What Does a Recruiter Do?

The right recruiter can be an invaluable resource to a company. Recruiters often have bad reputations and like any profession, there are good ones and bad ones. There are also different kinds of recruiters; there are short term (contract) recruiters hired to help with volume or project recruitment, there are agency recruiters who search on behalf of companies and often have a commission structure of some kind, and then there are internal recruiters, which is where I’ve spent most of my career and so my opinions and experience will be based on just that, the role of an Internal Recruiter.

So what does a recruiter do?

An internal recruiter acts as a strategic partner and searches for the best candidate for a position in a timely manner. As an internal resource and partner, the recruiter is usually dedicated to a client group which can be by region(s) or function(s). They’re often looked to as the subject matter expert and advisor on the talent pool in the industry and the market. Luckily, there are a lot of great options for talent data analytics these days like Talent Neuron and LinkedIn Talent Insights that help to make recruiters even more effective and trusted in our roles.

A recruiter will usually manage multiple searches and in my career I’ve overseen anywhere from 5-50 open requisitions at any given time.

What does a search look like?

When there is a new vacancy, the recruiter will start the search process. The steps I’ve covered below don’t encompass everything and the process for a position may vary and include testing or another form of assessment but we’ll keep it simple.  

Research and Prep: after I’m alerted of a new role or vacancy, I schedule a meeting with the hiring manager and start my research. I familiarize myself with the job, pull data analytics on the existing talent pool in the market, do a quick search on LinkedIn Recruiter to see the talent available, pull some profiles from my pipeline to share (if I’ve got one) and prepare questions that I’ll need to ask the hiring manager in the meeting.

Kickoff Meeting: this is the opportunity to get clarity on the job by having the hiring manager walk me through the position in his/her own words. What are the must have attributes vs. nice to have attributes? What skills and capability gaps need to be addressed? What has past success has looked like and what challenges would someone face coming into the role? All of the data collected in this meeting helps me to be able to speak intelligently to the candidate about the position while also providing me with crucial information for headhunting passive candidates.

The kickoff meeting is also where I can establish expertise and build trust with the client or the hiring manager through presenting data, asking well thought out questions and providing some early profiles for review.

Posting and Sourcing: after the kickoff meeting, I post. For entry level or high-volume roles, you can usually post and attract a strong pool of quality candidates out of the gate. However, because most of the roles I hire for are not entry level I start sourcing as soon as I learn about the vacancy because my goal is to find the best candidate for the position, not just the best applicant.

Phone/Virtual Screens: as I receive applications and connect with passive prospects I conduct phone screens where I qualify candidates, look for red flags, ensure we can afford them and also ensure they align with the company culture through behavioral based questions.

Shortlist Presentation: by this point in the process I’ve got a shortlist of 5-8 qualified and screened candidates that are ideally a mix of applicants and sourced candidates. The profiles and my recommendations go to the hiring manager for review to decide who they’d like to meet with.

Interviews: interviews get scheduled by a coordinator and while they are in progress, I play the waiting game to see which candidates pan out and if we’re going to offer or if there will be a second round of interviews.

Offer and Negotiations: once a top candidate has been identified, I create an offer recommendation that goes to the hiring manager based on the data we have for internal equity, our internal ranges, and candidate expectations. Once the offer has been finalized, this is where recruiters get to give the good news and manage negotiations if necessary.  

Declines: at the end of the process, I decline all candidates who didn’t make it through by phone call or with an email and some feedback.

And then the cycle begins over again! Outside of the searches a recruiter manages, they’re usually working on other things like building pipelines of talent for upcoming roles, developing recruitment strategies, networking, coaching or participating in project work that falls in the talent space.

Would I enjoy being a recruiter?

As a recruiter you have to be client focused, collaborative and willing to go the extra mile to find the perfect candidate. You have to be able to build relationships and trust very quickly, establish expertise in what you do and be able to sell and negotiate, whether it’s negotiating a compensation package or selling a candidate to a hiring manager that doesn’t have the traditional background for the job.

Personally, the thing that I find to be the most rewarding about working in recruitment is working with the business as a strategic partner and an advisor. It’s also extremely rewarding connecting the perfect candidate with the right role for them within a company. Lastly, I love continuously learning about different facets of the business through my role while also getting to participate in and lead some exciting projects within the talent space.

If you have any specific questions, drop them below and I’ll be sure to post a response!

How to Get Your Resume Noticed by Recruiters

You might spend days or even weeks perfecting your resume before sending out job applications. But how long does the average recruiter actually spend reviewing your resume? According to a 2018 eye tracking study, Ladders Inc. found that recruiters scan a resume for an average of 7.4 seconds (which is up from 6 seconds in 2012). The resumes that fared well were easy to read and featured simple layouts with clear section and heading titles. Resumes that did not do well were those that were too long with cluttered layouts, multiple columns and little white space.

As a candidate there are a few things you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed and shortlisted to move forward in the process.

Make your resume easy to read

When recruiters scan your resume they need to be able to easily digest your experience and understand what you do. This means no paragraphs, long winded bullet points, images or an overly creative and distracting format to your resume that makes it difficult to locate information. Recruiters need to be able to clearly locate your current title and company, your previous title and company, start/end dates and education. You can also opt to add a few key bullet points as a summary to the top of your resume to highlight your work experience in a few sentences.

Another consideration in making your resume easy to read is formatting. Keep your resume in reverse chronological order and use a simple, no-fuss font like Times New Roman or Calibri in a font size of 10-12.

Last but not least, keywords, keywords, keywords! Make sure your resume is keyword friendly by including keywords for the skills you think they’d search for based on the position. As an example, if you work in finance and you’ve worked with certain software or programs, include those on your resume. You can also look through the job description to find the most relevant keywords the recruiter might search for.

Don’t make it too long

There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to how many pages you should keep your resume to. The shorter it is the easier it will be for the recruiter to review, but if cutting your resume to 1 page means cutting out valuable experience or information, don’t do it. Based on your level and the number of years you’ve been working I’d aim to keep your resume between 2-3 pages.

Tailor your resume to the job you’re applying to

Your resume should always be tailored to the role you’re applying to. The easiest way to do this is to look at the job description of the role and draw the shortest line possible between your experience and what is stated in the job description so that it’s clear you’re a match for the position. The more tailored the resume is, the better off you’ll be.  

Highlight your accomplishments

Highlighting your accomplishments can set you apart as an applicant. Recruiters and hiring managers like to see what you were able to accomplish in each role in addition to your day to day responsibilities. You can include a few bullet points for each of your roles to highlight your key accomplishments that lead to tangible results. For example, if you implemented a new program, increased sales by X, or lead a key project start to finish – we want to hear about it (just be sure you’re able to clearly outline how you accomplished these wins as they’ll likely be discussed in the interview process).

Use your network

One of the most effective ways to get your resume noticed is to use the connections in your network. If you know someone at the company you’re applying to who can refer you or forward your resume to the HR department, this can make a huge impact. Company referrals are trusted sources and because of this, referrals who get moved forward to the interview stage of the process statistically have a higher chance of getting hired than other candidates.

Other Tips:

Don’t neglect your LinkedIn profile – make sure it’s up to date and that all of the information on your resume lines up with what you have on LinkedIn.

Remove irrelevant information – anything non-work related, old or irrelevant jobs from the past can all go.

Use action words to describe your responsibilities at each employer – think of words like managed, lead, implemented, etc.

Submit your resume as a PDF – it’s cleaner and it will prevent any formatting errors.

Always double check your resume for spelling errors or typos before sending.

Good luck!

3 Habits for Working Remotely

I must say that working remotely has been the best part of 2020 for me, bar none. It has offered more flexibility and balance between my personal and work schedule and with no hour-long commute to endure, I can effectively do so much more with that free time. However, I have noticed this year that maintaining a healthy boundary between work and home has been extremely challenging because working remotely has made it that much easier to be plugged in all the time.

In the beginning of the pandemic working remotely felt somewhat stressful and I went a little overboard with working trying to make it clear that I was still productive from home. More recently, I’ve found myself rationalizing answering emails while watching TV “after work” and going to log off at 5:30pm and thinking ‘well, let me just knock this one thing off of my to-do list’ and then looking up to find it’s 7pm. This has caused work and home to become one big blur which lead to a bit of burnout recently and I realized I had to make some adjustments.

Separate your workspace

Being able to work from your bed is fun until it isn’t! Drawing a line between where you work vs. where you live is important. If you can physically close the door to your home office at the end of the workday that’s great, but even if you don’t have a home office, working from a specific part of your apartment or room and putting your laptop and work phone away each day when you finish will help to create some separation. 

Have a trigger to kickstart and end the workday

With no commute and no heels to kick off at the end of the day, I was missing a trigger that told my brain that the workday had ended. Your trigger could be anything – getting dressed, meditating, reading, taking a shower, taking a walk or whatever works for you. I’ve found the trigger that starts my day is putting on a pot of coffee in the morning, and the trigger to end my day has been a walk or two around the block. It’s enough time to clear my head and separate myself from work thoughts and technology.

Set a time to log off

It becomes much easier to lose track of time and work late when you’re remote. Setting a hard stop time for yourself will keep your work in check and also prevent it from bleeding into your personal life and the things you need to do after work. I would normally finish up my workday around 4:30pm so I do my best to set a hard stop at 5pm, which gives me a little bit of leeway to finish things up.

While working remotely creates a lot of flexibility, it also allows work to start creeping into your personal life which can create an unhealthy dynamic in your home- balance is key. Setting a few disciplined habits will mean being able to mentally and physically detach from your work more easily, creating a stronger work-life balance for you.

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.

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!