How to Answer: What Are Your Salary Expectations?

There is no trickier question in the interview process for most candidates. Believe me when I say that companies are not trying to trip you up when we ask this question and I often broach this topic in the initial phone interview. What we really want to know is, are you within our salary range? Many organizations have fixed salary ranges and we want to avoid getting too far down the line only to find that we can’t afford you, while also leaving you disappointed.

Why is this such a tricky question?

If you aim too high, you risk putting yourself out of the company’s range completely and thus, out of consideration. If you target too low, the company could lowball you leaving you dissatisfied. Depending on when this question is asked, it could also be difficult for you to gauge your salary expectations without fully knowing what the job entails.

It’s best to do your research ahead of time so that you feel confident going into the interview.

Research competitive market data

Going into the interview, you should have a clear idea of what someone in this role is earning. There are lots of resources available online including Payscale.com, Glassdoor.com, Salary.com, and LinkedIn which now provides salary insights. And be as specific as the data will allow you to; industry, location and any additional details will all provide more targeted and accurate results.

Tip: take the data with a grain of salt and when in doubt, go with your gut. The salary data from these sources should give you a rough idea to build on but they are not the be-all, end all.

Know your worth

While it’s good to be armed with competitive market data, you also need to know the worth of the skills, knowledge, and experience that you bring to the role and that differentiate you from other candidates. No one knows your skillset and its value in your industry better than you! While you do not need to communicate it, know what your bottom line is going into the conversation and be prepared to back it up by highlighting your skills.

Share a range, not a number

When answering the question, I always recommend providing a range (think 10-15k) rather than committing to a specific number that could be too high, could be too low, and could also limit your ability to negotiate later in the process. Never provide any numbers you wouldn’t be happy with, even the lowest end of your range should be a salary you’d be content with.

Be flexible

In addition to salary, there may be other monetary incentives, benefits or perks that you consider valuable, and you can use these as opportunities for negotiation. For example, if you have the salary conversation and find you’re slightly above what the company has budgeted, they may be willing to offer incentives to try to close the gap.

Example Responses:

“While I am flexible, I am looking for between $65,000 to $75,000 annually.”

“Based on market data I’d expect somewhere between $50,000 to $60,000 annually, but I’d like to learn more about the specific responsibilities of the role.”

“I’m open to discussion but based on my current salary and my knowledge of the industry, I’d expect a salary in the range of $80,000 to $95,000, depending on the total compensation package.”

“I would ideally be looking for a salary between $60,000 and $75,000 annually. It’s in line with the industry average and it reflects the skills and experience I would bring to the role. That said, I am flexible and open to hearing more about the company’s range for this position.”

Key Takeaways

  1. Do your research
  2. Know the value of the skills and experience you bring
  3. Express your flexibility
  4. Never provide any numbers you wouldn’t be happy with
  5. Provide a range and not a number
  6. Know your bottom line
  7. Be prepared to negotiate

The $30 Purchase that Saves Me $60+ Each Month

As many Canadians do, I love coffee and I rarely start my day without it. In following a host of finance blogs and experts online, I learned there was a narrative out there that millennials are somehow sabotaging their financial futures through designer coffees and pumpkin spiced lattes. While I don’t subscribe to the idea that making coffee at home is the pathway to financial independence, the articles did have a bit of a point. This year while reassessing my budget I realized that on average I was spending $60 a month buying coffee even while working from home. And the numbers were even worse BC (Before Covid, had to-) when I was physically going into the office! I should mention that I live a leisurely 3 minutes walking distance to a coffee shop and so it became a part of my early morning routine to get out of the house, take a walk and grab a coffee. And then sometimes while grabbing that coffee I’d get a bagel, or a cookie or a doughnut… you get it.

The dollar amount was not astonishing and for coffee lovers probably not a big deal. But seeing the monthly average I just realized that I’d rather put that money to use somewhere else. I also never bought the fancy coffees anyways and stuck to the basic black coffee that I could easily make at home. So, in July I went on Amazon and bought a Mr. Coffee coffeemaker, a bag of coffee and a 200 pack of coffee filters for $1.50 and I have not spent any coffee money since- win!

I’m now about a month and a half into making coffee at home and there is a noticeable difference in my monthly food/restaurants budget. I can also honestly say I don’t miss buying coffee at all. I learned that as long as it’s hot and it wakes me up in the morning, I really don’t care where it comes from. And as a bonus, it makes my mornings working from the dining table smell great.

Was it worth cutting out? For me, yes. I don’t miss it and I get more joy from saving. However, it’s not the only or best way that you can save money. In fact, there might be even better places in your budget to start; if you haven’t assessed your monthly expenses I’d suggest starting there to figure out where you can cut back on spending that doesn’t make you happy or add value to your life.

For those interested, I’ve included the link to the coffee maker here: https://amzn.to/3mkKZbB

Why You Should Never Accept the Counteroffer

There have been two instances in my career where I accepted a new job with a different company and when I walked into my managers office to provide my resignation, I was asked what salary I’d be looking for in order to stay. In both situations I was a very taken back, and with one it was downright offensive because I had already tried to negotiate a salary increase months before.

While it can be tempting (and flattering) to hear your manager and company try to bid you back with a higher salary, promise of more responsibility or something else of value to you, the best response is a very polite “no, thank you”, and here’s why.

There was a reason you decided to start a job search and that could have included salary, but probably wasn’t limited to it.

A 2018 study done by Korn Ferry of almost 5000 professionals found that 33% of employees started looking for a job because they were bored and no longer felt challenged in their role. 24% started looking because the company culture didn’t fit with their values, while a smaller percentage noted salary as the top reason to start looking for a new job. And my guess is that prior to starting your search, you had already tried to resolve your concerns, or, your concern was something fixed (like a rough commute).

When your manager comes to you with a counter offer you might wonder: between yesterday and today, what changed? Why are you now being offered the raise you asked for months ago? Why is there now an opportunity for you to lead that project? It isn’t that your value is suddenly apparent to your manager. It’s because your leaving not only causes a disruption in work and productivity, but it also means hiring and training someone new which is expensive and a large time commitment.

Bottom line: if you ever find yourself on the other end of a counteroffer, take stock of the reasons you started your job search in the first place and be honest with yourself. Would those issues go away or be resolved if you accepted? It’s unlikely.

How to Pivot into a Totally Different Job

Throughout my career, I’ve encountered many folks trying to pivot into totally different jobs and fields within their company. They might feel like there isn’t as much growth potential as they want in their field, they genuinely don’t enjoy their work anymore, or there’s a need to gain skills and experience in a totally different area in order to progress in their career. I can tell you that no matter what you’re doing, it might be difficult but it’s never impossible and there are a few key things you can do to make it happen.

Speak Up

This is crucial if you’re looking to make your move internally with your current company. If you have a performance development routine with your manager, bring it up and add it to your personal development plan with actionable steps. In many companies, your two key supporters will be your direct manager and your HR partner. Making your interests clear to both parties will help them to guide you effectively and champion you when a new role comes up.

Education

Pursue formal learning where required. Completing a certificate or a course is not only a good idea to get a base set of knowledge for certain fields (in some it’ll be required), but it also demonstrates your commitment to making a career change.

Find Ways to Get Experience

I recommend finding ways to get even small amounts of experience in the department you aspire to work in. There are lots of options here including but not limited to job shadowing, volunteering some of your time to help in a different department, short term experiences, short term assignments, the list goes on. Get creative and work with your manager to determine what makes sense based on your time capacity and your existing transferrable skills.

Build Relationships

The relationships and networks you build professionally can be key to helping you progress, especially when there is such a large hidden job market. Network by reaching out to associates or leaders in the department you’re interested in to learn more, express your interest and also get some direction and guidance.

Craft a Compelling Narrative

Hiring Managers are going to want to understand why you’re looking to make a change into a different role or career. Craft a compelling story that ties together your past experiences and interests and how they’ve brought you to where you are now, and why you believe this is the right move for you. Also be sure to include how your skills and knowledge would be of benefit in the new role.

Apply

When those jobs come up, apply! Make sure your resume reads as relevant as possible- have any relevant experience and education front and center so that the hiring manager can easily see your demonstrated commitment and interest, particularly if you’re coming from a different field. And keep at it – it can take time to make a change like this so try to not get discouraged if it doesn’t happen overnight.

7 Ways Covid Changed My Finances

There isn’t anyone who hasn’t reviewed and re-assessed their finances in one way or another since the Covid-19 pandemic hit in March. Like many others, when the pandemic hit in Toronto I had no idea what to make of it. Would I only be working at home for a few weeks? Would I lose my job entirely? At what point would we return to normal?

For the first month of quarantine, bored and stuck at home, I shopped online. Excessively. New clothes for summer (because you know, the virus would be over by then), expensive skincare products, the works. And in April, probably as a result of both Covid-related anxiety as well as seeing the amount I paid off on my credit card, it really hit me how loose I’d been with my finances. I had gotten to a point in my career where I was making more money than I needed and rather than thoughtfully plan out where that money was going, I was spending it. Here are some of the biggest changes I made.

I built a zero-based budget

The first thing I did to get a deeper sense of where everything was going was build a big, beautiful budget in Excel and download the Mint app to track my transactions by category. I knew all of my fixed costs (mortgage and car insurance) were set up as automatic and 10% of my pay was automatically deposited into a TFSA each month. I knew I spent too much money eating out, and I knew that my discretionary spending was probably a little high.

When all was said and done, I went from saving 10% of my paycheque each month to saving 61% just by cutting down my variable costs and also really taking a look at what was truly fixed vs variable in my budget.

I eat at home

It was no surprise that a ton of my money was going to takeout and dining out rather than groceries, and particularly when you’re busy at work and commute, it’s easy to fall into bad habits. Grabbing a coffee on your way to work, buying lunch for $10-15, getting home too late to cook so opting for delivery.

I slowly started to meal plan each week and put together much more disciplined grocery lists which meant less waste, my grocery bill was cut in half, and there was no scrounging around my kitchen trying to figure out what to eat. We still do takeout about twice a week but when we do, we opt for cheaper spots. I also looked at where we were shopping – did we really need to shop at the higher end grocery stores when the prices were significantly higher?

Since this shift, I’ve found myself not only enjoying cooking but also excited that I can plan healthier and more vegetarian meals. I also get weirdly excited seeing an empty fridge at the end of the week knowing that we don’t have to throw out any bad produce or excess food.

I curbed discretionary spending

Prior to my Covid online shopping bonanza I thought I was doing relatively well in this category, and truthfully it wasn’t terrible. I’ve never been the person who has to have the latest and greatest and I definitely don’t have a penchant for anything designer, cars, technology or other expensive things. But I was still spending a few hundred dollars a month on STUFF. I’d see something on Amazon and order it. I’d go into a store for cleanser and come out having spent $50. I started with the easy ones and cut out things I didn’t use frequently, like Disney+ and Amazon add-ons. And for everything I thought about buying, I also started to ask myself: do you actually need this? (spoiler, it’s no 95% of the time).

Living below my means was the key to being able to increase my savings significantly, and after a few months it started to become fun. Once I started to see the impact, I’d find new ways of challenging myself to save money and be even more frugal.

I started investing

As I started to see the impact on my savings, I got more and more interested in learning about investing. I had always participated in my employer options, but I had never opted to do anything outside of that.

I started doing research and fell down the rabbit hole reading, learning and watching videos and it became clear to me that to get to the number I want in retirement, even with the most consistent saving practices, I would have to invest.  

I’m no expert and would never claim to be so I started with a Wealthsimple TFSA, investing into a high growth portfolio made up of index funds and a low percentage of bonds. Over the last few months there have been ups and downs but overall, I’ve seen about a 5% return. As I learn more, I’m sure I’ll expand into different forms of investment but for now, keeping it simple!

I upped my donations

2020 has been an eye-opening year. The pandemic lifted the veil on inequality for women and BIPOC while exacerbating existing issues globally and it’s never been more clear that there are so many people and organizations that need help.

So, I increased my monthly donations to two organizations and throughout the year have prioritized and made room for charitable giving. While it’s a personal decision and totally based on what is affordable for you, I really believe that money should be shared and that even a small amount makes a difference. If you’ve been thinking about supporting a cause but aren’t sure which organization to support, do some research. Look for charities that are accountable, transparent and financially healthy, because this means the organization is more effective on their charitable mission.

I looked into different ways to diversify my income

Finding multiple streams of income has really been a priority for me this year, so that if anything happened with my job, I would have more money and something else to fall back on. This year I took on a part-time job for 6 weeks to help beef up my savings and I’ve been building a portfolio of freelance writing to be a contributor in spaces that I know well – mainly HR. I’ve frequently held multiple jobs; when I got my first corporate recruiting job out of school I opted to also work part-time as a phone sales rep for almost a year on top of my 9-5. For most of 2018 I had a creative side hustle, and during university there was a period where I worked 3 jobs – a phone sales representative, a DQ employee, and an Avon sales rep (I know). Aside from a side hustle, my partner and I have also been searching for an investment property that will eventually become a passive income source for us.

I became a huge personal finance nerd

This was unexpected but if it had not been for the pandemic, I don’t know that I would have found this passion so quickly. I have eaten up every piece of information and enjoyed learning from financial experts, following financial blogs and millennial finance accounts, better understanding the stock market and just overall learning new ways to achieve financial independence.

So while Covid has been an extremely strange period to navigate, it has positively changed the way that I think about money. And if and when things do resume and return to normal, I know that I won’t be able to slip back into my former ways.

How to Prepare for a Panel Interview

You applied to a role, made it through the first stage with the recruiter (me!) and then find out you’re being moved to the next stage of the interview process which will be a panel interview. The idea of being interviewed by a group of people is enough to make anyone sweat.

What is a Panel Interview?

A panel interview is an interview with a hiring team, usually made up of the Hiring Manager plus any other relevant stakeholders or decision makers, and sometimes HR. Panel interviews are usually made up of between 2 and 5 people.

Why a Panel Interview?

Panel interviews can be extremely effective, namely because they save time for everyone by reducing the amount of interview rounds. They’re a more agile way of hiring and can speed up the process tenfold. Through including additional panel members, the hiring manager can gain more perspective on the candidate and it also reduces the risk of making a bad hire. On the flip side, it’s also an opportunity for the candidate to get a sense of who they’ll be working with as well as a feel for the company culture by meeting with multiple people.

As with any interview, preparation is key.

Research and Know Your Audience

Before any interview you should research the company to get a feel for their culture, vision and any recent news or activity. Being able to demonstrate in an interview that you’ve done your research on the company also shows the interviewers that you’re truly interested in that specific company and not just in finding employment. Additionally, research the panel members through a quick search on LinkedIn to learn more about who you’ll be meeting with and gain some context.

Bring Your Resume

Depending on how prepared the panel is, they may or may not already have your resume printed and prepped to meet with you. As a precaution (and to show how prepared you are) it’s always good to bring enough copies of your resume for everyone on the panel.

Prepare Examples

Before your interview, review the job description again. Try to anticipate the kinds of questions the panel will ask you based on the qualifications of the role and build out some strong examples. You’ll not only refamiliarize yourself with the role expectations which is important, but you’ll have great examples ready to draw on in the interview and hopefully relieve some nerves. 

Connect with Everyone

By this, I mean make sure you talk to everyone and make eye contact with everyone at some point in the interview. I’ve been a part of many panel interviews where the candidate is not inclusive of everyone in the room and intentionally or unintentionally focuses their attention only on the hiring manager.

Be Authentic

Interviews are where you can show your personality and build relationships with the hiring team. We love to meet with candidates and feel like we got a sense of their authentic selves whether it was through their humor, something bold they wore, their body language, or even a really strong work example they provided that demonstrated a quality we look for.

Come Prepared with Questions

Always come prepared with a few thoughtful questions to ask at the end of the interview. They’re a great way to differentiate yourself through crafting questions that show the panel your interest, your knowledge in the space and your ability to make connections. For a panel interview, think of a question that you would want to ask each panel member so that the Q&A is not just a conversation between yourself and the hiring manager.

Thank You Notes

Lastly, thank you notes through email go a long way and you would be surprised how underutilized they are. Briefly thank the panel for their time, reiterate your interest in the role, and let them know you’re looking forward to next steps in the process. If you don’t have the email addresses of the panel members you can reach out to the recruiter for their contact information or send the thank you note to the recruiter to please forward to the panel for their time.

Financial Advice that No Longer Applies

A $1000 emergency fund is enough

There is tons of advice out there from money experts as to how much you should have in your emergency fund and it will vary on your ability to save based on your income as well as what you realistically need based on your expenses. Most experts recommend having 3-6 months of living expenses stockpiled away, while some more aggressively suggest having a full year’s worth of expenses saved.

One of Dave Ramsey’s well-known pieces of advice is to have an emergency account with $1000 in it before you start paying off any of your high interest debt. It’s not bad advice but it’s extremely arbitrary and very likely that it wouldn’t even come close to covering an emergency.

The goal of your emergency fund should be to minimize the long-term impact that an unexpected bill or job loss could make to your finances and while I believe that having 3-6 months of expenses saved up is the best route of action, I recognize that this isn’t possible for everyone and working towards having even a small emergency fund will help mitigate worst case scenarios like having to borrow money from a family member or take out a loan. 

If you’re looking to increase your emergency fund but don’t think you can increase your contributions, take a hard look at your income vs your expenses. Are there places you can trim, or things you can cut out entirely, even for a period of time to build up your emergency savings? Alternatively, could you increase your income through starting a side hustle or taking on a part-time job?

Save 10% of your paycheque

Again, this isn’t bad advice, but 10% should be considered your starting point.

Let’s say you’re 25 when you start saving for retirement in a TFSA or an RRSP, you earn $50,000 a year and plan to retire at the age of 65. You start saving 10% of your after tax income each month and end up with a sum of 390k at age 65 (taking into account a high investment growth rate of 6.26%) This sounds like a large sum but over a 30 year retirement, it may not be enough to sustain your lifestyle even with government benefits. Yes, this is not taking into account salary increases, bonuses or any other windfalls you may have, but it also isn’t taking into account other things that can happen like periods where you may not be working or years where expenses come up and you have less ability to save.

The most common guideline is to aim to replace 70%-90% of your pre-retirement income. This is personal based on your situation and what expenses you anticipate having in retirement. Will you still have car loan payments? Will your mortgage be paid off? It also begs the question, what KIND of a retirement do you want to have? Do you want to be able to take off at your leisure to sip mojitos in Cabo or visit the south of France? Or are you a happy homebody who plans on staying local and living a more minimalist or fixed lifestyle?

Talking about money is rude

Most of us grew up with the notion that talking about money is taboo, including myself. You don’t share good financial news (brag). You don’t share your salary with colleagues. You don’t ask how much your friend pays in rent even thought it might help you get perspective for your own search. WHY?

Here’s the thing: knowledge is power. When you collaborate, you are more likely to find resources and learn information that can help you become more financially savvy, get paid more or grow your wealth, just to name a few. People often feel a lot of discomfort around their relationship with money, sometimes feeling they don’t earn enough or are ashamed of their debt, but when you start having those conversations you’re more likely to find out that you’re not the only one struggling. And interestingly enough, not talking about money is the strongest amongst the middle class because they have the most anxiety over where they fall on the spectrum.

Not talking about money also has implications for your earning potential over your career. For example, equal pay for equal work. How do you know if you’re being paid fairly? How can you advocate for yourself effectively if you don’t even know where you stand? You don’t stand to benefit from not talking about money, but your company might (we all saw what happened with Conde Nast this year).

Remember that if you’ve ever had a question or a concern about money whether it be investing, saving or debt repayment, people in your life probably have too and they might stand to benefit from conversation as well.

Retire at 65

Technically speaking, the average retirement age across the public and private sectors in Canada is actually 63.6 but close enough.

With the gig economy and the FIRE movement amongst other things, retirement no longer looks the way that it used to and there is now more than one way to go about it. While there are still many folks who plan to retire at 65 (or are eyeing slightly earlier), there is also a growing population of people who plan on extending their working lives and never retiring, or conversely, those who have joined the FIRE movement and are aiming for an early retirement in their 30’s or 40’s through rigorous saving and investing habits.

There are also those who plan on taking mini retirements. Not to be confused with a vacation or a sabbatical, a mini retirement is taking time away from work for an extended period that is defined and clearly planned for to ensure your finances stay on track. Mini retirements can be as short as a few months or as long as a few years.

In short, we are redefining what we want out of retirement including when and how we get there. Those employed are also less likely to depend on their employer’s retirement accounts and lean more towards securing financial independence through their own actions.

How to Get Poached From Your Current Job

Searching for a new job can be time consuming. Navigating through online application portals, creating new cover letters, logins and profiles each time you apply to a role at a different company. But what if you could potentially bypass this process and have opportunities come to you?

Passive recruiting or sourcing is a proactive approach recruiters use to identify and engage with qualified candidates rather than relying on applications. Sourcing is usually geared towards mid to senior level roles and industries or functions where there is a shortage of talent, but can also be geared towards high volume roles the recruiter might need to build a pipeline of candidates for.

So what can YOU do to get noticed? Thoughtfully building a complete LinkedIn profile can make a big difference in whether your profile even gets shown to recruiters based on their searches. Here are some tips to optimize your profile and make yourself easily searchable on LinkedIn.

Keep your Profile Up to Date and Complete

You want your LinkedIn profile to create a compelling picture of your experience and qualifications; it shows that you’ve put time and effort into your online presence. A bare or incomplete profile tells me that you’re not active on LinkedIn and thus more unlikely to respond to my InMail. At minimum, I recommend using a professional or high-quality photo for your profile picture and detailing your experience, education, certifications and accomplishments.

Your headline, summary and profile background are great places to customize and inject personality. Your summary in particular is a great space to optimize. When most users visit your Profile on LinkedIn they’ll only see the first few lines of your summary, but in LinkedIn Recruiter the entire summary is made visible to the Recruiter by default and can set you apart.

Lastly, including how to get in touch with you on your profile indicates that you’re open to hearing from Recruiters and thus more likely to be contacted. It’s as simple as including “Connect with me here or email me at myname@email.com!”

Make Your Profile Search-Friendly

Keywords

Having relevant keywords in your profile on LinkedIn can greatly magnify your visibility to Recruiters on LinkedIn (the same goes for your resume when you apply to postings!). A great way to identify keywords to include in your profile are to review job postings of roles you’re interested in pursuing and pull keywords from there.

For example, if I was searching for a candidate in Data Science I might use more technical keywords for required knowledge like “SQL” or “Python”. If I was searching for a Process Manager I might search for “Lean”, “Agile”, or “Six Sigma”. Based on your role and industry, identify the keywords that would be the most beneficial to your profile and incorporate them.

Industry

The industry you choose for your Profile also impacts your visibility to Recruiters on LinkedIn. An easy example is a Marketing Manager who works for a Retailer. The Marketing Manager could identify their industry as “Marketing and Advertising” but they could also identify it as “Retail”. My recommendation is that you choose your actual industry (in the above example, Retail). Recruiters frequently filter by specific industries to identify candidates who have even more tailored experience to the job they’re trying to fill.

Job Titles

This section applies to those whose job titles may not reflect their role. For example, if your job title reads more junior than your role actually is, make sure you include a description of your role in the experience section.

I have also seen some very uncommon job titles that likely wouldn’t turn up in a search (shout out to the Apple Geniuses and Happiness Managers). If this is you – keywords will be your best friend. Utilize keywords throughout your profile to make sure you’re found for relevant roles.

Skills

LinkedIn gives you 50 slots for you to call out your skills – use them! And think about all of the different ways someone might search for those skills. For example, if you’re looking for a Sales Director role you could include “sales”, “sales strategy” and “sales management”.

Include a Current Position

Even if you’re not working, include a current position. Many recruiters will search using the ‘Current Job Title’ field, so if you don’t have a current title with relevant keywords, you won’t show up. There are a number of routes you can take here including using titles like: “Finance Manager seeking New Opportunity” or “Experienced Marketing Professional”.

Engage

Recruiters have the ability to filter through candidates by who has engaged with their company and who are more likely to respond based on a number of factors. If the recruiter has a large pool of candidates and needs to cut it down further, they’re likely to use these filters to do so.

Ways to Engage

-Follow company pages that you’re interested in

-Engage with company posts through likes and comments

-Apply to roles you’re interested in through LinkedIn – you’ll show up as a past applicant to the recruiter at the respective company

-If you are actively searching for a new role, turn on “Open to Job Opportunities” on your LinkedIn Profile. Fill in the types of roles you’re looking for and select Only Recruiters so that it’s visible to Recruiters but not to your network.

Be Responsive

You don’t necessarily have to be active on LinkedIn, but you do need to be responsive. Having an updated profile won’t do you any good if you’re not checking your messages frequently and you miss the opportunity altogether. If you know you’re not the type to be on LinkedIn frequently, make sure you’re set up to receive message notifications via email.

Side note: if the above has already happened and you missed your chance for an opportunity but you’re still very interested in the company, let the recruiter know. They may be able to pipeline you and keep you in mind for future roles that arise (there’s a reason they reached out to you).

In summary, LinkedIn is a great tool for recruiters, but it’s also a space that job seekers can optimize in order to reap the benefits. Put some time and effort into building a complete and compelling LinkedIn profile and you can greatly increase the chance of opportunities coming your way.

How My Measures of Success and Happiness at Work Have Shifted

Over the last few months I’ve reflected on my career to date and what makes me so happy doing what I’m doing. I started thinking about me 10 years ago and realized how dramatically my measures of success and happiness at work had shifted. 10 years ago, I was working on my bachelor’s degree, counting down to the day when I could join the workforce and climb my way up the corporate ladder to what would make me happy – a great title and lots of money (you know, the usual business grad mindset). Obviously, my definition of success was very rigid but also limited.

7 years later and I’ve found I have new measures of success and happiness at work that boil down to three simple questions:

Am I learning?

This is a biggie. I’ve been very privileged in my role to take part in projects that interest me, including projects that span way beyond the scope of my normal role and challenge me.

Am I inspired?

Since I started working (including my jobs in high school and university!) I have had the good fortune to work with some exceptional leaders and massively talented people, all of which inspire me to do more and set higher goals than I initially set for myself.

Do I feel valuable?

Does my work feel like I’m making a difference? Does it give me a sense of purpose? Do I feel like my contributions are recognized and valued by my team?

It’s a great thing to dream and set goals, monetary or non-monetary. Striving for the next step is important. But it’s also important to critically think about your roles to really define what makes you jump out of bed in the morning – this exercise may even change some of your goals!