REINVENT YOUR CAREER

Posted on: April 13th, 2021 by
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Now is the time to consider where you want to be within the next 6 months while we’re coming out of the Covid-19 period of shutdowns.  Are you happy where you are?  Have you developed new skills and experiences that should move you up the career ladder?  Whatever your situation, it’s time to reinvent your professional brand to indicate you’re ready for a new or next phase in your career.

Successful branding means taking what you do best, what you are known for, and channeling it. Re-branding is a bit harder because it involves taking what you are currently known for and re-channeling it to something different. You need to become known as competent in a different function, level or industry with new skills, experiences and results. The steps you need to take are difficult, but not impossible.

First you need to find your base line:  What is your starting point?  If people around you were asked, “What word or two best describe your attributes, both personally and professionally?”, what would they say?  Your talents and abilities are usually best seen by those people who know you.  How they answer the question will most likely be closer to the mark than how you would answer the question yourself.  Hopefully, they are the same answer.  If not, listen to the others.

Second, identify the things that you do exceptionally well:  What makes you unique?  The answer should be relatively easy.  If you don’t know how or why you stand out, you must be average.  The qualities that make you stand out in the crowd are the things that a hiring organization is interested in.  They are also the qualities that will help you transition from where you are to where you want to be.  Identify the “holes” or shortcomings to your rebranding:  What are the things you are missing?  What skill, experience or result must you acquire in order to make the transition?   These are the transferrable skills you’ll need.

Third, imagine where you want to be in the future:  What’s your end point?  All transitions need to lead somewhere.  The end point is dependent upon your readiness, determination, and time available to make the transition.  Cherry-pick your experiences to show how you achieved major accomplishments in the past and can get the same or better results at a different level, industry or function moving forward.

Forth, define the first step toward your ultimate goal:  What comes next?  Create a powerful story.  Take your past history, the transferable skills, experiences and results, and demonstrate to a hiring organization how you can successfully contribute to their goals.  It may be a new process, alternative solutions, a transformative strategy, new products into new markets, or other possibilities.  It must create a powerful potential for what the hiring organization needs.  Network your new brand with the people who you know and can assist your entry toward your new direction.

 

Your results are your brand.  Prepare for the future.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


DESERVE A COVID-19 RAISE?

Posted on: April 7th, 2021 by
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Job descriptions have changed since Covid-19 impacted our economy.  Most jobs have seen a change in responsibilities.  You could be due a reevaluation of your duties and pay.  Here are some of the factors you might want to consider:

  • About 45% of companies plan to reassess salary increases for 2021. In 2020, salary budgets dropped from an average of 2.8% planned to 2.5% actually given.
  • Factors that can impact your professional value include: Years of industry experience; years of leadership positions; level of education; years/level of seniority; certifications or licenses; conditions within your local job market; supply versus demand in your area of expertise; cycle of the economy; or new remote skills added.

 

So, how do you go about preparing for a conversation with you boss about reassessing your pay level?  First, make sure you have the data to support your situation.  It’s always better to have more and better information than your boss.

  • Research your salary by function, industry and location. The current data about what’s going on in the marketplace is the best place to visit, like Glassdoor, PayScale, Salary.com. minimum/max range
  • Determine where you are within your range. You have a better chance of a pay hike if you’re below the 50th percentile of your range.  If you’re above 50%, then your performance has to be well above average.
  • Define your contribution – What has been your results over the past 6 to 18 months? Can you assess and measure your impact to the organizational results? If not, then your boss won’t be able to evaluate it either.  Have you increased productivity or performance, increased revenue, decrease costs, added value, minimized man-hours, created efficiencies, or expanded customer satisfaction or worth?
  • Schedule a meeting with your boss. Mention that the subject is job responsibilities, the changing work patterns and a career discussion.  You need to find out what plans there are for you to get training, prepare you for greater responsibilities, what opportunities are available, or not.
  • Be open to discussing a wider agenda than just pay. Let the boss take the lead as the focus may be short-term (pay) or longer-term (career).  The best discussion is all of the above.
  • Your strategy is to position yourself as a major contributor to the bottom line, a positive support force to the boss’s results, with potential to contribute higher performance.

 

In summary, know your worth; keep your discussion simple and non-confrontational; focus on your skills that are in-demand and essential to the boss’s goals; have a strategy that you’re comfortable with; understand that a short-term “no” doesn’t mean the end of the discussion.  Schedule another discussion in three months to see if the marketplace has changed, internal dynamics improved or opportunities surface.

 

The best time to bring up a raise or expanded responsibilities is when the company is seeing new business or profits are up.   The worst time is during your actual performance review, when the script is already written by your boss.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


FIBBING ON YOUR RESUME?

Posted on: March 30th, 2021 by
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A little “white lie” won’t hurt anyone, right?  Wrong!   Here are few things that can happen:

  • The company finds out before your interview, then files you under “NEVER HIRE”
  • The company finds out after you’re hired and your tagged as dishonest
  • If hired, your unable to do the job, demoted, given trivial assignments, or fired
  • If hired, a law suit is brought against you as a deterrent to others

 

So, how many people fib or outright lie on their resume?  While scientifically accurate data is not available, there are anecdotal and survey data that gives a good guesstimate:

  • Recruiters will tell you that over 50% of resumes have a fib or an outright lie in them
  • Resumes may stretch the truth, leave out information or give misleading material
  • Resumes are tossed out with just a hint of fabrication

Why do people lie on their resume?  The marketplace is very competitive due to the Covid-19 impact, with lay-offs, furloughs and reduced hours.  Some fields of work are hyper-competitive.  Most lies center around the work experience, dates of employment, overstating results or skills they don’t have, or misrepresent responsibilities.

 

A  high percent of people say they know of someone who has lied on their resume.  Here are some factors to consider:

  • About a third of those who cheat on their resume are caught. They either are not hired or are fired when revealed.  So, you have a 1 in 3 chance of being found out.  Not very good odds.
  • If you know of someone who cheats on their resume, would that friend ever be trusted by you? Can your friends or colleagues trust you or be a reference for you if they knew you cheat?
  • How many companies do background checks? More than you think.  This is especially true for jobs that require sensitive, strategic, financial, or competitive information.  As you move up the organizational ladder it becomes even more important, and background checks are near 100%.

 

Social media is one of the tripwires for a resume.  The information on social media is so easy to obtain which may not line up with the information on a resume.  The most common areas for error are dates, job responsibilities and comments from others that may not impress hiring managers.

 

Your reputation is extremely important if you view yourself at a higher level of responsibility.  Don’t start or further your career with a lie.  Honesty is valued in any relationship.  If an organization cannot trust the words on a resume, then how can they trust you with customer information, financial accuracy, personnel sensitivities, vendor quotes and so on.  Once you lose your reputation, its very hard and most times impossible to get it back.

 

Resumes should be word pictures of what you’re capable of doing and how your skills and experience can help the hiring manager attain the objective they want to achieve.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to:  wkaufmann44@gmail.com


2021 JOB SEARCHES

Posted on: March 23rd, 2021 by
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What’s your 2021 job search and career objective?  Find a better job in your industry?  Move to a different industry?  Transition to a new function? Each of these alternatives have different strategies given the marketplace supply and demand.

 

Here are some trends to help guide you to a more successful job search strategy:

  • Most hiring typically surges at the start of the new year and during the Fall season. The summer and the holiday season usually mean a down period for hiring.  Covid-19 has changed all that.  Hiring will begin to climb this Spring and continue to build from April to October, when it will peak.  So, stay in contact with your network.  They will know what’s happening in the marketplace and will be your touchstone with intelligence by industry and function.
  • The hiring trend will be determined by industry and size. Large companies can staff up earlier in technology, healthcare, financial services, e-commerce and customer services with a remote workforce.  Smaller business will have to wait until the workforce returns to their location. Sharpen and improve your skill sets with courses or certifications and expand your network.
  • One bright spot is companies looking for contract, consulting, temporary, or freelance workers before hiring new employees. In that way you stay productive, engaged, have a resume enhancer and put you in line for a full-time job.  They now know you, the quality of your work and how you fit into their culture.  It puts you first in line.
  • A benefit to part-time/consulting work is putting projects together while making a very good living. Consultants can charge an elevated rate because the work is short-term.  The skills required are usually at a higher level.  The downside is the loss of benefits.
  • Experiences while working at home remotely is a great asset. It gives you flexibility for job offers that asks for a hybrid schedule of both office and remote work.  Office work limits you to a commutable geographic area.  Working remotely provides a national venue and your location is not a prerequisite requiring you to relocate.
  • There are significant changes in the way you’re hired. More companies are using technology to screen and interview.  Computers are analyzing for key words used in the position description.  Your resume needs to fit the words used.  Another more unsettling technology is automated interviews that record your answers to questions like: “Describe your experiences”, or “What can you contribute to this job?” or other digital interview questions.  Prepare for these questions ahead of time.
  • The competition for higher level jobs will increase due to a number of factors: Past furloughs, the shift from office to remote to office, a downturn in some industries with an upturn in other industries.

 

In summary, stay informed about the marketplace, upgrade your skills, remain state-of-the-art, expand your network, and be flexible in looking for your next assignment.  The work-world has changed dramatically except for the need to hire and retain talented people.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com


A POST-COVID RESUME

Posted on: March 16th, 2021 by
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Why does your resume need to be compelling after Covid-19?  Because the objective of a resume is to get an interview.  A hiring manager should read your resume and say, “This is someone I must talk with as they have the results I need in my post-Covid organization”.  Here are some guidelines to follow:

 

Header: Make is simple – Name, city/state, telephone number and email address.  No one needs your mailing address.  Make sure your email address is a professional one.

Objective:  This is where you describe what you can do for them.  Example: “To improve productivity in programs and operations by installing advanced business practices resulting in high performance with remote teams”.  If you can’t define your objective, neither can the hiring manager.  The next item reflect how you plan to achieve this objective.

Summary of Results:  Describe the major results you’ve achieved in your career to date.  Demonstrate, in measurable terms, the accomplishments that validates your objective stated above.  These achievements describe the “how” and the “outcome”.

Professional Experiences:  List your results with each past company. This is where you can define the “what” you accomplished, the results, and highest performance in your past.  The key is to match this list with the items in the position description.  Hiring managers want to see how you achieved the results that parallel the issues that needs to be resolved in their own organization.  If you’ve done it successfully somewhere else, the chances are you can do it again.

Technology:  All hiring managers want to make sure you are current or have state-of-the-art experiences in the technology within your function.  List those systems, applications, programs, or technologies that demonstrate your ability to be a leader in the new job.

Education/Certifications:  Your education is important, but just as important are additional certifications or professional accreditations that move you ahead of your counterparts.  It shows you have gone beyond the basics with advanced recognition.

Honors/Awards:  Hiring managers want to see how other organizations might have recognized your contributions, especially if it adds value for them.  A “Salesman of the Year” award may help get you the job of Sales Manager somewhere else

Professional Memberships:  Being active in a professional association shows a connection to others from which you can learn and/or source.  Most have conferences or conventions that provide new approaches or technology in an industry or function.  It shows that you have a continuing interest in expanding your knowledge.

Other:  This is where additional but relevant information can be found:  Languages, special skills, volunteer experiences, or anything else that can advance your candidacy.

 

Resumes give hiring managers insight into your potential contributions to their results.  Word-pictures are the best way for hiring managers to see what you are able to accomplish.  It differentiates you from all others and shows the hiring manager that you are worth the time and effort of an interview once the Covid-19 scare is over.

 

For a FREE critique of your resume, send to: wkaufmann44@gmail.com