Archive for October, 2013

“Managing Up”: My Transformation from Stress-Walking Zombie to Productive Employee

ZombieMy Story (Don’t Let It Be Yours)

By Camille Cooper

The first time I ever heard the term “manage up” was last summer when I was working for Launch, a summer program that taught high school students to be entrepreneurs by actually having them start their own companies. I was the only intern in the inaugural program of this start-up, responsible for managing budgets, planning events, and assisting four administrators. Oh, and making sure 30 high schoolers didn’t get into too much trouble.

Cut to a week into the program: I wasn’t sleeping or eating. I had emails coming out of my ears. I was the sleepwalking image of stress. In short, I was a mess. And it was all because I thought I ran a one-woman show. I would take instructions from my bosses and run with it, never asking for help or more information, determined to produce a flawless result and too arrogant to ask for assistance or even clarification. My focus wasn’t on the aims of Launch; it was on my own aims.

That’s when my boss, Mary Winn, sat me down and told me I needed to “man up and manage up.” This concept was foreign to me. So let me explain exactly what managing up is, how it helped me, and how it can help you too.

What is “Managing Up”?

When you manage up, you make sure that the company’s needs are top priority by ensuring both you and your boss are on the same page.

Here are a few things managing up is:

  • Listening to the goals of your boss
  • Understanding those goals by asking clarifying questions
  • Communicating what you need from your boss to ensure that these goals are reached
  • Enriching your boss’s work by going above and beyond the call of duty to utilize those resources you need

Here are a few things managing up is NOT:

  • Telling your boss what goals he/she should have
  • Advising your boss on your own management
  • Demanding information and/or resources unrelated to company goals
  • Taking the credit for your boss’s work and pretending you’re the boss

How Do I “Manage Up”?

Managing up is a concept that is slowly working its way through the business world and may be as foreign a concept to your boss as it was to me last summer. To gradually start managing up in your relationship with you boss, you can start doing these things:

  • Send a clarification email: When your boss assigns a task that you’re not 100% comfortable or familiar with, you will, of course, have questions. Send a well-written email outlining your questions and clarifying any confusing details about the task. Trust me, your boss would rather spend five minutes answering your questions than spend two hours undoing something you did wrong.
  • Say, “To do this as effectively as possible, I need…”: Often times, managers will delegate tasks without considering what you need to get the job done. You can step in here. Sometimes you’ll need a certain document. Other times you may need a response by a certain date. Whatever you legitimately need, whether it’s physical, time-related, or anything else, communicate those needs directly to your boss. In most cases, your boss will be more than happy to give you the small things you need so you can accomplish the big things!
  • Know when to say “No”: Doing your job well sometimes means realizing when you need help and when your plate is simply too full to handle anything else. If and when this happens, it’s okay to tell your boss “no.” The delivery should be a little more tactful than just “no” and should include the reasons why your current work would suffer if another task were piled on top of it, but the message should stay true. Your boss will respect your convictions and commitment to producing quality work if you set clear boundaries for yourself.

Life After “Managing Up” 

Armed with my new “managing up” abilities, I completely transformed my interning experience. I no longer commandeered projects and subsequently self-destructed; I concentrated on doing the work that was most effective for Launch with my best effort and the support I needed. For example, instead of spending quality time running back and forth to the printer’s every day, I asked my administrators to send me their handouts 24 hours in advance so that I would only have to make one trip. This request seemed so small, and they all complied, but giving a simple deadline saved me at least two hours every day– two hours I used to plan the farewell banquet at the end of the summer.

Managing up saved my career and my sanity last summer, and no matter where you are in your career, I think it can help you too. A little managing up goes a long way.


October 30, 2013 at 9:01 am 3 comments

4 Tips for Keeping the Red Solo Cup Away From Your Job Search

By Katherine Peters

Social media can help you land a job—that is, until an employer reads your latest tweet. A Twitter resume and LinkedIn skill endorsements may impress an employer, but what do all of your social media posts say about you? That keg-stand picture and collection of drunken tweets from college share more with an employer than your resume does.

Websites like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter created a new job-search process and are continuously developing additional professional functions. Many universities will incorporate social media into their curriculum to address students’ professional interest in social media. Social media in the professional sphere, specifically the job-search process, demonstrated importance according to a compilation of statistics by Career EnlightenmentRed-Solo-Cup

  • 14.4 million people used social media to get a job.
  • 1 in 5 employers use social media sites to research job candidates.
  • 1 in 3 employers rejected candidates based on something they found out about them online.

A strong social-media presence is just as important as face-to-face networking in the modern job search. Social media profiles reveal information about a job candidate that employers use in the hiring process. Individuals with interesting and positive social networking profiles may seem like more attractive job candidates. However, unflattering pictures or posts can deter employers from hiring an individual. How do we take advantage of social media’s professional benefits without personal posts getting in the way? 

  • Minimize your profiles: Do you really need a profile on every social media site out there? Choose the websites that you use the most, and limit your profiles to those. Fewer profiles make it easier to maintain consistent information between your profiles. For example, if you list work experience and professional skills on one site, you need to include the same information on all your profiles. Be selective about where you post to draw more attention to your professional profiles. 
  • Create the presence you want: Forget about pictures and posts from college. Include information that elaborates on your resume to build a strong professional summary.  Remember, employers use social media to learn more about you. Don’t be afraid to brag about yourself a little either.  
  • Make it private: Update your privacy settings for the personal information you decide to share on your profiles. Familiarize yourself with the privacy policy of the specific website. Most social media sites provide a “custom” setting that you can configure for maximum privacy. Remember, your individual profile privacy does not guarantee that a friend with a less private profile will not share inappropriate photos or posts about you.  
  • Google yourself: Make sure that your name reflects what you want it to. A 2012 study indicated that 90% of employers Google job candidates for information beyond what is included on their resume. Consistently search your name on Google to see your social media presence from an employer’s point of view. This way, you can change how you appear online.

Recognize the importance of social media in the job market today. Create a profile that builds your professional summary and makes you a more attractive job candidate. Do you want your employer to see your professional skills or a red solo cup?

October 27, 2013 at 3:42 pm 7 comments