Archive for the ‘Career Planning’ Category

Planning to Make a Career Move? Now’s the Time

It’s so hard to believe that we are almost done with 2016. I’m still in awe that next week is Thanksgiving – it feels like November just began! With that being said, this is the time that many people will decide to make a career move in the new year. If you fall into that category, now is the time to get started.

Many people will wait until the new year begins to think about finding a new job. I will say that you can get the advantage by planning and making the move now. Most organizations have already planning, or are in the final stages of, for what their labor needs are. You can beat the competition by being prepared so you can hit the ground running, if you decide to wait.

The end of the year is often the time when hiring managers are taking time to wind things up and, due to the holidays, don’t put major plans in their books. This means they will have time to review candidates and interview. Planning now, as I stated earlier, is vital to finding and landing a new job quicker.

Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Plan your schedule – meaning, put this in your calendar, time you will spend for your job search activities. By doing so, you will give this the same priority as you do shopping or appointments you need to make. You need to give a job search the same focus and commitment.
  • Review – spend time reviewing your past accomplishments and skills that you’ve used so far, and how they will relate to a new position you want. Review job descriptions for that job to see what the employer both requires and desires to see if you match; what skills do you need to improve on or education you need to have that will align with that position. You can certainly start to work on those. By knowing what you offer, you can work to translate this into language that will appeal to a potential employer.
  • Get your materials together – these include: your resume – time to update, add/delete, etc. This is your time to shine so make it great. If you aren’t good with this, hire a resume writer who can make you stand out. This also includes your cover letter and references (yes, they do check them). If you have any supporting materials, get those together; this might include projects you worked on, graphics you designed, and the like.
  • Practice – as you will be interviewing, practice your skills by getting questions you may be asked, as well as questions you will ask, so you will have ready answers and sound more at ease. Get your ‘stories’ together, as behavioral questions are asked to see how you’ve handled certain situations you may deal with in the workplace. Remember, employers are looking at how you will fit in with their culture so the more polished you are, the more you will stand out.
  • Research – include in your job search looking at either particular jobs or companies that would fit with you and then hone in on them. Reach out to those, as you will be less frustrated from feeling overwhelmed and going for ‘just any’ job; you can learn more about those organizations to help you know if it will align with your needs and speak to the employer as they do want to know what you know about them. We need to align our job tasks with the culture so this is a critical piece.
  • Get networking – once you identify either the job and/or the company, look at who you may know that works in them and reach out to let them know of your intent. Begin talking to people to let them know and see who they may know and can refer you to; find networking events to attend to get connected to people. These can include:  professional association meetings that are industry-related; alumni functions; Meetup groups; Eventbrite functions; or church functions, to name a few.
  • Set a target date – as part of your schedule, set a date that you would like to be in the new job (be realistic). This will make it more compelling to do the work involved when we have a finish date; one way this will help is to use Everest goal setting, where you work backwards, which helps you to identify all the steps you took that got you the position. Also, set the start date (today?) and begin

These are just a few steps I recommend. Even if you want to wait to change jobs until the new year, don’t delay in getting prepared as it will allow you to hit the ground running once January begins. Happy job hunting!

Career Points from a Recruiter’s Perspective

No, I’m not a recruiter, although I have done my fair share informally. I had the opportunity to participate in a panel last week for a recruiter’s group so I thought I’d share some key points that came up as these can help you in the work you do, or if you’re looking to make a career transition at any point:

  • Traditional interviewing is not dead, although seems to be fading fast: the opinion of some recruiters is that they don’t need to bring a job candidate in to the office for an in-person interview; they feel using Skype is acceptable due to time and money constraints, in addition to ease. However, they would like to see candidates be more prepared in both their dress and preparedness; a few recruiters said they’ve had candidates ‘show up’ in casual wear and even pajamas!
  • The phone interview is still the first step to hiring
  • Mid-career and older workers are still valued: not all focus is placed on younger workers, although a consensus is that it is more difficult for older workers to get hired. Some opinions were that older workers are not presenting themselves as well by show-casing their skills and experience. The majority feel that organizations need to change their mentality on older workers and look at the value they bring, perhaps in more mentoring and coaching positions to younger workers.
  • Background checks are very important to getting hired: all recruiters stated that they do background checks, which can uncover missteps that a candidate may believe has been expunged or is ‘too old’ to have any validity. Background checks are extensive, more-so for governmental positions. The one thing they all agreed on is to never omit – or check ‘No’ – that you’ve had some ‘blip’ in your past; it’s not the ‘blip’ but the lie that will omit you as a candidate.
  • Job and culture fit: is it critical that a good fit be made in both the job tasks and the culture to work in, which the group agreed on; however, this is not always done with onus being on both job candidates and the point-of-contact for an organization. Reading job descriptions to ensure a fit, as well as ensuring those descriptions are detailed and well-written so a potential candidate identifies, is the start; asking the ‘hard’ questions, on both sides, will help to ensure the fit is there. Being honest about all aspects of the job, such as expectations for work (attendance, actual time spent, vacations, promotions, etc.) and opportunities to stand and be recognized should be required topics to ensure fit is there. Both sides want to have a win-win outcome.

I hope these points are helpful when looking to make a career transition, whether that is within or outside of your organization. Be sure to do your homework, meaning know your skills and what you bring to an organization; beef up on your interviewing skills, which includes online, to present yourself well to a potential employer; be honest; and know your needs regarding the type of organization you want to work for in terms of the overall feel as well as the for the type of work to done, and how that work is expected to be performed. Being happy in your job is something we all strive for – it starts with you and the categories referenced above.

If you want help in your career, whether to be happy in your work or in making a career transition, then contact us today to get started!

Conceptual vs Operational Career Goals

When you’re trying to make a move in your career, such as moving to another position within/outside the company or a leadership position, it’s important to do the work before you take action. A good way to get prepared is to write out your conceptual and operational goals; this will provide you with the necessary information to move forward.


A conceptual career goal involves “the nature of work experiences one intends to attain without specifying a specific job or position”; while an operational goal takes the conceptual goal and “translates it into a specific job or position” ( Greenhaus, Callanan, and Godshalk, 2010). The benefit of this exercise is that you will uncover and list all of your skills, values, personality traits, interests, and your lifestyle needs; it also includes your preferred work environment, the work you like/want to do with specific tasks, along with those job tasks that you enjoy/are a passion. These are all important in translating them to the resume.job application to get employers’ attention.

The operational goal takes the qualities and needs you uncovered above and names the specific position, and subsequent career path, you want to take. According to Greenhaus et al (2010), the operational goal is a ‘vehicle’ to get you to your destination. As an example, let’s look at Lisa’s goals: her conceptual goals might include: gaining exposure to project management, gaining responsibility for a project, and having more interaction with the project management team. Her operational goals might be: Project Management certification (PMP) in 6 months; Project Management position in 10 months; Lead Project Manager in 2-3 years.

I encourage you to look at your current role and goals in your career path, and write them out to include both conceptual and operational goals. This can gain you new clarity and direction to where you want to go, and can get you there faster as you will be clearer on exactly what you need to do and within a specific time-frame. This is an easy exercise that can be done frequently and which will keep you focused on your end-goals while better managing your career.

How to Do a Career Exploration and Why it Matters

Throughout the life of you career, you will experience highs and low; some jobs will be a great fit while others will leave you feeling frustrated and depleted. This is why it is important to do a career exploration evaluation, which  involves assessing not just the self but industries as well as work environments. If effectively done, you would know your interests, values and abilities as well as the type of environment you work best in, along with the types of jobs available that match (Greenhaus, Callanan and Godshalk, 2010, Sage Publications).

There are many benefits to uncovering these traits, which can also include: passions, aptitudes, and personality, so that you can now set good, workable goals that will lead to finding and reaching them for greater career success. Knowing your interests, abilities  and aptitudes will let you focus on finding work tasks that relate and keep you engaged in those tasks; knowing your values will lead to finding the work environment that aligns with them so you will be involved within that environment. Knowing our traits should lead to doing the research needed that will get your desired outcome – both short and long-term, as well as overall job and life satisfaction.

Here are some areas to evaluate, which should not just be done when you are looking for a job; these are great to assess often, such as every month or quarterly. Keeping your ‘finger on the pulse’ will ensure your career needs are being met or identify and correct when not:

  • values – the things you hold dear, or that you either would or would not tolerate
  • interests – what you like, dislike, what you like to do, etc.
  •  abilities and aptitudes – what types of activities are you good at or come naturally or with ease
  • personality – characteristics that include: thought, behaviors, emotions
  • beliefs – what do you ‘live by’ regarding how and when work should and should not be done; how much of a strong-hold do you live by these beliefts
  • decision-making – do you make decisions easily or are they difficult; can you make independent decisions, rash decisions, or do you need validation when doing so
  • conflict style – how do you respond when conflict occurs, i.e. stay silent, yell or in an aggressive manner, get back a someone, etc.
  • leadership abilities – do you like to lead people or projects (or not); do you enjoy being in the ‘limelight;’ can you handle a lot of responsibility; can you see the ‘big picture;’ what characteristics do you possess that are leadership material
  • skills – knowledge and experience learned either independently or on-the-job
  • communication – effective listening skills; ability to send and receive messages effectively; appropriate use of body language; ability to convey messages in multiple mediums, i.e. verbal, email, text, reports, others, etc.
  • preferred work environment – type of environment that suits identified traits
  • preferred type of lead to work for – type of personal interactions or traits desired in a leader, and how you want to be directed in the work you do
  • preferred co-worker or team – what type(s) of character traits would you like to spend your time with (like you, not like you)
  • wants/needs – what work activities and environments do you absolutely need to have, versus those desired (example – money you can live on versus wanting a high desired salary; location and proximity; benefits; work-life balance preferences)
  • tolerations – what you’re willing to overlook, accept, adapt or learn to cope/live with

This is  long list to assess but isn’t it worth it ensure you are in the right career, with your needs being met, as opposed to being in a j-o-b. As stated earlier, assessing these on a regular basis will validate what you are currently doing or to recognize and make changes.You can compare a potential job opportunity with these as well, to see how much of a match there is between your list and an organizations.  Aren’t you worth it?

If you’d like help to perform a ‘good’ career exploration or put a career plan together, contact us today for a complementary Discovery Session to learn more:


Creating a Friday Ritual to End the Work Week on a High Note

Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF)! The last day of the week, for most, is the day when workers look forward to having two days off for rest and relaxation, whatever that may mean. Most people look at this day as one to kind of take it easy at work; others, however, may look at at the day to get work done.

However you view Fridays, why not create a ritual to end your work week on a high note by reviewing your accomplishments and setting new goals for next week. It’s a great way to capture all the wins you’ve had in the work you’ve completed, such as: projects completed, contacts you made, people you helped, skills or new knowledge learned, or tasks crossed off on your ‘To Do” list. Knowing our accomplishments builds confidence and gives awareness to being a high performer for your organization.

The review can also include what you may not have finished or gotten to in your work. It also may include any new tasks given. You can now take these and prioritize and plan for how you will start and finish each week.  The benefits of doing so:

  • you can finish the week feeling good about yourself and be able to enjoy your weekend knowing what needs to be done when you return back to work
  • you won’t have to worry come Sunday night/Monday morning about what you are facing each day – you will already know that information

This planning doesn’t have to take a long time, perhaps 30 minutes at the end of the day. You might also consider writing down your accomplishment each day and then tallying them up on Friday to make it easier. This is a ritual you want to adopt to better manage your work-life as well as your career.

If you’d like help with your career development/management, contact us today for your free Discovery Session to learn more:

Time to Make Your Career Intentions for 2016

First off, Happy New Year! I hope that you had a fun and relaxing time during the holidays. But now it’s time to buckle down and get back to reality – the start of another new year, new month and new week. This is the perfect time to set your intentions for what you plan to get accomplished during this next year.

Just as you set personal intentions (I’m not a fan of the word resolutions), you need to set your goals and plans for how you want you career to progress during 2016. The control is yours, whether you are aware or not; planning ahead and mapping out specific strategies will lead you to take the necessary actions needed to achieve them.

Do you want to get a new job or position? Do you want a promotion? Or would you like to learn how to handle your job stress so you can relax more? Any and all of these and more can be added to your list. Here are some quick steps to get you started and make 2016 your best career yet:

  • First, go back and review 2015 – you can’t move forward if you have old baggage in tow. Look at what went well; what were your best days at work and why; what were your worst days at work and why; how were your work relationships or those with customers and vendors; what were your major accomplishments regarding projects, processes, time, money or meeting thresholds; how was your mindset. Knowing these will lead you to now take the next step…
  • Second, mindmap or freethink any and all desires you have for your career, looking in terms of: title, money, location, rewards/benefits, projects to work on, and hours/ work-life balance. This allows you to put on paper all those ‘buried’ wishes and wants you’ve been thinking of.  Once you’ve got them all out, you can now move on to the next step…
  • Third, prioritize the ideas you came up with, starting from the most important or desirable to the least. Write under each one all of the steps it would take for you to reach each one. Include time to achieve as well as resources needed (i.e. money, support, etc.). You are now ready to move on to the final step…
  • Lastly, take out your calendar and map out timelines for each task; I would recommend starting with the most important and then moving on. However, if you are desiring a move, a new promotion or job you might want to map it out but then get to work on the steps needed to get there, such as networking or updating your resume.

That’s the basics of setting your intentions. The last parts are to ensure they are front and center – put them in your planner, your Outlook or other way you schedule. You now can wake up each day knowing how your day will be planned and where you are going. It will feel good to know your direction so you can be in control and manage your career. The new year will never look so good!

If you want help to plan and manage your career, or move forward on your goals, contact us today for your free Discovery Session to get started. Let’s make 2016 your best!

Time to Review Your Accomplishments

It’s that time of year – the review of your yearly accomplishments, of all of the tasks and activities, actions and goals you’ve achieved throughout the year. The benefit of doing so is showing that you can and have taken specific action to get things done as well as highlighting your strengths and forward movement in your life.

How often do you feel that life is passing you by, that you are no further ahead than you were last year? How often do you think ‘ if only I had done…., I’d be  ….. (you fill in the blanks)? As time passes, it seems we tend to put the past behind us which then leads to feelings of frustration or disappointment that we did not follow through on things we said we wanted. That is why reviewing what you actually did get done may spark those past memories and create ‘aha moments’ of clarity.

As we are moving toward another new year,  which is also the time to plan and prepare for all you want to achieve, you can’t move forward if you don’t know where you’ve been. You can’t make new goals or feel good about the direction you’re moving to if you don’t recognize your past actions and accomplishments.

Take time now to sit and reflect on what you’ve done:

  • work accomplishments – include any projects you’ve worked on, new people you’ve met, new skills learned, classes or trainings taken, promotions earned, increases in compensation or earnings, or recognitions
  • personal accomplishments – what have you achieved in your home life, family, relationships, health, finances, spiritual, or personal development, or, did you volunteer or give back in some way
  • business accomplishments – did you start or grow you business, did you earn your set-point, make new contacts, spoken on the stage, connected to an organization, published a book/ebook, or built a fan base on a social media platform

I think this is a great exercise to really prove to ourselves that we can and are accomplishing daily. If you haven’t been writing them down, or keeping them in a jar, this could take a while but it will be so worth it. Don’t wait until the end of next year to do a review – start today in recognizing all that you do. Life will be that much better when you know you have and you can.

If you’d like help in uncovering your worth and how it relates to moving forward in your future, contact us today for your Complementary Discovery Session to get started; don’t wait until the new year – get started today!

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