Posted on: July 4th, 2017 by
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Want to be a billionaire? Easy. Just create an app (application) that everyone wants or needs. On the other hand, if you don’t know how to turn a computer on, it will be much more difficult. Somewhere between these two points is a rational way to move up the job ladder.


Here’s some information that may help to understand the impact of technology:

  • From 1900 until now, those working on farms dropped to 2% from 42%
  • In her lifetime, my mother saw the first automobile, then saw men land on the moon
  • Almost 50% of all American jobs will be affected by automation over the next 20 years
  • 35% of most Americans believe they have been displaced by technology


So, what does this tell us? The answer: Technology has created winners and losers. The question is, which side of the equation will you be as time moves on? Technology has been a net job creator, but only if you learn to use it for your own benefit.


Who will be the losers?

  • Those who don’t have a up to date computer or access to one
  • Those who don’t know how to use a computer in their functional area
  • Those who haven’t kept up to date in their filed of expertise


Who will be the winners?

  • Those who at a minimum can navigate the web and applications in their function
  • Those who take on-line courses or programs that sharpen the skill sets in their field
  • Those who can continually apply new technology to their functional expertise


Until and unless there is an educational upgrade that teaches courses and studies using computers, a large segment of the population will be unprepared for the future. Other countries are much more advanced than we. It’s embarrassing to learn that multiple U.S. government agencies are using a 20-year-old technology.


So what can we do about it? I have three solutions. Please add your own:

  • Find out what the for-profit, non-profit and government sectors need, not what the schools want to teach
  • Increase workforce training, from the bottom up rather from the top down
  • Involve companies to help train students at the elementary and high school levels
  • Emphasize efficiency, performance improvement and reward innovation, especially in the government sector


Since we know where the future is headed, we should prepare ourselves to meet it. And technology is one of the answers.


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Posted on: June 27th, 2017 by
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What do you do when you get a “Thanks for your application, but… no thanks”, for a job for which you are highly qualified? Do you scream at the gods of bad luck? Do you try to find out what you did wrong or why you weren’t the “chosen one”? Well good luck with that! My experience is that you’ll get a standard response, “The search was very competitive, and while your background is strong, we had to chose a finalist candidates that came the closest to fulfilling our needs”. Sound familiar?


Experience has shown that there are four basic ways to respond to a turndown: Forget it, resubmit a stronger resume, search for an internal connection, or go directly to the hiring manager. Let’s discuss each one.


  • Forget it! If they’re not smart enough to see your value, that’s their problem!   Of course, that assumes you have clearly articulated your value through measurable and definitive results. Sometimes a computer screens your resume looking for multiple key words. Other times a screening individual may not understand your experiences that parallel the hiring manager’s needs. If you have other strong opportunities to pursue or you don’t meet the minimum requirements, it’s probably best to move on.


  • Go back and fine-tune your resume to make it compelling. Most resumes that I work with have undervalued the achievements of the candidate. Resumes must be compelling in order to get a screening telephone call. What should you do? Carefully match your experiences with the words in the position description: Word for word when possible. Make sure you have inserted key measurable results that are required by the hiring organization. Numbers speak much louder then words.


  • Research the company through Google or LinkedIn to see if you know someone already in the organization. Check out associations, like College Alumni, trade or professional groups. Once you find a connection, send an email to introduce yourself in a positive way and ask if you can meet with them. Example: “As a fellow alumni of XXX College, I’d like to find out more about your industry…” A well-developed and tailored email can usually get you a meeting or phone call. Of course this step should have been done beforehand.


  • Contact the hiring manager directly. This option may be more difficult, but not impossible. Simply call the company and ask for the department head of your function to get a name. Usually you’ll get the department secretary or administrative assistant who will say, “Mr. Smith’s office, or Ms. Jones’ telephone”. Be ready with your introduction, saying that you want to send a communications to Mr. Smith but need his office or email address.


Finding your way back into contention needs to be a bold and strong move on your part and it starts with a bold and strong resume that compels the hiring manager to reconsider.


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Posted on: June 20th, 2017 by
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Separating from an organization causes all kinds of personal and professional problems Most issues can be overcome. There are two kinds of terminations: Those that are easily explained away and others that can ruin your reputation or career if not handled well.


All dissolutions from an employee/employer relationship need a special kind of job search strategy. Rather than walking away to a better job, your employer is walking away from you, for a reason. That reason is critical to your career. Here are some solutions.


Ruinous termination. When an employee is terminated “for cause”, it means they have violated a company policy or legal issue. Examples are: Theft, sexual harassment, behaviors that negative actions toward the organization, a felony, or a number of other serious actions. Your income stops and forces you into the job market with no resources.

Suggestion. Attempt to resign rather than be terminated. You might be able to talk your way through a resignation rather than a termination with a new employer. However, you’ll still need to answer the question, “why”?


Situational termination. While the statement, “We’re reorganizing” is scary to most employees; it’s not as crushing as a termination “for cause”. This situation can easily be explained away while seeking another job. Most hiring managers have been involved in a similar situation themselves over the past 10 or 15 years. They know the cause of the termination was out of your control. Your objective is to show that performance was not the issue, but rather the company decided on a strategic redirection of its resources.

Suggestion: Be prepared to document your current performance, from your entry to your exit.   If you can’t validate your contributions you’ll have a more difficult job search. You have to convince any potential employer that you weren’t let go because of your lack of performance.


Requested termination. Even though a voluntary termination is unusual, your job search strategy can be strengthen because of it. An advantage is that you get into the marketplace early, before hundreds more flood the market. Sometimes you’ll be asked to stay through the reorganization, or better yet because of your performance, to stay on at a higher-level position. If you resign early, ask for an early severance allowance to carry you over the transition. Another alternative is to ask that you continue to contribute as an employee while looking for another job. Suggestion. Deciding on the best alternative is dependent upon your relationship with the boss and the considerate nature of the organization. Some organization will be receptive to the idea (less hassle later) while others may not (less caring about their employees).


Terminating a relationship with your employer is not a pleasant experience, no matter what the reason. However, it’s a time to reevaluate your career and develop a strategy to come out ahead. The key to the transition is: Sound planning, documented performance, alternative strategies and perseverance.


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Posted on: June 13th, 2017 by
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If competitors for a job you want can do everything you can do, what’s your career advantage? How do you differentiate yourself? When everything else is equal, it basically comes down to motivation, attitude and approach.


There’s no such thing as a “perfect” candidate. All you can do is prepare for the opportunities that come your way. Some personal assets outside your direct function may set you apart from the pack, and provide you with that “something special”. Here are some tips to consider:


  1. Engage and involve others – The more people you bring into your circle of influence, the greater your impact. Whether through mentoring others, being mentored by coaches or providing support to others, your career is dependent upon positioning you for success. Asking for help is a sign or strength, not weakness. The opposite is also true: Pushing help away moves you outside their circle of influence.


  1. Support the efforts of others – Benjamin Franklin had a favorite saying, “If you want to make a friend, let them help you”. When you voluntarily help someone else, they usually want to reciprocate. Look at it as an investment that provides dividends over time. You never know when you may need their help or they will need yours. Develop those kinds of relationships multiple times and you have a network of mutual support members.


  1. Never rest on your laurels. Very few things of substance come easily. Usually it takes hard work, time, the right strategy and a lot of persistence.   Sometimes, the “winner” is the person who outlasts all others, and makes sure the goal is reached through persistence. Sometimes that means putting in more time and effort than others. The corollary to “the early bird gets the worm” is “whoever sticks it out to the end usually will come out ahead”.


  1. Focus on the long term. When problem solving an issue, ask yourself two questions: First, what’s the best outcome you can hope for, and second, how much time is available? Why? The amount of time you have available will determine the strategy you use and therefore the degree of success. Strategies will change with the amount of time available. Quick decisions may not be the best decision, but if you have time on your side, longer-term strategies can provide you with the best alternative result


  1. Fit into the culture. Most people either don’t get the job or aren’t successful on the job because they don’t fit in. That could be good or bad news. Good news in that you turn down a job because your smart enough to sense you’ll be an outlier. Bad news if you take the job, not because it’s right for you, but because it has the right title or higher pay. Finding the right job with the right fit will do more to advance your career than big bonuses or a company car.


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Posted on: June 7th, 2017 by
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What is a “connecter”? That’s someone who immediately establishes a strong and positive relationship when meeting someone new. Connecters have a huge advantage over those who struggle with their connection skills: The ability to bond with the hiring manager right from the start. Want some tips on how to connect better? Here are a few ideas.


First, look at the types of jobs that are dependent upon success by making a favorable first impression: Actor, top salesperson, politician, receptionist, CEO, and so on. Most are all relationship-oriented jobs, so think of the interviewing process as establishing a rapport with the hiring manager to demonstrate the expertise needed to succeed in the open job. Ponder what these relationship jobs do to ingratiate themselves to those they meet:


  • Smile (not only your mouth but include your eyes)
  • Project a warm, engaging and friendly persona
  • Look them in the eye and slightly nod when they talk (but not too much)
  • Choose words that are complementary like. “I’m very pleased to meet you” rather than “hello”
  • If there is a connection with another person, phrase it is a positive way, “I’ve heard so much about you”. or “I’ve been looking forward to meeting with you”. This almost always will cause the other person to ask, “What have you heard?” or “From whom?”
  • If there is a connection with another organization, you might say, “I’m aware of your outstanding work with the Cancer Foundation”, or “I’ve been very impressed with your writings”, which again prompts a response like, “Oh, which one” or “What article was the most meaningful?”
  • Of course, anytime you cite a person, place or activity, be ready with a credible and complementary reply to their follow up question.
  • Maintain an upbeat, positive and optimistic attitude, but not overly bubbly
  • Use minimal hand gestures and never point or wag your finger at another person


Why are these skills necessary? Research has shown that the ability to establish an initial positive rapport will carry over to the interview itself. Those first few minutes will set the tone for the rest of the interview, either by telephone or person-to-person conversation. If you don’t get a callback after a telephone interview, either you didn’t come across as a warm individual who could fit into the team or your experiences don’t match what they’re looking for. If you get a one-on-one interview you know your experiences match the open position, then its more important than ever to establish yourself as a “connecter”.


You can normally sense if the interviewer is not a “small talk” person. They’ll not look you in the eye, questions or responses are short, and the interview moves along rapidly. In this case, don’t take the small talk too far. By all means respond in kind by giving short yet focused answers to questions and make sure your questions are task oriented around the issues to be solved.


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