The Surprising Upside to Having a Frenemy

Competition doesn't just compel you to boost your physical performance; it forces you to focus on ways to improve in almost any situation, says Lori Scherwin, founder of career coaching firm Strategize That. This increases your cognitive skills and creativity. “You'll start thinking differently and expanding your imagination to do things better,” she says. Just ask anyone who’s ever stayed up all night perfecting a presentation and hopefully outshine a work rival . . . only to come up with a brilliant strategy and subsequently earn a reputation at the office for being an ideas person who pushes boundaries. 

“If you remember to keep yourself focused on doing your personal best, you'll stay focused on your own development and how you can grow and learn,” notes Scherwin.

It might seem counterintuitive to see competition as a relationship builder. But whether it's on the job, at the gym, or among your social circle, to get things done, you need to team with others, says Scherwin. “Pushing yourself to succeed will naturally gear you toward enhanced collaboration and position you as a leader with whom others want to associate.”

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Buzzwords to include and avoid on your resume

Sure, you’re a hard-working innovator with excellent communication skills—unfortunately, so is nearly every job applicant you’re competing with, at least according to their resumes. It’s time to break from hackneyed buzzwords that carry zero weight in the eyes of a recruiter or hiring manager.

“Any cliché seems shallow in a resume,” says Lori Scherwin, executive coach and founder of New York City-based Strategize That.

Check out this list of buzzwords and phrases you should avoid on your resume, along with some tips on how to better use that precious real estate on your job application materials.

‘Creative,’ ‘outside the box,’ ‘innovative’

What you think it says: “I come up with good, new ideas.”

“If you could actually think ‘outside the box,’ you’d be able to phrase it less blandly,” Scherwin says. These trite descriptors can actually undermine your case if you don’t back them up with specifics.

To really show off your creativity, shares examples of times that you developed and implemented new ideas or processes. If you work in a creative field, such as advertising, pursue industry awards, which can serve as outside validation for the uniqueness of your work.

Better buzzword: Include the word “created.” It shows that you’ve produced something new and original.


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How To Make Searching For A New Job Less Stressful

So you're starting to feel that itch: You're a little bored in your current job, and you're antsy for a new challenge and to expand your skills. Or maybe today's encouraging jobs climate — with hiring up in many fields and the unemployment rate hovering at pre-recession levels — makes you wonder if better options are out there.

If you're not ready to throw everything at a new job search but want to scope out opportunities, consider a soft-launch on your hunt — making small moves to put yourself in the right position to evaluate the possibilities in your field. These expert-suggested tips can help you start testing the waters.

Use These Magic Words

“I’m open to opportunities,” is the phrase Liu recommends using at industry events to get the word out that you're looking around. Short, sweet and desperation-free, it communicates that you’re not necessarily dissatisfied with your current role ... but you would entertain an offer if one came along.

You can also use this phrase at non-work parties and social events, since it comes off as friendly and inquisitive rather than opportunistic. "Ask people about their jobs, and if their company or role sounds intriguing, tell them this and ask them to keep you in mind if anything opens up in their space,” suggests Lori Scherwin, executive coach and founder of career firm Strategize That.

Network Within Your Workplace

Letting coworkers you trust know that you’re thinking of climbing the next rung of the ladder is another soft-launch tactic, says Scherwin. You aren’t announcing to everyone that you want to move; you're just talking to close confidantes.

Think of it as networking inside your own company. Invite a coworker to lunch or coffee and ask if they know of openings or recruiters you can talk to. Show up at internal events, trainings and presentations, where you can build relationships with a larger range of colleagues and have conversations with people in other departments, suggests Scherwin. Then inquire about opportunities.

As for looking for open positions within your current workplace, don’t talk to your boss or go to HR quite yet. Since you’re not 100% in job-hunting mode, you might give the impression that you’re already halfway out the door, which can backfire on you. Instead, keep tabs on the internal job board. Although some roles are never posted, most large companies have an online system where you can get a feel for what's open.

The underlying objective of all these soft-search suggestions is the same: It’s not necessarily to job hunt, but to build your own professional and personal network. You never know where that might take you, says Scherwin.

Full Forbes article

How to Answer 4 Tricky Job Interview Questions

Only an interview separates you and your dream job. But to get there, you have to navigate through a minefield of tricky questions. The good news is, the same stumpers show up time and again—so once you figure out how to answer them, you’re golden. We asked hiring managers and career coaches for tips on sticking the landing on four commonly asked questions.


Canned answers such as “working too hard” and “being a perfectionist” come off as trite and planned—without giving the interviewer any real insight—so instead, focus on a skill you’re working on now that can be used to the new company's advantage should you get the new job, says Lori Scherwin, founder of the New York-based career coaching firm Strategize That. And offer an anecdote that illustrates your claims.

For example, suggest that you have trouble delegating (a responsibility that comes with a more senior position). “’I was recently promoted to manager, and now have two analysts supporting me,’” Scherwin suggests saying. “At first, I was hesitant to let them fly on their own because I was so used to doing everything myself and I was worried, but I’ve been learning how enabling my team leads to better performance for everyone.’”

Full Mental Floss article

10 things you can do to improve your career in 10 minutes or less

You’ve got 10 minutes before your next meeting—or class, or episode of Westworld. You could blast out a few sets of crunches so your abs will be ripped by bikini season; scroll aimlessly through Snapchat; Facebook-stalk your ex; or watch puppy videos on YouTube... Or, you could do something quick and painless to improve your career.

Believe it or not, there’s a lot you can accomplish in 10 minutes. Monster spoke with experts to find their top ways to boost your career and job search success in less time than it takes to make a bowl of pasta.

Read industry news

“Too often, professionals do their jobs in a vacuum and fail to regularly see how they fit into the big picture,” says Lori Scherwin founder of the New York-based career coaching company Strategize That.

“You'll be better informed and geared up if you have an understanding of the factors driving your industry or what challenges may be on your bosses’ (or their bosses’) minds,” she says.

She recommends reading trade publications, industry-specific articles and articles relevant to your role. To make it super-easy, set Google alerts for the ones you think are most useful, or create a Twitter list so you can quickly scan the most relevant headlines in a flash.

Email someone in your network

If you only reach out to people when you need something from them, the relationship could start to feel transactional and forced. Try to build better professional relationships by staying in regular contact with those contacts so you’re not just reaching out when you need a favor.

“It takes less than five minutes to send an email saying hello and ask how they are doing,” says Scherwin. “This way, you'll be more connected and more comfortable reaching out again in the future if you do need something—it'll feel more natural,” she says.

Take a break

Rihanna is right: You have to work, work, work, work, work, work. But you also need to press pause sometimes. Studies have shown that allowing for some downtime can actually improve productivity.  

When your workload seems overwhelming or if you’re faced with a block, don’t try to power through. Take a minute (or 10) to relax. “If you are getting frustrated, stopping for even a moment can help put the situation in perspective,” says Scherwin. “You'll feel better directed and will work more effectively as a result thereafter.” 

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7 Ways to Stay Positive Even During the Toughest Times

Playing a little mind trick on yourself can work wonders, says Lori Scherwin of Strategize That, a career coaching service. “We’re often better at helping others than ourselves,” she notes. “Make the situation more objective and less personal to you. For example, consider if it were anyone else in the situation (like your best friend, partner or colleague). How would you see the same ‘problem?’ What advice might you give them to get out of it?” she asks. This will help you shift from being super hard on yourself to more objective, and most likely, more positive.

Full Brit + Co article here

How to Handle 5 Tricky Situations with Coworkers

Many of us see our coworkers more often than we do our significant others, and when you spend that much time with anyone, the occasional uncomfortable scenario is inevitable. “It's common for tricky situations to emerge in the workplace,” says Lori Scherwin, founder of career firm Strategize That. “In all situations, you have the ability to choose how you interpret it."

"Attitude matters, so keep a positive one,” Scherwin says. And take a moment to get your feelings in check before responding—you'll want to make sure you respond to the situation objectively and not emotionally. Then, follow this expert advice to handle the unpleasantness gracefully.

Link to full article and tips here


Performance-Management Mistakes You Need to Stop Making

“Often, scores are given arbitrarily, with managers varying in how tough they are at ranking team members,” says Lori Scherwin, founder of Strategize That.  “Some are fair, some are easy [in order to promote] goodwill; and others are harsh, to generate higher productivity.”  

Without an agreed-upon rubric, performance rankings have no value, for both managers and employees. “[Random scoring] leads to mistrust and a lack of belief in the system,” Scherwin points out. “Ultimately, when performance management is unfair -- or even seems unfair -- you lose the engagement of your team, which can cause negative feelings and turnover.”

Scherwin suggests that instead of ranking employees, it’s best to have a balanced approach to performance management. Rather than identifying and focusing on the negative, managers should be encouraged to discuss the positive as well, so employees know their strengths and are rewarded for positive behaviors.

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17 Happy, Healthy Choices You Should Make In 2017

From February, 2017 edition of Redbook:

Stick up for yourself:  You don't have to be a fifth-grader to know a bully, and one study found that dishing hostility back to a grown-up one, like a mean boss, can make you feel better. But is that what you'd tell your 10-year-old to do? Lori Scherwin, founder of the consulting firm Strategize That, says the better solution (and one that'll keep you employed) is to advocate for yourself, not lob accusations. "Instead of saying, 'I hate that you don't give me credit for my work,' try instead, 'I love the work I'm doing. I'd like to get more credit for it. How can we make that happen?'" advises Scherwin.

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When and How to Complain to Your Boss

When should you complain? “You should feel comfortable raising concerns to your boss if you are not growing and developing or something is getting in the way of your success--the reality is is that this could also impact the company's success. A happy team is a productive team and your boss likely wants everything running smoothly,” says career coach Lori Scherwin. 

What should you complain about? “Don't complain just because you feel tired or overworked. Whining isn't an option. But if you can isolate the driver or root problem and suggest alternatives, you can still dig your way out with their help,” advises Scherwin. “For example, don't simply say ‘I've got too much to do and that sucks.' Say ‘we are working on four important projects at the same time. I want them all to go well--can you help me prioritize and or allocate additional resources?’"

There is a way to complain. “Be solutions oriented. Help them help you. Never come with problems only. The agenda should be problem and a suggested solution. You are much more likely to get help if you provide first thoughts on an optimal outcome,” says Scherwin.

Link to full article in The Network Journal

9 Signs You’re in the Wrong Career—and How to Find Work You Love

A sign you need a career change is if you've plateaued, stopped growing, and see no future growth opportunity in your current role or industry. "If you are bored and lack passion, it's probably time to shake things up," says Lori Scherwin, an executive coach and the founder of the NYC-based Strategize That, a firm that works with professionals to build winning strategies for their careers. "Growth is critical for your ongoing success—take the initiative to find it."

Link to Reader's Digest article

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9 ways to inspire your team to bring their A-game every day

As the boss, it’s your job to lead your team to greatness. This doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a day-by-day process, which can wear down even the most enterprising employees. (Hey, it’s not called “the grind” for nothing.) So how do you keep your team motivated to consistently perform at peak level.   

Monster asked nine career coaches for ways to keep your employees fired up to perform like champions every day. (Note: This will make you look awesome, too.)

Get out of the way

“Leave employees alone. That might sound counterintuitive, but backing off is a great—and underutilized—way of motivating your team. Top performers want space to be their best, all the while feeling a real sense of trust from above.” —Lori Scherwin, founder of Strategize That in New York City

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Why Summer Is a Great Time for a Job Search

Summer is a great time to slow down and reevaluate your career goals, Scherwin says. “Hopefully there is a lull in your workflow, which gives you an opportunity to take a step back and think about where you are, where you’ve been and where you want to go,” she says. It’s halfway between this year’s New Year’s resolutions and next year’s. Is your career progressing like you wanted?

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19 Signs Your Work Environment Is Toxic & Affecting You Negatively

"A toxic work environment is any that makes you feel uncomfortable, unappreciated, or undervalued. This can range from all out bullying, screaming and talked down to, to more subtle forms of poor communication, setting people up for failure, mismanagement and an air of hostility. It can come from your boss, your peers, your juniors and even your clients. No one should ever have to work in an environment that causes your stomach to go in quivers but the unfortunate reality is it's more normal than we'd prefer. Often professionals 'accept it' as is, which can do more harm for you in the long-run, both professionally and also personally," says Certified Professional Coach Lori Scherwin to Bustle.

Full article here

Your Boss Has Been Fired! Now What?

Oh no! Your boss has been fired. Should you dust off your resume ASAP? First, take a deep breath. Second, examine the situation.  “It can feel nerve-wracking when your direct manager is let go. But, take a step back before panicking.  It could be indicative of a broader reorg but it could also be a function of their performance or fit - which could even benefit you near and or longer-term.  If it's performance related, that may or may not have implications for you,” explains professional coach Lori Scherwin, founder of Strategize That.

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5 Things To Do This Weekend To Make Monday The Most Productive Day Of The Week

"One of the best ways to actually be primed for a great week ahead is to take the time to recharge," says Lori Scherwin, founder of the management and productivity consulting firm Strategize That. "When we enjoy our weekends, we go back to work refreshed, focused, and feeling more balanced and less resentful."  "It may sound counter-intuitive, but it works so well—tune out of work so that you ultimately tune in better." 


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Off to the fair: How to choose job fairs to attend

Plan out your day. Rather than gallivanting around a room waiting for something to catch your eye, proactively determine where you’d like to focus your efforts, says certified professional coach Lori Scherwin, also founder of Strategize That in New York.

“If available, find out who from each company will be attending and research their role and background to foster even greater conversation,” she adds.

Focus, focus, focus. Instead of trying to speak with the greatest number of people, focus on developing a rapport with a select number of recruiters from companies where you want to work. Scherwin says that’s the best way to make you memorable.

Your goal should be to articulate clearly and concisely who you are, what you are looking for and how you could best contribute to their firm, she adds.

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How to Win Friends On the Job

Adds professional coach Lori Scherwin, founder of Strategize That, “Relationships can make or break your career. As you grow in your role and get more senior, aptitude/doing the tasks of your job well, is just the ante. Right or wrong, there is a lot of subjectivity in any office dynamic. Impact and influence are critical success drivers and having allies in your court at the office--at all levels senior, junior and peer--will help you progress (and make the job a whole lot more enjoyable, too).”

Going it alone on the job can backlash. “If you aren't likable in the office, chances are you aren't happy either. Attitude gets in the way of performance and can cloud otherwise good work. If you don't like where you are and you don't like your colleagues, it’s time to find a new path. We spend too much of our lives working to not enjoy it,” Scherwin points out.

Share insight. What you do in your role will likely help others do their job better too. Sharing isn't bragging - the more colleagues cooperate and communicate, the better it is for everyone involved,” suggests Scherwin.


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