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Top Career Lessons We Learned From the 2016 Election

America has voted, and the results are in.

Hillary Clinton is not President of the United States. It was an interesting election to say the least. Typical name calling, stormy debates and conspiracies, real or imagined, engrossed Americans for the past 12 months.

We’ve learned a lot from the election, and the candidates did provide real lessons we should to take to heart. These blunders, winning strategies and personality traits can help us succeed in the job market. Here are some applicable career lessons to take from this election.

Birds of a feather: Target your ideal audience.

Have you ever wondered why some candidates pay more attention to certain states and completely ignore others? They’re using a time honored tradition – target marketing. Business professionals, politicians and public relations specialists focus their message on the people who are most likely to agree with them. This technique works well in the job search.

Our best career advice using an ideal audience? Identify the company characteristics you admire and closely match your own. Do you support the military? Look for companies that provide services to veterans or volunteer with military benefits. Are you interested in the latest technology? Employers who stay up-to-date and rely on their gadgets should be at the top of your list.

Working for a company that values the same principles and offers a stimulating environment provides a lasting, more enjoyable experience. Defining these criteria helps to narrow the list of possible companies and create your targets. But don’t neglect to consider company size, culture, benefits and advancement opportunities. A pleasurable experience doesn’t pay the bills or always provide room for growth.

Take your finger off the Twitter: Social media can help or hurt.

One of Trump’s most difficult lessons was social media. He never seemed to get the point. Twitter, Facebook and other platforms are intended to connect like-minded people, advertise potential opportunities and provide relevant, updated news. Social media is not meant to air your opponent’s dirty laundry. Take this career advice to heart, especially if your employer is on social media.

Badmouthing your colleagues not only labels you as a bully, it can damage workplace morale and lead to termination. Yes, everyone needs an outlet, a place to vent their feelings. Social media isn’t the place for those rants. If you feel the need to explode, talk to a friend – a friend doesn’t mean co-worker – or counselor.

Being aggressive towards another person isn’t the only take away from the campaign. Sometimes posting political alliances or sympathy towards a social group can lead to negative consequences. Not all employers are as enlightened as you. Focus more on family and friends or events; stay away from anything that may be controversial or have a negative influence on other individuals.

Don’t hide or cover up your mistakes: Honesty is the best policy.

Clinton's best career lessons taught us it’s best to face the music. While the evidence isn’t clear and there are still answers to seek, we know she wasn’t forthcoming with her email fiasco. This mistake plagued her campaign from day one. The question isn’t whether she did wrong by using a private server or whether national security was violated. The backlash came from her perceived dishonesty.

Employers want team members who face up to their mistakes, take ownership and work to rectify the issue. They understand people will fail and make mistakes. What’s important is learning from those failures. Trying to justify, hide, lie or cover up your mistakes tells employers you’re not responsible. Worse still, it sends the message you will lie and cover up mistakes, a dangerous liability to all companies.

On the same note, blaming others is just as detrimental to your career. It’s easier to point fingers when things go wrong. Clinton used this tactic during the Benghazi hearings. This only proved blame and omission are not effective leadership tools. Employers look for leaders who take responsibility and have integrity. They don’t want team leaders who will use underhanded strategies to get ahead.

Appearances do matter: If you’re sick, stay home.

Pushing onward, even while you’re sick, may be a great personal attribute, unless it hurts your image as a strong team member. Clinton learned this the hard way – on national television. During the Sept. 9 bombing anniversary in New York, the Democratic nominee decided not to alert her team about a bout with pneumonia. She trudged on and had to be assisted to the car.

If you’re too sick to get out of bed and drive to your job – please call in sick. Employers won’t think poorly of you. Actually, the reverse is true. Your throat is scratchy, nose is dripping and head feels like it’s going to explode; no one looks their best while sick. This hurts your image by making you LOOK like you’re not capable of doing the job. Think about the last time you saw a sneezing co-worker with red, swollen eyes. Didn’t you wonder how they could possibly perform well? Not to mention no one you work with wants to catch what you have.

Going to work sick isn’t all about appearance either. Sick workers are less productive and cost employers more money. In fact, a recent study conducted by researchers at Queen’s University found employers spend twice as much on sick employees than they do on healthy ones. Not to mention, sick employees risk infecting others, increasing company liabilities and decreasing productivity.

Learning to identify career lessons in everyday life.

Looking for career advice doesn’t always come from typical career sources. Here are few tips to help you find career lessons in every situation.

Keep an open mind. Situational learning comes in all shapes and sizes. Morals from Mother Goose play just an important role in adult problems as they do in early education. Watching a waitress working with a disgruntled patron may provide insight into a recent client interaction. Maybe your child’s Little League coach has a wonderful team building strategy. Would it work in your office?

Don’t resent instruction or advice. We all must learn new skills and strategies. College doesn’t cover a third of what actual life lessons or job skills teach. Always accept help from someone even outside your field. One Star Trek: Voyager episode showed Mr. Neelix, the ship’s morale officer, solving a complex engineering feat that stumped the ship’s scientists. He was able to look at the problem from a simpler angle.

Keep it or leave it. Not all life lessons translate into great career lessons. You may consider Clinton’s Twitter strategies, use them in your next marketing campaign and, ultimately, decide they weren’t applicable. The point isn’t whether the lessons and skills immediately help you. It’s about being flexible and learning from various situations. Plus, most skills never go to waste. You’ll use them eventually.

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Write your resume like a pro.

TopResume's resume worksheet is just like the one our pros use. Download it now for free and start getting more interviews!