Posted on: October 9th, 2018 by
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The future can be scary or secure depending upon a lot of factors.  Some of these situations you control, while others, not.  There are three basic situations that dictate your actions.


  1. Situations that you control. You make the decision and are accountable for the outcome.  Other people are affected by your decision and may try to sway your judgment.
  2. Situations that you can influence. You have the ability to alter someone else’s decision through your persuasive powers, usually around new or compelling information.
  3. Situations that you have no control or influence. You are helpless to affect the decision, whether it’s the right or wrong one, and are bound by the outcome.


Take a few minutes and examine your professional and personal life to identify those critical areas that may affect your future.  These elements determine your direction and goals.  Assess each one and categorize them into one of the three elements of Control, Influence, or No Control or Influence. You now have the basic elements to design your future.  Here are some steps that may get you closer.


VISION– What is the ultimate goal of your vision?  What does it look like?  Describe your vision in detail.  Use this “vision-picture” to find others who have already achieved your vision. The ones who “get it” are the ones who will most support your efforts as you move forward.


AIDES – What resources are required to assist your journey: People, financial support, education, prior experiences, mentors, certifications, others?  How do you align the support you need to the tasks that are required?  What steps have others taken to achieve your goal?


DO YOUR HOMEWORK– Research your vision.  What industries, organizations or companies are looking for people like you?  Do you fit their requirements?  What do you need to do in order to be an attractive candidate?  What do future trends say?   Are you in sync?


IDENTIFY IMPEDIMENTS– What impediments do you see?  Are they immovable or can they be overcome?  Are there resources or strategies to remove those impediments?  Who can help overcomer them?  Do you have the tenacity to break through the impediments?


DEVELOP A STEP-BY-STEP STRATEGY– Create a roadmap from where you are, to where you ultimately want to be.  Break it down into small steps that are achievable each year, then 5, 10 or 20 year period. The shorter the timeline, the bigger each step is required.


ASSIGN REASONABLE BENCHMARKS AND TIMELINES– Determine how long each step will take to reach each benchmark.  Build a timeline that is reasonable and attainable.  Track your achievements against your benchmarks and timeline. Accelerate when necessary.


IMPLEMENT STEP ONE– Begin your journey and move toward completing the first step toward your goal.  Sometimes you can jump ahead a step or two.  Adjust your plan as you move forward.  Be determined and focused on your ultimate goal.


“If you don’t know where you’re going, any road’ll take you there” credited to George Harrison of the Beatles


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Posted on: October 2nd, 2018 by
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Job-hopping is about moving from one company to another in order to advance your career.  We’re not talking about internal promotions or lateral moves to expand responsibilities or for further training.


Discussion of the job-hopping question is complex, because the implications of job-hopping are very individual and personal.  Much of it depends upon your age, compensation, function, supply/demand equation in the marketplace and the current economy.  There is not one answer for all situations.  However, let’s review some of the considerations you’ll need to assess for yourself:


  • Over 3 million people changed jobs in June 2018 with a strong economy, but salary compensation is still lagging from the past 10 years of economic malaise. The labor market is beginning to tighten, which puts pressure on companies to increase pay to both keep their high performing employees, but also to maintain their competitive positions.
  • Younger employees with higher education and better state-of-the-art technology skills will tend to do better than their counterparts who are older, have less education or work with older technology. With the economy strong, coupled with low unemployment, it makes it easier for the more skilled employees to leave one job and quickly find another.
  • On the other hand, older employees who have kept up with technology and are in management positions can command a premium if they are in high demand industries that are growing faster than the gross national product gains.
  • Some industries are being overwhelmed with programs and systems replacing hourly workers. These employees are feeling the brunt of the transition. Automation is replacing employees, giving companies a competitive advantage.  Coupled with offshore manufacturing, there are fewer employees, plus a downward pressure on wage gains.
  • The great equalizer is skills training. Two factors are at work:  Larger companies can afford to invest in their people while smaller companies that can’t find qualified workers are at a disadvantage.  New skills, however, make employees more productive and more valuable.  Those same higher level skills force higher wages and greater opportunity for those skilled workers to find other positions in the open marketplace.


So what does this all mean to you if you’re seeking a higher-level job?

  • Get all the education, certification, credentials, training and development that you can
  • Focus on attaining the highest state-of-the-art technology or functional skills that you can
  • Changing companies within an industry is easier than changing to a different industry
  • Stay away from companies that are automating, shrinking their workforce or in a merger
  • Be flexible. Many times opportunities can lead to careers you many not have considered


But be careful, because if the economy drops precipitously, the last employees in may be the first employees out the door.  Too many short-term jobs may brand you as a perpetual job-hopper who can’t remain loyal to one organization for any length in time.


Most employees leave an organization for more responsibility, money, and training or to move out of a hostile environment.   Make sure you know why.


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Posted on: September 25th, 2018 by
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Work must be very painful for you to quit your job in a fit of frustration or rage. You might want to rethink alternatives and implications rather than make a quick decision.  Your future and that of your family needs to be considered. Here are some thoughts:


  1. Even if you’re independently wealthy, the questions from future interviewers will be: “Why did you leave your last employment, how long have you been unemployed, and have you fallen behind up-to-date technology?”  Hiring managers will be thinking, “If this candidate can dump another company, leaving the manager in a lurch, will he/she do the same to me?”


  1. Even if you don’t see any alternative, I strongly advise against quitting on the spot. Why would you consider it in the first place?  Some reasons:  You experience illegal activities, sexual harassment, immoral or unethical behavior, and so on.  Talk with an attorney first.  Unless there’s a witness or indisputable proof, you’ll be at a disadvantage while interviewing with a new employer.  What would you say that will be credible or provable?  There are, however, other ways to leave your current job.


  1. Consider one of three options: Ask for vacation time or a leave of absence in order to put a plan of action into place; ask for a transfer to another part of the company; or check out the marketplace to assess your marketability and the supply/demand equation.


  1. Finding a new job while you currently have a job is preferable because there isn’t a time gap between employers; you sill have an income, health benefits, and insurances; there is continuity in your career rather than a step down or a lateral shift; you don’t want to leave a very angry organization that will not be a good reference for you down the road.


  1. If you do quit hastily, how do you talk through a gap in your resume? What can you say? Here are a few alternatives that have helped others: (all are true)
  • Getting a degree or a succession of certifications in a technology within your function that you could not have gotten while working.
  • The need to support your parents or immediate family through a health issue that had to be worked through immediately, for less than a year.
  • Extended travel to a geographical region (Europe, Mideast, Asia) to gain proficiency and understanding of a culture and language to establish international credentials
  • The time demands and job pressures would have caused a mild “burn out” if the job had not been altered. You would have been unable to continue high performance and your value would have declined precipitously.


Sometimes staying on a bad job is exhausting and could affect your health.  But you need a plan.  How you leave a job is as important as entering a new one.  Your decision needs to be made through the prism of the future, not the past.


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Posted on: September 18th, 2018 by
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Here are some of the elements of a “failed” resume that stand out:


  • Your resume says how terrific you are, but without defining measurable achievements
  • You use self-promoting words like: “Multi-skilled leader”, “Cutting edge problem solver”, “Turn-around expert”, or other useless and hyped-up words of self-adulation
  • You list all your responsibilities and skills without a whisper about actual results. You’re trying to sell your wares without a warrantee of quality.


Listen up.  The objective of the resume is to get an interview. Once hiring managers read your resume, you want them to say, “Wow!  This person has the results that I’m looking for.  I need to interview this person as a candidate”.


Your resume needs to be compelling.  Here are the qualities you want to explore:

  • Put a professional designation right after your name. In this way you communicate your level of mastery:  MBA, EE, CPA, CFA, or other industry or functional credentials
  • Within the first 10 to 15 seconds of an initial scan, the hiring manager should see a Summary of Professional Resultsat the top half of the first page and instantly become interested in you. Put it up front!
  • Summarize your major career accomplishments that match the position description’s top five responsibilities. If the job requirement says, “5 years of progressive accounting”, have your resume state, “$2.5 million savings over 5 years through progressive accounting systems”.
  • In your job history section, explain the ways you accomplished these results
  • Your Objective tells the hiring manager you have what it takes to get the results that the organization needs, like: “To generate revenue and profit for a high performance organization through marketing management, both traditional and digital”
  • In your job history, parallel your results to the top 5 requirements on the job description. Spend less space with non-essential responsibilities and more space on matching duties and results.
  • Spend the most content on your accomplishments and results and much less content on the duties of prior jobs. The hiring manager is most interested in outcomes not activities.
  • Give solid examples of achievements. Rather than saying, “Increased the efficiency of the accounting department” say, “10% productivity improvement by installing interactive systems with operating departments”.
  • Put your education, special skills, awards and technology expertise after your job history. If you place it first, the hiring manager may never get to your key achievements.


All of these tips force the hiring manager to ask questions like, “How did you accomplish that?  How long did it take to implement? What systems did you use?”  When these questions are asked, you know you have a high-level of interest from the hiring manager in your candidacy and will want to interview you.


Never forget:  The resume is not about your life’s history or career. It’s about showing the hiring manager that your experiences and results are what they are looking for, and you are their best candidate, worthy of a personal interview.


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Posted on: September 11th, 2018 by
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Without good or great employees, organizations can’t be good or great.  Success of any organization is limited to the talent and quality of its people.  So what should a hiring manager be looking for in the best candidate for an open position?  And what does this mean for you, a candidate who is looking for the right job?  Let’s take a quick review.


Beyond the basic elements of honesty, conscientiousness, dependability, and respect, hiring managers need an answer to the overall question, “What will you be able to do for me?”  The answer is usually found through a series of questions:

  • Do you have the skills I need to solve my immediate problems?
  • Will you give me high performance over time with issues to come?
  • Will you effectively fit into the current workgroup and produce as a team member?


So what are some of the factors the manager is looking for when making the hiring decision?  Here are at least five of them:


PASSION – Candidates who aren’t passionate about their work aren’t usually high performers.  If you can’t show a passion for your past results during the interview, you probably won’t become a finalist candidate.  You can demonstrate that passion by the energy and the enthusiasm you show when describing past projects and a high level of interest in the open position.


DRIVE TO PERFORM – Candidates can only demonstrate high performance through experiences that has relevance to the hiring manager. Those experiences must also be supported by measurable results that the hiring manager expects.  Those results are best communicated by metrics of productivity or reduction of costs.  A narrative about your accomplishments without substantiation of how your results were achieved, is useless.


FITS OUR CULTURE – Whether the culture is autocratic or participative, you need to show that you can smoothly fit in.  If your results are achieved through collaboration, but the culture is competitive and political, be wary.  The opposite is also true.  You may be able to act the part for a short period of time, but it’s almost impossible to maintain the act over the long term.  The culture must fit your own values and philosophy or it may be difficult to succeed.


FLEXIBILE – Rigid people usually succeed in rigid organizations. Most organizations today reward those who can adapt to different environments as the business, organization or marketplace changes.  Organizations and functions will shift with both controllable and non-controllable forces. Your ability to move with these forces will determine your success.


TECHNOLOGICALLY CURRENT – Why should you be considered as a finalist if you aren’t up to date in the technology within your function?  It shows a lack of initiative or desire to advance your skills. Hiring managers shouldn’t need to train you in functional systems or technical skills that are standard requirements for the open position.


Hiring managers are impressed with candidates who are knowledgeable about potential solutions, can fit the culture and have the energy and enthusiasm to achieve required goals.


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