SWITCH CAREERS?

Posted on: January 19th, 2021 by
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The Covid-19 pandemic has thrown a lot of people into a confusing career pool.  Should I wait it out?  Can I change industries?  Will my job come back?  How do I make a change?

Here are some thoughts to guide your decisions and help with a transition:

 

Opportunity time-cycle – The basic question of “Should I stay or change?” is determined by three things:  Time, cost and effort.  How much time until your job/industry comes back?  Do you have the financial resources to wait? How much effort is required to change?  Each of these questions require some research on your part.  The answers should be clear.

 

Transferable skills – The marketable skills you have should be derived from the results you have achieved:  Increased customer satisfaction; problem-solving impediments; improved profitability; new customer expansion, subscribers, geography, or opportunity; reduced downtime; improved productivity; successfully implementing new ideas.

 

Basic requirements – Every potential new career has basic skills or demands, like a certification, license, technology, training, experience.  Make a list of your skills and experiences, then create a plan to acquire those that you are missing: Local courses, professional on-line programs, etc. They should give you core benchmark skills.

 

Create your resume – Design your tailored resume to fit the position description of each job you are pursuing.  Emphasize results you’ve achieved not just activities.  Ask yourself, “If I were the hiring manager, what would I be looking for in a candidate”?  In addition to the basic requirements, such things as dependability, honesty, integrity, communications, a “can do” attitude, and the desire to get a quality job done.  Find ways to express these values, especially during an interview.  Focus on results.

 

Expand your network – Search past connections and contacts into industries and companies that you’re interested in pursuing.  Include them in your network listing.  Find out what’s going on in your targeted companies.  Expanding or shrinking?  Check out LinkedIn and multiple job sites to find out who is hiring with your skill sets and experience.  Many job opportunities come from people who you know and can introduce you.

 

Tailor experiences to fit – When you find a job description that you’re interested in, tailor your resume to fit. Use the same words that they used in the position description.  Use action words to describe your skills, experience and results.  Match as many requirements as possible.  To be considered, the match should be at least the 75% level or better.

 

Results that matter – The results that you’ve achieved other places are the key to your next assignment.  The greater the match, the greater your chances of getting an interview.  Hiring managers will always prefer candidates who have had prior results in the areas that need attention.  Interviews are the place to demonstrate your abilities to obtain results and fit the culture.  Answer questions with stories about your past experiences and results.

 

Many times, a hiring manager wants someone from outside the industry to add different insights and perspectives.  You might be more qualified than you think.

 

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


A COVID “GAP” RESUME

Posted on: January 12th, 2021 by
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There may be up to a million people with a “gap” in their resume from either being furloughed, a short-term or permanent layoff, or a move to part-time status.  If this has happened to you, the objective is to explain your resume story in a compelling way that moves the hiring manager to contact you for an interview.  How do you do that?  Here are some thoughts:

 

  • First off, recognize the fact that you’re not alone. Hiring managers will understand the issues and implications that Covid-19 has played on the world of work.  There is no need to feel less deserving than anyone else.
  • Identify those actions you took while on leave. You’ll be at the top of the list if you took a skill expansion course on-line or received a higher-level certification in your area of specialty. You’ll be at the bottom of the list if you were a coach potato watching reruns of old TV movies.  What you did with your time and the quality of your efforts is one of the most important factors that hiring managers look at in candidates.
  • Another key factor is that your new or expanded skill or experience has transfer value across the industry you are pursuing. Taking a course or certification in accounting is less important if you are in sales (although it can’t hurt) than if you become certified in forensic accounting while pursuing a career in finance.
  • Assuming you weren’t terminated from your company “for cause” or performance, be upfront and honest with a potential hiring manager. Giving a falsehood will not move your candidacy forward and can cause termination.
  • If you’ve been furloughed, you’re still an employee. When defining your work dates, give your hiring date and “to present”.  Example:  May, 2018 to present.  During the interview you can then say, “My current company recognizes my past contributions and wants to bring me back as business increases, which is why I am on furlough and not in layoff status”
  • Demonstrate that you have taken accountability for your career direction. Give examples of volunteer work, community support or contributions you have made in the form of writings to professional publications.  The story should be that you’ve made the best use of time during this transition that can benefit you and the new organization.
  • If you’re moving into a new industry, demonstrate the transferability of your skills and experiences in a new and contributive way. Show different ways of attacking a problem or alternative way of approaching an issue.  Examples may be:  Attracting new customers, retaining existing customers, providing customer service in a more effective way, or using technology to expand the customer experience.
  • Focus your job search toward companies that are experiencing a high demand for new workers: Applying new technology, healthcare, customer service, or delivering a service.

 

Having a gap in your resume doesn’t have to be a problem.  Show how your new skills are transferable to the new situation, creating value.

 

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


A NEW “REMOTE” GROUP?

Posted on: January 2nd, 2021 by
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Have you just accepted a new job as a remote supervisor, or are you a remote worker who just got a new supervisor that you haven’t yet met?  Either way, there are some steps to start making a positive impact in a short period of time.  If you just got a new supervisor, here are the steps you can anticipate being taken to prepare you for meaningful remote work. This is a primer in how to supervise a group of remote workers you’ve never met.

 

First of all, in order to work as a unit you have to build a team,.  This is done by creating an open discussion of issues, impediments to success and expectations.  By involving the remote group in a transparent dialogue, you are in fact creating a group consensus.  Six preliminary questions should be sent to each member of the work group. Discuss each question one-on-one, then consolidate all the individual feedback into a group overview:

  1. What do you see as our ultimate long-term goal and short-term objectives?
  2. What do you see as the key issues and impediments that need to be addressed?
  3. What are we doing effectively that shouldn’t be changed, only improved upon?
  4. What do you see as your primary responsibility? Constraints? Limitations?
  5. What do you do best and can individually contribute to the group’s success?
  6. What kind of supervisor do you need for you to contribute as a high performer?

 

Once these questions get answered, the supervisor needs to outline operating essentials:

  1. How remote meetings will be organized: Agenda, schedules, benchmarks, due dates
  2. How to communicate issues and impediments to the supervisor prior to meetings
  3. Individual and group expectations, performance standards and periodic reviews
  4. Key dates, contact numbers, technical information, emergency protocols

 

As the group becomes familiar with your operating style of engagement and feel more comfortable with each other, open and substantial communications become the norm and trust begins to form. The dynamic of forming a team occurs with multiple conversations, both as individuals and as a team. It’s always better to over- communicate than under-communicate.  Be honest and fair.  If you don’t have answers, tell them, then share the answers when you get them.  Always be clear, consistent and concise with direction and expectations.

 

Being a part of a remote work group is difficult.  Supervising a remote group is more difficult.  The more a supervisor shares and engages the group in discussions, problem-solving and goal setting, the greater will be the trust between and among the remote work group.  The higher the trust with the supervisor and within the work group, the higher the performance and results.

 

All work groups, whether remote or not, need certain characteristics to be successful.  Among the most important is confidence in the supervisor, the group as a whole, and each individual within the work group.  With confidence comes higher performance and trust.

 

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


WHERE ARE THE JOBS?

Posted on: December 29th, 2020 by
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COVID-19 has caused a major upheaval in both the economy and jobs.  Many jobs have been lost or modified in a way that new skills are needed. Jobs in the service sector are the most affected:  Hotels, restaurants, school staff, travel and entertainment workers, to name a few.  These are the people who should consider a change of industry and job. So, what should they do, how and when?  Here are some thoughts:

  • When should you start to plan and begin taking action? NOW!
  • A recent survey shows that over 60% of workers who have lost their jobs have changed industries. You’re not alone with the desire to move out of your prior industry and into a job that has promise for years to come.
  • Those with technical skills are the most sought after in computer applications, healthcare, systems maintenance, and support staff to keep computers working.
  • Amazon, Fed Ex, UPS and other e-commerce companies are hiring at a high rate. Amazon by itself has hired over 150,000 workers to handle on-line orders, then an additional 100,000 to sort and ship packages for the holidays.  Business is not expected to slow down through the winter and into the spring due to the slowdown (and in some cases the lockdown) of inside and outside activities.
  • Jobs may move from being temporary to permanent part-time to full time. The quality of your work determines your movement to a more responsible job, usually at a higher pay.  You also may move from a 3rd shift to a 2nd or 1st shift as business expands and opportunities open up for becoming a supervisor.
  • Some companies are on such an accelerated growth cycle that promotional opportunities beyond supervisor develop for current employees, rather than hire an unknown from the outside.
  • Also, as you move to a permanent status, you become eligible for health benefits, insurances, holiday and vacation pay.
  • Local community colleges are a center for re-training. National programs are also available and most courses are on-line, so you can make your own schedule and work at your own pace.  A number of companies will pay all or part of your costs if you commit to work for them.
  • There are “bootcamp” programs of 12 to 14 weeks that focus on software programming. Graduates can make up to $70,000 a year and work from home.  The need for software programmers will continue for many years to come, which means layoffs are infrequent, skill training is ongoing, and new opportunities are continual.
  • Certifications can be attained with short-term classes in medical records, auto repair, long-haul drivers, heating and air conditioning, real estate, digital marketing, website development, financial analysis, customer service, pharmacy technicians, and many more.

 

The point of this article is to demonstrate that there are opportunities to remake your career and job prospects by taking advantage of the surge in some industries.  It takes a plan, determination, time and effort.  Start the process now!

 

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


JOB DOMINOES

Posted on: December 22nd, 2020 by
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Remember the game where you stood individual dominoes on their end next to each other so you could topple the first one, falling on the second one, and so on?  You could build a whole line of planned destruction of the formation you created.  Well, a similar pattern is emerging that has a similar result, only the dominoes are businesses that are in troubl, with lost jobs.  Let me explain.

 

There is a destruction-creation force currently at work when an event like Covid-19 occurs. It causes a shift in the economy, industries and functions.  Examples are throughout history:  Transitioning from an agricultural economy to an industrial one; the impact of the assembly line; from manual computation to the computer; brick and mortar purchases to on-line sales; from gas-driven cars to electric and eventually driverless cars.  When these events occur it destroys what was, and introduces us to what will be.  For the individual to succeed in this environment they need to stay alert, informed, nimble and prepared.

 

The Covid-19 pandemic is such an event.  It causes less successful businesses to either operate at a higher risk or go out of business.  The effect is a consolidation within industries and a compression within the workforce.  In other words, consolidated companies may need people with different skills.  It also diminishes the competitive forces of choice for the consumer.  As an example, look at the mergers or closing of movie theaters, malls, local small food stores, independent pharmacies to name a few.  Larger companies can also take advantage of the extremely low interest rates available during the pandemic to fund growth.

 

On the other hand, massive corporations are formed that dominates the market may or may not serve the greater public interest, or save costs. It causes a funneling of consumers into fewer alternatives.  It’s like driving on a 12-lane highway that gradually shrinks into a two-lane road. Examples are seen in most all segments of the marketplace.  You’ll know when consolidation has overreached when you start hearing about the government getting involved to break-up a large dominate enterprise where competition struggles. (Think Facebook, Google, and Amazon)

 

So, what can you do as an individual?  I can think of a few alternatives:

  • Develop new skills and experiences that are needed in this new environment: On-line courses, training programs in new technology, advanced certificate, or apprenticeships
  • Move to a higher growth company or function that will prosper in this environment. Make sure you’ll get the training necessary to be more productive
  • Provide a product or service that larger companies can’t. Be quicker to adapt and attract new business, and give your customers exceptional value
  • Gravitate to functions that will add revenue, reduce costs, manage change, develop new business, increase productivity, or keep customers happy. Those functions will always be in demand.

 

When the world around you is in a state of change you need to minimize risk, keep alert to opportunity and prepare for the future.

 

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