TIME TO REEXAMINE YOUR CAREER GOALS?

Posted on: December 5th, 2017 by
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One morning you realize that your current career direction might not be the right one for you. What are your options? Think it through and reset your goals if necessary. Here are some early indicators that tell you it’s time to reexamine your career goals.

 

FROM CONCEPT TO REALITY – Most career goals are developed when you’re younger and less experienced. Now that you’re into the profession, reality sets in. If you currently don’t have the energized passion you once had, reassess. Idealized goals may not fit what your want now.

 

A SHIFT IN PERSONAL OR PROFESSIONAL PRIORITIES – As your life changes so do your priorities: Marriage, children, and mortgages. You may become bored with a “numbers” job and want a “people” job to solve issues. The question: What are your key drivers?

 

EXPANDED EXPERIENCES AND SKILLS – As your skills and experiences expand, your view of career opportunities changes. Jobs and functions that were invisible to you beforehand can now be seen. Certified accountants may see major opportunities in forensic accounting, in high demand, low supply, and highly paid. Expanded vision produces expanded opportunities.

 

So, how do you reexamine your career goals?

RESEARCH YOUR OPTIONS – Be highly creative. It’s a two-phase process. First, research what it will take to reach your initial career goal. How many steps, and how long in each step to reach your goal? Second, research other options that are possible. Only you know the answers to these questions. Answers are different for each individual and career direction.

 

WHO DO YOU KNOW THAT IS WHERE YOU WANT TO BE? – One of the best ways to examine alternatives is to find a real-live model and figure out how they got to where they are, and then replicate it. Find out how he made the transition, what are the positives/negatives of the position, what were the steps he took, how much time to become expert, and so on.

 

DEGREE OF CHANGE VS. TIME – The more steps, education, certifications or experiences you need, the greater the time it will take you to reach your ultimate career goal. If you run out of time, you run out of options. Managing your plan within a reasonable time-line is the strategy for success.

 

DOWN OR OVER BEFORE UP AND OUT? – In some situations a potential boss is willing to take a risk on you, but in order to make the shift you may have to move down a level before you can move up the career ladder. Assess your risk/reward, over what period of time and decide.

 

Reexamining career goals is usually a painful process because it requires a great deal of introspection: What you could or should have done earlier in your career. However, the rewards are great as you renew your energy and passion to succeed. Don’t waste any more time, as time is not on your side. Do it!

 

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


RE-ENTERING THE JOB MARKET?

Posted on: November 28th, 2017 by
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Have you been out of the job market for a while? Are you concerned? You can’t agonize over things you have no control over, but you can have a workable plan in place. Overcome your concerns through a strategy of steps to prepare you for re-entering the marketplace. The key is not to wait until the last minute to start your reentry, but rather design and execute your plan well beforehand.

 

Targeting: There are three steps in targeting. First, target your greatest skill or ability. What can you do better than most? If you were a hiring manager, what value could you add to the job? Second, target the kind of industry that needs your contribution: Where the supply of talent is low and the demand for results is high. Healthcare? Digital Marketing? Personal Services? Computers? Sales? Third, target the companies in your location that need people like you. Why target these three areas? With the economy turning upward, companies are hiring new talent to help them grow ahead of their competitors.

 

So how do you get ahead of your competition for an open position? Plan ahead: A year or two before entering the market identify the education, certification, requirements, experience, or preparation for the work you want, then sharpen your skills sets in those areas. It may mean night school, on-line classes, certification courses, intern hours, or volunteering at a non-profit organization. You will be a top candidate when you get some direct experiences in the work you want to do. It will also greatly impress the hiring manager.

 

When interviewing for an open job, show how you are uniquely qualified:

  • Present yourself as an experienced problem-solver. Show you’re a practiced hand.
  • Be a “cheerleader”: Support the goals and direction of the boss and the team.
  • Show you’re flexible: Give examples of quick responses to problems and multi-tasking.
  • A team player: Give examples of assisting others to succeed in a team project.

 

When making a hiring decision, a manager plays the percentages, looking at the candidate’s potential, cost and performance. Potential is viewed from past results; the marketplace will determine cost; and future performance is predicated on successes in similar situations.

 

How can you show you are worth the risk?

  • Demonstrate value: Results that have worked other places that are applicable here
  • Achievements: Success breeds more success. Show you can get things done
  • Communications: Be articulate. Show you can communicate up, down and across
  • Productivity: Research shows that older, more experienced workers are more productive
  • Make your boss look good: Give examples of how you made your prior bosses look good
  • What can you do that others can’t?: Emphasize your value. Help the boss with alternatives

 

Many talented people are out of the marketplace and want to get back in. Follow these steps and reposition yourself to regain traction in the job market.

 

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


ARE JOB CHANGES HURTING ME?

Posted on: November 21st, 2017 by
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I’ve been asked this question many times. Answer: It depends upon your ultimate job goal and the number of steps to get there.

 

First, define your objective. Examples: If you want to become the CFO of a major corporation, the number of job changes is different than if your objective is to be an accountant in a small manufacturing plant. The first number could be 10 steps; the second number may be 2.

 

Then you need to define your expectations, which changes with each generation.

  • Grandpa waited until his boss moved up or out. It could take 20 years.
  • Boomers changed jobs about 2 times in their first 10 years
  • Gen Xers averaged 3 job changes in 10 years
  • And Millennial’s are jumping 4 times in their first 10 years.

 

Why is job-hopping occurring faster and faster over time? Some reasons have to do with the highs and lows of the economy, companies that see employees as disposable, and changing skills needed in technology. Many employees don’t accept loyalty to a company, but rather they are loyal to their profession or themselves. Their first job is now called an entry-point and not the start of a career.

 

New graduates have always been more restless than those who are already in the workforce. They want to move up the ladder quicker. One way to do that is to change jobs, either within the company or to another company. If a talented individual doesn’t see a path for advancement or isn’t engaged in a development program, there’s no reason for them to remain in place while others move around them. A second reason is status and money. A move or promotion brings a higher title and more money (maybe 20%) than smaller performance raises (maybe 1 to 4%).

 

In order to move up the career ladder quicker, you must:

  • Accumulate knowledge, skills and abilities as rapidly as possible in each job
  • Learn to excel at your current job in a shorter period of time than others
  • Move up at the first chance, once you have mastered the job you’re in

 

So how do you manage your job change philosophy?

 

STEP 1 – Define your goal. But make sure you understand the impact of what you decide

STEP 2 – Define your expectations. Make sure they are realistic or you’ll be frustrated

STEP 3 – Find a model to follow: Someone who has done what you want to do

STEP 4 – Develop an initial strategy: Where do you need to be at each step, and when

STEP 5 – Get the education, certifications, experiences, skills and contacts you’ll need in order to reach your goal. Modify your career plan as you move forward.

 

One other caveat: The marketplace is changing daily, as is technology and new ways of doing things. Make sure you’re at the leading edge of that change in your field or your career plan isn’t worth a lot.

 

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


COVER LETTER MISTAKES

Posted on: November 15th, 2017 by
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Your cover letter can be an asset or a liability. If it’s a liability that diminishes your candidacy by an ineffective presentation, don’t use one. It’s an asset if the hiring manager is motivated to review your resume. Some critical errors to avoid:

 

  1. Your cover letter lacks “potency”: Think of your cover letter as an “appetizer” to a terrific meal. If it’s dull and unappealing, the expectations for the resume will be low. View your cover letter as a strong “marketing” vehicle for what’s to come.   Many cover letters read like a book and are ignored or leave a bad impression. Convert it to a convincing endorsement.

 

  1. The cover letter is too long: Using the cover letter as a narrative about your career is a mistake. The cover letter needs to be short and strong. Match measurable results to the key items in the position description. If they’re looking for an experienced process improvement supervisor, use a bullet point, “A 12% increase in productivity through process improvement technology”. They’ll want to see the how you achieved that result in your resume.

 

  1. You miss the core of what they need: A generic cover letter misses the opportunity to make a positive impression. The position description will tell you what the hiring manager needs. Matching the critical elements with results will get you noticed. Usually the top 5 items on the position description are the most important. Match them to your measureable results with bullet points of achievement. That will get the hiring manager’s attention.

 

  1. Overexposure to the word “I”: One individual seldom achieves all results. Show yourself as a “team” player with a unique individual contribution. Focus on what the hiring manager is seeking. Done the right way, the hiring manager will see you as a contributor within a work group. Example: “Your goal of a high performance team reflects my management and operating style”.

 

  1. Don’t list irrelevant experiences: Don’t wander into side issues that take the hiring manager’s mind off of your competencies. Irrelevant material will draw the reader away from your primary objective. Never criticize your current company. The cover letter should make a positive impression as a prelude to your resume.

 

  1. Don’t use humor, inflated words or arrogance: Humor can work against you. Inflated words about how great you are can be worse. The worst of all is arrogance. When hyped-up words are used, your veracity is questioned, “How could all those accomplishments be achieved in such a short period of time?”

You’ll never get a second chance to make a good first impression. If the cover letter is not done right, you start from a weak position. In summary, the cover letter should:

    • Highlight three to five key result areas that directly parallels the open position
    • Translate how your experiences can create successes for the hiring manager.

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


NOW… WHAT QUESTIONS DO YOU HAVE FOR ME?

Posted on: November 7th, 2017 by
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Congratulations! The hiring manager must really be interested in you since you’ve gotten this far in the interview,. If you haven’t been given the opportunity to ask your own questions, your candidacy is over. Hiring managers who aren’t interested in responding to questions you have about the job or the company, isn’t interested in you as a candidate. Or better yet, you shouldn’t be interested in them.

 

So what are the questions you should ask that will make you a top candidate? Let’s start off with the questions you shouldn’t ask: Questions about compensation, benefits, vacation, moving allowance, bonuses, and the like. Why? These are the items you can discuss and negotiate after you get an offer, not before. When a hiring manager is convinced that you are the best person for the job, that’s the best time for discussion and negotiations.

 

The questions you should ask at this stage of the interview are those that position you as a competent contributor, who will add value to the organization and achieve results in the short and long term. How do you do that? By asking questions of the hiring manager like:

  • What are the issues that you need to find solutions for in the short term?
  • What performance is expected in order for key results to be achieved?
  • What are the strategies that need to be implemented in the longer term?

 

This type of question positions you as a results-oriented candidate wanting to know the expectations of the organization, and what you need to do to be a top performer.

 

The way in which the hiring manager answers these questions will tell you:

  • The depth, extent and complexity of issues you will be facing. Manageable?
  • The expectations of the hiring manager. Too high? Unrealistic time-frame?
  • Your potential success longer term? Opportunity for promotion?
  • The openness of the hiring manager to your questions? Skimpy or free-form?
  • The business acumen of the hiring manager. Can you learn from him?
  • How the hiring manager views your potential. Is he looking for alternatives from you? Does he ask how you would approach the potential solution? Can you translate your past successes to the issues of the open job?

 

If the hiring manager responds in this way, chances are that you are the top candidate for this position. If he can’t or won’t answer your questions, ask why.

 

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