ARE YOU FALLING BEHIND?

Posted on: March 19th, 2019 by
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We all have good days and bad days.  When the balance gets tilted too much toward the bad days, it’s time to evaluate where you are and why.  There are visible signs that give you indicators of when you need to assess your job, career and direction.  Here are some of them:

 

  • You’ve stopped learning. We all have the capacity to grow and expand our knowledge, skills and abilities. When that capacity is blocked, we flat-line in our jobs and our ability to perform at a higher level.
  • It’s harder to get up in the morning. Is it the work itself or is it your attitude toward the work you are doing?  Attitude towards your job, boss, work or the people around you all affect your outlook, and many times, your energy level.
  • It’s difficult to be excited about work. Repetitive work can be a drag.  Is it a project that will change over time, or is work going to be the same boring stuff endlessly?
  • Something has happened within the company itself:  A change of leadership near the top of the organization, a new boss, a merger, or an economic downturn of the company’s results. These events can directly affect you. You’re out of step with the main stream.
  • There’s nowhere for you to go. You see no movement for you to progress with the company.  Your career ladder upward is blocked or the organization is restructuring downward, and you see yourself as vulnerable.
  • Your rewards don’t match your contributions. You’re not being paid equal to your value or contribution, so you consider downscaling your performing.  You may see others moving ahead who don’t deserve it or non-performance rewarded.
  • You picture yourself somewhere else doing something else.  You know you can contribute more at a higher level of responsibility, but can’t see how in your current position.  You are frustrated with your job, boss or the future.

 

When your performance or attitude flat-lines, you are in fact, falling behind your career goal and peers.  Catching up with your career goal become harder the longer you are in a stall.  Sometimes a few days off or a vacation will help.  But when you come back, if you’re not eager to get back to work, then something is wrong.

 

So what do you do?  Whose to fault and what actions do you take?  My experience is the fault is evenly shared between you and your employer. You should be taking new courses, add technological/computer skills, use on-line resources to improve and expand your knowledge, skills and abilities.  Your employer should be providing you with opportunities to grow through internal training and development.  Your boss should be providing you with expanding responsibilities commensurate with your contributions.

 

Having a discussion with your boss about a change or added responsibilities may help.  If not, consider a more dramatic step.

 

Work should be fun, or at least enjoyable and satisfying.  If not, you may need a major change.

 

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


R.I.P. = RETIRE IN PROSPERITY

Posted on: March 12th, 2019 by
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No matter what your age, from 15 to 60, you should be preparing for retirement.  Why? Unless you’re independently wealthy, you’ll end up losing control of your future.  Why are so many people unprepared for retirement?  It’s not because they don’t know it’s going to happen, nor because it takes them suddenly by surprise.  I can think of only two fundamental reasons why they’re not ready:

  • They don’t effectively plan for their retirement and are unprepared when it happens
  • A health or major event occurs that depletes their financial resources quickly

Back in time, retirement was taken care of by the children bringing one or both parents into their home as an extended three-generation family.  That still occurs, but not nearly as much as before. Children move away and continually relocate with the shifting job situation.

 

The most vulnerable are older persons who:

  • Have shortened work years because of health, child-rearing, or involuntary terminations
  • Have gaps in work or lack of continuity that prevents advancement up the economic ladder
  • Are trailing spouses who never have time to accumulate funds
  • Don’t have work related retirement plans
  • Use disposable funds for new cars, boats, second homes, or vacations rather than retirement
  • Live much longer than their plans, and well beyond their available funds
  • Lack credits or minimal Social Security income to supplement retirement needs

 

Of course not all individuals are in these categories.  There are actions that can be taken to relieve or solve the retirement question.  Whether man or woman, married or single, early or late in a career, here are a few strategies to consider:

  • Whoever and wherever you are, develop a long term plan to support your retirement needs
  • Optimize company sponsored plans like a 401k. It’s a 100% return on some of your money
  • Live at least 10% below your total income. Put that 10% into a separate retirement account
  • Make sure you have adequate insurance on both spouses in case of an emergency
  • Open up an IRA for both spouses and all children. Use the IRA’s for part-time work, summers, home businesses, consulting business or income between jobs
  • Keep cars longer, even for a year or two, and resist the urge to buy major new items
  • Pay off mortgages with twice-a-month payments rather than monthly
  • Once the car, credit cards or mortgage is paid off, use that money toward retirement
  • Invest in stocks that have a history of increasing dividends each year. A low risk strategy.

 

Due to healthier eating and life style, plus technological advances in medicine and health care, life expectancy has changed over the years:

  • 1900   Male – 46.3   Female – 48.3
  • 1950   Male – 65.6   Female – 71.1
  • 2000   Male – 75      Female – 80
  • 2025 projected   Male – 78      Female – 83

 

The answers for retirement?  Prepare early, stay healthy, plan to live longer, and don’t outspend your future.

 

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


“ACE” YOUR GROUP INTERVIEW

Posted on: March 5th, 2019 by
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Most everyone dislikes group or panel interviews.  It feels like you’re being set upon by people who may ask you questions for which you may not have good answers.

 

In many ways group interviews mean the difference between you getting the job, and others not.  Why?  If you’re better prepared you’ll be more effective than all the other candidates, especially in front of the key decision makers. So what is it you need to know?

 

There are basically two types of group interviews:

  1. A peer group of homogenous functions, like all scientists or all marketing people
  2. A mix of functions from different disciplines, like sales, finance, operations, and HR

 

Peer group members from a similar function are most concerned about:  Are you technically competent in your field of expertise?  Will you successfully fill a need?  Will you work well with them as a part of a team?  These are people who have successfully worked together and want to know if the new person will “fit in” and advance their efforts.   Be careful not to appear too competitive within this group.

 

With a mixed group of different functions, the questions are:  Will you add value to the department or organization as a whole?  Can you be a problem solver and help me with my issues?  Will you be as good as, or better than, the person you are replacing?  The comparison to the prior incumbent is normal.  A simple question to the HR person before the interview might be: How is it that this position of open?

 

How do you handle a group interview?  Your preparation and research is imperative.

First, well before the group interview, request the name of each participant, their titles, functions and reporting relationships.  Make sure the information is clear so you don’t embarrass them or you.

 

Next, research (Google) each individual to obtain information that will be helpful to you during the interview:  Prior work history, education and level of responsibilities.  Then read the annual report and anything else you can learn about the company.  Why?  Many times this information will help you understand the nature and reason for their questions, issues they may have or their specific interest in this function.

 

Most people will ask questions that affect their own job and how you may or may not impact their performance or future needs.  Their questions are basically asking, “What is this person going to do for me?”  Always answer the question based on the person’s function.  For instance, your potential boss is questioning, “Can this person help me solve my current issues?” and “Will this person make me look good over the longer term?”  Answer questions from individuals in a group setting as if their future may depend on you. In fact, it may.

 

A successful group interview will accelerate your candidacy.  Prepare to meet the challenge.

 

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


BECOME THE CANDIDATE OF CHOICE!

Posted on: February 26th, 2019 by
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How does a hiring manager sort through a hundred resumes, chose 10 to interview, then identify the finalist candidate who will be able to do the job better than everyone else?  What makes you different, better and more effective than all of your competitors for a job that you want?  If you don’t know the answer, you’re already behind your competitors.  Here are some of the things you can do to make you the candidate of choice.

 

First, define the outstanding achievements in your current job.  What are you most proud of that will “WOW” a hiring manager?  Use metrics to quantify your results.  Identify and measure your accomplishments from prior jobs.  This is the preparation you need to launch the next step in your career.  If you can’t demonstrate and measure your results, a hiring manager can’t differentiate you from everyone else who says they can do the job better than you. Make your documented facts overwhelm someone else’s smokescreen.

 

Think about what a hiring manager is really looking for in a candidate.  A future boss wants someone who can achieve one or more of the following attributes:  Increase performance, reduce cost, drive revenue, expand the business, improve productivity, install process improvement methods, reduce staff, improve quality, grow profit, or provide for a better return-on-investment if you get hired. You have to show a hiring manager that you can provide them with greater performance than others.  Your competition may only talk about how good they are, but you have the opportunity to demonstrate and document how good you are. Make it easy for the hiring manager to choose you.

 

Nothing will sell a hiring manager better than your ability to monetize your results from past jobs.  Show how you can achieve similar results applied to the open position. You need two pieces of information to do that.  First, define the key skill, ability, knowledge or result that the hiring manager must have from the new hire?  That information is usually found at the top of the position description.  There are usually only 2 or 3 elements that are essential for success.  Second, identify what you have done in your current and past jobs that will match or exceed the key result areas for which the hiring manager is looking?  You’re the only one who can match your results with their need.

 

Make sure during the telephone and face-to-face interviews that you emphasize your experiences and results that match the hiring manager’s needs as defined in the position description.  Even though you may want to toot your horn about a project you headed up, it may be totally irrelevant to the recruiter or hiring manager.

 

Hiring managers are looking for a candidate who can get the results that they must have in order to be successful.  To be the candidate of choice you have to show that you have all the experiences and results that will translate into that success.

 

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


WHEN ROBOTS SCAN YOUR RESUME

Posted on: February 19th, 2019 by
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Most large and some midsized companies, have an automatic sorting mechanism for scanning resumes for open positions. Simplistically, they use an algorithm that takes key words and phrases from the position description written by the hiring manager, and matches them to the words and phrases on the resumes from applicants.  The words and phrases that match are sorted into a group of high potential resumes. Resumes are prioritized with the most matches at the top of the pile.

 

Key phrases might be:  Masters of Business Administration (MBA), cost accounting supervisor, department head, Regional Sales Manager, or any other designation that the hiring manager wants in a candidate.  A more sophisticated system might look for metrics, like 10% reduction of costs, or 8.5% increase in revenue.  A key word might be:  Salesman, Controller, Six-Sigma, or a word known only to professionals in a designated field of experience like Oracle, CMS Marketing, robotics, PCB, electro-mechanical, and so on.  If you don’t match the key words and other resumes are a better match, you’re resume will be kicked out.

 

Once the computer has completed its task, a human being will take the “winners” and begin the telephone or Skype contact of the top candidates.  Here are few issues you need to understand:

  • Words used in your resume may be similar to the key words in the position description but be interpreted differently by the computer, i.e. Controller, Comptroller, Finance Manager.
  • The quality of your work isn’t recognized by the computer, only the word or phrase
  • The potential value of the applicant in the future can’t be gauged by an algorithm
  • The effective “fit” into the work team isn’t a consideration.

 

So what do you do when applying to a larger company that uses a computer program?  Play the game to your advantage:

 

  • Key words are obvious in the position description. Make sure they are on the first page or top half of the first page of your resume. It will be noticed quicker and ranked higher.
  • Critical key words should be repeated throughout the resume. Multiple uses of keywords increases the “hit”, especially when describing past jobs. Algorithms love repetition.
  • Nouns are better than verbs.  Words like energized, talented, accomplished, and so on are meaningless.  Key words must be job specific to match the job descriptors.
  • Similar words may not be recognized. Use the exact words from the position description.  If the company is looking for a civil engineer, using the word engineer may not cut it.
  • Usually there are 10 to 15 key words or phrases that revolve around: Job Titles, degrees, certifications, professional skills, job experiences, technical terms or buzzwords, company names, computer programs or applications, and so on.

 

However, you must have the experience with results that match the open position, not just words.  If you don’t have the background you’ll have wasted everyone’s time and your own credibility.

 

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