Posted on: May 9th, 2017 by
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Some job categories are projected to grow substantially in the next 10 years, while other job categories are shrinking. Women dominate some jobs while men dominate others. The jobs that are shrinking for men: Manufacturing and agriculture. They are projected to lose more jobs, although the Trump administration has vowed to bring in more manufacturing jobs.


For women: Telephone or switchboard operators and garment workers, especially operators of sewing machines, a typical starting point for low skilled workers.


Based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs that are projected to grow at twice the rate are tilted toward female dominated work: Healthcare (nurses, occupational and physical therapists, personal care aides, home health services, physician assistants, etc…). For men, the fastest growing jobs are: Ambulance and emergency medical technicians, financial advisors, website or computer developers, brick masons and security related jobs.


Given this information, four strategies emerge that can affect your career decisions:

  1. Stay away from the job categories that are shrinking and focus on the job growth categories
  2. Concentrate on the categories that will grow the fastest for your sex: Male or female
  3. A counter-intuitive strategy: Go after the jobs that typically are dominated by the opposite sex, as you will be viewed as having a competitive advantage. Example: Male nurses.
  4. Those with more education tended to do better in the higher growth job categories, no matter what the job.


However, there are some downsides to watch out for:

  1. As more women enter jobs that are dominated by women, the pay tends to fall behind
  2. As men enter jobs that are dominated by women, the pay tends to move ahead
  3. The pay level between men to women tends to spread, although women’s pay tends to be higher than before.


So, what are some career strategies?

  1. No matter what your job category, get as much education as you can. It can only help you in the longer term with pay raises and promotions. Education not only includes diplomas and degrees, but also certifications, courses, advanced training, development programs, and outside exposure like toastmasters, non-profit volunteering and company activities.
  2. Focus on high growth industries, functions and jobs. Some higher paying jobs may be hidden in plain site and need talented people: Forensic accounting, technical sales, logistics analysts, home health care supervisors, personal aides, and so on.
  3. Consider jobs in a career that are dominated by the opposite sex:       Computers for women and healthcare for men. Most job categories that are dominated by one sex are looking to balance the male to female ratio. There are always situations that require either the male or female approach, whether it be selling automobiles or managing health care.


Do you homework, research your alternatives and be flexible when choosing a new or different career direction. Investigate the possibilities and keep an open mind.


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Posted on: May 2nd, 2017 by
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Everyone has a story about their job: Colleagues, bosses, competitors, questionable decisions, holiday parties, and the people you work with every day. But the most important stories are those that you tell during an interview for another job, hopefully a promotion. So which story is the best one? Which story positions you as a finalist candidate? What mistakes do you want to avoid?


THE BEST STORIES are those that show the differences between what the measureable results were “before” you assumed your current position and then “after” you increased performance results after a period of time. For example: “The department had a turnover of 20%. During my first month I held small group meetings to find out what the issues were, along with their ideas to problem-solve turnover, attitudes and performance. Within 18 months, turnover dropped to 7.5% and productivity increased by 12%. I am very proud of my unit and their teamwork in solving our issues.”


What does this little story tell your interviewers?

  • You focus on key issues of performance immediately with your work group
  • You are engaging and participative with your employees to solve departmental issues
  • You manage through a style of teamwork
  • You measure your results


Most everyone has a “before” and “after” story to tell but don’t know how to put it into words or put it together in a meaningful way. You need to have measureable results that you can validate and build into your “story”.


THE WOST STORIES are those that depict mitigating factors that prevent you from performing at a higher level: A boss, subordinates, peers, policies, politics, or constraints outside of your control. For example: “I could have been more successful in my current job if my boss would have given me more authority. He tends to be a micromanager, which is why I’m looking for another position where I can truly demonstrate my abilities”.


What does this story tell your interviewers?

  • They don’t know whether these reasons are true or a fabrication. There’s no validation.
  • Why doesn’t your current supervisor trust your judgment and watches your every move?
  • They would be taking a risk in hiring you. Can they afford to hire an unknown?
  • Other candidates are less of a risk.


My experience is that candidates who project their shortcomings on other people or events have a less than 50/50 chance of success. They usually don’t make it past the first interview.


When you have 3, 4 or 5 of the BEST stories ready for an interview, your chances for a second interview go up dramatically. However, be ready for the question, ”What specifically did you do to make it happen?” In other words, the interviewer will want to know what the specific steps you took, and how you achieved the results you said you obtained. If you can’t answer that question, your credibility goes down, along with your chances for a second interview.


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Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by
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You have a reputation, whether you want one or not. Basically, a reputation is what others think of you. What’s your “reputation”? How did you get it? How can a tarnished reputation hurt you?


There are many different types of “reputations” that professionals can get.   Some are good, while others are not. Make sure your reputation is first-rate and not tarnished by factors that you can’t control. Most all of your reputation is within your power to manage. You need to be aware of people, situations and conditions that add or subtract from that precious commodity called “your reputation”.


POSITIVE: Manage your reputation proactively, whether it’s with your current or past employers, association memberships, educational institutions and so on. The most obvious factor reflecting on your reputation is the references from past bosses. Keep those positive, as these references tend to stay with you for a long time. Professional associations are also points of references that are of value. The most accepted references to your reputation are from professional peers who can attest to your competence, potential, ability and interpersonal relations as a member of a productive team.


NEGATIVE: All the items in the Positive listing above can be turned into a negative: Current or past bosses, professional relationships with peers, or being a difficult person to work with. Of course it’s easier to manage these factors in real time rather than trying to fix an opinion after the fact. You can, however, influence some negative experiences by providing positive actions like: Letting them know about promotional jobs you’ve heard about, supporting ideas of peers you usually disagree with, make positive comments about their project within a group meeting. In other words, make nice.


MONITORING: Check on all of your social media profiles, even those of your friends. College classmates may have photos or stories that may be misunderstood by others. Your reputation can be compromised by a Tweet or Facebook post and cause an image management nightmare. Periodically check your LinkedIn profile to make sure it’s accurate, especially if you have a resume in the hands of a potential employer. Any differences between the two, especially dates, responsibilities or unaccountable time-lines will cause your candidacy to be stopped.   Also, make a copy of your personnel file. Know what’s in there.


CHANGES: It’s always better to anticipate changes that need to be made to your reputation than to react to events. Pre-solve a potential problem. Once an event takes place it takes an enormous effort to modify or reverse the effects to your reputation. On the other hand, anything that’s positive to your reputation, develop a strategy to expand the communication or enhance the exposure. Example: If you receive a professional award, send that information to your alumni association, local newspaper and put it on your resume.


You control about 90% of your reputation by managing it well and monitoring your public exposure

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Posted on: April 18th, 2017 by
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Your resume is the gateway to an interview. It has to be compelling for the job and strikingly better than most all other candidates. If your resume doesn’t excite the hiring manager, you won’t get an interview. A compelling resume makes the hiring manager say, “This is someone I want to talk to!” So how do you strengthen your resume? Or weaken it? Read on.


  • Add unnecessary items: References, street mailing address, photo, salary, GPA, strange fonts
  • By putting in irrelevant information: Summer jobs (unless a direct relationship to the open job), hobbies (unless related), jobs from 20 years ago, Social media connections, self aggrandizing statements like “Excellent communicator”, personal information, like “Divorced”. Never state your Social Security number
  • Don’t write dense narratives using paragraphs that will put most to sleep and are boring
  • Don’t include repetitive information from job responsibilities of 2 or more prior positions
  • Too many contact sources: Multiple telephones, LinkedIn address, Facebook, work contacts
  • Don’t use jargon that may not be understood by the reader, like member “PCVW Association”
  • And never state why you want or need the job.

These items not only weaken your resume, but they put you in a naïve, unsophisticated or unprofessional category. Hiring managers are looking for knowledgeable and experienced candidates. A weak resume tells the hiring manager that you may not have the measureable results that the job requires, or the communication skills that are needed.


  • Make sure your objective states what you can do for the company rather than what you want
  • Briefly summarize your career results at the top of the first page. It gets attention quickly
  • Use 3 to 5 bullets for each job describing the results you’ve gotten, including your current job
  • Results should be measurable outcomes and how you achieved them: Example – “12.7% growth of revenue over 18 months through consultative selling”
  • Use action or descriptive words that show leadership, like “Team-lead in a project of….”
  • At the end of your resume, list awards or certifications, like “Project Management (PMP), Six-Sigma, Association membership, certifications, advanced courses and so on
  • Use bold or underlining when you want the reader to take special note, but don’t overdo it
  • Make sure you list your technological expertise. Organizations want employees who can use technology in their job to increase efficiency and effectiveness, or better yet, reduce cost and increase operating margins.

The strength or weakness of your resume is a barometer that hiring managers gauge the quality of applicants, and then decides whom they will invite to interview and become a primary candidate. You must meet at least 70% of the requirements stated in the position description.

And always be prepared for the most asked question from an interviewer: “Why do you want to leave your current employer?”

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Posted on: April 11th, 2017 by
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Sometimes people get caught in the wrong industry, company, job, or make career decisions that turn out to be the wrong direction. How did you get there in the first place and what do you do when you find yourself trapped?

“As the twig is bent, so the tree inclines”, translated to the 21st century means when a professional accepts a job that is handy but wrong for them, their trajectory moves them away from what they should be doing. If you stay in it too long, you’re locked out of your dream.

I asked one of my students why she wanted an MBA? She said: “My journalism degree led me to writing obituaries for three years”. Asked for her goals after graduation she said, “Something will turn up after I get my MBA”. Wrong assumption based on no research!

So how do people get caught in a career cul-de-sac?

  • Lack of research: Do your research or be surprised. It’s been projected that more than 50% of today’s jobs will be eliminated or changed in ten years due to technology, culture or economic forces. Where should you be focused and how do you fit in?
  • Lack of planning: Assess where you are now, what your career path should be and what you have to do in order to be successful. A random road is counterproductive. You need contingency strategies for the “what if” questions.
  • Unrealistic expectations: Don’t delude yourself with assumptions that are untrue. Assess the career path of role models and then assess what you have to do to achieve success. Be realistic about your chances.

What should you do about a career trap? There are multiple strategies. Here are three:

  • Shift over and down a half step: Move to a new job at a slightly lesser level in your current company or a new one. Your experiences need to “catch up” with your new role. With new capabilities and high performance you’ll move up in a short period of time. Once you prove yourself your career with accelerate.
  • Get more education, certification or training: Get an advanced degree, a specialized certification like a PMP, Six Sigma Green Belt or a certificate of completion in a technology. These are all positive steps. You have to be up for the task, have the expertise they require and be able to contribute to results in your responsibilities. Show initiative.
  • Get experiences paralleling your career objective: Join associations and professional societies in the function or industry you want to move into. Volunteer on local boards, non-profit organizations or governments in functions that parallel your career objective. Write articles for professional magazines or business journals about ideas or new applications.

Get help to either avoid or get out of a career trap. The more time you’re outside of your area of expertise, the greater the gap and difficulty to make the transition.

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