Posted on: August 29th, 2017 by
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What’s your criteria for a boss? Don’t have any? If not, you’re rolling the dice and taking your chances. The percentage for finding a good one is 75% against you, according to recent surveys of employees. What if your potential boss:

  • Doesn’t believe in training or development?
  • Sees employees as a necessary condition and easily replaceable?
  • Pays for length of service, not pay for performance?
  • Is mostly “stick” and rarely “carrot”?
  • Favors the “yes” man and dislike new ideas?


Well, you get the idea.   So how do you sort out the good from the bad? Here are a few thoughts:


  1. Organizations and managers both have a reputation that can be found through research. Go to Google and type in: Employee satisfaction with (name of company); or reputation of (company); or go to and search for employee comments. You can also Google the name of the manager with whom you’ll be interviewing. Look at his past companies, reputation, time spent, doing what, and so on. You can get a pretty good picture of what to expect in a company and boss by digging deeper rather than not at all.


  1. When you’re visiting the company and interviewing you’ll get a strong sense of the culture and openness. Receptionists, janitors, secretaries and lower level staff tend to be more honest and straightforward than others. When you ask them how they like working here, do they look around to make sure no one is listening, speak in hushed tones, or fumble for the right words?


  1. When interviewing, watch for the boss that talks too much and listens even less. If his phone, paperwork, or other distractions are more important than you, arrives late, doesn’t know your name or is looking at your resume for the first time, beware. On the other hand, a potential boss that looks you in the eye, is focused on your answers to compelling questions, and you walk away knowing you could learn a great deal reporting to him, then you’re on the right track. You might even want to say as much.


  1. If you’re given the opportunity to ask questions, make sure they’re the right ones, like: What are the keys to success in this position? What are the critical results that must be attained within the first 6 to 12 months? What are the impediments that this position must overcome? If you’re not requested to ask questions at the conclusion of your interview, that may be a sign that your not suppose to ask questions. Is that the kind of organization you want?


  1. How you’re treated and the responsiveness to your communications is important also. It tells you how important they think you are.


Bosses can be a fantastic lever for your career and a wonderful person to learn from, but you have to find the right one for you. It’s worth the wait.


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Posted on: August 23rd, 2017 by
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When you have a gap in your resume, you must find a way to turn it into a positive. Let me give you three examples:


  • Time off to travel – Travel is a great educational experience, which is what you need to communicate in your resume. Do not say, “After graduation I needed to take a vacation”, or “Due to the stress of my job I needed a break”. One alternative that I have successfully used with other professionals is to say, “Extensive travel throughout Europe to gain international exposure, increase my language skills and understand cultural differences: Rome, Paris, London, Barcelona, Amsterdam, Prague, Athens and Vienna”.


Another way to express your rationale is to relate the travel to your industry goal: “By researching and visiting major companies in the consumer industry along with their competitors, my goal is to understand the underlying issues and potential solutions for my next job assignment”.


  • Time to care for a sick relative – Hiring organizations want to be sure that the issues are behind you and will not interfere with your new job. They need to know what’s different now than before when you stopped working. Since it would be illegal for the hiring organization to ask many of these personal questions, initiate answers to the questions they cannot ask.


Make sure a hiring organization knows that you have a plan and show that you’re ready to do the job. Your need to demonstrate that you have kept up to date with industry standards, functional knowledge and skill development (especially technology) and have not fallen behind.


  • Time between jobs – There are a number of different situations. One example is being outplaced through reorganization. This is relatively easy to communicate as most everyone has personal experiences. The question is: Why were you chosen to leave? Some answers are: “The acquiring organization put all of their people in place without other considerations”, or “I was the junior person in a consolidation”, or “The functions of our department were outsourced”.


Another situation is the problem of moving into a different industry. This is tricky because the question is: When things turn around, will you go back? Your job is to convince the hiring organization that you want and need a new experience because: The industry you are in is on a decline, or your skills are not central to the industry, or your functional responsibilities are not being used to increase revenue or decrease costs, or you are looking for an organization in a growth mode where you can contribute to the success of the business.


If you have a history of high performance, have a state-of-the-art set of skills but find a hiring manager who is concerned about a short gap between jobs, then that’s probably not the right place for you. Keep your search strategy on full power and the right position will come your way.


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Posted on: August 15th, 2017 by
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Older workers tend to undersell the value of their experiences, both on the resume and during interviews. Not all employers are looking for younger less experienced workers, especially now that we are continuing to come out of a major economic slowdown.


Inexperience is not going to help hiring organizations improve productivity, generate new revenue, or reduce cost. Younger, less experienced workers will cost employers time, effort and a gap in productivity until they are trained. The untested employee doesn’t have a history of results like you do. You need ways to show it off.


Here’s a list of why older workers now have an advantage in the marketplace. Use these advantages while crafting your resume and especially during the interview. Older employees:

  • Usually require lower maintenance. They need less training, handholding and supervision.
  • Are experienced in setting objectives, strategy, benchmarking, then measuring results
  • Tend to have more patience to obtain quality results and persistence toward a difficult goal
  • Have the experience to train new employees or mentor up-and-coming workers
  • Tend to be more loyal and are more stable
  • Handle stress more easily as they have “been there, done that”
  • Understand the implications of decisions, so they tend to plan better
  • May lack hard skills that need sharpening, like new technology, but their soft skills are more advanced to become a supervisor
  • Have a support systems already in place
  • Have a performance track record that can predict future performance
  • Tend not to get discouraged at the first roadblock, then work through problems to a conclusion
  • Have an experience base from which to draw solutions: Not their first rodeo.


Of course, younger candidate have an advantage too. If you understand these advantages, older employees can mitigate their importance through action (A):

  • More proficient in computer skills. (A) Take courses or a tutor to equalize your skill level
  • A higher level of enthusiasm and energy. (A) Demonstrate vitality in your voice and actions
  • Lower pay. (A) Rationalize your value in productivity and results against a few dollars more
  • Bring new ideas and potential. (A) Emphasize your stability rather than job-hopping


If you believe that you’ll be told you’re “overqualified”, you may want to pre-empt the situation by bringing it up during the interview rather than waiting until it’s too late, by stating: “I may be slightly over qualified for this position, but I’m not interested in promotions. Rather, I want to contribute to your objectives of growing the business, mentoring talent and developing a high performance team”. Or, “My objective is to be a major contributor to your results and not compete for advancement. Being slightly overqualified gives me the opportunity to achieve that goal”.


I’m sure you can add features to this list. If, on the other hand, you are discouraged and need an assist, send me your resume and let me give you some pointers to make your resume more compelling to the hiring manager.


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Posted on: August 8th, 2017 by
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There are many different ways to design a job search strategy. You’ll need to find the best alternatives for the most favorable outcome. The approach I’ve found to be the most advantageous is the 60-40 rule: 60% effort in your interactive network and 40% of all others.


THE 60% RULE This involves an assertive, interactive, well-designed networking strategy. The people who know you best are the best ones to introduce you into hiring organizations. They can market your experiences from prior jobs, champion your skills and abilities, refer you to their extended contacts, introduce you within professional associations, connect you to colleagues who are hiring and identify potential opportunities in the marketplace.


It’s a known fact that the highest percentage of new jobs is found through networking: Up to 70%. It’s no wonder that a majority of your efforts should be focused on the most likely pathway to a new and exciting career change. But it takes a great deal of energy on your part to put these networks together. The first step is to list all of your potential contacts (a minimum of 100), then prioritize them into groupings: Greatest likelihood of success to the least. Then start to make contact: The more personal face-to-face is best. Talk about the overall industry first, and then the most likely companies, lastly opportunities they may be aware. Never ask for a job.


THE 40% RULE – All other search strategies. Of all the different options, figure out which ones will have the greatest advantage to you. Here are a few alternatives:

On-Line – Connect with potential hiring organizations through major job posting websites. While this is a powerful way to find and apply to open positions, remember that thousands of other candidates are also applying. Make sure your resume is both compelling and is at least 70% paralleling the requirements of the job posted.

Ads – While considered the “old” way to find open jobs, regional and area newspapers are the best source.

Consultants – Connect with consultants in your field. They know what’s going on and where.

Trade Publications – Your expertise will be recognized in a trade-specific publication.

Recruiters – Most recruiters specialize in an industry, function or specialty. Find out who are the top producers in your field and contact them. They will keep your resume on file.

Educational Career Centers – Your higher educational institutions are great sources of knowing what’s going on with alumni looking for talent.

Associations: Most every function has a paralleling association, along with a job board.


No matter how you design your job search strategy, you must have a compelling resume, one that will get the immediate attention of the hiring manager within the first 10 seconds. You want the hiring manager to say, “This is someone I want to talk to.” It’s at this point you’ll get a telephone call for an interview.


There are multiple ways to achieve your goal. Choose the right ones.


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Posted on: August 1st, 2017 by
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Many executives have told me that the journey through their career was much more fun than the arrival at their ultimate career destination. Why is that? Here are a few reasons given to me:


  • When you’re moving through your career, much of your achievements are based on your own individual efforts. When you’re at the top, results are through the efforts of others. Doing is much more fun than hoping, watching and waiting.
  • As you move up through the organization, your interacting with peers to achieve results. At the top, you have no peers. Your it! As they say, “It’s lonely at the top!”
  • When working on problems, you have people to bounce ideas around and discuss alternatives. When you’re at the top, you’re supposed to have answers. If you appear not to have answers, you scare subordinates.
  • “I had much more fun when I was a manager. When I became a vice-president, it’s like someone turned the lights off”


You must be very good at what you do to reach the top. The question is how fast and how far can you go? Everyone has a pace and destination in mind. You also need a plan. If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you somewhere! The key is to have a long-range destination in sight, move toward your goal in a strategic way, and enjoy the journey.


How do you determine your destination? People succeed at what they love to do. How many people do you know that are highly successful and hate what they do? From what I have experienced over the past 40 years, reaching your destination requires three fundamental things:


  1. You must be passionate about what you do. Unless you’re handed a boatload of money, your passion will sustain your career drive, whether you’re an entrepreneur, private, non-profit or public sector professional or consultant. Passionate people tend to work harder, longer and at a sustained high level than those who are more casual about their work.
  2. You’ve got to be very good at what you do. Second tier performers seldom reach their ultimate destination. High performance comes with education, the right experiences; usually with a mentor or someone to learn from, and the right organizations that fit your career needs. If your not the best at what you do, then someone else is, and that person will succeed where you may fall short.
  3. You need to be both a model as a leader and as a team member. Leadership is just as important as followership. Very few people, if any, can be the best at everything they do. But being a strong team member within a successful group can be just as effective as being the leader of your own team. Both are important and both will help your career.


Put these three things together and you have the greatest chance for career success.


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