What Should I Expect During an Exit Interview?

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When an employee leaves your company, whether it was on your terms or theirs, it’s important to understand exactly what went wrong. Enter the exit interview. This is your opportunity to find out what’s working in your company and what isn’t. Exiting employees can tell you exactly which issues need your attention.

Here are five best practices for conducting exit interviews:

1. Determine goals before the interview.

Before you do anything else, you need to decide what you want to get out of the interview. There are a number of reasons to conduct exit interviews.

Some of these include: to end on good terms with the employee; to better manage future employees; to improve recruitment; training, and on-boarding practices; to pass information on to successors and replacements; to increase employee retention; or even to retain the exiting employee.

Before every interview, make a list of the specific goals you want to achieve.

2. Be tailored, but consistent.

Obviously, every exit interview will be different. They need to be tailored to the employee who is exiting. These employees will come from all different departments and seniority levels within your company, so these factors definitely affect the process. That being said, it’s also important to have a consistent system for conducting these interviews.

It’s a good idea to have an employee pretty high up in the chain of command conduct these interviews. Choose someone who has a hand in many departments and oversees a majority of your employees. This allows for the process to be efficient and consistent. If one person handles all exit interviews, they can make better decisions about the feedback and areas to improve. Additionally, all exit interviews should have the same format before tailoring them to the interviewee.

Once you decide the goals of the interviews, who will conduct them, and how they will be formatted, this policy should be documented.

3. Make it a conversation, rather than an interview.

Exit interviews aim to uncover honest feedback from exiting employees. The best way to achieve this kind of feedback is to make the interview less formal and more conversational. The conversation should focus on the exiting employee’s contributions to your company in addition to the feedback you require. An exit interview will be more beneficial when your employee feels appreciated. This will give them more motivation to offer you advice for the future of your company.

4. Ask for valuable feedback.

Going back to those goals you established, it is important to ask exiting employees for valuable feedback. This could involve recruitment, on-boarding, training, benefits, culture, work load, and many more things. Cover all of these areas in order to see the full picture. Look for the good and the bad. Find out exactly why your employee decided to leave (it may be different than you thought). There might be problems you didn’t even know existed. Ask the interviewee to be honest and constructive for the benefit of future employees. Hopefully they can provide you with valuable insight.

5. Finish on a good note.

At the end of the exit interview, it’s important to say thank you and wish them luck in future. Hopefully, you can end on good terms with the employee. It’s important for both parties to avoid burning bridges.

Record all the feedback you receive and compare it to other exit interviews. If you notice a prominent issue, take steps to make immediate changes. It’s important not to put off these changes because they could end up following though the cracks.

Hopefully, with increased changes as a result from exit interviews, you can increase retention in the future.

What are some other best practices you recommend for the exit interview?

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Come Recommended.

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How Should I Include my Salary History in a Cover Letter?

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Providing a salary history can be tricky, because it serves as an early screening tool for recruiters and a strong indicator of what your next salary should be. By revealing your past salaries, you’re essentially plotting the course to your next one. And your potential employer may not have the same destination in mind.

Just like all money conversations, discussing salary can be awkward if you don’t approach it with confidence. To make sure you know what you’re talking about when it comes to salary history, we talked to Paul Barada, salary and negotiations expert for Monster.com and president of pre-employment screening company Barada Associates Inc.

DON’T SKIP IT
If you’re applying for a job that specifically asks for salary history on the application, don’t ignore the request or put ‘not applicable.’ An incomplete application is the quickest way to the trashcan, says Barada, so don’t give the hiring manager an easy excuse to throw yours away.

DO SHOW HOW YOUR SALARY HAS PROGRESSED

If you’re asked to outline your salary history, include a separate sheet from your cover letter and resume devoted to salary. Include all fulltime, professional positions you’ve held post-graduation (no need to include short-term, hourly stints like serving tables, transcribing, etc.).

The best way to organize your salary history page is to state your position, employer, time spent in the position, and then your annual salary. (See below for an example.) This is a great way to show how your salary has steadily increased with your professional status—and what you expect your next salary to be.

Second-Year Audit Associate
Deloitte and Touche LLP, New York, NY
8/2008 – Present
Starting Salary: $45,000
Ending Salary: $55,000

DON’T LIE OR EXAGGERATE ABOUT PAST SALARIES
This is an absolute no-no: Lying about your salary will discredit you as a candidate and burn a bridge with the potential employer. Barada says it’s simple to check up on an employee’s salary history, and many employers will ask for a copy of a recent pay stub or W-2 form to verify past payments.

Barada says companies check up on salary history more often than you’d think. “A company asked us to do a report on a candidate, and the applicant had about 20 years of professional experience, but he lied about how much money he was making at his last job,” says Barada. “He would have been hired if he’d been honest, but he didn’t get the job. The $5K he lied about wasn’t worth it.”

DO KNOW WHAT YOUR NEXT SALARY SHOULD BE

If you’re apprehensive about sharing your salary because you think you’ll get less than you’re worth, include what you expect your new salary to be. For each advancing position, it’s fair to assume you should receive at least a 10- to 15-percent increase in salary.

Take a candidate making $40,000. When applying for a new job, this candidate could state in her cover letter “My most recent salary was $40,000, but my anticipated salary is negotiable within the $45,000 to $50,000 range.” Most people change jobs because they have more experience and want to make more money—and there’s nothing wrong or unethical about asking for a bump in pay to reflect that. Just make sure your desired salary is realistic: That $40,000 candidate should not be requesting a $75,000 salary if her experience and skills don’t warrant it.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at WetFeet.

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Should You Admit Mistakes During Job Interviews?

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You’re getting ready for the interview of your life. Your resume and cover letter are safely ensconced in your briefcase. Your shirt’s pressed. You look great, you feel great, you are great!

Of course, this is the mantra you’re repeating to yourself as you anxiously wait for your name to be called by the receptionist. Suddenly, you’re in. You give a nice, firm handshake to your interviewer and take the hot seat. Here’s where the real work begins.

Making a First Impression

How do you make yourself appear to be the ideal candidate without being smug? Will they like you? Are they going to do a background check?

Here’s what you need to come ready to do in order to make a good first impression:

  • The most important factor in any job search is knowing why you’re the perfect person for the position. You should come prepared to convince the company that what you have is what it’s looking for.
  • You should never speak ill of previous co-workers or bosses; airing your dirty laundry in a job interview is a surefire way to not get hired.  If you’ll do it to your ex-employers, what’s to stop you from eventually doing it to the company interviewing you?)

However, even if you’re the perfect person for the job, your past may reflect the bumpy road it took to becoming you. People make mistakes. If you own up to those mistakes and, more importantly, learn from them, you will be a better employee in general. When you admit your faults in an interview, you’re showing you’re self-aware and honest.

Employers want to hire real human beings, with both strengths and flaws. Heidi Fuhrman, Director of Possibilities at the League of Innovators, says, Past mistakes don’t typically lead to a job, but being transparent in an interview about your record provides an opportunity to discuss what you’ve learned. You don’t have to pretend to be perfect, but characteristics of transparency and personal growth are attractive attributes that can redeem the past.

Admitting Your Faults

If your past is less than ideal, keeping something from a potential employer can be detrimental to getting hired. Most companies screen potential candidates prior to employment, so it’s important to share this information beforehand. (This includes checking out your social media profiles; even if you maintain these as private, many companies now pay to have open access to view your friends-only version.)

The interview process is also a great time to discuss anything on your record and explain either how you’ve changed for the better or why there’s an error present. My company participates in a program that aids in transitioning ex-convicts back into society. Their past transgressions are obviously more public than others might be, but their transparency allows us to have an open conversation about expectations and habits. Employers appreciate the opportunity to have a candid discussion with you about what they’ve found  and your willingness to participate proves to them that you’re cooperative and trustworthy, two positives on your side.

Your work ethic and abilities are shaped by your past. Additionally, many employers (rightfully) believe that past behavior is a good indicator of future performance. You should admit when you’ve done something wrong, but also explain what you are doing or have done to change for the better. If the flaws are exposed and on the table, we can then focus on  and exploit  the strengths without confusion, says Matt Roberts, COO of Molding Box.

Failure is something that enables each of us to grow as people. Even  the most successful people in the world have failed. You will learn more about yourself, and what you’re made of, in the process of picking yourself up than you ever will from not putting yourself out there.

The fact is no one is perfect. When a company is seeking to hire a prospective employee, it’s looking for people who are teachable and want to do great things. If you’ve found the perfect job that’s the sum of all your abilities, don’t be afraid to own up to your mistakes and embrace them. Being an open and self-aware book may just earn you your dream job.

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at Under30Careers.

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How Do I Negotiate My Salary?

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Probably the worst part of the interview process (if you’re lucky enough to get this far), is the negotiation stage. As a college student or recent graduate, entering this stage is known to produce large amounts of sweat, anxiety, hives, you name it.

When an employer makes you an offer, instead of agreeing to the initial amount right off the bat, there are a few things you can do in order to increase your chances of getting the best possible salary.

First, before any salary conversation happens, figure out what the average salary is for the role and make sure it applies to the city you’ll be working in. A salary for an accounting job in New York City can be vastly different from an accountant’s salary in Omaha, Nebraska. Use sites like Payscale and Glassdoor for this information.

Next, figure out what you need to earn in order to live. Consider health and car insurance, phone bills, food expenses and anything else that plays into your daily or monthly living expense. Once you tally up your bills and know how much you’ll need to pay on top of commuting expenses or rent, negotiating is going to be something you’ll need and want to do for your own good.

After figuring out a fair salary amount, plan to aim a little higher when talking to a potential employer. This will give you the best chance of getting offered the salary you are comfortable making.

All this preparation will help you get into the right frame of mind for the actual salary discussion that usually sounds like this:

Employer: “We are prepared to offer you X amount per year.”

Job Candidate: “Oh, okay. That sounds good to me. I accept.”

Do NOT be this job candidate. Sure it feels great to be offered a salary at all, especially when it’s your first job out of college, but keep in mind that there’s always room to negotiate. Most employers expect it.

So here’s the alternative route to take using your research and the awkward pause strategy:

Employer: “We are prepared to offer you X amount per year.”

Job Candidate: Initiate awkward pause and reply, “I’m really excited about this opportunity and working at this company, but I was hoping the salary would be higher. The amount I have in mind is X.” (Remember, this is the higher amount, not the actual amount you’re aiming to get. You’re hoping the employer will come back with an amount closer to your goal number.)

Here’s where a longer, 30-second awkward pause comes into play and it’s going to feel like a Mexican standoff because neither you or your potential employer will want to be the first to speak. As painful as it is, bite your tongue, embrace the silence, and let the employer come back with the first response.

Typically, the employer will say something like this:

Employer: “I’m not sure if we can do this but I’ll talk to my superiors and get back to you.”

This is a good thing. It means your number is going to be considered. Even if the employer comes back and says they can’t do it, remember that there are other things aside from salary that can be negotiated, like work flexibility and time off.

Lets be honest, no one enjoys the awkward pause but it has been known to work in the job candidate’s favor more often than not. It shows an employer you know what you want, you know what you’re worth, and you’ve done the research. Stay strong in your negotiation talk and prove to an employer that you’re worth every penny!

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at WetFeet.

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How To Deal With a Slacking Coworker

 

A new study found that a whopping 93 percent of American workers are getting dragged down by a slacking coworker, according to a Vital Smarts study. Come on, we all have one of those in our office. He shows up late, slacks off and really lowers the bar for your team.

You try to ignore him, but he’s like a plague to your career:

  • You can’t focus on your own work as well as you’d like.
  • You lose respect for management for lack of accountability.
  • It’s a bummer and it can hurt your morale.

If the slacker is truly impeding your growth opportunity at your job, it’s time to bite the bullet and do something about it. But confrontation is hard.

I mean, you’re not his boss. You might experience backlash. That’s probably why only 10 percent of employees actually speak up, according to the Viral Smarts study – even though their slacking colleague is costing you an extra 4-6 more hours of work each week!

Okay, enough is enough. We spoke with some experts on how to deal. Have you tried this approach?

[Check out: CareerBliss Guide: Coworkers and Bosses]

1. “I noticed that you’re kind of distracted”

Dianne Sikel, business building strategist suggests that saying this may cause him to reexamine and change his behavior. Here’s what you should say, according to Sikel:

Is there anything you need to get off your chest or you want to talk about? You know, since we work together, we affect each other in many ways. I am here to listen if you need a friend.

Being there for the slacker as a friend is a great way to avoid accusation and still see if he’ll open up to you about why he’s not stepping up. Or, it will help him realize that he is slacking off if he’s been oblivious to it.

2. Share Facts and Describe the Gap

If your slacking coworker simply doesn’t want to be buds, it’s time to lay down the law loud and clear. Tell him exactly how he’s falling short — maybe not too brassy, though.

In order to do this in a non-threatening or accusatory way, “make it safe and don’t start by diving into the issue,” says Joseph Grenny, coauthor of New York Time’s best seller “Crucial Confrontations.”

Be nice and talk about your shared goals. (Then, it’s time to give it to him straight … Just kidding!)

“Start with the facts of the issue and strip out accusatory, judgmental and inflammatory language,” Grenny says. “Then, describe the gap between what was expected and what was delivered.”

3. Give Him a Chance to Share His Perspective

“Ask if he or she sees the problem differently. If you are open to hearing others’ points of view, they’ll be more open to yours,” Grenny says. This way, you’re not just talking at him.

4. Bring out the Big Guns: A Tactful Chat With Supervisor

If you have run the gamut of nice approaches, and he’s still shrugging shoulders, it’s time to report the issue – but do it like you’re walking on ice (very carefully).

“Don’t let it be a whining session about I’m doing more,” Kelly Walsh, owner and president of 1SmartLife says, “but more one of I’m working 60 hours per week, I’ve talked to Joe and he hasn’t been able to assist me and I’m concerned about being able to do my best work for you.”

For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at CareerBliss.

CareerBliss, an online career community dedicated to helping people find happiness in the workplace. CareerBliss is your place to research salaries, check out companies and find your happiest job ever. Connect with CareerBliss on Facebook and Twitter.

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No Job Offers? Maybe You’re Scaring Recruiters Away

It seems that many in the ranks of the unemployed… are unemployed for a reason.

One of three reasons, to be exact.

Their failure to find work is often because they fall into one of three job seeker personality types: the Ego, the Victim and the Stalker… each of which scare away hiring managers and recruiters – and drive them toward safer candidates that will fit better within their culture.

Thankfully, with a modest effort, these job seeker types can change:

The Ego

The Ego personality is typically a person who writes checks his resume can’t cash.

The Ego may come from a very good school… but have no real experience. Maybe they’ve been so propped up by their helicopter parents that the idea of “entry-level” doesn’t work for them.

Perhaps they’re a workforce veteran that has been downsized after climbing the ranks of management and now just can’t deal with the thought of sliding backward. Maybe they obtained a certain status within their industry and developed an elitist attitude (along with high demands from employers).

For certain, the “Ego” doesn’t seem to realize their vision of themselves, and where they should be, was an economic lifetime ago – and they can’t let go.

If you are an Ego job seeker personality type:

Take a step back. Apply a more humanistic approach to your job search, and a certain degree of humility, by volunteering within your community. By working selflessly with others, you’ll regain a sense of balance – and will then be able to focus on what is important to you, including a sense of contribution (rather than letting your view of what you should be, define you).

The Victim

Almost the polar opposite of the Ego, is the Victim. He can’t find a job, has little confidence – and tells the world that his situation is not his fault.

The typical Victim has built a fortress around himself. He’s submitted dozens, perhaps hundreds, of online applications and perhaps has been on several interviews. That effort hasn’t resulted in a single job offer, however. So, despite continuing to actively job search, he has no expectation of receiving an offer anytime soon.

The most telling sign of a Victim: he blames everyone and everything else for his current situation – the economy, his city, his old boss or company, maybe even his spouse or family.

If you are a Victim job seeker personality type:

Try something different! Take your job search in a different direction. Recognize that what you’ve been doing is not working. Also realize that no one wants to hire someone who constantly complains, makes excuses and blames others. Instead, they want someone who will fit their company culture and add to a pleasant, positive working environment.

Network more. Blog. Join the career-related chats on Twitter. Enlist the services of a professional career counselor or coach. And until you find some self-confidence… celebrate every little victory: a new lead, speaking to an influential contact, a new internship – anything to help you get out of victim mode.

The Stalker

The Stalker is one who is so eager (read: desperate) that she leaves all common sense behind.

She applies for the same job 16 times in three weeks. And/or after the interview… calls, emails and tweets so often she either scares, or annoys the hell out of, the recruiter. Through her actions, and perhaps despite the perfect resume and work experience, she comes off more like Glenn Close in ‘Fatal Attraction’ than she does the perfect team member. The Stalker rarely gets a first chance, and never gets a second.

No one wants to hire a stalker.

If you are a Stalker job seeker personality type:

Relax and resist. By “relax” I mean STOP letting your desperation show. And by “resist” I mean you must resist all temptation to turn into an overbearing, relentless candidate whom no one wants to hire. For a detailed “how-to” on effective (non-stalker) communication with a recruiter, see “Job Seekers: No One Ever Hires…a Stalker“.

With so many candidates competing with you for that dream job, be sure you don’t become a recruiter’s worst nightmare: the Ego, the Victim or the Stalker. If your job search is stalled, thoroughly review these three personality types and evaluate yourself honestly: do you fit into one of these categories?

 For this post, Doostang thanks our friends at YouTern.

About the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Switch and Shift, The Daily Muse and Under30CEO.
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How Do I Handle Confrontation in the Workplace?

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Occasionally you will need to confront someone in the office, whether this is a coworker who isn’t pulling his or her weight, a person working under you who is slacking on the job, or a boss who isn’t giving you what you need.  Bear in mind that it’s important to go to others when they are doing something that impedes upon your work or your personal space.  It’s also crucial, however, to do so in a tactful way, so as not to infringe on their space.

Here are three don’ts to keep in mind when you are confronting someone in the office:

1. Don’t Get Personal

The minute you make something personal, the person you are confronting will go on the defensive and won’t be as receptive to change.  You also have the potential to create an awkward dynamic between you and that individual.  The only place to get personal when you are confronting someone is with yourself – tell them how you feel and how you can work together to allow the two of you to work more productively together.

2. Don’t Ignore It

You may feel that it’s easier just to ignore a problem when it arises, but the trouble with this is that if it continues to crop up, eventually you’re going to reach a breaking point.  Avoid storing away your emotions and unleashing them when something small happens, as this will only make you look bad.  If you’re not prone to meltdowns, that’s still no reason to try to bypass the confrontation, as the problem will only nag at you and make you feel unhappy at your job.

3. Don’t Get Emotional

It’s advisable not to fly off the handle the minute something bothers you.  Wait until you are in a better frame of mind and have some distance from the situation before you confront another person about it.  If you go to them in the heat of the moment, you might say something you don’t mean and end up burning bridges and damaging your reputation.

“Confrontation” is full of negative connotations, but it really doesn’t have to be.  It’s mostly about finding the right time and getting in the right frame of mind so that you can phrase your main points in a diplomatic way, and then it won’t seem so bad – to you or the person on the other end of the conversation.

How else would you handle confrontation in the workplace? Would you go to HR or just handle the situation on your own?

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6 Tips to Nail Your 30-Second First Impression

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It’s vital when you go to interview to make the best first impression you possibly can. The interviewer only has one chance to form an opinion of you and you need to make sure it’s a good one. How can you impress in the first 30 seconds? Here are some top tips from the Graduate Recruitment Bureau to help you come across as the perfect candidate.

1. Eye-contact

This can feel awkward but you need to make sure that when you meet your interviewer you look them in the eye as much as you can. Obviously don’t stare unblinkingly (they probably won’t like that) but make sure you make the connection. It’s easy to forget and stare at the floor or the wall but you need to be aware of this because it will make you look as if you’re not engaging.

2. Walk tall

You need to make sure your body language exudes the confidence of someone who believes they will get the job. Stand up straight with your shoulders back – no slouching! Keep your body language open and friendly. Arm folding is a no-no and when you’re standing/sitting waiting don’t pace or shuffle nervously. Remember you are calm and cool and you can get this job!

3. Get the handshake right

The handshake is the universal sign for politeness and professionalism so you need to get it right. Keep it firm, not too firm though – you don’t want to crush any fingers – and two shakes should be enough. Lean in for the handshake and step back when it’s done. If you’re worried you’re going to have sweaty hands (it happens) then keep a tissue in your pocket it and give it a quick squeeze before the handshake.

4. Talk the talk

When you meet the interviewer for the first time, introduce yourself. Yes, they (hopefully) already know who you are but if you introduce yourself it makes you look confident and prepared. It also means that you can avoid any awkward discussion about the weather or your journey there. Make sure you speak clearly as well, don’t mumble.

5. Dress to Impress

You have to look the part when you show up for interview. It’s irrelevant whether everyone there is in a suit or whether they’re lounging round the office in surf shorts. You have not yet earned your place there so you must dress smartly to show the interviewer that this job is important enough for you to have made an effort.

6. Smile

Last but not least, try and look like you’re not having one of the most nerve-wracking experiences of your young life. Smiling will open up your face and make you look much more approachable and friendly. Believe it or not, if you smile for long enough you’ll start to feel genuinely more relaxed as well.

About the Author: Frankie Pocock is an online researcher and marketing assistant at the Graduate Recruitment Bureau.

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4 Email Etiquette Tips for Employees

After working in office environments for a number of years, one of the best pieces of advice that I would give to office newbies and veterans alike is to pay attention to email etiquette.

Each day I send and receive dozens of emails (both for work and my personal life), and it’s amazing how many people just don’t get what’s acceptable and what makes for socially awkward and annoying communication.

Here are the top questions you should be asking yourself before clicking the send button:

1. Should I “reply all” or edit the recipient list?

When replying to an email with multiple recipients, consider whether all of the other people in the conversation need (or will want) to be included in your response. If it’s a brainstorming session or if you’re contributing feedback to an idea, it’s probably fine. However, if you’re simply responding with a “yes,” or “no,” you may want to think twice. And, if the reply contains sensitive information, it is likely best to respond directly to the sender.

2. Is it appropriate to “cc” or “bcc”?

Whether you’re copying in a client with pertinent details of a project or just sending an FYI about a staff function, it’s important to think about when and how to include people in on the conversation. If the information is fine to be shared with others, “cc” is a good option. It’s also helpful to use the “to” and “cc” fields to define who you’re looking for a response from, and who you are just intending to inform.
When it comes to the “bcc” function, this should be saved for when the recipient may feel uncomfortable with the contents of the email being visible to others. It may also be a good option when you’re parlaying a message that your boss or supervisor should be privy to, but you want to avoid looking like you’re tattling on a coworker.

3.  How does my writing reflect my message?

When writing a professional email, it’s a good idea to align the importance of your message with the quality of your writing. If you are making a proposal to a client or negotiating a raise, texting shorthand is not even close to adequate. It diminishes your credibility, and devalues the substance of your message. It tells others that you’re not willing to invest time and/or effort into the conversation, which could prompt a similar response from those receiving your email.
In addition to language, tone can make a big difference. If you are conversing with close co-workers, a more casual voice can be fine. However, if you’re not, make sure your writing is profession and respectful.
Plus, everyone knows what spell check is. This means that if you are sending emails packed with spelling mistakes, it’s only because you haven’t bothered to fix them. So, turn on your email spell check, and take a quick second to ensure that you haven’t used the wrong “their,” “they’re,” or “there,” or committed another major spelling or grammar offense.

4. Is my sign off suitable for my audience and the conversation?

At the end of an email, consider who you’re talking to and the action that you want them to take, and go from there. “Best Regards” and “Thank you” are both generally considered friendly and courteous salutations. However, it often comes down to taste. Overall, it’s usually best to err on the side of formality.
It’s also a good idea to create a professional signature line with your title, contact info, and company name included, giving you the chance to portray a professional and put together image.

About the Author:  Jennifer Kwasnicki is a career and education writer for Trade-Schools.net and its blog, where she helps to provide potential students with comprehensive resources related to schools, careers, and more.

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How to Disagree With Your Boss Without Getting Fired

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Disagreeing with your boss is a tricky dance – on the one hand you may want or need to offer an opposing opinion for the sake of the company’s well-being; on the other, you may want or need to keep your job.  Now don’t get worried too quickly, a disagreement doesn’t always end in termination.  Companies invite differing viewpoints, but if you’re not tactful enough, they may not invite you back to the office.  Here’s how to effectively disagree with your superior:

1. Time It Well

It’s important to time your conversation so that you can not only present your opinion when it is relevant to the matter at hand, but so that it doesn’t conflict with other important matters at work.  If your boss is stressed out and dealing with other issues, he or she might perceive your disagreement as more of an affront on their authority.

2. Pay Your Respects

Always adhere to the pecking order when you are offering an opposing opinion.  Start by acknowledging your respect for your boss and by explaining that your goal in the conversation is to have a productive discussion in order to reach the best possible outcome.

3. Pace Yourself

Be sure to remain clear and concise, and deliver information in an easily digestible manner.  Rushing headlong into a diatribe will probably confuse or frustrate your boss, so make sure to remain level-headed.  Also try to present facts before you start making judgement calls right away.

4. Engage/Discuss

After you have presented your point of view, make sure to invite your boss to make comments.  In fact, you should probably do this throughout.  Since you have already explained to your boss that you are coming to him with your disagreements in order to reach a better outcome for all, make it a point to try to reach some mutual conclusion with him.

Just because you disagree with your boss doesn’t mean you’re going to get sacked if you let him know about it.  Just make sure to put your emotions on the back burner and go in there with both a game plan and a game face, and you’ll likely find you’ll elicit his or her respect.

What other tips would you recommend for respectfully disagreeing with a boss?

 

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