Reset Your Career With Lindsey Pollak, Author of ‘Recalculating’
When it comes to navigating careers, the only constant in the workplace is that things will always change. Luckily, career and workplace expert Lindsey Pollak can offer a map.
Pollak spoke with SoFi’s resident career expert, Ashley Stahl, during a live LinkedIn event and offered advice on everything from getting hired to connecting in these increasingly digital times.
Below are some highlights from Stahl and Pollak’s chat.
Standing Out in Today’s Job Market
Although we’re amid the Great Resignation , the job market right now is “really weird,” Pollak said. On paper, everything looks promising for job seekers; positions are open and unemployment is dropping. But things aren’t always as they seem.
“I keep calling it the messy middle of the pandemic,” Pollak explained. With workplace policies in constant flux, hiring managers are hesitant to bring candidates aboard.
The best thing for job seekers to do right now is remain flexible, Pollak said. Expectations for roles are changing regularly, and the more candidates can show their willingness to go with the flow as the hiring process twists and turns, the more likely a hiring manager is to be receptive to them.
If a candidate can adapt to the change in the interview process, it shows they can roll with the punches that have become the norm in the modern workplace.
To stand out during an interview, Pollak suggested being able to demonstrate a balance between the:
• Emotional. Hiring managers are looking for the soft skills that have become a necessity in the workplace. Is the candidate a good communicator and collaborator? Do they embody the attitude of someone who will do what needs to be done, even if it’s out of their lane?
• Technical. Interviewers are looking for hires with some depth of understanding about their organization and the industry at large. Can candidates show that they understand the history of and news involving the company? Back in the day before she’d interview, Pollak would go to the library and research a company, pulling old newspaper clippings and annual reviews. Nowadays, that work is much easier, of course, with a Google search. That also means candidates have no excuse when it comes to studying up on and understanding the industry, company, and role they’re interviewing for.
While a job seeker’s background should tick off many boxes for a hiring manager, a candidate’s ability to demonstrate strong communication skills and an understanding of the company can put them leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Pollak is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest release, “Recalculating: Navigate Your Career Through the Changing World of Work,” explores not only the evolving workplace but also the importance of self-care amid the burnout epidemic .
“I’ve been very public about my mental health struggle,” Pollak said. She’s found that talking about it helps her and others understand what burnout means to each of them.
One of the trickiest parts has been the realization that “the same strategies that worked for me might not work for you,” Pollak said. Taking a bath or lighting candles never seemed to help her, the author said. Instead, she tried to find coping mechanisms that worked for her.
For example, Pollak knows she’s reaching burnout when “I start to get really jealous of other people.” She stops enjoying activities she usually loves, like dinner with friends or reading a good book.
In those moments, she finds that saying no and not taking on so much helps her recenter. For others, mileage may vary with this strategy.
What everyone can do is speak more openly about their experience of burnout.
“You’re not alone,” Pollak said.
Making the Most of Remote Opportunities
As the conversation shifted from hiring to promotions, Stahl pointed to research showing that people are more likely to get a raise or recognition if they work in person instead of remotely.
“I think this is a myth,” Pollak said, and right now “you may not have a choice” between remote and in-person work.
What an employee set on a raise or promotion can do is find a way to bring their energy and positive connection with their team online.
The foundation of that connection is likely a Zoom call, Pollak explained. Here’s her go-to strategy, even when no one’s in the same room:
• Start the call looking engaged. Avoid starting a call while scrolling on a phone or distracted by something else. First impressions matter when it comes to creating engagement.
• Bring energy to the call. Zoom fatigue is real, but active participants should keep their camera on and focus on the meeting. Don’t mask enthusiasm or excitement, as these can help create a real connection.
• Take advantage of technology. No one can see a person’s desk during a Zoom call, Pollak said. Don’t be afraid to cover that space with notes or even a script to keep a meeting from derailing. For those who don’t typically speak up in meetings, being able to subtly reference a script or notes may be an opportunity to shine online.
Simply bringing your best self to the digital office can build a deeper connection and help you get noticed, and in turn could lead to a promotion or raise.
The pandemic upended an already shifting workplace, but that doesn’t mean job and promotion seekers can’t shift, too. It might just be the right time to hit reset on your career path and explore new options, “Recalculating” author Lindsey Pollak said, adding: “You can always ask for help. No one has to be alone.”
That goes double for SoFi members, who can receive complimentary career coaching. Get help with your resume and networking approach, create a personal brand, and craft a tailor-made career plan.
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