Posted on: August 20th, 2019 by
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First off, how do you define “success” in your career?  Money? Title?  Fame?  Achievement? Power?  Satisfaction?  Or do you see a combination of factors?  Each one of these factors drive you in a different direction, so make sure you’re going after the right one.  If your career goal is money, your strategy is much different than if it’s satisfaction.


And what about personal “success” as apposed to career success?  Is your primary goal meaningful relationships, friends, love, family?  How do these factors integrate with your career success?  As you can see, the answer isn’t a simple one.  I know of several highly successful executives who have a number of ex-spouses.


Maybe a better question is, “What are the strategies for success?  Here’s a list of 5 steps for you to consider in thinking about success in your function or career:


VISION:  How do you visualize your ultimate goal, both professionally and personally over the next 5,10, or 20 years?  How do you envision the future outcome?  What will it take to achieve that vision?  Are you willing to preserver to attain your vision?  Unless and until you can answer these fundamental questions, the road to success will be undefined.


PASSION:  The things that you are passionate about are the things most likely to bring you success, if pursued.  The reverse is also true.  The earlier you can identify your passion the better.   You can then create a pathway to your professional and personal goals over a longer period of time.


CONTINUOUS LEARNING AND AN OPEN MIND: Continuing to grow as a professional and individual can only help you over time, whether it be a degree, certification, new language, new friends, and so on.  Try to learn something every day, and over time you’ll obtain skills, knowledge or ability to move closer to your vision. Continue to look for better ways of doing things.   Approach issues with no preconceived bias to see things clearly.


STRENGTHS, COMFORT ZONE, and RISK:  Develop a list of strengths:  Those things that you can do better than most.  These are your differentiators.  Identify the areas that you are highly confident and those areas where you fall short.  Reduce your weaknesses and you’ll expand your comfort zone. You can accept a higher level of risk when you’re more prepared.


RELATIONSHIPS and APPRECIATION TO/FOR OTHERS: Maintaining a wide circle of friends and supporters will help you over time.   These are the people who know you best and can be there for you when needed, and visa versa.  Make a list of “good friends” who are part of your network.  Make another list of “others” who can’t be counted on for support. Which list is longer?   What does that tell you?


Success isn’t automatic, it’s earned.  The steps to “earned success” can be planned and implemented, once you define your vision, strategy and timeline.   Without those elements you’re taking a random walk through life, both professionally and personally.


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Posted on: August 13th, 2019 by
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We all move through transitions at different times in our career.  Sometimes you need to just take a break.  A friend took this concept to a whole new level.


When a co-worker (age 41) had a heart attack and died at his desk, Judy McCandless (a corporate workaholic) and her husband (a commissioned sales executive) decided to take a career break to travel and seek a more meaningful life. What did they do, how did they do it and what was the outcome?  Judy has just published a book about their transition called, Workaholics Adrift: Transformation in the Pacific Islands, at



In her own words, Judy says, “Our stressful careers had taken a toll, and we sought a simpler life. It began with a six-month, leave of absence sailing our boat from San Francisco to Mexico and back. We loved the lifestyle. We saved, sold our home and three years later, launched a 35-foot yacht that took us 20,000 miles around the Pacific Ocean including a 28-day leg to Polynesia.”


“The fellowship of other ‘Yachtie’ sailors provided ready assistance and local knowledge, like the pioneer settlers in our old west. Learning self-sufficiency brought self-confidence. Finding supplies in remote areas necessitated becoming immersed in local customs. We slowed down to five mph. I became able to sit still and visit with strangers for an hour, then three; and I came to notice our similarities rather than differences. Islanders and Expats taught me compassion. In Fiji I saved a man’s life with first aid.”


“We spent two amazing years traveling from San Francisco to Australia. We left the boat and flew back to Silicon Valley to work for a year before we continued cruising.

During our years in the South Pacific, I experienced nature’s glory and fury, cultural, marital and medical clashes. Our marriage was strengthened by mutual respect in overcoming these challenges together.”


“In Guam I found work as a subcontract administrator for an Australian construction company while we lived aboard our boat for 3 years. We returned stateside in our early 50’s to work and save for the future, but a crisis curtailed all retirement plans.”


“As a result of these experiences, I encourage others to travel while you are able, but don’t wait for retirement. Take a career break for a month or a year to immerse yourself in something else that interests you. It will balance and broaden your life significantly.”


I’m not suggesting that Judy’s transition is for everyone. But it does show that you can make changes in your life for a new perspective about priorities, new insights into personal values, and serve as a launch pad for more compatible goals. To learn more about her book or with questions, contact Judy at: WorkaholicsAdrift@gmailcom.


Transitions can take many forms.  Maybe it’s time to think about your career and direction.


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Posted on: August 5th, 2019 by
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Whether you did well or not once the interview is over, the question most candidates ask is, “Should I send a “thank you” note”?  If you do send a thank you note, what should it say?  Should it be on personal letterhead or will an email be sufficient?


Let’s look at this question from the perspective of consequences: If I don’t send a thank you note will it hinder my chances of being selected?  Short answer:  Probably not.  If I do send a thank you note will I be looked on more favorably?  Short answer:  Maybe.  Put another way, a thank you note won’t hurt your chances of getting the job, and might possibly help.


If you do decide to write a thank you note, make it positive, short, and memorable, as in, connected to your interview.  Reinforce any encouraging comment the interviewer made during the interview so they specifically remember you.  For instance, if during the interview, the interviewer commented about an idea or experience you had like, “That’s an interesting idea we might be able to use”, remind the interviewer that the idea came from you in your thank you note.


Thank you notes show appreciation on your part for the hiring manager to take the time to meet with you.  It also shows good manners.  Any job you accept will involve interpersonal relations with others.  Demonstrating that you have the personal touch, as in a thank you note, will help your cause not hurt it.  A thank you note also puts your name back into the mind of the interviewer as the hiring decision is being made.


When interviewing, ask the person for their business card with an email address and phone number.  Email responses are quicker and are sent directly to the primary person.  A letter sent through the regular mail takes longer and may be short-circuited by a secretary.  However, a nice letter on stationery makes a better impression. Save it for the higher priority job.


Even though a thank you note should be short, make sure you cover three items:


  1. A “thank you” for the time and valuable information conveyed during the interview
  2. Show your heightened interest in the job and mention the part of the interview where the interviewer commented on the skills they found particularly interesting or a past experience that has direct relevance to the open job.
  3. Reinforce your keen interest and ask for the next step forward


Every hiring manager wants a high performer who can successfully contribute to the results of the organization.  But equally important is the relationships within the working group that forms a successful team.  A thank you note shows that you have the relationship side of the open position and the good social graces to follow up.


Demonstrate your interpersonal sensitivity with a well-crafted thank you note.


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Posted on: July 30th, 2019 by
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There must be times when you feel frustrated or depressed about your job to the point of taking a risk outside of your comfort zone.  Or “take a flyer” with the hope that something will work out.  These are the times you’re most vulnerable. Be cautious about job search strategies that seem to be too good to be true.  There are scams being run that take your money and give you nothing of value in return. Some scams are illegal or unethical, while others are both.  Here are some examples:


  • An ad from the “U.S.A. Staffing Department “assures you a federal job if you send $250 for a background check. There is no such department.
  • You receive an email to apply for a high paying job by signing up for a work-at-home training program that you pay for. It’s bogus, except for you sending a check.
  • A blind ad says you can double your income through sales while only spending a few hours at home making telephone calls.
  • Some help wanted ads seem genuine because they use company names that are known to you. However, the opportunity is fake.
  • You’re requested to interview by phone or video chat for a job that sounds great and would be a major step up. After about 15 minutes on the phone, when you get really interested, you’re asked some personal questions:  What’s your social security number, or send a check to cover the processing fee.
  • After a screening interview, you’re told you need a reference check before the next step. To do that, you’re required to provide banking or other personal information.
  • You will be considered for a highly lucrative job, but first you need to learn the products by purchasing the equipment or training manual to learn the product.
  • Your told you need, “No special training necessary” to be a company-paid shopper. Just send $500 for an assigned territory.
  • A recruiting company calls and says they have the ideal position for you. Just sign a contract for them to represent you to the company.  In other words, the company did not hire them to find candidates. You are being presented along with many other candidates from many other recruiters.  You pay if you are hired, up to 20% or 30% of your total compensation (which includes incentives and bonuses).


There are few situations where up-front money is required in order to apply or be a candidate to a legitimate company with a need for your special skills.  There are, however, many scams that are designed to relieve you of your money.


Reputable recruiters or job search coaches are available and ready to help you find the job for which you’ve been looking. Usually you can get a free review of your resume and an hour chat with the coach to see if you’re a comfortable match.  That’s what I do when talking to potential clients.  It’s what you should expect.


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Posted on: July 23rd, 2019 by
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The best way to get an interview is to have a compelling resume tailored to the open position.  How do you know it’s compelling?  When the hiring manager, after reading your resume thinks, “This is someone I definitely want to talk to!”.


A resume by itself won’t get you a job, but a compelling resume will get you an interview.  Here are some tips to improve your resume and increase the response rate from applications.


  1. Hiring managers will initially scan resumes, so you have about 10 seconds to make a great impression. Resumes are put into pile A, B, or C.  You want to be in pile A.  These are the applicants who will get a telephone call for an interview.  A strong format will lead the hiring manager’s eye to key points of interest.  Make sure they’re the right key points.


  1. Since hiring managers scan but not read your resume initially, you need two things: First, provide a SUMMARY OF RESULTS at the top of the resume defining your career achievements in one prominent place. Then make sure the most important information for your current job is right underneath.  In this way, the hiring manager can be immediately impressed with your contributions.


  1. Make sure your defining achievements are measurable and explainable.  Don’t say, “I turned around product sales for a region”.  Instead, say, “I increased new product sales by 25%, converted 15 of 18 new customers from competitors and reduced costs by 8%”.  This information makes the hiring manager want to know how you did that, which can only be found out during an interview. You want to force the “how did you do that” question.


  1. Parallel your key words in the resume to match the key words in the position description. If the position description emphasizes cost reduction, make sure you accentuate the projects where your reduced expenses or implemented a system that saved time, effort or dollars.  Again, specify the number in percent, dollars or another measurable unit. Make sure you can articulate the steps and methods to attain the performance.


  1. Read, edit and condense your resume at least 3 or 4 times. Squeeze out words or sentences that do not add value to the content of the resume and what the hiring manager is looking for in an applicant.  Read it as if you are the hiring manager.


  1. Make sure you don’t use up valuable space with irrelevant information, like: What you did during your summers, extraneous commentary, personal information or references (wait until you are asked for them).  If you can compress your achievements or results onto one page, all the better.  Two pages if you have contributed to a number of organizations over 10 years or more. Three pages are over the top and your resume may be discarded by the hiring manager.


Make your resume compelling and you’ll get a telephone screening call.


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