Posted on: October 24th, 2017 by
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Ever wonder why your career isn’t getting the kind of traction you need? You may be making mistakes that automatically put your career in a stall. Assess your career against some of these common errors to see if you can ignite a new outcome.


#1 – Your Start Point – Careers are sidetracked because they’re started by what’s convenient rather than what’s strategically smart. Some jobs are easy to acquire but get you nowhere. Your career direction is hard to change once you’re in it.

#2 – Passion – Many talented individuals find themselves in a job, company or industry that they don’t find energizing and for which they can’t develop a passion. Very successful people have a passion for what they do. Lacking passion means a lack of success.


#3 – Point of Focus – Focus on a high level of performance or you’ll fall short of expectations. Your energy has to be centered on what you can do for the organization, rather than what they can do for you. It’s a relationship based on mutual results.

#4Shorter-term Steps – Don’t start by looking at an ultimate long-range goal that may be out of reach, without obtaining shorter-term objectives as stepping-stones. Every dream is achievable through a series of successes that take you to the next step forward.


#5Key Results – Hiring managers want to know what makes you different. Is it a long list of your responsibilities? No, because everyone has those. Is it your pay level? No, because you may be overpaid. It’s your results! No one can replicate your achievements.

#6 Poor strategy – You may stay too long in an industry or job and fall behind or not have enough time to gain the experience you need for the next level. If you’re in the wrong industry, get out as soon as possible. Too much time and you’ll be pigeonholed.


#7Underestimating Your Value – Value is determined by expectations, contributions and time. High performance must be defined, measured and communicated.

#8Articulation – If you can’t effectively communicate your contributions, how can a potential boss see your value? You must “market” your experiences, value and your worth.


#9Lack of a Network – Most jobs are found through people you know and who understand your potential. Others need to help you find the next job. Networking is critical.

#10 – Never, Ever Give Up – As they say, “It only takes one”. You may apply to 100 job openings, but the one that is tailor made for you has to be discovered. Keep digging.


In summary:

  • Take time to discover your passion/strengths and what you really want to do
  • Design your strategies and focus on the next two steps
  • Learn how to present your value in a way that is relevant to your targets
  • Align yourself with the companies that best fit your career direction and style
  • Find a mentor to pull you up and mentor those below who will push you up your career


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Posted on: October 17th, 2017 by
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Having a career plan is essential to achieve your career goal. A flexible career plan should:

  • Target your ultimate goal
  • Identify where you are now
  • Define the multiple steps and the skills needed at each step to get to your ultimate goal
  • Outline the range of months or years needed at each step


You should also understand the “stall points” that indicate if you need to recalibrate your dream. Maybe your current job turns out to be a disaster or you can’t find the perfect job at the next step. Other times you may need to change your industry. Each example will impede your career plan.

So, what are the key questions you need to ask of yourself? Here are a few:

  • Do I see opportunities where I am, or somewhere else? Will I stall out if I stay?
  • Do I have unique skills that are in demand or have the same skills as everyone else? You must differentiate yourself from all others.
  • Do I have the educational background or certifications to position me above the rest? In a tie, the one with the most credential usually wins.
  • Are your strengths pushing you up the ladder or are your weaknesses pulling you down? Lead with your strengths but shore up your weaknesses.
  • Are you still energized at day’s end or worn-out? Passion and the love of what you do are the drivers of any career plan.
  • Is the company and your boss supporting you? Support has to come from somewhere.
  • Look for the signs of success or lack thereof. Just like a baseball batter, you may keep fouling off the ball, but you’re still at bat. Striking out a dozen times is a pattern of concern.
  • You can’t change functions or industries without a cost in time and momentum. Moving from finance to marketing or mining to consumer goods is very difficult and costly in time lost.


What do I do if my dream becomes unreachable?

  • First, check it out to make sure it can’t be reached:
  • Talk with someone who is either at the step above you or a person who has achieved your ultimate goal. They should be able to give you some insight about your alternatives.
  • Talk to friends, family and colleagues that you trust. It could be very simple like a needed certification, the way you dress or your current compensation (too high or too low).
  • Adjust your ultimate goal. Instead of a CFO position for a Fortune 500 company, it’s a CFO position in a mid-sized corporation or a division CFO of a large corporation.


Take a deep breadth and objectively assess your current situation. Talk with a recruiter in your specific field. A recruiter knows how you stack up against your competition. But be ready for information that may be difficult, as your self-assessment may fall short of what you want to hear.


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Posted on: October 10th, 2017 by
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Let’s assume that you match the education, key experiences and requirements of a position description for a job for which you are interested. What other factors will elevate you as a top candidate and best selection?


Hiring managers want to know: What have you achieved? How did you do it? What were the results? Use this checklist to your advantage.


  • Can you contribute in the short & long term? Are you focused on doing a good job? All hiring managers have short-term problems they want solved. Look at the top five items on the position description to figure out what they are. But they also are looking at the longer-term: Will the candidate be able to grow to a higher level?
  • Do you have the energy and passion to drive performance to results? Hiring managers are looking for that little bit of extra that demonstrates your willingness to make the extra effort or stay the extra hour to find solutions. Energy and passion are hard to fake, but when the hiring manager sees it, it’s infectious.
  • What about your Interpersonal relations and communication skills? Hiring managers are looking to see if you can relate easily to other people and communicate effectively. You can be the greatest expert in your field, but if you can’t relate or communicate, it’s worthless. You are also joining a team that’s already in place. The hiring manager doesn’t want that team disrupted.
  • What about extra credentials, professional associations or leadership positions? When it gets down to the final 2 or 3 candidates, the person who has gotten that extra credential or industry recognition will have an advantage. Membership in a professional association shows that you’re interested in keeping up to date in your field. Show that you’re out in front.
  • Do you have knowledge of the business, industry or competition? Hiring managers will be very impressed if you have insights into the business and where the competition is weaker. Every industry and most companies have a language all their own. Research it.


  • Are you flexible, can change with the times, and are you dependable? Hiring managers don’t want rigid employees who can’t adapt or pitch in when extra hands are needed. The world is in constant motion and organizations need individuals who can be successful in different situations.
  • Will your references be positive to the question, “Would you hire them again?” The hiring manager is really asking the question, “Is this person honest and trustworthy for me to take a risk on them?” Hiring managers can’t afford to make a bad decision. You and your references have to convince the hiring manager that you are that right person.


You can’t read the minds of a hiring manager, but you can make an educated deduction of what they want in a candidate. Why? Because, if you were in their shoes, you would make a similar checklist.


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Posted on: October 3rd, 2017 by
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Hiring managers hire candidates that:

  • Have a proven track record in a specific area that is most needed
  • Can demonstrate they are capable to achieve results in the short and long term
  • Can comfortably fit into the organization without being a disruptive force


So, what are the things that throw you off track for being one of the top candidates?


UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS: Hiring managers want to hear what you can do for them, not what you expect from them. Applicants that design an all-encompassing generic resume usually don’t become a candidate. Focus on the expectations of the hiring manager. If it’s not clearly stated on the position description, ask the hiring manager. Demonstrate your level of interest and then focus on the hiring manager’s needs. Internal candidates fill many openings. However, it’s your measurable results that will raise you above the rest.


THE KITCHEN SINK: Writing a four page resume with everything you’ve ever done will become boring to the hiring manager. He’ll have great difficulty sorting out the things for which he is looking. Target his key definitions of responsibilities in the position description and emphasize those skills and results on your resume and during an interview.   When you go off message with those things that are not of interest to the hiring manager, your not only wasting time but also diminishing his interest in you.


RESEARCH IS TOO HARD: Lacking information about the company means a lack of interest. You want to know as much about the organization, the job and the hiring manager as they know about you. If you don’t know about the company, their history, needs and expectations, you shouldn’t get the job. Preparation means knowledge. A hiring manager will be very impressed if you can articulate the weak areas of the competition in the function for which your interviewing.


NETWORKING IS TOO HARD: If you’re counting on newspaper ads or websites to get a new job, forget it. Most jobs are found through networking. People who know you or know about your work are more likely to put your name forward rather than a stranger. Meet with as many people as you can to learn of what’s going on in their industry, who is looking and for what. Over half of jobs are filled through networking. If you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will.


FORGOTTEN RESOURCES: Networking also includes additional resources: Alumni Associations (contact those that have graduated 10 years before you as they are the hiring managers), Professional Associations/Societies (job boards), Recruiters (they know where the jobs are), Consultants (as a potential staff member, project member or for a client opening),



  • Most people find higher level jobs through their network
  • Few jobs are filled by sending generic resumes electronically
  • Internal candidates fill many jobs, BUT they usually do an external comparative search. They are looking for more qualified candidates who can achieve greater results


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Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by
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Every hiring manager wants something. Why else would they be interviewing?   Sometimes the hiring manager knows exactly what is needed and other times not. View the hiring manager as a customer needing help to achieve goals. Your objective is to find out what the hiring manager is looking for, why, and in what priority.


How do you do that? Here are some ways to find out not only the needs of the hiring manager, but to position you as one of the top candidates.


First, scrutinize the position description. Whenever a hiring manager is writing a position description, the most important items are always put at the top of the list of responsibilities. They form the primary elements that the hiring manager must have if the goals of the job are to be met. The successful candidate, therefore, has to have these elements covered. Having successful experiences in these top 5 items will almost guarantee a telephone interview screen. As the position description continues down the list, the responsibilities diminish in priority, so you need some of those experiences requested, but not all. Few, if any candidates meet all requirements.


Second, the position description will list some of the basic requirements for candidacy. Sometimes you can substitute experience for educational requirements. If they ask for a major in finance, but your major was business with 2 years experience in the accounting department, you can usually step over the requirement. If they’re looking for 10 years experience in a function but you only have 8, if the experiences are exactly what they are looking for you’ll usually make the cut. It boils down to the degree of your experiences and their degree of their flexibility.


Third, other factors on your resume may mean the difference between getting an interview or not. Having additional headings on your resume will sometimes make the difference, like: Technical Expertise (with a listing of apps, systems, tools etc.), Awards, Certifications, Leadership positions, Community Leadership, and so on. Most hiring managers want to see technology applications that they use or want to use. Make sure you list those.


Success comes from converting these key points to your resume. As an example, convert the top 5 items on the position description in a Summary of Results on top of your resume, including measurable outcomes that the interviewer will ask about. Take the requirements and other defining statements and make sure they are clearly shown in one or more of your headings: Technical Expertise, Education, Advanced Certifications, Language, Awards, etc. Parallel those additional items with the content on the position description. Most jobs will highlight added features that will position you at a higher level if you state them.


When you tailor-design your experiences on your resume to the key items on the position description for the job you really want, getting an interview is a lot easier than sending a generic resume that tries to cover everything.


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