How To Embed the CMCA Digital Badge into your Email Signature

Adding a hyperlinked badge image to your email signature is a great way to make sure your professional network is aware of your certifications, credentials and other badge-worthy recognition.  Watch this video for a quick tutorial on how to add your badge to an email signature, using Outlook and Gmail as examples. 

These instructions are for PC users. If you’re on a Mac, click here for instructions on adding your badge to email using Gmail.  If you’re having any trouble with adding your badge to your particular email client, contact the Acclaim Support TeamThey’ll be happy to help you troubleshoot. 

Step-by-step: Outlook

  1. ​From Acclaim, click the badge you’d like to embed in your email signature. Click the blue ‘Share’ button. 
  2. Click the ‘Download’ icon. Choose the small image – that will fit best in your email signature. 
  3. Click the ‘URL’ icon and copy it to your clipboard. 
  4. Over in Outlook, create your new email signature by opening a new message, then clicking ‘Signature.’
  5. Click ‘New’ to create a new signature. If you’d like to modify an existing signature, highlight it. 
  6. Name your new signature.
  7. Type any text you’d like in the signature, then click the ‘Image’ icon. 
  8. Locate the badge image you downloaded, then click ‘Insert.’
  9. Next, hyperlink the image  by clicking the badge, then selecting the ‘Hyperlink’ icon.
  10. Paste the URL you copied from Acclaim. 
  11. Click OK to save your new signature. 

Step-by-step instructions: Gmail

  1. From Acclaim, click the badge you’d like to embed in your email signature. Hover your mouse over the badge and right click to copy it.
  2. Within Gmail’s settings, access your email signature.
  3. Right click to paste the badge image into the signature. If the image appears too large, click the badge and select Small from the options presented.
  4. Back in Acclaim, click the blue ‘Share’ button underneath your badge.
  5. Next, click the ‘URL’ icon and copy it to your clipboard.
  6. Within your email signature, highlight the badge image and create a hyperlink with the URL you just copied. 
  7. Click OK to save your new signature.

13 questions hiring managers ask to test your personality

Questions like “If you were an animal, what would you be and why?” seem frivolous — but they have a purpose.

Employers today aren’t necessarily only looking for candidates with the right set of technical skills and years of experience under their belt.

They also want to hire those who also have something unique to offer — like a great personality 0r a strong set of soft skills.

“In fact, if they find a candidate who has less experience than their competition, but has stronger growth potential and seems to be a better cultural fit, the employer may feel encouraged to hire that person,” said Edward Fleischman, chief executive officer of Execu Search, a full-service recruitment, temporary staffing, and retained search firm.

In an effort to find new hires that are great cultural fits, employers are putting more emphasis on soft skills, like organization, communication, leadership, initiatives, and the ability to think your feet.

To figure out if candidates possess the soft skills or personality fit that they are looking for, employers will ask questions like the ones outlined below.

What was the last new task or skill you learned, and how did you go about it?

“Employers ask this question to evaluate how a candidate views their own professional development,” Fleischman said.

He recommended answering with details on how you learn new skills. Emphasize that you’re curious and continually learning new things about your profession.

Tell me about a time that you did more than what was required on the job

Your interviewer wants to make sure that you’re committed to excelling.

So, Fleischman said, “give an example of a time where you went above and beyond the call of duty. This will also help show that you care about the quality of your work.”

If your best friend was sitting here, what would they say is the best part about being your friend?

The purpose of this question is to bring out a sense of honesty and candor in a candidate.

Learning about what makes an applicant a good friend allows employers to get a better feel for whether or not they would fit in with the company culture,” Fleischman said.

If you could change one thing about the way you approach challenges, what would it be?

This question puts candidates on the spot, and allows hiring managers to evaluate a candidate’s self-awareness and ability to admit there are some aspects of their professional life they would like to improve, Fleischman said.

“Since humility is an important quality to many employers, a response to this question is something they listen closely to,” he added.

If you were an animal, what would you be and why?

This inquiry is a favorite amongst hiring managers because it allows them to not only evaluate how quickly someone can think on their feet, but it also requires candidates to exercise some degree of creativity in a relatively short amount of time, Fleischman said.

These are two skills that can be applied to solving almost any business challenge.

What has the most satisfying moment in your life been?

When employers ask this question, they are looking to see what motivates a candidate and whether or not their values fit into the company culture, Fleischman said.

How would your last supervisor describe you in three words?

“This inquiry gives the employer a glimpse into how others view a candidate’s professional value,” Fleischman said.

What drives you in your professional life?

Employers ask this question to gain insight into what motivates a candidate both in their career and as a potential employee.

“As cultural fit becomes more important to employers and their business as a whole, many look for candidates whose goals align with theirs, and asking this question allows them to assess what exactly a candidate’s goals are,” Fleischman said.

What drives you in your personal life?

On a similar note, this question aims to delve into a candidate’s personality and better assess their cultural fit.

“By developing a better understanding of a job seeker’s non-work life, and by learning about what drives them personally, an employer can get a better grasp of the type of personality they’d be bringing to the company,” Fleischman said.

And, painting a picture of a candidate’s personal goals can help an employer better understand how motivated they are in general.

What types of hobbies do you enjoy outside of work?

Just like learning about what drives someone in their personal life, discovering how someone spends their time outside of work and what specific activities they enjoy and invest in can give an interesting look into their personality, Fleischman said.

In addition, hobbies can translate into specific soft and hard skills that can be applicable to many jobs, and employers are often interested in learning what a candidate has to offer outside their resume’s “skills” section.

Can you take me through a scenario at work that was particularly stressful for you, and how you handled it?

This question shows not only the candidate’s ability to think on their feet, but also their ability to be diplomatic, Fleischman said.

For example, if the stressful situation was due to someone else’s errors, was the candidate able to speak about it in a professional, tactful way?

Or, if the stressful situation was due to their own error, it shows a great deal about a candidate if they can take responsibility for it in their explanation.

If you could meet a celebrity, who would it be and why?

Many people admire certain celebrities and public figures. Learning about who a candidate would be most excited to meet offers another interesting viewpoint into their personality and their values — two important factors of cultural fit.

Have you ever played on a sports team?

The answer to this question can reveal personality traits that are important to certain companies, depending on the nature of their business.

“For example, a former athlete could be a great team player or, depending on the sport or position they played, may thrive best while working on their own,” Fleischman said.

Athletes often have a competitive nature, which can be good or bad.

 

By RACHEL PREMACK, Jacquelyn Smith contributed to a previous version of this article which first appeared on Business Insider.

Maintaining High Ethical Standards

CMCAs’ Commitment to Following Strict Standards of Professional Conduct

An important – yet often overlooked – component of CAMICB’s Credentialing Program
requires a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) to adhere to a high standard of ethical conduct. This means Certificants must comply with the 10 CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, which govern their professional activities.

StandardsFlowChart

Standards Flow Chart

These Standards of Professional Conduct, detailed at http://www.camicb.org/standards, range from understanding laws applicable to community association management, to being knowledgeable on association policies and procedures, to carrying out fiduciary responsibilities, and participating in continuing education coursework. A violation of any of these Standards of Professional Conduct may be grounds for administrative action and possible revocation of the CMCA certification by CAMICB. Abiding by these Standards of Professional Conduct help protect consumers and associations that hire or contract with community association managers.

“When a community association manager earns the CMCA, they’re pledging to uphold a strict code of professional conduct which is critical to the profession,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group. “This is more than understanding the many facets of community association management and troubleshooting challenging situations, it brings about accountability, responsibility and trust to the individuals the profession serves.” Read more …

The 2 things that kill careers (and happiness)

Here are two things that can be really harmful to both your career success and overall happiness as a human being. Watch out for them.

We continually strategize on the things we need to do to advance our careers, close the sale, be happier, have better relationships and get what we want. More often than not it is what we need to cease doing that gives us the most power.

1. Don’t discount your dreams.

I used to live life from a “but at least it’s not ______” perspective. I thought this was being positive because I could always think of something worse. This was an OK way of remaining optimistic in the face of adversity until it became habit for all of life and halted my ability to envision the openness of wonder.

It wasn’t until I was aware of this that I began to risk shifting to the vulnerable choice of exploring joy without expecting it to be short lived. To ushering in opportunity that I knew was meant for me without holding onto fear. To seeing all that was there with the curiosity of a child. This ability to stay in the moment without fast forwarding to an anticipated ending broke open the world for me. It put an end to all endings. It left me only with beginnings.

I stopped needing to be right. I started listening to understand. I stopped being guarded. I started feeling acceptance. I stopped setting small goals. I started living in a big space of “this is what freedom feels like.”

2. Don’t wait for life to be fair

When I was struggling as a single working mother of four children under seven-years-old on public assistance, homeless and without an automobile I used to think there would eventually be an epiphany where life would finally become “fair” and get better. But it didn’t. And I grew more angry and defeated. Though I never stopped working harder and harder in corporate America toward my goal of being a good role model for my children.

I rose quickly to the CEO level mostly, I think, because I had four beautiful mouths hanging open in front of me like baby birds and I had no fear of risks. In my marriage I had already experienced the biggest rejection of my life so hearing “no” didn’t phase me. I’ve never been qualified for any of the roles I’ve applied for on paper but I could demonstrate measurable accomplishments that made this irrelevant. Still, I kept waiting for “fair” to happen. I kept my head down and everyday read and studied my fascination with human behavior.

My biggest achievement came slowly and without fanfare. I never saw it coming. It wasn’t my titles, my parenting or my home. It was the day I woke up and realized that life isn’t fair; it’s a world of connection. And the connection of most importance is the one we have with ourselves. When I accepted myself with all my flaws I drew others toward me instead of repelling them as I tried to be something I wasn’t.

Waiting for “fair” is like thinking the lion won’t eat you because you didn’t eat him. It isolates us and makes us prey to disappointment and perfectionism which kills careers. Fulfillment comes from swapping expectations and the need to be right for curiosity and wonder.

You may be moving slowly toward something today. Know that you’re moving in the right direction. Don’t quit. Just keep going because you’re almost there. Here is a free tool to help you navigate your career along the way: 31 Success Practices for Leaders in the High Stakes Corporate World.

Mary Lee Gannon, ACC, CAE is an executive coach and corporate CEO who helps busy leaders get off the treadmill to nowhere to be more effective, earn more, be more calm and enjoy connected relationships with the people who matter while it still matters. Watch her FREE Master Class training on Three Things to Transform Your Life and Career Right Now at MaryLeeGannon.com

Courtesy of TheLadders.com

 

Survey: The Benefits of a Good Vacation Can Fade Fast

Time away from the office has diminishing returns if employees come back to an outsize workload and a demanding culture, a report from the American Psychological Association finds.

Getting a little time away from the office is a great way to de-stress, of course—and your vacation euphoria can even follow you back into the workplace.

But don’t expect it to last.

(grinvalds/iStock/Getty Images Plus)

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but a new report from the American Psychological Association highlights the limited impact of taking PTO. The 2018 Work and Well-Being Survey, based on research conducted by the Harris Poll in February and March, reports that many people find vacations energizing and helpful, but that often the effects of that stress release go away quickly. A big reason for that is what employees know they’re coming back to.

When an organization’s culture encourages time off, employees are more likely to have the necessary stress recovery experiences when they use vacation time.

Among the report’s findings:

Many employees find it hard to take time away. Just 41 percent of respondents said their organization’s culture encouraged employees to take time away. In contrast, nearly a third  (32 percent) agreed or strongly agreed that their workload made it difficult to take time off, and more than a quarter (26 percent) worried about missing important information while on vacation.

When time off is encouraged, workers come back in a better mood. The effects of taking time away are better when employees come back to the office and don’t have a mountain of work waiting for them. The study found that 81 percent of respondents whose employers encouraged time off agreed that their mood was more positive after a vacation, versus 60 percent for other employees. “An organization’s culture makes a difference,” the report states. “When an organization’s culture encourages time off, employees are more likely to have the necessary stress recovery experiences when they use vacation time. They are also more likely to benefit from vacation time, and those benefits last longer.”

Supervision and culture play an important role. Organizations can improve the impact of vacations by encouraging supervisors to better track employees’ vacation time, limit the number of tasks waiting for them when they return, and consider the messages that employees may be getting from the internal culture. “Examine the assumptions that may be operating below the surface, and take steps to address any dysfunctional elements,” the report advises. “Managers and work teams should explicitly discuss their expectations when it comes to use of vacation time and availability during time off.”

In a news release, David W. Ballard, the head of APA’s Center for Organizational Excellence, put the responsibility on leadership.

“Employers shouldn’t rely on the occasional vacation to offset a stressful work environment,” Ballard said. “Unless they address the organizational factors causing stress and promote ongoing stress management efforts, the benefits of time off can be fleeting. When stress levels spike again shortly after employees return to work, that’s bad for workers and for business. Employers can do better.”

By for Associations Now, a publication of the American Society of Association Executives.

Decoding the ABC’s of Credentials, Certificates & Designations

What do those letters behind your name mean?

By John Ganoe, CAE
Executive Director, CAMICB

abc books chalk chalkboard

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Even for those deeply entrenched in the credentialing world, there’s a certain degree of confusion around some of the terminology used to describe specific paths professionals take to further their careers and skill sets. The field of community association management is no different so it’s important to educate managers, homeowners, and other community association professionals about the different options the profession has to offer and the value they hold.

According to the Institute for Credentialing Excellence (ICE), “credentialing” is an umbrella term used to refer to concepts such as professional certification, certificate programs, accreditation, licensure, and regulation.

ICE defines certification, licensure, assessment-based certificate, and accreditation in the following ways:

  • certification program is designed to test the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to perform a particular job, and, upon successfully passing a certification exam, to represent a declaration of a particular individual’s professional competence, such as a community manager who has achieved the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®).  In some professions, certification is a requirement for employment or practice.
  • Similarly, licensure tests an individual’s competence but is a mandatory process by which the government grants time-limited permission for that licensed individual to practice his or her profession, such as a real estate salesperson or real estate broker.
  • In contrast to certification and licensure, an assessment-based certificate program is an educational or training program that is used to teach learning objectives and assess whether those objectives were achieved by the student.
  • Accreditationis the process by which a credentialing or educational program is evaluated against defined standards and is awarded recognition if it is in compliance with those standards. The Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA®) is such a program. ICE currently offers accreditation to professional certification programs through the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA).

The CMCA credential is accredited by the National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA) confirming it complies with NCCA’s stringent standards for a professional certification program. Accreditation validates the integrity of the CMCA program and is a mark of quality.

Specialty Designations

Community association professionals may also choose to bolster their careers and expand their level of expertise in certain areas. This is where specialty designations come into play. A “designation” is recognition of professional knowledge and expertise in a given subject matter or job skill.  To earn designations, membership is required in a professional organization and usually requires work experience.  Certain specialty designations are offered through the Community Associations Institute (CAI) including, the Association Management Specialist (AMS), Large Scale Manager (LSM), Professional Community Association Manager (PCAM), Community Insurance and Risk Management Specialist (CIRMS) and Reserve Specialist (RS). This allows a community association professional to drill down into a specialized aspect of the business.  In some cases, for example the PCAM and AMS designations, passing the CMCA examination is a prerequisite to applying for these designations.

I’ve experienced a wide disparity in the background and quality of the managers with whom I’ve worked,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group.  “A manager who holds the CMCA assures me they have an important foundation in place – the ongoing education and knowledge necessary to successfully manage millions of dollars worth of other people’s property and a serious commitment to high ethical standards.”

Stephen Castle, CMCA, AMS, PCAM agrees all committed community association managers should hold the CMCA certification. “The CMCA certification demonstrates to employees and new managers a commitment to professionalism,” said Castle. “Further, CMCAs show their support for established national and international standards of knowledge and professional conduct for community association managers.”

The Certified Manager of Community Associations – The only accredited certification program in the world for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives.

The CMCA Goes Global

As CAMICB grew to be the premiere certification body in the United States for community association managers, it also gained international recognition for its established body of knowledge and strict ethical standards. Over the past two decades, the CMCA certification program crossed borders and oceans in Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Mexico South Africa, and the United Arab Emirates. This global expansion secured a high level of professionalism for association management and common interest communities worldwide. In 2017, CAMICB launched the international CMCA examination.

About ICE

The Institute for Credentialing Excellence, or ICE, is a professional membership association that provides education, networking, and other resources for organizations and individuals who work in and serve the credentialing industry.  ICE is a leading developer of standards for both certification and certificate programs and it is both a provider of and a clearing house for information on trends in certification, test development and delivery, assessment-based certificate programs, and other information relevant to the credentialing community.

CAMICB was established in 1995 to develop and administer the CMCA program. CAMICB insists on high ethical standards for community association managers because it not only strengthens the CMCA program, but protects consumers and associations that hire community association managers.

 

Revamp Your Processes

MicroStockHub/iStock/Getty Images Plus

 

Upgrading your association’s processes can seem like an inconvenience, but even small changes can better your organization.

No organization is perfect, but continually updating processes that push your association forward can get you closer. That said, instituting organization-wide changes can seem like more of a hassle than anything positive.

“Revamping takes energy,” says Mary Byers in a post on Association Success. “All of us are on deadline, and as soon as we finish one project, we have to dive headlong into another one. It’s easier to just pull out last year’s agenda, process, or format with a slightly altered look, instead of revamping.”

To make upgrading less time-consuming, Byers suggests starting small and focusing on how to better the member experience. You can also look to other organizations to see what has and hasn’t worked: Is there any inspiration you can draw from them, or would any of their processes benefit your association?

“It helps to think about things as a work in progress, always,” Byers says. “Revamping is an ongoing project that will never be truly finished, so enjoy the process.”

By / Nov 8, 2018 for Associations Now,  a publication of the American Society for Association Executives.

Understanding the Important Distinction Between Community Association Managers and Property Managers

By John Ganoe, CAE, CAMICB Executive Director

A common mistake in state legislatures considering community association manager licensing – and among the general public – is to lump community association managers and property managers into the same bucket. While both are very important roles, they are distinctly different professions with functions, skill sets and responsibilities specific to each.

A community association manager can manage every type of community: condominium associations, homeowner associations, resort communities and commercial tenant associations.  A community association manager works directly with prcommunity-property-managementoperty owners and homeowners.

Property managers oversee individual rental units or a group of rental units, such as an apartment complex. They’re responsible for managing the entire property while community association managers are responsible for common areas – not individually owned properties.

“From a legislative standpoint, this incorrect categorization occurs because state legislators misunderstand the nature of community association management,” said Matthew Green, Director, State Affairs for the Community Associations Institute (CAI).  “They believe that community association management skills are identical to those of a property manager without recognizing the vastly different responsibilities of these two positions.”

This misunderstanding of the two professions often bleeds into more general conversations occurring in this space. Compounding this is the reality that there’s a slight overlap in a couple of the duties performed. For example, both property managers and community association managers supervise certain maintenance activities, such as swimming pool upkeep and trash removal. But it’s important to understand that community association managers oversee and direct all aspects of running the business operation. This means, they authorize payment for association services; develop budgets and present association financial reports to Board members; direct the enforcement of restrictive covenants; perform site inspections; solicit, evaluate and assist in insurance purchases; and, even supervise the design and delivery of association recreational programs.

Property managers are responsible for managing the actual property and therefore handle the physical assets of the unit at the owner’s request. Property managers generally oversee rental units and leases. Their responsibilities might include finding or evicting tenants, collecting rent and responding to tenant complaints or specific requests. If a property manager is responsible for a vacation or second home, he or she may arrange for services such as house sitting or local sub-contracting necessary to maintain that property.  Alternatively, an owner may opt to delegate specific tasks to a property manager and choose to handle other duties directly.

Stephanie Durner, CMCA, AMS, who is the Director of Community Management at River Landing, a private gated golf course community in Wallace, NC, views the distinction this way,

“While property managers are generally charged with overseeing physical structures that are used by people who are not the owners of the property, association managers represent the property owners themselves and are involved in just about every aspect of the overall community. For instance, if a garage door is broken at a rental house, the tenant would call a property manager or owner/landlord. But if there’s a pothole that needs repair or if a neighbor’s dog is running loose through the neighborhood, that’s a task for the community association manager who both maintains the common areas and upholds the governing rules. To me, community association management is a more holistic approach that contributes to the overall quality of life for all the owners in a community.”

Green emphasized, “While some job responsibilities are similar, community association managers have additional functions. It’s critical that community association management be recognized as distinct from property management, because association management requires a wider variety of knowledge and skills.”

“Because of this, the Community Association Managers International Certification Board (CAMICB) offers and maintains the Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) credential, the only international certification program designed exclusively for managers of homeowner and condominium associations and cooperatives,” added Sara Duginske, MS, CAMICB’s Director of Credentialing Services. “Earning the CMCA credential means an individual has taken and passed the rigorous CMCA examination, proving they have a solid understanding of the business operations involved in being a community association manager.”

For community association managers, the bottom line is they understand and are experienced and knowledgeable in the many facets of running a business operation, assuring they provide the best possible service to the associations for which they are responsible.

CAMICB was established in 1995 to develop and administer the CMCA program. CAMICB insists on high ethical standards for community association managers because it not only strengthens the CMCA program, but protects consumers and associations that hire community association managers.

Maintaining High Ethical Standards

CMCAs’ Commitment to Following Strict Standards of Professional Conduct

An important – yet often overlooked – component of CAMICB’s Credentialing Program
requires a Certified Manager of Community Associations (CMCA) to adhere to a high standard of ethical conduct. This means Certificants must comply with the 10 CMCA Standards of Professional Conduct, which govern their professional activities.

StandardsFlowChart

Standards Flow Chart

These Standards of Professional Conduct, detailed at http://www.camicb.org/standards, range from understanding laws applicable to community association management, to being knowledgeable on association policies and procedures, to carrying out fiduciary responsibilities, and participating in continuing education coursework. A violation of any of these Standards of Professional Conduct may be grounds for administrative action and possible revocation of the CMCA certification by CAMICB. Abiding by these Standards of Professional Conduct help protect consumers and associations that hire or contract with community association managers.

“When a community association manager earns the CMCA, they’re pledging to uphold a strict code of professional conduct which is critical to the profession,” said Ron Perl, Esq., a Partner at Hill Wallack LLP, who leads the firm’s community association practice group. “This is more than understanding the many facets of community association management and troubleshooting challenging situations, it brings about accountability, responsibility and trust to the individuals the profession serves.” Read more …

6 career goals you should meet by ages 30, 40 and 50

In most companies, every quarter — or at least twice a year — you’re tasked with setting goals for yourself. As a way to manage your responsibilities, help you prioritize the most important deliverables and keep you tracking toward something, goals are often used as benchmarks of progress. If you meet ’em, you might earn a raise, a title change or bargaining power to ask for more vacation or flexibility. If you don’t — it’s time to work on improving your performance.
That’s what makes setting personal professional goals are bit trickier — since no one is holding you accountable, it’s tough to stay on track and pushing forward. That’s why long-term aspirations are recommended by career experts since you give yourself years — and hey, even a decade — to achieve them. As career coach and author Mary Camuto explains, these targets create focus, momentum, and markers of your success.“Goals should be tangible steps towards both your short-term needs/wants and your longer-term vision for your life Time will pass quickly whether or not you have set a direction or career course,” she shares.

Here, some ideas for each decade of your career:

In your 30s

Once the day of your college graduation has come and gone, you’re running full-speed ahead toward that job you paid so much money to be qualified for. Your 20s and 30s are defined by climbing – up the ladder, up the ranks, up the SEO search pages, up, up and up. And if you’ve ever rock-climbed, you know how much strength and endurance it takes to keep pushing. What’s nice though? The semi-comfortable peak you should reach by 40, where you’ve created a name, a reputation and hopefully, a skill set that’ll propel you into the next phase of life and working.

Have a killer online — and offline — presence:

As a generation that’s redefining the metrics and requirements of working, challenging employers to think differently and more digitally, who you are online is arguably just as important as who you are face-to-face. Branding and career expert Wendi Weiner, Esq., stresses the importance of having an sharp presence in the interwebs. This pillar will help you reach where you want to be once those 40 birthday candles arrive. “Your 30’s should be spent building your network and growing your professional stature. Attend events with business cards, have a professionally written LinkedIn profile, and begin to pinpoint where you want to see yourself in 10 years,” she encourages. “Begin keeping a brag book that you can update every couple of months with key career wins and projects you are leading.”

Don’t forget to take that elbow-rubbing and quick wit offline, too. Camuto says by the time you reach the end of your 30s, you should be in a leadership position within the community or industry you’re part of. “Build and participate in at least two networking groups related to your career: join or lead a committee, volunteer at events. This goal has impact to both your current and future success in that your resources and contacts broaden as well as your professional reputation,” she explains.

Set yourself up for future success:

Money matters are difficult for most people to discuss — and even harder to do something about. Though discussing retirement in your 20s or 30s might feel way too soon, the earlier you begin prioritizing your financial health, the better off you’ll be when 65 (or 70 or 75 … ) comes. “You should plan to pay off some debt in your 30’s and open a 401K at your company to begin planning for your financial future,” she shares. The less you worry about dollars in your banking account, the more time you can spend wowing your manager.

In your 40s

For many, your 30s are a time of tremendous growth, whether it’s finally reaching a c-level title or starting and completing your family. With demands from every corner of your life, most people feel stretched thin, and well, really happy. Even so, it’s important to keep your career progressing as you inch through your 40s, navigating the process of aging mentally and physically. You never want to lose your competitive edge, considering you still have a good 20 years of work ahead of you.

Get an advanced certification:

This doesn’t mean you have to go back to school, Weiner clarifies, but it does mean having a candid and open look at your skill sets to seek areas of improvement. You might fall off track as you become further removed from those college days, but a commitment to knowledge will allow you to keep up with recent grads. She suggests finding certifications — like Google Analytics or a coding course — that add another gold star for your resume.

Take executive leadership classes:

There’s a difference between a manager and a leader: even if you have ten direct reports, if you’re not inspiring them to greatness, you’re missing the mark. Not everyone is a natural-born trailblazer, so Weiner encourages 40-something professionals to acknowledge their weakness in this department. “Consider enrolling in an executive leadership or executive management program to enhance your leadership value and skill set, and start to get clear on where you will want to be for the next decade,” she says.

By doing this, you will be more qualified to go for keynote speaking sessions — or at least some sort of panel or conference — that adds more overall value to your brand. As Camuto explains, having a public image that others follow “not only impacts your recognition and success at your current organization but also lead you to a new path/new goals.”

In your 50s

As you reach mid-life, you’re probably going through a period of transition. Your children are getting older — as are you — and you could worry the best days of your life are behind you. Or more to the point: the most exciting times of your career have passed. Looking down the eye of retirement can produce a slew of emotions, but before you allow yourself to get carried away, remember there are still many years to shape your performance. Since most won’t retire until at least 65, discounting the last decade and some pennies will shortchange your career.

Strategize your retirement exit:

You can’t go over it, can’t go around it — you must go through it … with a plan in mind. Weiner says strategizing your exit will rest your angst and also put you in the best possible situation once your final working hour closes. So go on, ask yourself: where do you want to be — and who do you want to be — when that day arrives? Probably not over-exhausted to your bones, but in a happy place of balance and accomplishment. “You might be looking for a big shift in your career and where you want it to take you on the tail end of your final decade of work. By now, you are practicing more work-life balance and also realizing the importance of vacation days and time away to travel,” she says. Sit with your investment advisor and with your family, and determine your timeline so you stay the course—sans fear.

Serve as a mentor:

Workplace expert and industrial-organizational psychology practitioner Amy Cooper Hakim, Ph.D. says professionals in their 50s will reap rewards (and hey, some karma) from giving back to budding workers. Not only will you be an important figure in their career, but it might ignite a renewed sense of optimism and creativity in yours. “One of the biggest gifts you can give to your field and community is to help those who are in need of mentoring. As you teach a mentee the tricks of the trade, you may even be inspired by your mentee’s enthusiasm and overall interest,” she explains.

By Lindsay Tigar for www.theladders.com