Ways to Land an Internship During COVID-19 (It’s Not Too Late!)

Ways to Land an Internship During COVID-19 (It’s Not Too Late!)

 Ways to Land an Internship During COVID-19 (It’s Not Too Late!)

The coronavirus pandemic has left very little unchanged, and internships are no exception. The results of a survey released by the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) in May found that 22% of employers had revoked internship offers in light of COVID-19. Many companies continue to evaluate the situation and make ongoing changes and decisions about their internship programs.

If you’ve found your dream internship unexpectedly canceled—or are on an internship search that’s severely lost its mojo—keep the hope! Here are steps you can take to find new remote internships and other opportunities to build your resume during the global pandemic.

1.Take Advantage of Your School’s Resources

Chances are your college or university is thinking about how to help and has a variety of resources you can use. For example, many career centers have school-specific databases for internship postings, with information about who’s still hiring. (Even if your college’s career center doesn’t have a formal job posting system, a very popular one called Handshake is now available to all students with a .edu address. You can create a free account to check out more than 500 recent opportunities.) As another plus, you might be able to set up an appointment to meet virtually with an advisor on staff who can give you individualized advice for your situation.

2. Hone in on Remote Work Opportunities

In order to increase your chance of success, laser in on opportunities that are least likely to hit a corona roadblock. Companies that are already advertising an internship as remote are less likely to cancel it later on when they realize social distancing rules will be in effect longer than they had hoped. General job search sites have remote opportunities listed on websites such as Intern From Home, Jobspresso, and Symba.

 

3. Opt to Volunteer

Volunteering can be a great way to work for a company or organization, and there may be less competition than for internships. Admittedly, you have to be able to afford to not get paid, which understandably can be a limiting factor.

There are volunteer opportunities across industries and for a wide range of interests. Maybe you’d like to help with the copywriting on a documentary film or leverage your Spanish major while working for a human rights foundation. Or perhaps you want to give back to the community during this pandemic. Try searching on VolunteerMatch and Idealist, which have thousands of virtual and local volunteer opportunities listed.

The internship search may be more complex and challenging these days, but the good news is there are still opportunities out there. If you are persistent and flexible about the kinds of opportunities you’ll consider, you can gain valuable experience —even if it’s not exactly where or how you’d hoped. Keep at it, stay safe, and good luck!

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about finding an internship during this time. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

 

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Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down

Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down

Working From Home With Kids When Coronavirus Has Shut Everything Down. The World Health Organization has declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. Things are changing quickly every day, and most of us have seen our typical routines turned upside down. More and more workplaces are allowing or requiring remote work, while school and daycare closings and “social distancing” restrictions mean that whole families are suddenly spending a whole lot more time at home together.

That means many working parents are facing an unprecedented situation: working from home with kids and without access to the camps, babysitters, playdates, and even Grandma-dates that you might normally rely on to get through a school break or a snow day.

It won’t be smooth or perfect, but there are a few strategies you can use to make your new situation a little easier. We have real-world tips from remote workers who’ve balanced career and children in close proximity to help you through this difficult moment.

1. Get Creative With Your Schedule

If you have another adult home with you, consider a split schedule. “Our entire family was housebound for 15 days last winter when there was a polar vortex in Wisconsin,” says Melanie McKay, a scheduling manager for Kaplan Test Prep. “At the time our kids were two, six, seven, and nine. My husband and I both had to work from home and school was canceled. At the beginning of each day, we decided who would be the ‘on point’ parent. That person would work at the dining room table, feed the kids, and suggest activities for ‘bored’ children while the other parent worked in a different room.”

Of course, it may not be possible to get all your work done during regular business hours if you’re also on duty with the kids. “One way we maximized work time was by working odd hours,” McKay says. “I worked before the children were awake. My husband and I staggered work times during the day, and one of us worked in the evening when the children were in bed.” You’ll also need to take meetings and deadlines into consideration. Which ones can be shifted around, and which are cast in stone?

Whichever time slots you end up working, there will be an adjustment period as you retrain your mind to focus during your new “business” hours. You may enjoy mornings, but getting up at 4 or 5 AM to work is different from getting up early to exercise. So set yourself up for success. Pick out tasks in advance and then gather all of the tools and information you’ll need to complete them. Your tired brain will thank you later.

2. Be Up Front With Your Boss

You might need to make adjustments to your work schedule in order to watch your children. Before you do, talk to your boss or HR.

Begin the discussion by contextualizing the news. Remember that this isn’t your personal situation, it’s a community issue. Convey this point tactfully by stating the facts in a straightforward way. It’s also always good to come into this kind of conversation proactively with a clear action plan, says career coach Melody Godfred.

So for example, Godfred suggests you might say:

“As I transition to working from home, I wanted to share that I am also responsible for my three kids, who I will be homeschooling for the time being due to school closures. I am creating a schedule that I will share with you so that you’re aware of when I will be available or unavailable for calls or collaboration. I am absolutely committed to maintaining the level of excellence you expect and will remain in close communication with you so you’re clear on how I’m meeting our goals. I appreciate your support and look forward to navigating this together.”

3. Stick to a Routine

Maintaining a daily routine will help everyone stay occupied and manage some of the anxiety caused by this big change. Go ahead and write out a schedule (including which parent is on primary kid duty if you’re trading off) and pin it to the wall or the refrigerator so kids can refer to it throughout the day.

“The kids had a list of things to do each morning (dress, brush teeth, empty the dishwasher, read for 15 minutes), and we steered them toward different activities each day such as puzzles or fort building,” McKay says.

With some schools closing for a month or more, you’ll want to build in “school” time every day, too. (Bonus: School time can equal pockets of work time for you.) If your kids’ schools have set up remote learning, follow the plan and use the resources provided by their teachers.

Just resist the temptation to have a screen time free-for-all: “Rationing screen time was an important part of my child engagement strategy,” McKay says. “They knew that those were the only two hours that they would get to watch screens all day, so they focused on the show and let me focus on work.”

Juggling work and childcare is an intense but survivable experience. Many remote workers successfully navigate this reality every day. While your situation is different from families who regularly work at home while taking care of children, you can build a temporary structure for your temporary circumstances. With a little bit of planning, lots of discussions, and an adaptable attitude, you’ll be able to better weather your COVID-19 stint at home with the kids.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about how to working at home with your kids. We are home to the #1 San Francisco career coaches and Los Angeles career coaches, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Quitting Your Job ASAP? 5 Things to do Now.

Quitting your job ASAP? 5 things to do now

Quitting Your Job ASAP, 5 Things to do Now. Are you about to leave your current job for an incredible new one? Let’s get you prepared to make that transition graceful and smooth, shall we? Here are four things our Ignite Your Potential career coaches say you should do before you quit:

1. Ask Current Co-Workers to Write You a LinkedIn Recommendation

If you can think of colleagues, people in leadership, or even those who report to you, that have a good vantage point on the work that you’ve done, this is a great time to ask if they would be willing to write you a recommendation on LinkedIn. Even if you already have a job lined up, most of us are unlikely to go back later and do this type of “housekeeping.” Why not take care of it now as another way to archive the work you’ve done.

2. Make Those Last Doctor and Coaching Appointments

Do you have unused medical privileges that you’ll be walking away from? Or, are your old benefits more robust than your new ones will probably be? If so, consider booking your last checkups and appointments while still covered on your current employer’s plan. Do you have a stipend for professional development? The San Francisco career coaches and Los Angeles career coaches at Ignite accept these types of payment and then you can use our career coaching as you onboard to your new company.

3. Give Your Laptop and Phone some TLC

You know how you’ve kind of adopted your company-provided equipment as “yours?” Right. Now is the time to digest the fact that you aren’t, in fact, the owner of said equipment. More than likely, your employer is going to review all of the files on that computer and contacts on the phone, scrub them, and hand them out to someone else. Given this, it’s critical that you copy all of the personal files that you need and delete the ones you don’t. 

4. Make Things Easy on Your Successor

Even if you’ve been working in a House of Misery, it’s just plain jerkish to leave a bunch of loose ends or tangled messes. In your last weeks on the job, make every effort to get things organized and prepared for whoever is going to pick up where you left off. Take good meeting notes, save your files in an easy-to-understand manner, and generally approach your work with the mindset that someone else is going to have to do it very soon. Also, if possible, offer to help select and train your successor.

5. Figure Out How to Move Money

Financial planning can be confusing under the best of circumstances. Don’t let this critical matter fall through the cracks as you make a job transition. If you have a 401(k) or other money coming back to you as you part ways, understand how the payout or transition needs to work before you goof up anything vital. And then manage the money transition right along with yours.

The beginning of a new year is the most inspiring time to make big moves to improve your career or life. If you’re going to be among those who make great leaps in 2020, make sure they’re pirouettes, not belly flops.

Looking for more tips on how to successfully leave a job? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 San Francisco career coaches and Los Angeles career coaches, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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How to Motivate Yourself When You’re Not in the Mood

Career Motivation

Career motivation can be elusive. Some days you feel it and other days you can’t grab a measly corner of it no matter how hard you try. You stare at the computer screen, willing yourself to type, create, develop, and instead you find yourself simply going through the motions, barely caring about the work you’re producing. Needless to say, you’re totally uninspired, and you don’t know how to make yourself feel otherwise.

Quora users have been there, and they have real and practical solutions for digging up that lost motivation and getting a job not just done—but completed with a sense of passion. Read on for tips and tricks that’ll get you motivated in no time.

Don’t Think About it as Hard Work

“There is only one way for me to motivate myself to work hard: I don’t think about it as hard work. I think about it as part of making myself into who I want to be. Once I’ve made the choice to do something, I try not to think so much about how difficult or frustrating or impossible that might be; I just think about how good it must feel to be that, or how proud I might be to have done that. Make hard look easy.” – Marie Stein

Think about it: If the project you’re faced with isn’t viewed as drudgery, but rather as a piece of the puzzle that’s helping you along your career path, then perhaps the energy required to do it will be easier to come by.

Create Small, Bite-Sized Goals

“There’s a reason donut holes are so lovable. They’re easy to eat. Before you know it, you’ve eaten a dozen of them. This is how goals should be too. Of course, you should have a really big, audacious goal. But make sure you break down that goal into bite-sized, consumable goals. This way you’ll feel like you’re making progress in your journey and you’ll also feel a sense of accomplishment when you complete the smaller goals. A feeling of progress and achievement is a beautiful combination.” – Nelson Wang

You’ve no doubt heard this advice before, but have you applied it to motivation? Rather than focusing on a large, scary goal, take one thing at a time and break the big goal into ideas you can digest one at a time.

Stop Caring About the Things That Don’t Matter

“Doing things that don’t mean anything costs [us] a ton of mental energy. Look at your aggregated to-do list, find things you know that you don’t care about, and get rid of as many of these activities as possible. You will stay more consistently motivated if you’re working on activities that are inherently meaningful or are part of a larger mission.” – Nick Miller

It’s not always best to finish what you started if, down the line, you can’t even remember the reason you started something in the first place.

Just Do It

“To get motivated to start doing something, from my own experience, the most effective trick for me is to just do it (sounds trite, but it works.) As soon as you think something needs to be done, jump into it, doing it immediately (of course, provided the conditions are feasible.) You must not think about anything else, suppressing all other thoughts, keeping your mind blank, acting like a robot. Yes, it sounds weird, but it does work! Otherwise, you will debate whether you should do it now or there were too many issues with doing it, or there are other more pleasurable and exciting things to do over this boring task.” – Bob Win

Instead of waiting around, willing yourself to feel motivated, what if you just went ahead and started doing the work you know you need to do? Dive into the project and trust that the focus will be what you need.

Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you come up with other motivation tips that work for you. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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4 Phrases Your Boss Wants to Hear

Fact: At some point, every one of us has (or had) a boss.

We wish they had all the answers. It would be ideal if on every rung in the ladder, we could look to our bosses to actually lead us, guide us, and be our mentors.

But managers don’t know everything, and more often than not, they need our help, too. Unfortunately, only the best leaders actually ask for it.

But why wait to be asked? Here are four tiny sentences that every boss is secretly dying to hear you say, and that’ll help you manage up and make both you and your manager shine.

1. “I’ve Got This”

Maybe your manager has a few bosses of her own who have just joined on. These new players are demanding, and she may not know how to manage them and their requests. Projects she used to oversee—like the ones you work on—may not be her top priority right now, nor might she be the best person to guide you. So, what do you do? Easy. You tell her “I’ve got this.”

Why it Matters

A great boss knows that to succeed, she has to set priorities—which means she has to hand them off to someone else. Letting her know you will own this might give her the confidence she needs to let you run with it. And then you have an opportunity to flash your best work.

2. “It’s My Responsibility”

Too often people are either not held accountable or refuse to be, pointing the finger elsewhere. Usually, there’s a fear of retaliation if we make a mistake or if we shine a light on what went wrong. (Note: If that’s the culture you’re in, you might want to ask yourself if it’s where you really want to be.) But all things considered, taking responsibility for something you did or raising your hand when you see something that could be potentially damaging to your company is what leaders do.

Why it Matters

At the end of the day, stepping up to own our mistakes shows great character and courage. It’s what every great boss should praise (and not punish) in a direct report.

3. “I Disagree Because…”

Your boss may not always like or agree with what you have to say, but he’s far better off with a team that’s unafraid to speak up, instead of a bunch of “yes” men and women. You were hired for your judgment and counsel. Be respectful but be sure to speak your mind when it serves the company and its goals. True leaders will heed what you say and respect you back.

Why it Matters

Confident leaders won’t make you feel as if you’re walking on eggshells when the truth may hurt; rather, they’ll seek out direct reports they know will always give it to them straight.

4. “Can I Help?”

Why not periodically throw them a life preserver? Asking if you can help is an open-ended invitation to your boss, letting her know you’ve got her back and recognize that her workload is split between delivering to her higher-ups and managing you.

Why it Matters

“Can I help?” is another way of asking “Are you OK?” Letting her know she’s not alone will mean more to her than she may let on and will help you earn her trust as someone she can count on in times of need.

Sometimes, people think it’s “safest” to keep their heads down and say nothing. But, if you want to make a difference where you work, and you believe that what you have to offer can do that, then don’t hesitate to give these phrases a try.
Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you come up with more phrases your boss wants to hear. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Your Guide to Answering the Most Common Interview Questions

Wouldn’t it be great if you knew exactly what questions a hiring manager would be asking you in your next job interview?

We can’t read minds, but we can give you the next best thing: a list of some of the most asked interview questions, along with advice for answering them all.

While we don’t recommend having a canned response for every interview question (in fact, please don’t) we do however recommend spending some time getting comfortable with what you might be asked, what hiring managers are really looking for, and what it takes to reflect that you’re the right person for the job.

Interview Question and Answer Study Guide:

1. Tell Me About Yourself.

This question seems simple, so many people fail to prepare for it, but it’s crucial. Here’s the deal: Don’t give your complete employment (or personal) history. Instead, give a pitch—one that’s concise, compelling, and shows exactly why you’re the right fit for the job. Talk a little bit about your current role (including the scope and perhaps one big accomplishment,) then give some background as to how you got there and experience you have that’s relevant. Finally, segue into why you want—and would be perfect for—this role.

2. How Did You Hear About This Position?

Another seemingly innocuous interview question, this is actually a perfect opportunity to stand out and show your passion for, and connection to, the company. For example, if you found out about the gig through a friend or professional contact, name drop that person, then share why you were so excited about it. If you discovered the company through an event or article, share that. Even if you found the listing through a random job board, share what, specifically, caught your eye about the role.

3. Why Do You Want This Job?

First, identify a couple of key factors that make the role a great fit for you (e.g., “I love customer support because I enjoy the constant human interaction and the satisfaction that comes from helping someone solve a problem,”) then share why you love the company (e.g., “I’ve always been passionate about education, and I think you’re doing great things, so I see strong alignment.”)

4. Why Are You Leaving Your Current Job?

Definitely keep things positive—you have nothing to gain by being negative about your current employer. Instead, frame things in a way that shows that you’re eager to take on new opportunities and that the role you’re interviewing for is a better fit for you. For example, “I’d really love to be part of product development from beginning to end and I know I’d have that opportunity here.” 

5. Why Should We Hire You?

Your job here is to craft an answer that covers three things: that you can literally do the work and deliver great results; that you’ll fit in with the team and culture; and that you’d be a better hire than any of the other candidates. 

With all of these, write your answer out and spend time saying these out loud. We would never suggest that you memorize a canned answer but the more you are familiar with your narratives the more comfortable you will be when you share them. We also suggest you write up stories from experiences you’ve had that you would consider wins, challenges overcome, and other anecdotes that reflect your impact and success.
Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you with in depth interview preparation and much more. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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How to Know if You’re Making the Wrong Career Move

Imagine you are facing a major career decision. A new opportunity arose that would increase your engagement and give you more autonomy. Taking it however means leaving a job that you’ve enjoyed, focusing on a different type of work, and facing a substantial learning curve. Uncertain, you almost miss the window to apply… What do you do?

One of the biggest doubts that gnaws at a decision maker’s peace of mind, is worrying about making the wrong move. What if I take this new job and regret it? What if I’m not prepared enough to move up? What if I strike out on my own and fail? Just how, exactly, can you tell if you’re about to make a wrong move? Like many things in your professional life, there’s no black and white when it comes to making a bold career-changing pivot. But the following three questions may help you work through your concerns. (Of course, if your circumstances are complex, it’s time to schedule with one of our career coaches.)

1. Do You Have a Sense of Foreboding?

Do you feel a tiny lingering sense of dread when you think about the new opportunity? Maybe your potential boss minimized some of your accomplishments in the interview, making you wonder if your work won’t be valued in the new space. Or maybe you met the team, and while they were polite, they also seemed a bit tightly-wound, making you wonder how they handle a tough deadline or if this is the culture of the department.

Think you would just walk away if you encountered red flags like these? Don’t kid yourself—there are plenty of reasons we ignore warning bells, like a bigger paycheck, higher status, or the opportunity to live in a great location. But, if you see these signs, you shouldn’t overlook them simply because you want to make more money. A nagging unease or feeling of discomfort could be your big brain’s way of letting you know that you’re not ready or that it’s not the best option.

Look, it’s inevitable that a career change is going to create some anxiety. (If it doesn’t, check your pulse!) You don’t need to automatically turn down a great offer if you’re feeling nervous, but you should try to determine if it’s more than just butterflies. Ask yourself, “Am I uncomfortable about something that’s happened in this process, or am I just nervous at the thought of change?”

2. Are You Feeling Desperate?

If you’re in a crummy situation and you hate your job, and you get a chance to make a change, there’s a chance you might make the jump just to escape your current situation. Make sure you’re approaching the decision with a clear head so you can determine if the new opportunity actually offers something better or if it just seems that way. Remember that you need to vet this new opportunity. You need to assess if this new company, culture, team, management, product, is an actual fit for you and sets you up for success.

If you can’t find that clear headspace on your own, talk to someone. When you feel panicky, it’s incredibly difficult to maintain perspective. Someone on the outside, someone who doesn’t have your emotional attachment to the situation, can often be of enormous help. A trusted friend, mentor, or career coach can help you recognize and sort through your options.

3. Are You Trying to Spite Someone?

You’re not the only one who’s dreamed of getting an incredible opportunity to rub in that colleague’s smug face. But, c’mon now, that’s obviously a terrible reason to actually make a career move. If you let them drive your decision, you’re giving them control, and it’s unlikely that the decision is truly what’s best for you and your professional trajectory.

If you can remain secure and productive in your role, you’ll ultimately have more control, and eventually, new doors will open for you, giving you the chance to evaluate your options objectively.

Here’s a final nugget to bear in mind when wrestling with a major career decision: If you truly know what is a fit for you, if you know what you need in a career to thrive, and you have vetted the company, your potential co-workers and boss, the culture, then you are likely to make a good, solid decision. Still wondering “Am I making the fight decision?” Ask our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers who all offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Questions to Ask if You Want to Win Over Your New Boss

Starting a new job is all about making a good first impression. You have this amazing opportunity to start over—to build strong relationships and set your new career in the right direction—so don’t just enter your new office without a game plan or the same old routine you did before.

This means asking a lot of questions as soon as you get started. You may worry about being annoying, but asking questions is actually a great way to quickly understand the inner workings of your new company and also get on your boss’s’ good side.

While there are no bad questions, there are some that will boost your reputation better than others. For example, here are four that are worth asking in the first few days and weeks if you want to get ahead.

1. “How Are You Doing?”

First off, this shouldn’t be a one-time question. In fact, you should be asking this regularly of your new boss, if not daily. (And hopefully they’re asking the same of you.)

Why? Your boss is probably very busy, very stressed, or in some instances feels ignored or underappreciated, so making them feel noticed is an instant plus for you. And, it gives them a chance to open up. This could lead to more transparency, even more opportunity for you to get involved, and it’s the number one strategy for managing up.

We are aware that not every boss is going to take this kind of question and immediately become your new best friend. But at the very least it’s a nice thing to ask and that will help you build rapport.

2. “What Can I Take Off Your Plate?”

Their answer might be nothing (you’re new to the job, so it’s possible they’ll let you know when they’re ready to hand stuff off to you.) Or maybe they’re currently working on something that could use an extra set of hands. By asking rather than waiting for them, you make it easier for them to delegate—and shine a spotlight on your work ethic. Even when you aren’t asking this question directly, you need to be asking yourself this question. If this is top of mind when it comes to your boss, not only is this a leadership perspective, but you can be sure you’re headed in the right direction.

3. “Who Should I Meet with in My First Week/Month?”

Networking in a new job is crucial. You should be meeting with not just your new teammates, but other teams and executives (if possible) to get a better sense of your company’s goals and initiatives and how they tie back to your role.

Getting your boss’s insight on who you should interact with shows you respect their opinion but also are proactive about collaborating.

4. “What Are Your Goals for Me in the Next Month/Year?”

Thinking long-term shows, you’re driven and ready to hit the ground running from day one.

It’s possible your boss doesn’t know yet, or maybe their sole aim is to get you onboarded. In that case, turn it on them: “What are your goals for the next several months?” If nothing else, you can set your own goals and actions by figuring out how you can contribute to theirs.

Looking for more ways to impress your boss? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Out-of-Office Templates for the Holidays That You Can Copy and Paste Now

You’ve been busy planning out your tasks, tying up loose ends, and working ahead to ensure you can actually disconnect, recharge, and relax over your holiday break.

When you’ve finally powered your way through that seemingly endless to-do list and are ready to check out of work mode once and for all, there’s one final thing you need to take care of: setting your out-of-office response. 

But, what exactly should you say in that automated message of yours?

Whether you’re looking for something strait-laced and formal or over-the-top festive, here are six different holiday out of office messages you can use that are perfectly suited to you and your company.

For the Person Who Works in a Traditional Office

Hello,

Thank you for your email, I’m currently out of the office until [date].

I’ll reply to your message promptly when I return. But, if you require immediate assistance, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email] in my absence.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful holiday season,

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Wants to Keep it Friendly, But Professional

Hello,

Thank you for your email. I’m currently out of the office until [date] to celebrate the holiday with my loved ones—without my phone in front of my face.

I’ll be sure to reply to your message when I wade through my inbox upon my return. If your message is time-sensitive, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email].

Sending wishes for a happy holiday season,

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Keeps Things Festive

Season’s greetings!

It’s my favorite time of year, which means I’m currently out of the office chugging mugs of cocoa, stuffing my face with cookies, and attempting to fulfill my life-long goal of memorizing every single line of [your favorite holiday movie.]

I’ll be back in front of my computer on [date] and will respond to your message at that time. If you need immediate assistance, please send an email to [Contact Name] at [contact email] so that the other elves in this workshop can help you out.

Happy ho-ho-holidays!

[Your Name]

For the Person Who Will Be Checking Emails

Hello,

I’m out of the office until [date].

However, I will be taking periodic breaks from binge-watching everything I’ve missed to check my email [once per day/every evening/occasionally] while I’m away.

If this matter isn’t time-sensitive, rest assured that I’ll respond when I’m back in the office. But, if this is an urgent request, please resend any messages that require my immediate attention with a subject line of “URGENT: [Original Subject]”.

All the best,

[Your Name]

Whether you prefer to stick with something simple or have a little fun with your holiday out-of-office message, it’s important that you always make sure to at least include the basics: your return date and an alternative contact people can reach out to for urgent matters. Then, all that’s left to do is turn it on before you abandon your desk.


Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you if you have any questions about potential out-of-office emails or big career changes. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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Expert Ellen Pao Gives Her Best Tips On: How to Spot a Company That Cares About Diversity

A lot of companies talk about diversity and inclusion, but how do you vet if they walk the talk?

Ellen Pao has experienced this firsthand: When she was considering a role at the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins, her future boss’s pitch to her included the fact that it “was one of the few VC firms with women, and he wanted to bring even more onboard; diversity was important to him,” she wrote in her memoir, Reset: My Fight for Inclusion and Lasting Change. She took the job. But several years later, she sued the firm for gender discrimination.

These days, Pao is the CEO of Project Include, a nonprofit organization influencing tech startups to include more diversity which leads to improved teams, more innovation, and increased financial returns. These are her tips on finding a company where diversity and inclusion are more than just talk—and where you can thrive.

1. Check Out Who’s in Charge and How the Company Presents Itself

It’s easy to say you’re working on diversity and inclusion, but if those words aren’t backed up with evidence, they don’t mean much. So, look at who’s in charge, Pao says. Are there all kinds of people in leadership and on the board? Or do they all look the same? If the executives and investors are a homogenous group, it “indicates a lack of attention to important areas of inclusion.”

Then look at the company as a whole and its employees across all levels. “Go to the company website and look for diversity on the team,” Pao says. “Are there people on the team or in the photos on the website from different racial backgrounds?… Do they talk about diversity and inclusion anywhere on the website?”

2. Look at Their Track Record

One of the best indicators of what a company and culture are like in the present is what they were like in the past. So do your research on the company’s history. “You can do searches on Google for the company name and ‘harassment,’ the company name and ‘racism,’ the company name and ‘lawsuit,’” Pao says, “and see what kind of controversies they may have been involved in and see if you feel comfortable with how they’ve handled it.”

3. Ask the Right Questions

You can come right out and ask about diversity and inclusion in your interview, Pao says. “Like, ‘How do you think about diversity and inclusion?’ or ‘How is diversity and inclusion part of your company culture?’”

You will want to dig deeper than that once you know they want to hire you. “After you get the offer, ask them to tell you about a hard situation involving diversity and inclusion and how they addressed it,” Pao says. “No matter how well-intentioned and how inclusive their values, there will be some hard conversations and issues that come up. And the biggest thing is not hiding issues but addressing and resolving them in a transparent way.”

In other words, you shouldn’t expect that a company has never encountered any problems. Instead, you’re trying to gauge how your prospective leaders and colleagues react to those problems and talk about them. “That question can show whether the company is committed to having uncomfortable conversations and resolving issues or whether they kick the can down the road and try not to deal with it right away,” Pao says.

No list of questions and clues can capture everything about how a company handles diversity and inclusion. It can be hard to tell whether a company is truly committed in exactly the ways you find meaningful before you start working there. That said, we always encourage you to think of creative questions, such as these, to dig deeper and vet the company before you make a commitment to them. With this attitude and this information, you can learn a lot more than you may have thought.

Need more tips on vetting prospective employers? Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

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