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14 Books That Will Make You More Innovative in 2014

14 Books That Will Make You More InnovativeA lot of people use the words “innovation” and “creativity” interchangeably, but my favorite definition helps differentiate the two: “Innovation is the value-added application of a creative idea.”

Of course, knowing a snappy definition is one thing — putting it into practice is something else altogether. If you’re struggling to truly innovate, or if you just want to refresh your creative mojo, start with this list of books that will make you more innovative in the new year.    Read More →

5 Signs That Your New Job is the Wrong Job

vintage photo of a woman in jailThe author of this post prefers to remain anonymous.

The first day of any job feels like an exciting new venture — an opportunity to become a new you. That’s how I felt just two months ago. I had scored my dream job at a video tech company that was on the brink of breaking out in the market. I felt re-invigorated and anxious to start a new chapter in my life.

But a few weeks in, something started to stir within — a gut feeling that something was not quite right. My ideas for new strategic initiatives always took a back seat to more “urgent” priorities, conversations in another language (a language I don’t speak) were frequently held in my presence, and decision-making was constantly second guessed by leadership.

Ultimately, I felt ineffective and not set up for the success I had envisioned when I came on board. This was not the role I had agreed to. And it certainly wasn’t the role I was looking for.

Have you ever felt that the job you took might be the wrong job? If you’re teetering, these five signs may indicate it’s time to seriously re-evaluate your new job.    Read More →

How to Change a Life in 2014: 5 Questions With Lowell Perry, Jr.

Lowell PerryThere are 15 million children in the U.S. who are waiting on someone like you to decide to make a difference. To find out how digital professionals can help improve the lives of these children, we spoke with Lowell Perry, Jr. Perry is the Chief Diversity Officer and Senior Vice President, Corporate and Community Engagement for Big Brother Big Sisters of America.

What does Big Brothers Big Sisters do?
Our mission is to help children overcome adversity through one-to-one relationships with positive mentors. Some of these kids come low-income single parent homes. Some have a parent who is incarcerated. Others may have a parent that’s deployed overseas in the military. Often it’s a combination of those factors. There are a lot of obstacles that stand between these kids and the American Dream. We want to provide these children with positive, attentive influences who can help them get on or stay on the path to success.
   Read More →

8 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression at Your Holiday Party

Vintage photo of drunk office workerYou’ve worked hard all year. Now it’s your time to cut loose and make a total ass of yourself in front of everyone who could possibly be beneficial to your career. So relax and let your true personality shine. Here are some great ways to make a lasting impression at your holiday party.

The food and booze are free. So take advantage of it. Stuff a few of those tuna canapés into your pockets to enjoy later. And don’t wimp out by drinking soda. Real men drink hard liquor, and lots of it. Think Mad Men. Hey, if they didn’t want you to drink heavily, they wouldn’t give you free booze.

This is a great time to corner the CEO. Remind him in detail of your many accomplishments over the past year. If you’re nervous about it, have a few drinks beforehand. Start with a clever opener like, “Dude, your wife is smokin’ hot!” He’ll get a chuckle out of that — especially if she’s hideously ugly.    Read More →

Now What? 5 Ways to Win the Job Search Waiting Game

Man sitting by phone

Waiting to hear back from recruiters and hiring managers who have the potential to change your career path is excruciating. No matter how confident you are about your professional brand, no matter how perfectly polished your resume is, no matter how perfect you are for the job, things feel utterly uncontrollable once your future is in someone else’s hands. Plus, it always takes longer than you think to secure new employment.

Every time I applied to a job on LinkedIn, I would spend the next hour — and sometimes the whole day — refreshing the “Who’s Viewed My Profile” page every two minutes to see if the hiring manager looked at my profile. I devoured any article that might entertain or distract me. I ran errands — any errands — for my friends, just to keep my mind off the applications I’d submitted. I wasn’t just waiting; I was wasting my time. If you’re going crazy while waiting for meeting confirmations from a recruiter, feedback from a hiring manager, or — ideally — an offer letter, these five quick tips can help you de-stress while you wait for a recruiter to call.    Read More →

5 Must-Have Networking Apps for Holiday Travel

Vintage photo of a young woman at an airport“Holiday travel” isn’t exactly synonymous with “networking opportunities.” After all, you’re probably not thinking about your career while you’re wasting away in the terminal or wedged into an airplane seat the width of a Pringle. But believe it or not, holiday travel is a perfect opportunity for networking. It’s a great way to alleviate boredom and make some valuable contacts during an otherwise stressful ordeal. Before you book your next flight to the in-laws, grab these networking apps and make the trip productive.    Read More →

Listen Up! 8 Tips for Becoming a Better Manager

Be a Better ListenerQuick! Who’s the best manager you’ve ever worked for? Picture him or her in your mind. Now think: what made you pick this person?

So who was the worst manager you’ve ever had? Do the same thing: visualize working for this person while thinking about what made them so horrible.

I can’t guarantee it, but if I had to guess, one of the key differences between these two was that the good manager actually listened to you, while the bad one didn’t.

Am I right?

When the good manager listened to you, how did it make you feel? Valued? Validated? Respected? Trusted? Confident? Engaged? Empowered?

How did the bad manager make you feel most of the time? Probably the exact opposite. So if you’re a manager — or even if you’re not — look at yourself in the mirror and ask: Am I a good listener? More importantly, if you asked other people that question, what would they say? If you’re interested in becoming a better manager, it’s time to refresh your approach to listening.    Read More →

The 2014 Job Market Will Be Hot. Here’s How We Know.

Man sweating in the heatAll of us here at Hired Guns HQ hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving. We also hope you rested up, because you’re going to need it.

As we head into December, hiring in the digital space continues to intensify. We placed more full-time talent in November than any other month in 2013, and it already looks like we’re going to blow past that number in December. Our clients are looking to start the new year with their teams intact, so we’ve got back-to-back interview days booked throughout December. And since December hiring activity is — in our experience, at least — a reliable barometer for job growth in the coming year, big things are coming in 2014.    Read More →

5 Rules for Building a Great Portfolio

You need a portfolio. Yes, I know you know that. But do you actually have one? If you do have one, when’s the last time you updated it? If you answered anything other than “yes” and “recently,” you’ve got work to do. If you’re unsure how to build a portfolio or unclear on what to put in the one you’ve already got, we can help.

Here’s the deal: portfolios aren’t just for writers and visual artists. Product pros, UXers, content producers, and anyone else who builds or designs needs to be able to show off their work to a recruiter or networking contact at a moment’s notice.    Read More →

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