to boost performance.

“The only way to perfect these skills is by practicing, much like building muscle through repetitive exercise,” Tardy said. The more you practice, the better they’ll get and the more confident you’ll feel using them.

Here are six ways to build your negotiation muscle:

  • Role-play with friends: Find a cohort of trusted friends and practice different scenarios — like asking your boss for a raise or building a case to hire another staff member. Have your friend ask you challenging questions such as, “How will the company pay for the new staff member’s salary?” Rehearse explaining how the new staff member will help the team find new customers and bring in new revenue that will offset their salary costs. “If you can’t say these things to a friend, you definitely won’t be able to say them to your manager,” Ghedine said.
  • Look for ways to practice in your daily life. There are plenty of opportunities to practice negotiation skills in everyday life, not just at work, Shoemaker says. For instance, if you’re traveling and your hotel room ends up being next to the ice maker, you can either call the front desk and yell at them or you can use your negotiation skills and ask what other rooms are available for the same price. “The objective is to get what you want (a quiet room) while allowing the other party to get what they need (a fee for the room),” she said.
  • Practice self-advocacy with your friends or family: Being your own advocate can be hard, so Tardy suggests trying it out with your spouse or a friend before you bring it to the workplace. For instance, let’s say your friend wants to have sushi for dinner and then see a movie but you really want to eat pizza and you’re too tired for a movie. Rather than just going along to get along, Tardy suggests you speak up and explain that you had sushi last night and you have hankering for pizza, and it’s been a long week so you just want to go home after dinner. “The more you [self-advocate] in places where it feels safe, you will build that muscle to bring it to places where it feels riskier,” Tardy said.
  • Get a coach or mentorIf you’ve noticed that a colleague or manager you work with (or used to work with) is an excellent negotiator, you could ask them to help you build your skills by walking you through how they approach negotiations, giving you tips, or even letting you sit in on a meeting, if it’s appropriate. You could also look for a coach who specializes in negotiation skills, which might be particularly helpful if you’re currently searching for a new job and hoping to make a salary jump or if you’re negotiating a raise or promotion at work. (Don’t know where to start? You can find dozens of career coaches on The Muse!)
  • Write down your key negotiating points: It’s not uncommon to get nervous while negotiating, so Ghedine suggests bringing a list of your key points to reference if you get flustered. “Outline the most important points you want to articulate and have them written out succinctly,” she said.
  • Be aware of when you miss an opportunity to use one of these skills: Notice when you miss an opportunity to be vulnerable or to be your own advocate, and think about how this skill might have benefited you, Tardy says. Also pay attention to when your colleagues or friends have overlooked a chance to do the same. Think through what you or your colleague could have done instead and how that might have led to a different outcome.

Negotiating for what you want isn’t as tricky as it sounds. With practice, you can develop robust negotiating skills that will ultimately benefit you and the folks you’re working with.

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The best 5 countries to live in if you’re a freelancer

Singapore at night.
Singapore ranked as the best place to freelance in 2021, with a score of 7.35/10.

  • Tide carried out a survey of 30 countries to find the best country to be a freelancer.
  • Singapore ranked first, with the report noting the strong and fairly inexpensive internet there.
  • The US ranked outside the top 10.

Becoming a freelancer gives you the freedom to choose when and where you work. However, you might not always be able to find steady work. 

Depending on what you do and what country you’re in, this can feel like an extended vacation or it can be a time filled with anxiety and uncertainty.

Financial solutions company, Tide, carried out a survey of 30 countries to find the best place to be a freelancer. 

The survey used eight measurements to analyze how well-suited a country is to the needs of a freelancer.

Speed and cost of internet, number of coworking spaces, legal rights, gender equality, cost of living, number of searches for freelance work, and happiness were the measurements used.

The World Bank provided them information on legal rights, and they used the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2020 to assess gender equality. 

They used Numbeo for data on the cost of living and countryeconomy.com to assess happiness.

They used the Speedtest Global Index to find internet speed and data from Cable.co.uk to find internet costs. 

Coworker was their source for the number of coworking spaces available and they used Google Keyword Planner to find searches for freelance work.

They then used this and data from the World Population Review to work out the number of searches for freelance work and the number of coworking spaces per 100,000 people in each country.

They gave the data collected from each measurement an equal weighting and then combined them into a single score out of 10.

The US ranked 12th out of the 30 countries with a score of 6.12.

It seems that one of the main problems in the US is lack of demand for freelance work. The survey showed there were only 365 Google searches for freelancer work per 100,000 people.

These are the top five countries to freelance in, according to Tide.

1. Singapore

Singapore ranked as the best place to freelance in 2021, with a score of 7.35. 

This was largely due to quick, affordable internet and a large number of available coworking spaces.

2. New Zealand

New Zealand came second, scoring 7.20.

Internet costs are high in the country but strong ratings in legal rights, happiness, and gender equality saw it rank highly.

3. Spain

Spain was in third place with a score of 6.53.

Its main strengths were cost of living and gender equality.

4. Australia

Although Australia has the slowest broadband of the top 10 countries, it makes up for it in the Gender Gap Index and Happiness Index.

This ensured it placed fourth with a score of 6.49.

5. Denmark

Denmark has the second-highest cost of living of the top 10 but its happiness rating was top of all the countries in the survey at 7.65.

It also scored well in broadband speed and gender equality.

Read the original article on Business Insider

How to turn the 2 fears that most often lead to failure into strengths, according to a successful entrepreneur

Man holding a mug and looking fed up.
There are ways to turn your fears into motivation.

  • Fear is natural. It often just means you’re stepping out of your comfort zone.
  • If you let it to get the better of you, though, it can stop you getting ahead — in and out of work.
  • The founder of a professional development program, Raul Villacis, gave his tips to beat two fears.

Fear is a natural way of telling you that you’re leaving your comfort zone and you should pay more attention to what you’re doing.

It can become a major problem, however, if it starts to dominate your mind — it can lead you to make bad decisions, both in daily life and at work.

You may find that you’re too afraid to ask for a raise or that you’re too scared to start the business you’ve always dreamed of starting.

In situations like this, fear causes you to fail. Fortunately, there are ways to turn your fears into motivation.

Raul Villacis, entrepreneur, investor, and motivational speaker, explained in a video for Entrepreneur the two most dangerous types of fear in the workplace and how to use them as motivation.

Fear of not being good enough

The first fear is the fear of not being good enough. Villacis explained that this fear stems from our ancestors, who had to hunt for their survival.

“The fear that if they were not good hunters, they would die,” he said.

That same fear still exists today, even though we no longer have to go out and hunt for our food. 

Overcoming this fear is all about understanding that you’re working towards a better future.

“Yes you’re going to mess up, yes you’re not going to be perfect, but at the same time find the edge, meaning can you create progress every day?” Villacis said.

“Your job is not to be the best today. Your job is to create progress,” he added.

Fear of not being liked

The second fear that can harm your career is the fear of not being liked. 

The good news is that this fear can motivate you to be a good person or a good worker. 

However, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of constantly seeking appreciation, and this will always leave you feeling that you’re not good enough.

According to Villacis, the trick here is to understand that the most important thing is that you like yourself.

“The most important person that you have to be one with, that you have to love, is yourself,” he said.

The key is to truly realize and accept one thing.

“I am not perfect. But I am a work in progress,” he said.

Read the original article on Business Insider

What the next generation of CEOs need to know today

Welcome back to Insider Weekly! I’m Matt Turner, editor-in-chief of business at Insider.

What does it take to be a good CEO?

For a time, the answer was relatively straightforward. The Milton Friedman school of thought prioritized profit above all. 

But as the years have rolled by, expectations have changed. Theories about how to deliver shareholder value over the long term have evolved. CEOs have woken up to having more stakeholders than just their shareholders, including society, employees, and customers.

Out is cost cutting and offshoring as a default, in is environmental, social and governance metrics, centering a company around common values, and connecting with an increasingly diverse customer base and workforce.

Insider talked to CEOs from Best Buy, Intuit, 1-800-Flowers, Planned Parenthood, and other companies about how the job has changed and what the next generation of leaders will need to prioritize. Read on for a Q&A with the leadership editor Brandon T. Harden for more. 


Also in this week’s newsletter:

Let me know what you think of all our stories at mturner@insider.com


Subscribe to Insider for access to all our investigations and features. New to the newsletter? Sign up here.  Download our app for news on the go — click here for iOS and here for Android.


The CEOs of the future

Collage of CEOs Barbara Humpton, Sasan Goodarzi, and Lindsay McCormick 2x1
From left, Barbara Humpton, Lindsay McCormick, and Sasan Goodarzi.

Brandon T. Harden, Insider’s leadership editor, takes us behind the scenes of our package on the future of corporate leadership.

What led the leadership team to start this project?

We wanted to produce a project that spoke to the next generation of CEOs by outlining skills they’re going to need to master, the next phase of corporate diversity, and some of the key individuals who are shaping corporate opinions. 

What has your team been hearing from CEOs this past year?

We heard CEOs be honest about being held accountable for more than profits. This project builds on that sentiment. We wanted to understand the shift in chief-executive responsibilities.

From our reporting, we’ve found that the three biggest issues for CEOs are the growing climate crisis, diversity and inclusion, and the future of the workplace. Many CEOs we talked to understand the cultural significance of 2020 and 2021, and many are trying to balance keeping their companies afloat while responding to social demands. They want to do the right thing.

What should readers take away from this?

CEOs are human, too; they have personal trials and triumphs like the rest of us. Even CEOs don’t know what to do in certain situations, and often they’re learning in real time. We should hold them accountable for their decisions and keep the pressure on them to move the business world forward. But we should also offer them some grace. I hope that readers get that sense when they’re reading through this project.

Check out the full package here: The future of corporate leadership: How CEOs will navigate the next decade


Inside Better’s week from hell

Vishal Garg Better

Better.com, once heralded as America’s favorite startup, went viral last week after CEO Vishal Garg laid off 900 employees over a three-minute Zoom call. Since then, top execs have resigned, the company doubled severance pay, and Garg apologized and then announced a leave of absence. Former employees gave us an inside look at where it all went wrong.

Here’s what former employees told us. 


Amazon Web Services’ outage could delay packages ahead of the holidays

clerk at amazon prime warehouse
A worker at an Amazon warehouse.

A massive Amazon Web Services outage on Tuesday disrupted the company’s operations — and affected popular sites like Netflix, Tinder, and Zoom with it. Employees told us the outage will likely lead to delivery delays for Amazon packages, just as the holiday season comes to a head. 

More on  the “chaos until Christmas” at Amazon.


Discrimination claims are holding Pimco back from a culture revamp

PIMCO office building in Newport Beach, California with palm trees in front of it on a blue background

The $2.2 trillion bond giant Pimco has endured a laundry list of lawsuits and negative headlines, including claims that the company mistreated women and people of color who work there. 

Insider conducted more than 30 interviews trying to pin down why Pimco is so often in the news for the wrong reasons. 

Read into Pimco’s inner turmoil.


More of this week’s top reads:


Compiled with help from Phil Rosen and Jordan Erb.

Read the original article on Business Insider

After launching a successful VC fund, I joined an exclusive networking club that helps multimillionaires build a meaningful legacy

Sanket Parekh
Sanket Parekh.

  • Sanket Parekh is the founder and managing partner of venture capital fund, Secocha Capital. 
  • He’s also a member of R360, an invite-only club for those with a net worth of at least $100 million.
  • He told Insider what it’s like to be part of the exclusive club that puts family first. 

This as-told-to article is based on a conversation with Sanket Parekh, the founder of a Miami-based venture capital fund who joined R360, a networking club for people with a net worth of at least $100 million. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I have two professional roles. One is with a family enterprise and the second is a business I started to create a legacy of my own. 

I run a venture capital fund based in Miami but I’m also part of the second generation of a family business that began in the late ’50s in India. It’s a fairly large conglomerate that specializes in manufacturing adhesives and sealants. 

I’ve come across other member-only clubs and none of them has appealed to me the way R360 did. 

I’m a member of other professional networks like the Young Presidents’ Organisation, but in most of those clubs, you see a tremendous focus around personal growth as a professional. Not a lot of them focus on family as an enterprise.

This is what attracted me to R360. 

A key factor I appreciated is its ability to help families flourish, and drive activities and interests to help grow the human and intellectual capital.

Something R360 emphasises is how members can engage with a set of like-minded folks who potentially have similar challenges, and use their collective wisdom to help me be a better steward of the next generation. This is different to other exclusive clubs. 

The process to become an R360 member was intensive — it was not to be taken lightly. They’re really looking for people who are genuine and joining for the right reasons. And when you start having those conversations, you start appreciating the group a lot more. If it’s a flippant process just for the sake of it, you start questioning whether it’s going to be worth your time. 

Part of benefitting from R360 is about what you put in. You can’t sit back and expect things to happen to you. You’ve got to take the initiative to allow for serendipity to take place. 

Sanket Parekh
R360 member Sanket Parekh on Necker Island during a trip with R360 in July 2021. Pictured with Parekh is one of the ring tail lemurs, originally from Madagascar, which Richard Branson brought to the island as a way to conserve the species.

One recent example is a R360 gathering that took place at Richard Branson’s private Necker Island. I got an opportunity to sit and have a 1:1 conversation with Branson about family and succession and how to build a legacy that is beyond just you. 

It was just fascinating to have that level of a conversation with someone as magnanimous as him and to learn from him. The beauty was that someone like him spent 15 minutes out of the 30 minutes that we were chatting asking me questions. 

Richard branson
Virgin Group and Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson.

It’s about the serendipitous opportunity that you get when you are among folks who have truly experienced life, which gives you the chance to leverage collective wisdom very efficiently. 

The range of members in the club is a beautiful mix which is what I also appreciate. It’s not concentrated in one industry. For example, I have sat down with folks from advertising to real estate to geology. They’re also from various age groups and had very different upbringings. 

I hark back to my college life where I learned as much from my classmates as I did from my professors. In that sense, the people you surround yourself with will either enrich you or drag you down — and that’s why R360 is picky about who can join the club.  

While a $100 million net worth affords you an R360 membership, it’s really more about what the club brings to the table — which is people who have a similar expectation of life. 

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

A style and travel influencer who’s on track to make more than $100,000 on Pinterest this year shares how she does it — and her advice for other creators

style and travel influencer Oyin Edogi stands in front of mountain and water
Style and travel influencer Oyin Edogi.

  • Like Instagram and TikTok, Pinterest is creating ways for its users to monetize their content.
  • The platform’s Creator Fund offers a $25,000 grant to help underrepresented creators grow their reach.
  • Style and travel influencer Oyin Edogi says joining the fund helped her land multiple paid partnerships. 

While many content creators focus on platforms like Instagram or TikTok, Pinterest is emerging as another place where they can make money. Once simply a place to go for fashion ideas or DIY arts and crafts, the site now includes more travel hacks, entrepreneurship tips, daily motivation, parenting inspiration, and even live shows. At the same time, Pinterest’s new Creator Inclusion Lead, Zeny Shifferaw, has joined others in the company setting goals to “uplift and empower historically marginalized creators.”

One influencer who’s found their piece of the Pinterest pie is Oyin Edogi. She’s a beauty, style, and travel influencer who began monetizing her Pinterest account in December 2020, when she only had several thousand followers. 

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“I had about 5,000 followers before I received my first paid campaign on Pinterest. I honestly was pinning for fun and didn’t know the power of the platform,” Edogi told Insider.

Over time, Edogi says she was able to position herself as a ‘top pinner ‘— someone who pinned other creators’ work as well as creating her own pins — which caught the eye of Pinterest’s partnerships team. Edogi says they reached out to her directly to offer her that first paid campaign.

Pinterest’s Creator Fund

In May 2021 — after Pinterest had made an open commitment to amplifying creators and businesses from underrepresented communities — the platform rolled out the Creator Fund, which offered selected creators from underrepresented communities a $25,000 grant, a four-week training program, and creative strategy consulting. Edogi and other creators were hand-selected by Pinterest to join the fund. 

Since joining, Edogi says she went from having 100,000 monthly views to over 600,000 in less than a few months. Besides the fund, she says she’s also begun creating pins with brands like Ulta. She’s made $77,000 so far in 2021 and is on track to bring in $106,000 by the year’s end from both a partnership with Pinterest TV and her sponsored brand posts. 

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Edogi told Insider that the Creator Fund experience helped her network with other creatives, learn new tools of how to build and scale her personal brand, and understand in more detail how Pinterest’s analytics work.

Her secrets to success

She also said there’s a winning recipe as a Pinterest creator to attract followers, pinners, and paid partnerships.

To begin with, pinning is a must. Each Pinterest creator has their own boards on their pages that represent the things they love to talk about and share the most. With these boards, you can create your own pins. Pins grant you opportunities to be more visible, Edogi said, because you can include a series of photos, videos, or a combination of both. The more people pin your ideas, the more visibility you create, so it’s ideal to have colorful, inviting content that others want to share, she said.

On average, creators should pin their own and others pins at least three to five times per day to gain traction. “Consistency on Pinterest is key,” Edogi said.

In addition, creators should use the “@mention” function in their idea pins to tag brands and products, which helps spread brand awareness but also attract brands to see creators that are organically engaging in content creation.

<a data-pin-do=”embedPin” href=”https://www.pinterest.com/pin/721772277787139736/”></a> <script async defer src=”//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js”></script>

 

Read the original article on Business Insider

15 reasons why you keep getting rejected from jobs — based on where you are in the process

job interview
One reason you’re probably not getting job offers? You’re not doing your research on the company.

  • There are many reasons why you might apply or get an interview but not an offer.
  • Some include not tailoring your cover letter or resume to the job and ATS.
  • Others include coming off too strong or being too negative when meeting with recruiters. 

Job searching is a grind. And the longer you’re at it, the worse it seems to get. It can be so discouraging to put yourself out there and get rejected over and over again or be met with radio silence.

But rather than keeping your head down and sending out another flurry of applications, you may benefit from taking a step back and considering why you’re not getting the results you want. What’s the real issue keeping you from landing your next gig? Accurately diagnosing the problem now will save you time in the long run.

Here are 15 reasons you might not be getting hired and how you can fix them — broken down by when in the job search you’re running into trouble.

If you’re not getting callbacks or interviews

1. Your resume and/or cover letter isn’t tailored to the job

If you’ve submitted a whole slew of applications and haven’t heard back from more than a handful, a likely culprit could be that you’re sending out the same generic resume and cover letter each time without changing how you present your experience to match the job.

Employers are looking for someone who matches their job description — and since they’re probably getting hundreds of applicants for each open job, they’re not going to do the extra work to figure out how you measure up.

You have to be sure to tell anyone reading your application how you’re suited for the role by tailoring your resume and cover letter. That means figuring out what skills and experience they want and then highlighting them in the form of accomplishments in your materials.

You don’t necessarily have to do this for every single role. But at the very least you should tailor your application for every type of role — for example, you might have a software-engineering resume and cover letter and a different product-management resume and cover letter — as well as individual roles you’re especially interested in.

2. Your resume isn’t formatted correctly for an ATS

Maybe you’re doing plenty to tailor your resume and still hearing crickets. Your application could be getting trapped in applicant tracking system (ATS) limbo and never actually getting read by a human being.

If you’re applying for jobs through online applications, your resume is probably being sent through an ATS — a computer program that scans applications, tracks applicants, and generally helps recruiters and hiring managers manage the search on their side. Hiring professionals can also use ATSs to search for resumes that contain keywords that are relevant to a given job.

To make sure your resume is being read correctly by the ATS:

  • Don’t try to get too fancy with your formatting: Avoid tables, graphics, and columns.
  • Include keywords in the right context: Recruiters and managers are likely to use terms directly from the job description to search for relevant applicants, so scan the job description for the skills and experiences they’re looking for, then pick out the ones that you have and include them in your resume — using the same language.
  • Use standard section headings: Go with headings like “Experience” and “Education.”

3. You’re applying to the wrong jobs

Look at the job description and honestly ask yourself if you have the skills you’ll need to do the job — or get up to speed quickly — to ensure you’re not underqualified for the roles you’re targeting.

That being said, job seekers usually do a fairly good job of making sure they’re qualified before applying to a role. One thing they are less great at is being honest about whether they are in fact overqualified.

Hiring managers obviously won’t hire someone who doesn’t have the skills or experience to do the job, but they’re also hesitant to hire someone who has gobs of experience for an entry-level role. How will they keep you interested and challenged? Won’t you just leave once something more suitable comes along? The last thing a company wants is to have to fill the role again after you’ve gotten bored and quit. Make sure you’re targeting the right jobs for your background. (And if you genuinely do want that job that might seem too junior for you on paper, follow this advice.)

Need to find more of the right jobs to apply to? You can search thousands of openings on The Muse.

4. You’re not applying to enough jobs

As a career coach, I’ll occasionally work with a client who only applies to dream jobs or dream companies and then gets frustrated when their search drags. It’s fine to be extra picky about what roles you’re considering, but if you’re only applying to a job here and there, then understand that your job hunt will absolutely take longer.

If your situation doesn’t allow for that, then you may need to be more open to “stepping stone” roles — jobs that are not exactly what you’re looking for but could get you there someday. For example, you might apply for jobs that will help you gain the skills you’ll need to be a more attractive applicant for your dream role.

5. You’re not telling people about your job search

You probably already know you’re supposed to be networking when you’re job searching. Some of what networking entails might be obvious. For example, if you know someone at a company that you’d like to work for, try to apply with a referral or at least use any additional insight you may have gleaned from your conversations in your application.

What’s less obvious is that you should really be broadcasting your search as widely as possible, even to people who have no obvious way of helping you.

Talk about your job hunt at non-work events or make a post about it on a private non-LinkedIn social media account.

You probably don’t know everyone another person knows. First-degree networking — a.k.a., getting help from those you know directly — is great, but second-degree networking can be really powerful, too! A fellow career coach once witnessed a student who groused loudly about her job search in class and found out that the classmate next to her had a close relative who could help. Networking!

If you’re getting phone screens or first-round interviews but not moving forward

6. You’re not fully prepared for phone screens

Phone screens can feel pretty informal. Some recruiters even tell you they just want to schedule a “quick chat,” but don’t be fooled. A phone screen is an interview and you need to be preparing like you would for a formal phone interview.

Even though phone screens can be quite short and cover just the basics, do your homework. Research the company. Prepare your pitch. Know how much you want to get paid. Be as ready as possible. I say “as possible” because sometimes recruiters don’t even bother to schedule phone screens ahead of time. They just call. In this case, at least having your pitch and salary expectations ready to go at all times will get you most of the way.

7. You don’t know enough about the company

You might dismiss the common advice to research a company before an interview, because really why would a recruiter care if you know who their CEO is if you can do the job?

Well, one thing employers evaluate before they extend an offer is your likelihood of accepting it. And a good way to show that you’re likely to accept is to show interest in the company. How do you show interest beyond simply saying you’re excited about the opportunity? By knowing a lot about them.

Research a company’s products and services. Prepare to talk about how you’ve used them or similar ones in the past. Read up on their values and check to see if you have any contacts at the company via LinkedIn. If you want to go above and beyond, schedule an informational interview with an employee at the organization to learn more about what it’s like working there.

8. You haven’t prepped interview answers to common interview questions

Job searches tend to occupy a lot of head space — even more so after you get an interview invite. But be careful you’re not spending all your time just thinking about the interview (or worrying about it!). You need to really prepare.

You should be looking at common interview questions and practicing how to answer them out loud. The aloud part kind of trips people up, but saying the actual words before the interview is essential and will improve your performance quickly and significantly. If you can find someone to do a mock interview with you and give you some feedback on where you could’ve been stronger or when they started losing interest in what you were saying, even better.

Don’t try to memorize your answers — you don’t want to sound robotic. Plus, your answers could change depending on the company and what they’re looking for. So practice answering the questions out loud each time you’re invited to interview with a new company. You need to prepare for each interview, not just interviews in general.

9. You’ve focused too much on prepping interview answers and neglected other interview skills

You don’t want to be the person who doesn’t greet the receptionist and only responds in single words to small talk with the recruiter. That person rarely gets hired.

You need to think about interview skills like storytelling, active listening, eye contact and other body language, empathy, and small talk. Most of these abilities can be improved by just being aware that you need to be mindful about them and practicing. So by reading this, you could already be halfway there.

10. You’re not passing the technical screen

I’m using the term “technical screen” kind of loosely here. A technical screen could be a more formal technical interview, a copywriting test, or a coding question thrown in during a first-round interview — among other evaluations. In other words, anything that assesses your technical ability to do the job.

Failing the technical screen usually means an automatic rejection, so it’s absolutely critical that you do well enough to move forward. Luckily, a skills test typically doesn’t require flawless execution, but if you’re struggling with technical assessments every time you interview with a new company, then you probably need to spend some time buckling down.

There’s no shortcut here. Find a relevant book or course and get to studying. And be sure you’re not making common mistakes you can easily fix — like not following directions.

If you’re still falling short, then you may need to evaluate whether you’re applying for the wrong jobs. Maybe you need to get more practical experience with these skills in a lower-level position first, for example.

If you’re getting multiple interviews but not getting offers

11. You have the skills but not the story

You have all the right skills, you’re applying for the right jobs, you’re passing the screens and early interviews — and yet, no offers. What’s going on?

You might not have the right story. The “right story” is kind of a fuzzy concept, but basically you don’t want the hiring manager to walk out of the interview thinking, “Yes, they can do the job, but why do they even want it?”

In interviews, you need to make the case for why a job makes sense as the next step in your career. Are you looking for a managerial role or are you hoping to be more in the weeds dealing with technical problems rather than people problems? In other words, how does this job fit into the story of your professional development? You can cover this straight on in your response to “Tell me about yourself” or “Why this role?” and weave it in throughout the interview.

12. You’re coming off a little … strong

It’s good to be excited about a job opportunity, but it’s another thing to come off as overly excited. The latter can sometimes (unfairly) trigger red flags for interviewers.

So do show off your interest by having a lot of knowledge about the company and sharing it. Don’t show up an hour early to the interview, wait awkwardly in the lobby, and make everyone feel bad that they’re not ready for you yet.

Do write a thank you note to your interviewers and include details from the conversation. Don’t call every day to see if there’s an update on the role. Do check out your interviewers on LinkedIn to prepare for the interview. Don’t friend them on Facebook or other social media. You get the idea.

13. You don’t stand out enough

You don’t want to be memorable for the wrong reasons, but you do want to be memorable. When the hiring committee meets to discuss candidates, it’s not a good sign if no one really remembers much about you.

To stand out in the right way, be ready to show that you’re passionate about something related to the job. You can also showcase an unrelated — but just kind of interesting — passion, like bread-making or biking.

Find things you can talk about with gusto and then do! For example, when you get a more open-ended question like, “What’s the accomplishment you’re most proud of?” answer with a work-appropriate response and then briefly add in your latest sourdough triumph at the end!

14. You were too negative

In general, hiring managers favor candidates who are positive and don’t always see the worst in everything — it’s human nature to not want to work with someone who’s overly negative.

So, for example, when you get to later interview rounds, you may get asked what kind of suggestions you have for the company to improve a product or make a team more efficient. In these instances, be careful how you word things. It’s easy to accidentally get a little too negative and point out all the problems you see. You want to answer the question, but also be mindful that you’re not offending anyone. Be solution-oriented instead of only focusing on the issues.

The no-negativity rule also applies to questions you may get about previous employers. No badmouthing former workplaces, managers, or colleagues. Even if their behavior was egregious, you won’t look good if you speak poorly of them.

15. You didn’t prep your references

If your references are saying completely different things than what you said in the interview, that can be a huge red flag for hiring managers. To avoid having a reference accidentally contradict you, make sure you’re giving them adequate heads up that a call may be coming.

Ideally, you should also let them know what role you’ve applied for and why you think you’re a good fit. Sending over your tailored resume and cover letter can be really helpful, too. In short, you want to make sure that their story and your story align.

All this being said, sometimes you really can be doing everything right in your job search and the reasons you haven’t landed a position yet are entirely outside your control. Maybe you were competing with an internal candidate the hiring manager had in mind from the get-go or maybe they just defaulted to interviewing people with more years of experience to narrow down the applicants.

Focus on the aspects of your applications that you can control and keep moving forward. Job searches take time, and it will be worth the effort once you land the right job.

Read the original article on Business Insider