Archives for “changing careers”

Don’t Stress Out about Stress…Yet

Photo courtesy of Sarah (https://www.flickr.com/photos/dm-set/). Some rights reserved.I have been trying all morning to find a Quartz article that other articles (Apost.com) have been referencing regarding bad bosses, why people don’t leave them, and how a bad boss can be as bad for your health as second-hand smoking. I couldn’t find this source article, so I won’t cite the statistics as truth – YES! I fact check!

So, I did a little bit more legwork to see if I could find the original research sources (The American Psychological Association, Harvard, and Stanford.) What I found was that a “recent” study being cited, isn’t very recent at all – 2015.

Further, people who cited the original Apost.com article said that the Quartz article quoted the American Psychological Association stated 75% of American workers said that their boss was a “major cause of stress.” I have not been able to validate this either.  It also says 59% of these people would not leave their job in spite of their bad bosses – I also found no validation of this statistic, and I was relieved for that!

Here is what I have been able to validate

An aggregation of 228 different studies found:

  • Those who face major stress at work are 35% more likely to be diagnosed with an illness.
  • People who work long hours are 20% more likely to die sooner.
  • The fear of losing your job increases your chance of having poor health by 50%.

I’ve had many clients over the years who had to leave their jobs because they believed it was making them sick – literally. They weren’t imagining it. Science has proven that stress can negatively impact our health. There are too many citations to reference on this. If you would like proof, go to pubmed.org and enter “stress and disease” in the search bar.  If you are in denial of this, it may even benefit your health, too.

Not all stress is bad. Eustress is the good kind, and further studies indicate that our perception of stress is the real determinant as to whether it will impact us negatively in the form of sickness and disease, or whether it will improve our performance, resilience, and sense of achievement.  Some people bring out their best in stressful situations.

You have to assess your beliefs about stress and know your own stress limits before worrying that your string of sicknesses is related to your job.  A report I found cited the theories and methodologies of some major I/O Psychology thought leaders (Kahn, et. al.,) which purported that a person’s fit to their environment determined whether the job would produce eustress or distress.

Now, how well do you fit your environment?

A bigger question is, if you recognize that your environment does not allow you to thrive and operate at your highest levels, are you going to do anything about it?

The Apost.com article was thought provoking, even if it wasn’t properly referenced. The author, who surmised that survival is why people stay, stated, “Given the present market conditions, it is not an easy decision to quit one’s job and start over entirely.”

I have two things to say:

#1 – Regardless of market conditions, changing jobs is not an easy decision.  For many, this decision impacts not just the individual, but also family members and logistics that may be working. This is the #1 reason I have found why people stay at jobs that cause them (dis)stress. They operate under the notion that the chances of finding something better that also works with their lifestyle is a fantasy.

I’m here to tell you – it’s NOT!  It still won’t be an easy decision, but once you make it, engaging a partner like me will help ensure that you land swiftly and safely in a position that aligns with your lifestyle, values, and professional ambitions.

#2 – There’s nothing at all wrong with today’s market conditions (as of this post, April 2018.) With unemployment at a 10-year-low and wage growth relatively steady since 2010, there’s no need to be scared of this market – as of now. That could change, of course. But I assure you, having coached through the great recession, people were still landing jobs, and companies still needed to hire people. It just became much more competitive, and all the more reason to engage a coach to help you distinguish yourself and leverage your time and visibility effectively.

If you suspect your job is out of alignment in some way and is causing stress that could eventually (or already is) impacting your health, don’t wait any longer to get help. The job market is ripe, and just being in action and having a partner and a plan can greatly reduce your stress.

You don’t have to jump ship; just take the first step and book your free consultation!

How to Stay on the Same Side when Negotiating Salary

Everyone’s only out for themselves.  It’s a dog-eat-dog world. Maybe that’s what you have been taught. And if you bought it, you will see evidence reinforcing it everywhere. You believe it, and so it is your reality.

If so, the techniques I share in this blog are not for you. If you struggle to give people the benefit of the doubt, you will use negotiation tactics that are defensive. And, if you feel like you are struggling for power and losing, your approach may even border on adversarial.

If you struggle to trust a company even though it seems to be on the up and up, you will assume they are hiding something, and it will reveal itself in due time. In the meantime, you cover all your bases and feel compelled to constantly cover your … butt. In your professional work, if you feel the need to be competitive with others for attention, credit, prominence, and pay, you will assume others go to great lengths to win and that justifies you doing the same.

You are the last person my clients want work with, work for, or hire.

Why? You will most likely insist on being the last one to reveal your ask, even when pressed. You will try to circumvent the people in the company who are expected to ensure policy is followed for fairness and consistency. You may not even realize your bias against human resources.

You won’t believe what I am about to advise, so you might as well stop reading here.

If you consider yourself to be a moral, ethical person who believes that people are generally good and fair, you have found yourself disgusted by some things you have experienced in cut-throat corporate America. Even if you know there are good people out there, you may not have a lot of faith they can stay good in a system that promotes gaining profit (corporate and personal) over all else.

That being said, you want and deserve to be paid fairly. And there are so many great things you want to do with excess income that would enhance your life, help your family, and perhaps serve many others.

I have a deep compulsion to help you earn as much as possible within your market value range.  The truth is everyone wants a fair deal. I want that for you. You want that for you. And I want that for your employer, too. Why? Because when a company gets ROI on its talent, and it is a conscious corporation, it will reinvest profits in its people. And that is what we are all about.

A lot of companies say their people are their number one asset, but how many of them demonstrate it consistently? Finding out if a company really means it is getting easier (and we are working in making it even easier). And these companies will do the right thing by their people – and that’s when everyone wins.

If you want to stay on the same side with your employer during compensation negotiations, the first thing to do is due diligence: qualify that employer as a conscious company. Glassdoor, Top Places To Work lists, and the tenure and growth of its people historically (information you may be able to assess on LinkedIn) are resources you can use to do this. Then, of course, reach out directly to people on the inside to see if what you gather is substantiated.

The second thing you must do is understand what the market pays for your skills, experiences and talents. You can do this through online research on bls.gov, the salary estimates on Indeed (in the left column), reports on salary.com, and Glassdoor data. I recommend that you always ask a local recruiter who niches in your field to validate what you find. Make sure your data is based on local positions, or you adjust them based on your local cost of living.

Next, determine how you uniquely add value to this. In the nearly 12 years I have been a career coach, I have always been able to identify unique qualifiers for my clients, which is the essence of branding. Often there are monetary values attributed to those unique qualifiers, which can be qualities or hard skills. These can either push you into the upper ranges of market value, or move you above market value. Either way, you must be prepared to justify these clearly in a business case for your employer.

Whether you want to make a fair ask that enables the company to get ROI on you, or you are a top performer and the company knows how to leverage and develop you, they will aim to make 1.75x your salary. You may have a role traditionally considered to be in a “cost center” for a company, such as customer or technical support, but make no mistake – each and every role in a company was designed to contribute to the balance sheet in some way. If you’re not directly generating revenue directly, you are making it more possible, or you are helping to reduce costs or avoid shut-down/fines.  When you understand how your role contributes in this way, you can ensure that your ask is fair and that your reasons for believing this can be clearly articulated.

If your research indicates that the market value for your current position won’t meet your quality of life standards, it’s time to re-evaluate your career. And if you are unsure if the market value will support your needed standard quality of life and also provide a retirement you desire with the future quality of life you want, it’s time to get with a financial advisor. I am happy to make a referral. Just private message me.

Notice I haven’t said anything about your prior compensation. In spite of some companies’ and recruiting firms’ practices of determining your future value by your current value, your past or current compensation is not an accurate determination of your future value at all. It may be a reflection, however, of your self-worth. The branding journey we take our clients on helps them feel in alignment with their true market value and overcome the mental mindset that can develop from being underpaid and undervalued.

Lastly, what do you ask for and how do you come to an agreement with your employer while still keeping things friendly? After all, this is the first big decision you will make together. How you come to an agreement sets the tone for the commencement of the partnership, and it will influence your impression of each other from that point forward. Don’t you want to feel like you’re on the same team?  You each have an agenda, but the negotiation is really about finding the overlap and understanding the other party.

I am not one to advise people to refuse to answer questions about desired or expected salary.  Some of my peers, and even mentors, would.  If you feel like you might be taken advantage of by divulging your ask too soon, then you don’t trust this company. Maybe you wouldn’t trust any company? Or perhaps you didn’t qualify them as a company worthy of your trust? If you are the former, you probably should have stopped reading very early on. If you are the latter, do NOT enter into negotiations until you learn that the company is trustworthy, conscious, and invests in its people.

Instead of “holding your cards close to your chest,” I recommend boldly coming out with a reasonable range, data to back it up, and a business case to explain if you are asking for more than what the position usually pays. Keep in mind, ethical or not, when a person hears a range, they focus on what they are inclined to focus on in order to achieve their agenda. An unconscious company will want to get talent for as little money as possible. And a conscious company will not want to overpay for talent, because it hurts the company and inhibits their ability to re-invest in their talent.

Both examples will hear the low end of your range. So right after giving the range, discuss what conditions would have to be met in order for you to accept the low end, then swiftly explain how the company will benefit from investing in you on the high end.  Your low end must still support your current standard of living. Don’t give a low end that will leave you feeling slighted if offered, even though a conscious corporation would offer you good reasons for doing so.

Collegial negotiations are not just dependent what you say, though. It’s really more about how you are being – are you expecting the company will find your ask reasonable and do what they can to bring about the best possible outcome for both parties? If not, you probably should have stopped reading much earlier. This method will not work if you are suspicious. Authenticity is key here.

Lastly, leave the door open for them to ask questions and counter-offer. If a counter-offer seems way off your ask, ask them to help you understand, while giving them the benefit of the doubt that they have their reasons.

True story: I was trained in negotiating with candidates and employers as a recruiter. In my annual review shortly after that I was expecting a raise since I had been promoted in title. As trained, I did my research. In this annual review situation, it’s not customary to make an ask, as you’ve probably experienced. I anticipated my raise to be 50% above what I was making and instead it was a 10% raise. I had been underpaid my whole career prior to that, and armed with this new training, I was ready to earn fair compensation.  My boss, the VP of Sales – a master negotiator, had trained us to engage clients and candidates in further discussion when agendas didn’t align with the request, “Help me understand.” It became an inside joke, but in all fairness, it works, and it worked on him, too. I don’t have a poker face and I’m sure my disappointment in the offer was all over my face, so I took a deep breath and earnestly said, “Help me understand. I did research and based on the data, my compensation should be X.” I pointed to recent successes and things I had done outside of the scope of my role. He wanted to take a closer look at the data himself, and discuss it with the finance department and CEO.  They came back with a raise that was in my range, and a bit above the median. I, thankfully, had a conscious boss and CEO who wanted to pay talent fairly. 

The training I had was not the same as what I see other negotiation coaches promoting. It was designed to help three parties get on the same page, the employer, the candidate and the recruiting firm.  Our agenda was to keep strong relations with the employer to supply future talent needs, and to help our candidates earn as much as possible so that they stick and so that our share increased.  I used this training to increase my own salary by 50% and finally earn market value, and now I’m sharing it with you so that you can earn your fair share too.

 

If you would like to have guidance and support in qualifying conscious employers, understanding your unique market value, formulating and making your ask at the right time, reverse-engineering your career to align with your desired quality of life, and/or crafting counter-offers, e-mail Karen@epiccareering.com with the subject line: Make My Career Epic.

 

The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth 1965

The Searchers – Take Me For What I’m Worth 1965

Is the Dominant Emotion of Your Company’s Culture Fear? Here’s a Simple Quiz to Find Out.

Photo courtesy of Lesley Van Damme (https://bit.ly/2H9l9Wd). Some rights reserved.

Marketing psychology has taught me that people are motivated to make a change or a purchase in order to either move toward something desirable or away from something undesirable. And the latter tends to be a more powerful motivator for most. I predict in coming years this will shift as a natural evolutionary byproduct of the technological revolution, provided we use technology as a tool for solving our major problems.

It certainly has the potential to, yet it remains unclear how this will translate to effectively solving our people-based problems. For now, a companies’ major tools to address people-based problems are training, standard operating procedures, coaching, and culture.

Some companies manage this better than others. It appears to me, based on job seeker targeting, public stock prices and other evidence of growth, that companies focused on proactively moving in a positive direction culturally are doing better than companies merely trying to avoid major crises. One is driven by desire, while the other is driven by fear. You can liken it to playing offense versus defense.

A very powerful verse from Living the Wisdom of the Tao by Wayne Dyer [captured below and mentioned here] helped me realize that when you are focused on the highest good and being the best version of yourself, you no longer have a need to regulate bad behavior.

So, when a company is operating with integrity and effectively nurturing a culture of inclusion, empathy, mutual respect, optimized personal and professional development and acceptance, it rarely needs to focus on problems like harassment, bias, discrimination, disengagement, bullying, ethical violations, and high turnover.

Perhaps you feel I am oversimplifying this, and admittedly, there are other factors that need to be considered as well, such as employee compensation structures and hiring practices. If you follow me, you have certainly heard me stress the importance of self-awareness and how all transformations begin with that. Here again, it is definitely important to have the ability to recognize if this is a systemic issue in your organization.

If your company is adequately able to do this, at least you’re on the front end of what could be a positive evolutionary turn for your company. A company, just like a team, needs both a good offense and defense to win.

What stage of transformation has your company achieved? Are they instituting new policies, practices, procedures or tools based on avoiding problems? Or are they moving toward a more ideal corporate well-being?

As the technical evolution accelerates exponentially, I predict the latter companies are going to survive and the former companies will eventually die. And so, you too must go from playing defense to playing offense. I advise you to plan and manage your career accordingly.

Here is a quiz that will let you know which category your company falls into. If your company falls into the defense category, assess your company’s leadership. Do you feel it has the talent and support to transition into a company that plays offense? If not, that either has to be you, or it’s time to plan your exit.

Tally up how many answers are offense versus defense to see which is dominant.

  1. Does your company provide coaching on emotional intelligence or merely sexual harassment awareness training?

Emotional Intelligence training = Offense

Sexual Harassment training = Defense

Neither = Apathetic = RUN!

  1. Does your company have strict attendance policies or do they operate on an honor system?

Strict clocking in/out = Defense

Honor system = Offense

Nobody tracks attendance and everyone abuses it = The company is probably bleeding money – RUN!

  1. Do performance reviews incorporate goals you identify with or solely those of your boss/department?

Boss goals = Defense

Individual goals = Offense

We don’t have performance reviews = Who still does this? RUN!

  1. If there are conflicts between co-workers, is the focus of the resolution aimed at identifying and punishing the “offending” party, or is there a benefit of the doubt extended to all parties with an aim to arrive at a mutual understanding and compromise?

Punishment-oriented = Defense

Empathy-oriented = Offense

We fight it out and the loudest, bossiest person wins = RUN!

We experience no conflicts = Reflects either an authoritarian culture dominated by orders and compliance, possibly stifling creativity and originality RUN!

OR everyone is hired based on their agreeable nature = Be wary, as innovation most likely lags far behind.

  1. When it comes to social media policies, does your company forbid or restrict social media or do they encourage you and train you to leverage it as a promotional tool? (Exclude yourself from this question if your whole industry is regulated.)

Browsers block social media = Defense

Social media savvy is promoted = Offense

Most of my co-workers waste the majority of their day messing around on social media = Your company may be a front for illicit activities, because companies can’t survive like this RUN!

You may find that if your company is more defensive than offensive, much of the day feels tense and the moments of triumph are few and far between. If you would like to become an agent of transformation to coach your company to be more on the offensive, Epic Careering offers one-on-one leadership coaching as well as workshops. Or, if you now realize you would rather work for a company that is further down the evolutionary road, we can help you land there too.

On the other hand, if your answers indicate that your company is playing offense and doing it well, I anticipate you will be growing and hiring, and I would love to help more quality talent pursue your company as an employer. We should connect!

If any of the above apply to you, private message me or e-mail me at Karen@epiccareering.com.

Freddie Mercury – In My Defence (Official Video)

Freddie Mercury – In My Defence (1992) Click here to subscribe – http://smarturl.it/sub2FreddieMercuryYT Click here to buy Freddie Mercury – Messenger Of The Gods – The Singles: https://MessengerOfTheGods.lnk.to/FreddieStore Freddie Mercury was a man of many talents and many different sides.

How to Be Honest About Interviewing for a New Job with Your Current Boss


A client of mine is under extreme scrutiny at work. His company is bleeding talent and they are on high alert for critical people that they could lose.

He, like me, has no poker face. He was confronted directly by his boss after we updated his LinkedIn profile. He found out with his answer whether or not he was looking for another opportunity. He wondered what he was justified in telling them, but he still wanted to be honest because that is his nature.  He knows the topic will come up again, especially because he will be interviewing soon.

We brainstormed some ways to deal with inquiries about his job seeking activities honestly, but without putting his job at risk.

Realistically, even if they knew that he was looking, they can’t afford to just fire him. But he also can’t afford a ding on his record, nor could he sustain his current standard of living for his family if he had to spend any time unemployed.

Below are things that you could say to minimize concerns while still being able to deliver a genuine answer.

Reasons why you need time off of work:

  • “I have an appointment.” This may or may not be sufficient for some employers. Technically, they are not allowed to inquire about anything medical. Keeping it vague may not alleviate concerns completely, but you may at least escape further inquiry for the moment. If pressed further, or to be preemptive, choose the next option.
  • “I have to resolve a matter.” This me, again, be too vague to alleviate concerns, but it may change the perception from you interviewing, to perhaps a legal matter.
  • “There is an event that I’m hoping will make me a better performer.”  This doesn’t immediately sound like an interview, but it is the truth in cases of when you are feeling inhibited in your performance by the conditions of your current employment. If you are asked more about this event, tell your boss that you are uncertain how valuable it will be, so you will let him or her know afterward. Then, if asked afterward, you may be able to share some insight or intelligence you learned in your interview.
  • “I have to tend to a personal matter.” This could be a stretch for us types. You would have to genuinely change your perception of a career from something professional to something that’s truly personal to you. Considering how much our career impacts other realms of our lives, this isn’t too far of a stretch. Most bosses back off from inquiring further about personal matters, unless they feel it is something that is impacting your performance.

When asked flat out if you are seeking another job, here are some answers that allow you to be honest while still securing your current position:

  • “Let me ask you – can you assure me that my job is 100% secure and that you can accommodate the growth that I seek in responsibility and income?”  This is potentially adversarial, and only works in situations where your reasons for seeking other employment is an uncertainty around the security of your future at your company. Everyone has the right to protect their source of income. This can open up good conversation between you and your boss around improvements and conditions that would make staying at your current employer better.
  • “Well, you know. Everybody wants me. I am a top commodity.” When I envision delivering this answer, I envision it to be delivered in a humorous manner, but you have to keep your audience in mind, and it has to feel natural to you. You may expect further inquiry. The facts are, that if you are valuable talent, your bosses should always expect that you are being recruited and do everything possible to retain you.
  • “I have met with other companies to discuss opportunities, but I intend to stay.” What you are not saying, is how long you intend to stay. Again, this could feel like a stretch of the truth, and you may ultimately feel worse when you do have to give your notice and it comes as a shock.

If you have not yet tried to address with your boss the conditions that inspire you to want to seek another opportunity, I recommend that you try that first. I don’t necessarily recommend that you tell your boss that you have thought about looking elsewhere, but instead to approach your boss from a place of wanting to make things better for the whole team. As in, “these are things that I have noticed.” And you will also want to come to the conversation with a list of possible solutions. If your concerns and solutions are not heard, considered, or implemented, any good boss would expect you to be looking elsewhere. Then again, any good boss would hear, considerate, and implement some of your solutions, given that they are reasonable. Also, most good bosses will be proactive about making sure that they know where you stand and what they can do to make you the leader you want to be.

 

Chances are good that you have had to take off of work for an interview. What have you said to your boss about where you were going?

John Lennon – Gimme Some Truth (Lyrics)

Read the title 🙂

5 Common Job Search Myths Debunked

Emma reading the newspaper by Diego Sevilla Ruiz of Flickr

Emma reading the newspaper by Diego Sevilla Ruiz of Flickr

 

Is it really possible to switch industries? Can anyone land at their dream job? As a career coach, I have seen many job seekers limit what is truly possible in their careers simply because they believed common misconceptions. Not only do common misperceptions or myths hold job seekers back, but they can be detrimental in the long run. Think of the prolonged job searches, feeling trapped at a job you are disengaged from, and how your health can suffer because of stress. By uncovering and debunking some of the most common job search myths, your job search can soar to heights you never imagined.

 

Myth #1: You do not need a cover letter

Are cover letters a requirement? Many employers require a cover letter, but think of them as the key to getting directly in front of a hiring manager. A cover letter demonstrates an interest in the company, explains your skills, and covers what is not included in your résumé. It is an introduction to a hiring manager that highlights your accomplishments, accompanies your résumé, and it is your chance to make your case for an interview. In fact, a cover letter is read before your résumé and often determines if a hiring manager will take the time to read your résumé. A well-written cover letter is tailored to a specific company, grabs the attention of a hiring manager, and beckons him or her to take immediate action.

 

Myth #2: Changing careers is impossible

Jennifer Ghazzouli was a bench chemist for the Philadelphia Police Department. She wanted more from her job and switched careers. She is now in recruiting and leads global hiring strategy for QVC. Jennifer was approached early in her career about becoming a recruiter and was told by others that recruiting is sales. She initially balked at the idea. However, Jennifer knew that she was not happy as a bench chemist. When she talked to her friends, they shared insights and ultimately the job lead.

Changing careers was one of the top frustrations of the many job seekers we asked. They find it is challenging to enter a new industry without the industry experience the job appears to require. A career change requires more work than changing employers, but it is not an impossible task. Like Jennifer, many of the people who successfully broke into a new industry do so through their network. In fact, I saw this happening as a recruiter. A position that called for a specific industry experience would go to someone who was able to promote transferable skills and experience as value-adds. Branding in these cases was just as responsible as networking. In terms of transitioning, research the new industry by looking at employers, asking questions of those already in the industry, and volunteering. Hard skills can be transferred from one career to another. Additionally, soft skills  also play a huge role in your career. Unlike hard skills, a good grasp of soft skills is required in any industry. Like changing an employer, consider what makes you happy in your career and why you want to transition to a new industry.

 

Myth #3: The job of your dreams is not viable

Jack Morrison of SAP America never doubted his chances of success. Unfortunately, most people somewhere along the way are told and believe that success is not possible for them; that they are not worthy to receive what they really want, and/or that it is better to be accepted, and to not rock the boat. So many people settle for a job that pays the bills. Settling for a job you are not passionate about is a recipe for disengagement. Employee disengagement is an epidemic at 70%, costing US companies $450 billion each year, and costing individuals the chance to thrive, be fulfilled and well-paid. Just like with changing careers, research is king when it comes to landing your dream job. Make a list of companies that fit 80% of your criteria and begin finding and reaching out to contacts within those companies. Brian Quinn dreamed of being a rock star from a very young age and never gave up on his dream career. The path was not easy, but he worked hard to fulfill his calling and found success.

 

Myth #4: Do not leave your job without having another one waiting

It is always better to have a new job waiting before you quit. Having a job makes it easier to negotiate for a higher salary and you avoid unemployment bias. However, you may not always have the luxury of searching for a job while employed. Also, consider your happiness if you are employed at a job you dislike. If the job is stressful enough that you want to leave immediately, take your financial situation into account. If you have savings to get by for a little while, plan your job search out, and even consider the help of a career coach. Evaluate the costs to your life and potentially to your wallet by staying stuck versus the investment you make in being able to take control of your life. Think about being able to land at a company where you can thrive and be paid well. That is what we help job seekers obtain!

 

Myth #5: Employment is a one-way street

The job seekers who feel that they are at an employer’s mercy may be stuck in a cycle of disappointment in their job search. Their confidence is gone and they start to believe something is wrong with them, and they must take whatever they can get. In these instances, it is their tools and tactics that need adjustment, not who they are or what they want. The end result of putting yourself at the mercy of an employer is landing an awful job. It does not have to be this way. Just as an employer is making sure you are a good fit at an interview, you are doing the same. You owe it to yourself and your happiness to accept a job at an employer who will keep you engaged and fulfilled. Ask questions at your interview, discover their mission, and research them beforehand. Additionally, your number one weapon against being at an employer’s mercy is momentum, which we help job seekers generate. Momentum is having several offers in play, while employers bid over you- much like an auction. Instead hoping that you are hired by an employer, the employer hopes that they can persuade you to work for them. That is the power of job momentum!

 

Job seeker misconceptions or myths can prolong a job search and frustrate employees who want to make major career changes. Worse, these mistaken beliefs can cause job seekers to doubt themselves, to give up on their job searches, and to reach a place of disappointment and desperation. Often job search methods and tools are the problem, not the job seeker. By clearing away these misconceptions we hope that job seekers will reject these self-limiting beliefs and realize what is possible in their job search.

What common job search myths would you add to this list?

 

 

Tips to Confidentially Update LinkedIn When You are in Transition and are Still Employed

LinkedIn Logo by Shekhar Sahu of Flickr

Many employees fear that their boss is watching their every move on social media and are afraid to update their LinkedIn profiles. Other employees update their profiles and openly express an interest in new career opportunities while they are employed. The first group of employees are limiting their ability to promote themselves. The second group risks being fired by their employer. Depending on your employer’s social media policies, a LinkedIn update can land you in trouble. John Flexman was an executive at a gas exploration firm based in England. He uploaded his CV to LinkedIn and checked the box indicating an interest in “career opportunities.” His company accused him of inappropriate social media use and ordered him to remove his CV. Flexman thought this was unreasonable and resigned. Flexman’s situation is not common in the United States because employers do not own your LinkedIn profile as they do in the United Kingdom. Nevertheless, there are cases where employers have monitored their employees’ use of LinkedIn. It is possible to confidentially use LinkedIn during your job search while you are still employed.

 

Promoting yourself on LinkedIn IS part of the job search

A complete and branded LinkedIn profile is the best way to connect with others, stay relevant, and expand your network. However, many people are afraid to update their LinkedIn profile because they fear their employer will become suspicious of their activities. This robs a person of the opportunity to truly optimize their profile in a way that will generate more qualified leads, better opportunities, and will put their career on autopilot. Many of my clients have received offers for promotions within their companies because they have effectively articulated their value. They promote their value as an employee while promoting their company.

Content is your greatest asset on LinkedIn! Do not be afraid to post industry-relevant content and to share your knowledge in groups. Balance the content you share in order to promote yourself and your company. Share the stories where you saved the day, but also use your status updates to express gratitude for being surrounded by and supported by a great team or leadership. Your next boss would love to picture him or herself on the receiving end of such praise. Keep your praise authentic and make sure other people would be able to validate what you say as truth. Use status updates to simultaneously promote yourself, your colleagues, and your employer. Update your status by writing about problems you solved, your nuggets of practical wisdom, and giving colleagues the credit for a great performance.

 

Keep your direct job search activities hidden

When you use LinkedIn to job search and you are employed, do not openly announce your job search-related activities. This means not mentioning you are looking for a new employer in your status updates and in groups. While it is better to find a job while you are still employed, we know from our results that with a powerful and effective brand campaign and system you can viably land a new job within 10 to 12 weeks.

Although it is possible to turn off all broadcasts of your LinkedIn activity, these decisions are often made from fear and limit your success. The questionable activity to your employer comes from adding connections from the competition. If your profile is locked down to the point where almost nothing is visible, your employer may become suspicious. You also miss the opportunity to network or to be found by potential employers who are actively looking for someone with your skills, and perhaps even your network.

Adding connections from your company’s competition may raise red flags with your employer. In this type of scenario you do want to practice discretion, especially if you plan to transition to a competitor. If you are connecting with the competition, view the profiles of others anonymously by changing what others see when you have viewed their profile. Temporarily turn off broadcast activities when you follow companies for whom you want to work. This action is temporary because you do not want to alert your current employer to a direct job search activity. Otherwise, keep notifications on when you engage in your regular LinkedIn activity to raise your visibility on the network.

Joining job search groups will alert others to your intent to find a new employer while you are still employed. Avert this by not allowing anyone to see you belong to job search groups and make sure these groups are not visible on your profile by changing the order they are displayed. Also, temporarily turn off notifications for groups whenever you join a job search group. This allows you to freely join groups without notifying your network.

If you are using a company e-mail address on LinkedIn, switch to a private e-mail address immediately. Leaving your employer means that you will lose access to your e-mail, and as a result your LinkedIn account. In fact, I recommend this action even if you do not have plans to leave your company. Anything could happen!

 

Imagine a few scenarios:

  1. A job seeker keeps his or her job search activity completely under wraps on LinkedIn.
  • They check out and follow competing companies.
  • Their profile and all LinkedIn activities are completely hidden.
  • Their confidential job search will not alert their current employer, but they are invisible to potential employers.

 

  1. A job seeker updates his or her profile to promote themselves and their company.
  • They are actively looking for work and are employed, but they do not mention direct job search activities.
  • They are not afraid to highlight their accomplishments.
  • Their profile is a beacon to potential employers and it is not long before they begin to receive interview requests and even job offers.

 

Which scenario would you choose? You do not want to scream to the world that you are actively searching for work while you are currently employed. Carefully updating your LinkedIn profile will make your transition quicker and pain-free.

 

Networking for the Introvert

Dell Women's-Entrepreneur Network 2014 Austin by Dell Inc. on Flickr

Dell Women’s-Entrepreneur Network 2014 Austin by Dell Inc. on Flickr

 

Do you enjoy solitude? Do you keep a small group of close friends? Does being around large groups of people become exhausting? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you may be an introvert. According to Psychology Expert Kendra Cherry, introversion is a personality trait characterized by a focus on internal feelings, rather than relying on external sources of stimulation.

If you’re an introvert, you may prefer to keep to yourself or spend time with small crowds of people. The idea of meeting strangers at a networking event may strike you as an incredibly dreadful task. It’s a departure from your comfort zone as you set out into the unknown. On top of being nervous, the pressure to make meaningful connections can cause knots to form in your stomach. There are times when it’s easy to make friends, and other times when it’s a monumental task. I just sent my daughter to kindergarten on Monday. The first day of school is like the first time my clients go to a networking event after I have coached and prepped them. Ultimately, I know they’re brilliant, have a lot to offer, and they will eventually meet the right people. I’ve given them the tools they need to convert these connections into job momentum. However, I still fear someone will break their heart or spirit. It’s hard enough putting yourself out there, and I want their networking experience to be validating and uplifting.

Recognizing your own strengths as an introvert can make networking enjoyable. There are a variety of tactics you can use to make connections and gain momentum in your job search.

 

Preparation makes perfect

Do your homework before attending any networking event. Plan out an agenda for the day and focus on who you want to talk to, how many people you’re comfortable meeting, and what outcomes you want from each conversation. Take a moment to mentally rehearse your conversations. To make starting conversations easier, write out your thoughts and questions ahead of time. Also, consider a few ice breakers, such as asking about current events that are relevant to event attendees. Asking about current events is a great way to learn, in addition to establishing yourself as an industry leader with whom people will want to keep in touch. (Keep the topics neutral and steer clear of political or religious events.) Prepare a list of questions on professional topics and trends for industry events. If you’re nervous, it may be difficult to remember what you want to say, you can maintain focus by putting your thoughts on paper, or in your phone’s notes app.

If possible, obtain a list of attendees and research them prior to the event. You may find some people to be more interesting than others. Make a note of the people who interest you and spend time with them during the event.

You can make approaching people easier by:

  • Hanging out by the refreshment area and meeting people there. It is an area where most people will naturally gravitate to and it takes less effort to approach them.
  • Meeting people while in the bathroom allows you to escape from the crowds and have a (mostly) private conversation. One caveat: You don’t want to get stuck having an entire conversation in the bathroom or make the other person feel cornered. If a conversation starts in the bathroom, keep it brief, or move it elsewhere.
  • Look for lone attendees and strike up a conversation with them. Without having to complete with attention from other attendees it may be easier to connect. Break the ice by opening with how difficult it can be to start a conversation. Then steer the conversation toward industry-related events.
  • It may even be possible to connect online with a person of interest you researched before the event to let them know ahead of time that you would like to meet.

 

Get to know others

Ask people about themselves, as this can open multiple conversational doors. Try talking about any mutual interests. If you’ve researched a person ahead of time and are now seeking them out, you can learn about their interests through their social media profiles. Let them know you’ve read about them online and how your interests align. For example, you both may be avid fans of a particular sport, a music group, a book series, or you both may feel exceptionally passionate about your work. If you’re just meeting a person for the first time, ask about their interests and share whatever you have in common. As you start conversations, don’t forget to be a good listener. Also, ask others for their advice and opinions.

 

Don’t go alone

Consider bringing a friend along to a networking event. Attending events in pairs enables both parties to promote each other rather than having to promote yourself. If your friend is more extroverted, he or she may be able to take the lead and aid you in making introductions. This feels more comfortable to a lot of people, and by enabling other people to build excitement about your value, you’ll be able to prepare for the meat of the conversation. That is, how you can demonstrate your value to others, discover any problems a person may have by asking questions and offering a solution. Your friend also can discuss how you have helped them and vice versa.

 

Asking about employment is expected

If you’re actively looking for a job, ask others what you can do for them. Find out what projects they’re working on and if you’re able to assist them. The point is to learn about others and to demonstrate your value, which is a key part of building your network and obtaining interviews. It’s okay to mention that you’re looking for a job and asking for support, resources, and introductions. These types of requests are what people expect from networking events. Pinpoint exactly what you need so others can help you, and make requests as a standard part of your agenda for all networking conversations after you’ve offered to help someone.

 

Keep it brief

Hans Eysenck, a German psychologist theorized that the brains of introverts process more information per second than extroverts and high simulation environments can overwhelm and exhaust an introvert. Arrive early, so you can stay ahead of the crowd and leave early or take a break before feeling exhausted. Introverts can feel like they’re expending a lot of energy at networking situations or even at parties. In contrast, extroverts often feel their energy rising in large crowds. Introverts need to recharge once they feel a drop in energy, or they risk not putting their best self forward.

Lingering too long with one person can bring on boredom and a sense of discomfort, but you also want to create a worthwhile connection. Only you can determine the length of time that feels appropriate. Focus on having meaningful conversations with people you feel synergy with and stay with them until you feel comfortable moving on to the next person. After you make your connection, schedule a follow-up. Try to commit to a date on the calendar. If this isn’t possible, then give a commitment about when the follow-up will occur. This may be as simple as e-mailing a few dates on good times to connect during the week. If you’re responsible for initiating the follow-up, make note of the commitment before moving to the next person. Also, take notes to keep track of each new person you meet and jot down a few points from your discussion. This will make the process of following up easier.

 

Think outside the usual networking box

Try networking at smaller venues if large crowds make you extremely uncomfortable. I often gradually introduce networking to my introverted clients. Their comfort zones are continually expanded until they feel more comfortable in a large group setting. Some clients have so much success with small groups that they never have to subject themselves to larger groups. (There are benefits to networking with larger groups that I’ll get to in a moment.) Networking doesn’t always look like a lot of people gathering for professional reasons. Gatherings to engage in hobbies can enable faster rapport and deeper relationships. The difference between networking and hanging out is that these relationships are leveraged for professional gains. That is, nourishing and nurturing your network in order to reap the by-product of a bountiful harvest that comes in the form of leads for new opportunities. There’s is nothing wrong with this type of networking, as many people love to help, especially people they like.

In order to help your network grow, you can create a powerfully branded value statement.  A value statement informs others about your priorities, professional beliefs, and goals. This statement helps people quickly understand what you do, for whom you do it, and how they can present a great opportunity for you.

Small crowds and one-on-one meet-ups still count as networking. You can network without ever having to be in a large group of strangers, but by avoiding large crowds, you risk limiting your expansion and exposure to opportunities. I encourage you to try meeting with a large group of people twice, then practice twice more and by the fifth time you’ll feel a lot more confident, as long as you are approaching it from the perspective of meeting and making new friends. I have some clients start small and work their way up to larger events.

 

By playing to your strengths, networking can become manageable and even enjoyable for introverts. Can you imagine the joy of connecting with new people who share similar interests to you and are a part of your industry? Can you imagine mastering networking in your own way? New doors can open and those open doors can bring job momentum and the ability to land faster. When people become skilled, avid networkers, they achieve what we call “Career Autopilot,” or the ability to be sought out by employers and quickly land the job of their choice.

Quickly Land Your Next Job in September

Life's Paradox by Stefano Corso of Flickr

Life’s Paradox by Stefano Corso of Flickr

Summer traditionally means slow days at work and vacation time. As the days lengthen and heat up, fun and sun beckon like the call of a siren. The last thing a majority of people are thinking about is the job search. But as summer winds down, companies ramp up their efforts to fill open vacancies and achieve fourth-quarter goals. This is the perfect opportunity to land a new position.

Hiring may appear to slow down in the summertime, but our economy is in a state of recovery, and job growth continues.  It can appear to be deceiving that there are fewer opportunities during the summer because open positions take longer to fill. Human resources and hiring managers have increased challenges bringing stakeholders together to make decisions as people go on vacation. This delays the hiring process because there are fewer managers to conduct face-to-face interviews. Additionally, companies fill a large number of positions during the beginning of the year, so they don’t have as many positions available summer months.

According to ERE.net, the average time for an employer to fill a position is at its highest at 27 business days. This costs companies money. You can save the company money by being ready to promote yourself effectively for an open position. The candidates who are ready to strike with effective branding, a smart strategic plan to be visible, and the ability to articulate how their value presents a solution will get interviews and offers.

Perhaps you’ve put your job search on hold for the summer. Maybe you’re just jumping into the search. You may dread spending another day in your current office. Or you may want to secure your financial future by landing the right job as soon as possible. Starting your job search with effective tactics can accelerate your transition. Wouldn’t it be great to land at your next employer before the fall chill hits the air? It’s not too late pull ahead of other job seekers. As recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, September is a month where hiring typically surges. With some preparation, you can capitalize on employers’ needs to land your next job.

 

Aid your job search with these seven stages to landing

The seven stages to landing can help greatly aid in your job search. Instead of starting your job search by hitting job boards or filling out applications, you can take a methodical approach to your search. This introspective approach can help you identify your strengths, skills and the value you can offer potential employers. Mastering these seven stages can take a long time, but you can also accelerate these steps in order to land your next position faster. Visualize attracting your next employer instead of hoping they notice you.

As you explore the list, rate yourself in each area from one to seven, with seven being the highest number. Keep those numbers in mind for now, we will revisit them later.

 

  1. Job Discovery

Think about your ideal career or position. Do you have a target position or employer? Think about aligning your career with contributions you are passionate about. For example, if someone is concerned about sustainability they can align themselves with an employer that has the same concerns. How can you use your talents to make these contributions? What opportunities will the job market present? What are the logical steps you’ll take in order to get there?

If you are going for the right target, you may be a little scared, but overall you’re very excited. You find yourself becoming enthusiastic about developing your plan, and you have confidence that you want the position enough that you’ll be able to overcome challenges as they present themselves.

 

  1. Branding Development

Think about the four to six things that uniquely qualify you for a position. It could be your worldview or perspective on problems, a certain approach to providing solutions, the way you go about working with other people, insights from other industries, an unconventional education, life skills, or even your attitude. Then use these qualities to form your branding points and connect the dots between your qualities and the value that can be realized by an employer. By having these branding points before you start the development process, you can ensure the content you create has meaning for your audience. These materials communicate your strengths and advantages to potential employers, people in your network, and everyone else. Each target requires a different approach:

 

  • Corporate targets require a résumé or biography.
  • Academic, scientific or international targets need a CV. A CV is more comprehensive than a résumé.
  • Create a one-page networking infographic for network contacts.
  • Wow your prospective clients with a website brochure or advertising copy. This isn’t just replicating your CV or résumé, it is powerfully branded, reader-friendly and is filled with effective content that inspires action.

 

  1. Networking/Social Networking

Occasionally, the hardest part of this step is actually recognizing your network. A lot of clients tell me they don’t have networks, but it’s usually because they aren’t thinking about all of the people who would really want to help them. The ideal networking process can be fun. Think of finding ways to be around people you enjoy and inspire them to help you be a solution for your next company. When your network is properly trained in how to develop leads for you, your momentum becomes exponential. It’s like having a sales force you don’t have to pay. Have you effectively trained your network to develop leads for you?

 

  1. Prospecting

Do you have a plan of action to reach your ideal position? Have you sourced hiring managers from potential employers? Are you in position to uncover advertised and unadvertised opportunities? While some information can be easily obtained from the internet, most likely more of the critical criteria for your next position and company will be better divulged by someone who is or has been on the inside. Prospecting is also tied to our next step because what you learn about your target company will help you get noticed, be memorable, and market yourself as exactly what they need. This step is critical to helping you land at a desirable position and location (as opposed to just obtaining any job), and beating out the competition by pursuing jobs that may not even be posted, also known as the hidden job market. Most people skip this step and spend more time getting fewer results. These actions, along with the next step are the most self-affirming stages because once you master them you will have generated job security.

 

  1. Distribution/Follow-up

You’ve met people with whom you had quality interactions. Are you prepared to follow up? This means being prepared to track your contacts and consistently keeping in touch without being overbearing. A great outcome is to deepen relationships with your contacts. Many job seekers fear they are imposing, when actually this is where more meaningful relationships are revealed, though some relationships may end. In this part of the process, the time you invest in people starts to payoff in more ways than just job leads. These are relationships that will withstand a job transition, as well as future job transitions. You can consider these relationships like money in a high-yield account. Sometimes just one meaningful strategic relationship can alter the course of your life.

 

  1. Interviewing

You’ve made it far enough in the hiring process for an interview. Being ready looks like thoroughly researching a potential employer, knowing the qualifications for the job, and how your skills and abilities are a match for an employer. Ideally, you’ll be excited to meet with prospective employers and know how to authentically address the hard questions. If the fit is right, you’ll start with an open and comfortable conversation about what’s possible for both parties, although it’s always about the employer first. The best outcome would be an offer that you are excited to accept and knowing it is what’s best for your career and life. Have you reinforced the values you bring and why you’re qualified for the opportunity? Are you ready to close the “deal?”

 

  1. Compensation Negotiation

Have you researched the market value of your position? How much are perks and benefits worth to you? Are you prepared to consider a counter-offer from your current employer, or another potential employer? Are you ready to accept an offer letter? Part of compensation negotiation is also knowing when to ask about salary and benefits. This process ideally looks like two parties who appreciate the value the other has to offer, and they respect each other enough not to enter into a power struggle. The outcome is determining a win-win package where both parties feel like they are receiving a good deal.

 

Remember the scale I mentioned at the start of this list? Rate yourself in each area of the list. If you are less than a seven in any of these areas, you may risk prolonging your job search. Think of this process like climbing a set of stairs. If any of the steps are loose or broken, placing your weight on them can send you tumbling down, forcing you to start over again and delaying time as you repair the broken step.

 

Take advantage of just-in-time training

If you want an edge in your job search, consider our “7 Stages to Landing in September” webinar. It is a free online event that will teach you the best way to start your job search, entice employers, maintain job search progress, and make sure your conversations lead to inspired action. These steps can cut the average job search in half. We’ve had clients fix their “broken step” and land within a month. A small time investment can yield tremendous job search results.

 

September is traditionally the second busiest hiring month of the year and is only surpassed by January. By using better methods to entice employers, you can get out ahead of the crowd and land faster. Imagine what an ideal change in your career would look like. Share your ideal change in comments and then join us on Thursday evening for our free webinar!

 

Career Change Tips for Midlife Workers

"Drive" by Timo Newton Syms of Flickr

“Drive” by Timo Newton Syms of Flickr

 

For decades you have been driving the same road to work and going to the same destination. At first you enjoyed the drive, but after decades of doing the same thing you yearn for new scenery. You’re ready to take new roads to new destinations, regardless of the challenges ahead.

In the same way that driving new roads can bring challenge, so can reinventing yourself by changing careers. There’s the fear of entering a new industry, and of not getting the position because of employer preconceptions about age. Of course, those are just fears. A career transition is possible whether you’re 40, 50, or older. As long as the desire and passion to change is present, new adventures and success are within your grasp.

 

With experience comes value

A person who has been in the workforce for decades has experience and wisdom. With their experience, they know how to get the job done and have leadership abilities. They have also seen things done wrong and have seen things done right, through their own and others’ trials and errors. Their skills have been well-honed and this can give them an edge over younger workers. If new skills are needed for a reinvention, it is possible to return to school, apprentice, take on new tasks, hire a coach, or volunteer in order to acquire them.

Take the case of Karen Love: She worked in the news media for decades at various major newspapers, including the Los Angeles Times and the Chicago Tribune. At age 65, Karen decided it was time for a change. She went back to school and earned a master’s degree in Gerontology, the study of aging, and landed a position as an Outreach Coordinator at a community center helping senior citizens. This career change allowed Karen to fulfill a long-time desire to help senior citizens get involved with their community, to help them stay active, and to help them remain connected after retirement.

 

Assess yourself and target your next employer

Mentally prepare by assessing yourself and your next employer. These actions can make a career transition easier. A few questions to consider when performing a self-assessment are:

Why do you want to change careers? Are you bored with your line of work? Or is a greater purpose calling you? After you determine what you DON’T want, think about what you DO want. Is it the opposite of what you don’t want? Or is it a completely new experience? If you find yourself struggling with this topic, try focusing on your passions and your purpose, as opposed to the viability for what you think you can be hired.

What qualities can you transfer to a new career? This goes beyond your skills and can include your perspective, approach, and methodologies.

What value can you bring to a new employer? How can your decades of experience be an asset?

Once you have the answers to these questions, it’s time to consider what you’re looking for from your next employer. As a general rule-of-thumb, an employer should meet about 80% of your personal criteria. Developing a list of criteria will help determine what you want and need from a potential employer. Do you prefer flexible hours? What are the personal values you possess that are most important to you, that you want to share with your future employer? These are factors that can aid you in your job search. Once you have your criteria, your next step is to create a target company list. It allows you to hone in on a potential employer and laser target them, as opposed to spreading a wide search net.

 

Résumé re-examination

Reevaluate your resume. If you haven’t changed jobs lately, it may be time to reformat and bring your résumé up to current standards. Not only have résumés changed in the past few decades, but they’ve changed in the past few years. The one-size-fits-all approach no longer works and many companies use applicant tracking software to scan résumés for industry-relevant keywords. If those keywords aren’t present, the résumé is eliminated from the system. If your résumé lands in front of a hiring manager, they will only spend a few seconds scanning it before they either contact you, or toss your résumé. Including keywords in a customized résumé helps you to better stand out from the crowd.

Unfortunately, some employers do have a bias against age. When it comes to this, sometimes you can change someone’s mind and sometimes you can’t. Age discrimination does happen and it’s not worth anyone’s effort or energy to fight. It’s just like one of my favorite sayings I learned doing door-to-door sales: “Some will, some won’t. So what? Next!” By optimizing your ability to articulate and promote the value you can bring to an employer, and by having a relatively youthful attitude and lifestyle this particular challenge can be overcome. Some employers will always have a closed mind when it comes to age. Your confidence and optimism will attract open-minded employers.

 

Use technology in the job search

Being visible to potential employers online is an excellent way to give yourself an edge by showing how youthful and in-touch you are. Your top qualities are best demonstrated through your actions. Having an online presence on social media can show how savvy you are by making technology part of your career campaign. Social media allows you to expand the network you’ve built over the years and allows potential employers to easily discover you. A well-maintained presence on LinkedIn can help accelerate your discoverability, as 95% of recruiters use this social network to discover talent and research potential employees. Furthermore, using LinkedIn’s Pulse, Tweet chats, and attending Meetups allow you to stay on top of the latest technology. If you anticipate working among or competing against millennials, create and maintain a presence in the same spaces as millennials. This means being active on Instagram, trying out Snapchat, and even experimenting with Periscope. Knowing about the latest technology and having years of experience can make you a formidable job candidate.

 

Stay fit and active

Staying fit and active can help combat the idea that midlife workers don’t have the energy or stamina to get the job done. Not only does being physically fit give your mind and body a boost, but it also increases your vibrancy and energy. Your can-do attitude can only go so far if you lack the energy to get the job done.

 

Imagine overcoming the hurdle of leaving the industry you’ve been part of for decades and the joy of discovering a new career. Are you fulfilling a long-time desire in your life? Are you seeking new adventures? Or do you just want to leave for greener pastures before retirement? Changing careers during or after your midlife may seem like a challenge. It doesn’t have to be. You have the skills, experience, wisdom and knowledge you spent decades acquiring. Those qualities can help you move beyond your current position and into career change you’ve always wanted.

 

Are You Demonstrating Your Top Qualities in Your Job Search?

"Jack Canfield Nothing happens until you take action" by BK of Flickr

“Jack Canfield Nothing happens until you take action” by BK of Flickr

Ethan is a Social Media Analyst who’s often described by his friends as a “go-getter.” When he sets out to complete a project at work, or help a friend, he gives the task his best effort. Ethan’s work is always completed on time and goes beyond what is asked of him. While he tries to state this quality on his résumé, he does not demonstrate it through his actions during his job search. Ethan looked for work on job boards, didn’t ask his network for help, and didn’t do much research before his interviews. Although Ethan’s friends can vouch for the fact that he is a go-getter, potential employers failed to see this quality. He realized he had to apply those qualities to his job search if he was going to impress employers. This meant connecting with employers, networking, and taking the initiative instead of relying on job portals. Within two months of Ethan applying his go-getter attitude to his search, he landed at a new firm.

What are your uniquely valuable qualities as an employee? Are you detail-oriented? Are you a go-getter? Or are you creative?  More importantly, how are you using those qualities in your job search campaign and how are you demonstrating those qualities to potential employers?

Eight qualities employers commonly consider are:

 

1. Problem solving – Problem solving involves thinking critically, creatively, and being willing to compromise when needed. It could be helping to reduce the workload of a busy boss, eliminating inefficiencies, or finding a simpler way to resolve an issue. In your job search, this could look like finding a hiring manager’s contact information and engaging with them before your interview.

2. Team Player – Team players are people who work well in a team environment. You can demonstrate your ability to work with others by taking a team approach in your job transition. This can consist of getting together in a group, having people attend events on your behalf, and leveraging your network. You can also consider being part of a mentoring group while in transition.

3. Flexibility – Being flexible means you’re willing to make things work. When you’re trying to meet people for job interviews, for information, to network, or even being willing to have flexible work hours, you want to be as convenient as possible. For example, asking “How can I accommodate you?” comes across as flexible and ties into being a problem-solver. This shows you’re willing figure out how best to help a potential employer. Be aware of a few caveats: it is possible to come across as too flexible and seem desperate. You can take your flexibility too far, compromise your values, or seem contradictory.

Max Crowley’s determination to work for Uber is a great example of flexibility. His current role as a System Integration Consultant wasn’t an obvious match for Uber, but he was willing to change careers to follow his passion. Crowley devised a plan where he would position himself to be hired. He followed Uber’s Head of Operations on social media and made it a point to show up at recruiting events. His determination paid off with a Senior Community Manager position.

4. Leadership – Leadership is leading by example and being self-motivated. These are people who naturally take the initiative while following instructions. You can demonstrate this to employers by volunteering in a leadership role and joining a professional organization where potential supervisors could be members.

5. Communication – Communication is more about listening than being heard. We all want to be heard, but being able to listen is a really special quality. Not listening to, or accommodating an employer’s preferred communication method can be a major source of frustration. Some people prefer to communicate by e-mail, others may want you to call, while some prefer a text message.

In the case of Alec Brownstein, he knew exactly how to communicate with his desired employer. He used Google Adwords to purchase advertising spots of the names of his favorite Creative Directors knowing they would Google themselves at some point. Using that space he advertised himself and stated why he would be perfect for the job. Alec was hired by his dream employer.

6. Responsibility and Reliability – Anyone can say they are responsible and reliable, but it is a quality that is best demonstrated. In other words, you prove your responsibility just by doing what you’re supposed to be doing. That means showing up when you said you would, responding when you said you would, and delivering results in a timely fashion. In my years as a career coach, I have found people can easily disprove these qualities just by failing to return a call, or being late for a meeting.

7. Detail-Oriented – Being detailed-oriented ties into being responsible and is another quality that can also be disproven. Do you hear and understand what’s being asked of you? Do you actually take the time to consider the finer points? For example, I’ve read many résumés where people have claimed they were detail-oriented. However, they failed to pay attention to the smaller things such as format, spelling and grammar.

8. Creativity – Being creative means doing things in your job search that others wouldn’t, such as being bold. This could take the form of a billboard ad targeted at a potential employer, or creating an infographic résumé. Creativity also means thinking outside-of-the-box and naturally demonstrating your problem-solving abilities.

Nina Mufleh is a great creative example. She moved from the Middle East to San Francisco and wanted to land a job at Airbnb. Her efforts were ignored by the company. That is until she created a website for an interactive résumé that looked like an Airbnb host profile. It wasn’t long before she was contacted by Airbnb, LinkedIn, and Uber. Nina was able to uniquely showcase her knowledge of the industry and what she could contribute to Airbnb.

 

How-you-do-anything-is

 

Naming these highly desired qualities on your résumé means very little to employers unless you set yourself apart with your actions. The connection between the three extraordinary job seekers is their ability to demonstrate their best qualities while executing their job search. While you may not need to stalk hiring managers at your desired employer, or target them with Google Adwords, you can consider your best qualities and how you can demonstrate them to a potential employer. If you’re a creative type, be bold and creative. If you’re a details-oriented person, pay close attention to the details. How you execute your job search says more than your résumé ever will.