Search Results for: change careers after 50

Is It Okay to Cheat On Your Career with Other Careers?

Careers Board Game by Huppypie of Flickr

Careers Board Game by Huppypie of Flickr

 

The promise of a single steady job for life is largely a relic of the past. Not many large companies provide steady employment and constant salary increases until retirement. The only way to gain job security is to generate it for yourself. Careers are not necessarily like soul mates. Having multiple careers is not cheating, but a chance to thrive in a world where job security is no longer a given.

Besides learning (from us) how to successfully and swiftly navigate today’s career transition, microcareers and multi-career paths have emerged as a great way to generate your own job security. Microcareers also called “slash careers,” are hybrid careers where a person takes on a mixed professional identity instead of being beholden to a single profession. This type of professional could be a lawyer by day and a rock star at night, a part-time factory worker and freelance writer, or a web developer and accountant. A microcareer means having simultaneous careers all at once. For instance, I am a business owner, résumé writer, blogger, digital marketer, adjunct professor, beach body coach, and rock star. While many of these professions tie into my larger goal of career management and helping people find jobs they love, not all of my microcareers fit this mold.

Working microcareers is a way to generate multiple streams of income, especially if you are not employed full-time. Robert Kiyosaki (Rich Dad Poor Dad) and T. Harv Eker (Secrets of the Millionaire Mind) are two businessmen and motivational speakers who believe that having multiple streams of income is the best way to secure your financial freedom.

In addition to generating multiple streams of income, microcareers also allow you to explore multiple passions. Starting your own business on the side or creating the startup you always dreamed about are very real possibilities. David Williams, the founder of CinemaCake, began his professional life in pharmaceutical sales, but had a passion for filmmaking. One day a co-worker asked him to film her wedding, he agreed and landed his first paying gig. Williams then searched for more clients as he continued part-time event filmmaking on the side. Later he won a local filmmaking contest and his win convinced him that filmmaking was his true calling. As he built his client base, Williams stayed in pharmaceutical sales until he went full-time with his business two years later.

Some professionals prefer a multi-career path over having microcareers. Multi-careers are multiple career transitions made within one’s working life. For example, a professional starts their career as a programmer, but later switches to career coaching. Some people find job security by changing careers every few years. This practice is known as career hopping.

 

Career hopping as a new normal:

Career hopping consists of a series of seemingly unrelated careers. It is not the same as job hopping, where an employee changes employers every few years. A career hop is a complete industry change. Career hopping means making multiple career transitions during one’s working life. For some, their career may no longer be a viable employment option. Others may discover that they no longer enjoy their career and are ready for a change. In my interview with NBC10’s Tracy Davidson, I discussed the possibility of changing careers by applying innate skills and talents to a different role and responsibilities. Many skills are transferable to a variety of situations. Changing careers is a matter of discovering what you like and dislike about your job, applying those skills, and asking your network for help in order to change careers. However, career hopping does come with a major caveat. It is more difficult to brand and market yourself for a single role when you have a multi-career history.

Career hopping is more of a normal lifestyle for most millennials, but not as natural for other generations. Until the Great Recession, it was normal to expect to have career in a single profession and with a single employer. In fact, it has been a complete paradigm shift for older generations who were taught by their parents that hard work and loyalty are often rewarded with stable employment, health benefits, and a pension that will take care of you in retirement. Unfortunately (or fortunately), most of us live in a different reality. For example, baby boomers were hit hard after being at a single job for years and then being forced to find new lines of work. The new reality might not be easy to embrace, but if you can adapt and learn how to successfully navigate and execute a career transition, you will be able to benefit greatly in terms of job satisfaction and increased income from this new work environment.

 

Work/life integration with microcareers:

People used to strive for work/life balance, but work/life integration is the new goal. With work/life balance, people attempt to leave their work at work, and their home activities at home as they seek to give both facets of their life equal weight. Work/life integration seeks to manage work alongside personal needs and both facets of life bleed together. Work and life are not at conflict with each other. You may have the freedom during the normal 9-5 hours to go to your child’s ballet practice, but you will be logging in from home after the kids go to bed. This means working late, not because you have to, but because you are passionate and energized about your work. Microcareers allow for this type of work/life integration because work does not often feel like work.

 

Making the leap to microcareers or multiple careers:

In both cases landing a job still depends highly on networking. You can expand your network and venture into multiple circles. Peter Diamandis, an engineer, physician and entrepreneur best known for founding the X Prize Foundation, firmly believes that having multiple projects equals multiple successes. In fact, it is the third law he created in the Creed of the Persistent and Passionate Mind.  Think of microcareers as the ultimate in multiple projects.

 

Microcareers and career hopping are the new normal in today’s working environment. Having multiple careers is a way to achieve satisfaction, especially if you have a dynamic personality and multiple passions. You are not bound by a single position for your job security and you are free to explore your passions. If you are one of the 70% disengaged from your job, this could be the ticket to reinvigorating your career. Just imagine the creativity, freedom and variety that multiple careers can bring to your life.

 

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 Careers Like Soul mates? Is There Only One?

Photo courtesy of Flazingo Photos on flickr http://bit.ly/1srWO1B.

Photo courtesy of Flazingo Photos on flickr http://bit.ly/1srWO1B.

Some people believe there is only one soul mate out there for us. Others believe we could have multiple soul mates, or that everyone has the potential to be our soul mate. There are also a few people out there who believe there is no such thing as a soul mate. Likewise, many people hold similar views on careers.

There are those who believe there is no set career path, and that anyone can do anything if they work smart enough. This may mean starting over and redefining themselves every few years. Or they may chase after their passions until they find a career that excites them.

Then we have those who believe we are all destined for something, or we should use our God-given talents to their full potential. It could be the boy or girl who discovers they love drawing at an early age and sticks with a career as an artist. These kinds of career paths aren’t always easy to follow, but those who stick with them are driven and passionate.

For many, the career paths we originally set out with turn out to be very different from what we ultimately settle on. We may switch careers multiple times within our lives. Or we may hold down more than one career at a time. Here’s an example of someone who has multiple careers:

A 2001 New York Times article titled “Traveling 2 Roads In One Life” profiled Angela Williams. She began her professional life as a lawyer. After a few years in the Air Force as a prosecutor, she moved on as a federal prosecutor in Florida. A year later she traveled to Jerusalem, and visited Biblical sites. Suddenly, she felt a strong calling to devote herself to the ministry. Within two years she began to study theology while she balanced her life as a lawyer. By 2001, Williams put in 50 hours a week as a corporate lawyer by day, and worked up to 40 hours per week as an associate minister at night. When Williams began her career as a lawyer, she never envisioned being a minister as well.

As I wrote in my article, “Your Attitudes About Work Can Shape the Career Path of Others,” the idea of working for one company in one field is a rarity in today’s world. We are living in a world where people either switch careers or are expected to juggle multiple careers within their lifetime. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics revealed that 5% of the labor force are multiple job holders as of December 2014. Ed Dolan breaks this information down further and explains why people hold multiple careers in his EconoMonitor article. Data from a 2004 survey suggests about 25% of people have multiple jobs because of financial hardship and 21% of people care more about the value of a second job, rather than the extra money. These are people who are more interested in the experience a job brings, or because they enjoy doing the extra work. Another 38% wanted the extra income, and the last 15% gave no reason why they took on multiple jobs.

There are some people who feel drawn to a calling from a young age, and manage to stick with that calling. These people often buck the trend of conformity. They are not satisfied with being told what they should do, and instead pursue what they are passionate about. The pay may be low, or unstable but they are determined enough to walk a path that satisfies their calling. The career itself doesn’t matter in this case, as long as a person loves his or her work. Think of teachers, nurses, artists, performers, factory workers, and even mechanics. The work is less about career advancement and more about personal fulfillment. A 1997 research paper title “Jobs, Careers, and Callings: People’s Relations to Their Work” details why some people feel called to a particular career.

The reality shows the majority of adults will hold multiple jobs within their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, working adults will hold an average of 11.3 jobs from the ages of 18 to 46. The data was collected from 1979 to 2010. In an employee tenure summary released in September 2014, the BLS noted salary and wage workers stayed with an employer for an average of 4.6 years. Management and professional occupations often stayed with employers a little longer, up to 6.9 years. New York Times Columnist Marci Alboher, states in a 2007 article that the wave of professional reinventions is rising. Corporate job security is no longer guaranteed, and millions of Americans are finding their own career paths. Some will work as entrepreneurs, others will become consultants, and some may bounce back and forth before returning to the corporate world. Entrepreneur and author Tim Clark outlines a similar path in his TEDx Talk “Say Goodbye to Career Planning.”

There is a generation of people who don’t subscribe to the idea of having multiple careers. Perhaps the idea of changing employers within a career is normal, but they’ve never once considered the idea of going into a new field. Or they may be part of a shrinking group of employees who expect to stay with an employer for a decade or longer. Forbes contributor David K. Williams gives us “10 Reasons To Stay At A Job For 10 Or More Years.” Stability, seniority, leadership opportunities, dependability, and a say in the company’s future are just some of the reasons why people may not believe in having multiple careers, or changing careers. After all, there are many people who balk at the idea of cashing out a 401K, or selling a home if a new employer requires relocation. For these employees, consistency and loyalty is king.

Employer loyalty can be a particular sticking point when it comes to employers. Some people feel company loyalty is important and will ultimately be rewarded by employers, in the form of pensions and healthcare. There are those who believe there is no such thing as company loyalty. If a job can be wiped out by downsizing, why should anyone expected to have a long-term career within a single company?

The views on careers are diverse. The data shows us that the majority of adults will hold down multiple jobs within their lifetime. At the same time there are people who manage to find their calling in life early, and stick with their passions no matter the hardship. There are others who believe in a more traditional path of deciding on a career early, and sticking with it until retirement. The adventurous believe a career should be exciting and don’t mind changing fields until they find their passion and some workers believe it is possible to maintain more than one career at a time.

What are your beliefs about careers? Are we destined to only have one calling in our life? Or are multiple careers and career change inevitable?

Bob Marley – One Love

One love, One heart Let’s get together and feel all right Hear the children crying (One Love) Hear the children crying (One Heart) Sayin’ give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right Sayin’ let’s get together and feel all right Let them all pass all their dirty remarks (One Love) There is one question I’d really love to ask (One Heart) Is there a place for the hopeless sinner Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?

Highlights of My 15 Years in Business

Today I celebrate the 15th anniversary of the day I officially started Charésumé, LLC (dba Epic Careering.)

I clearly remember the Memorial Day weekend right before my business launched. I fasted and cleaned and organized my office to prepare my mind, my body, and my physical space for a new beginning. That beginning has led to many other beginnings over the past 15 years. It hasn’t all been easy, but it’s been fulfilling and made a difference in many lives.

The #1 highlight has always been my clients. There have been so many amazing clients I have gotten to coach, but also to learn from – how they succeeded, how they overcame challenges, how they influenced change, what they had to endure. Along with my helping them, there have been many professional redemption stories – clients who realized their potential, found a new professional home, and thrived financially and personally because they were nurtured in being their whole selves, inside and outside work hours.

While my clients reached new professional heights, somehow, I managed to keep my business going through two pregnancies, births, 4 years of breastfeeding, and 5 years of either no school for my kids or half-day school.

Other highlights include:
  • Additional publications on Philly.com, ReadersDigest.com, and CPAJournal
  • Working with Tracy Davidson of NBC10 on her Jump Start events, doing LinkedIn training, and being interviewed at the studio for a segment
  • Many radio interviews and podcast features
  • Being Professor Huller, teaching and inspiring tomorrow’s leaders to follow their dreams
  • Drexel University’s recognition as a published faculty member for Laser-Sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 days
  • Winning a Feedspot top 100 Career Blog award
  • Three years of YEA Philadelphia students who learned how to start a business, some of which still prosper today!
  • Winning 2nd place with my StockJock team at Philly Startup Weekend (Adam, Anas, John, John’s friend)
  • Growing into Corporate training and State (DE) training
  • Founding and co-managing the C3 Community on LinkedIn, engaging the awesome Lawrence Henderson as my partner
My clients have been from:
  • Comcast
  • UPenn
  • IBX
  • GSK
  • QVC
  • TD Bank
  • ICON
  • SAP
  • ADP
  • Oracle
  • GE
  • GM
  • Qlik
  • IBM
  • eBay
  • Honeywell
  • J&J (& subsidiaries)
  • Aramark
  • Quest Diagnostics
I have spoken at/for:

The PA Conference for Women, GVFHRA (local SHRM chapter), Philadelphia Great Careers Group, Jump Start Your Job Search, Black Data Processors Association, ChemPharma, AichE, FENG, TPNG (where I was also co-chair for 2 years.)

I have been mentored by:

Ford Myers, Ed Callahan, Jon Wagner, and Dr. Dawn Francis.

I have developed the following programs/inventions:
  • Jack Shipley helped me gamify the Accelerfate Career Campaign tool
  • Jedi and the team at OpenForge, after a successful crowdfunding campaign with 76 lenders, helped me turn Accelerfate into a mobile game prototype
  • Wharton MBA students who helped develop the prototype for an Online Executive Branding tool
  • The Corporate Consciousness Ripple Blueprint was a 3-year labor of love that took all of my years of learning and experience to curate and develop with various coaches helping me along the way with content, curriculum, format, media, marketing, and enrollment – This is the future of my practice and the very best thing I have created thus far to make a lasting difference in this world
I have invested in studying under …

I would like to thank the talent who have supported me and my mission over the years, my interns and assistants – MaryKate Sullivan, Heidi Jenkins, Angela Mosely, MJ Concetta, and my current virtual assistant, Cynthia Harder, who has been with me for over a year and a half now.

A couple of other people who made these highlights possible are my mother-in-law, who came weekly to watch the kids while I commuted to the city to teach, and my mom also helped watch the girls while I attended conferences and earned certifications. I’d like to give a shout-out to all my kids’ caretakers who made it possible for me to be my best for my clients: Betsy Czarkowski, Elissa Salamy, Emily Vandergeest, Jenna Bednar, and Kait Brennan.

All of these people and experiences have brought me here today, and I absolutely must give major props to my husband, Tim, for supporting me emotionally, financially, and physically. He doesn’t understand the ins and outs of what I do, but he knows I love it, and he knows I’m good at it, and he has total faith in me, and that means everything, especially when I lose faith in myself.

If you are reading this to the very end, thank YOU! I don’t often hear from the people who follow me, but from time to time someone lets me know that what I am putting out into the world weekly is making a difference for them, and just to know that the time and care I put into this weekly effort is reaching other people is enough reinforcement for me to continue to do so.

Thank you all for an amazing 15 years, and here’s to the next 15 years. I look forward to more conscious co-creation.

Grateful Dead – Touch Of Grey (Official Music Video)

You’re watching the official music video for ‘Touch Of Grey’ from the Dead’s 1987 album ‘In The Dark’. We will get by, we will survive….Subscribe! https://…

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

10 Reasons NOT to Apply for Jobs Online

Applying online is a dangerous job search habit, and one that can really restrict your opportunity and chances of landing something that is truly a great career move. Even though job seekers are taught and told over and over again by career experts like myself that applying online is a last resort, it remains a go-to resource for job seekers.

I believe there are three primary reasons for this:

  1. In this world of instant gratification, it seems to easy to resist the low hanging fruit. It seems logical to assume that you have to “strike while the iron is hot!” It’s really a case of FOMO (fear of missing out.) The thing is, fear is not a good emotion to make truly logical decisions. I will lay down some logic here that I hope will strike a chord and make obvious that applying to positions you find online is really the last activity you should invest time in.
  2. Habits run on autopilot in your subconscious mind. You may just go on applying without giving it much conscious thought. When I work with clients on their campaign, coaching and habit tracking tools are necessary to install a new workflow that will eventually run on autopilot – one that actually produces great results, reinforces your value, builds confidence and hope, and generates momentum with even less time and effort. These positive results further reinforce the more effective workflow until they become automatic. This turns career management into a pull rather than a push. However, if people are unaware of their automatic programming, it will continue to run undisrupted.
  3. The investment of time in more proactive, targeted efforts to pursue a role seems to feel and look like a delay to being in action. People get antsy knowing there’s a desirable position open and they’re not on record as being in the candidate pool. It’s true – the alternatives to applying online can take more time than simply clicking a button to apply. However, sometimes online job applications are time consuming and they still don’t get you any closer to being considered, let alone being in demand.

Still, here are the top 10 reasons why fighting the impulse to apply online will help your chances of positioning yourself as a real contender for the ultimate offer.

#1 – The Chances Your Application is Seen by Human Eyes

The quality of online applicants compared to the quality of employee referrals, in addition to other metrics that are more frequently tracked like time to onboard, have taught astute hiring professionals that their time is best invested proactively pursuing referrals from trusted talent and contacts while applications roll in as a last resort. Candidates who apply online will often only get looked at after internal candidates, referrals from employees, referrals from friends, and submitted candidates from approved recruiting vendors.

If you are a “cold” candidate, you have to rely on luck and keyword optimization to push you toward the top of the results in the case that referrals don’t pan out. This makes your résumé a tool that can either help you or hurt you, depending on how well it is written to match keywords. This doesn’t give you a whole lot of power to make something happen.

#2 – The Chances of You Getting Hired

Then, if your application is seen by human eyes, those keywords better show up in a context to validate the strength of your qualifications, at a minimum, and your unique value and culture fit, at best. If there are any anomalies in your experience, such as gaps or shorter stints, you have to cross your fingers that there aren’t applicants who appear equally or more qualified, and less risky. You can be moved from a “maybe” pile to a “no” pile quickly.

#3 – Inadequate Competitive Positioning

Even if you do get into the “yes” pile, you have no idea what the human’s perspective is on what position you are in to get an interview. I hope your LinkedIn profile is branded to help you make a strong case for why you’re a great hire and that other candidates don’t come from more trusted sources. It’s not always beneficial to interview first, but if the interviewer doesn’t have any insight as to who you are beyond your résumé, the interview will be conducted somewhat generically compared to how they would conduct the interview if someone had given you a strong endorsement or even if you had been able to effectively endorse yourself in a cover letter. From this position, the interviewer is then more interested in selling you the opportunity than in validating your résumé and mitigating the risk of the unknown that cold candidates present.

#4 – Nullifying Employee Referral Bonuses

While so many top companies have employee referral bonus programs and cite employee referrals as their top source of great talent, they are often under-leveraged, poorly promoted, and disorganized efforts. That means that when there is an opening in a company on your target list, even if you’ve given someone there a heads up that you’re interested, they won’t be made aware of the job opening, and they won’t be proactively seeking out opportunities to refer people for internal roles. I have certainly informed several people who were unaware that their company even offered an employee referral bonus, even though it was on their company’s employee or career page.

We’re all time starved, so it often takes incentives to get people to act on your behalf. Some of these employee referral bonuses can be over $1,000. I don’t know many people who wouldn’t want an extra $1,000 for spending a couple minutes referring someone. Of course, you will have had to reassure them that you will be a strong candidate and a good hire for them to stake their social capital on you.

If you are already an applicant, some employee referral bonus programs will not give credit to an internal referral source.

#5 – Disqualifying Recruiters from Presenting You

It’s certainly more beneficial for you to be recommended by an employee with social capital and clout, but some recruiters have done a fantastic job of building rapport and credibility with hiring managers. That’s why being presented for opportunities by a trusted recruiter may give you a bit of an edge over all the other cold candidates. A recruiter’s job, after all, is to weed out unqualified or unfitting candidates and whittle a candidate pool down to 4 or so top contenders.

When a great recruiter has a strong relationship and understanding of his or her client, the candidates submitted by him or her get top consideration. Of course, you’ll want to qualify your recruiters, and be forthright about where you have already applied. The clients will not involve themselves in any candidate ownership battles. Most of them are clear that only new candidates can be presented by their recruiting vendors; the company already “owns” candidates that come in directly through their career site or other job boards.

#6 – HR Arbitrary Check Boxes

As Liz Ryan pointed out on Twitter last week:

Liz Ryan on Twitter

A hiring manager – that is, your possible future boss – has a completely different perspective and set of of needs from whatever HR is looking for in their tick-a-box exercises. That’s why you have to reach your hiring manager directly, and skip the online job application

 

Why is that? Well, a number of reasons. Just like recruiters can have a solid reputation with hiring managers, they can also lose credibility with hiring managers. Still, they are required to comply with HR procedures, so they will pass along the minimal required details to get HR started on pre-qualifying candidates just in case their network or own individual efforts fail to produce quality candidates, who may or may not get a fair shake.

Another reason is that hiring managers are just more intimately familiar with the nuances of the job and what kinds of people, personalities, and talents lend themselves to success, but the internal HR system doesn’t allow for those nuances to be articulated. It can be too time consuming to communicate those nuances, or the hiring manager isn’t able to articulate them for one reason or another.

Still another possible reason is that passing along check lists is the only way companies have thought of to eliminate having to review unqualified people. They choose things they believe will help improve the chances of hiring someone able to ramp up quickly. At the same time, they systematically rule out people with unconventional careers who can add truly unique value.

A hiring manager has more latitude and perspective to see how out-of-the-box candidates might be able to add something to their team that conventional candidates can’t – IF they have vision, that is.

#7 – Time Suck

You might consider job activities a numbers game, but this is one of the huge myths that lead job seekers to become frustrated and discouraged. When it comes to ROI (return-on-investment) of time in your job search, online applications return the fewest results. Even the results they do produce can be a crap shoot in terms of opportunities that represent your best chances at thriving and succeeding in your new role.

If you invest time based on the probability of that resource producing quality results, you would spend 80% of your time networking (the right way) and 5% of your time on online job boards and filling out applications. After three weeks doing this, you will see your momentum shift at least 3 points on a 1-10 scale.

Limbo sucks. Change is hard. It might seem like applying online will be your best bet at a quick transition, especially if you have reached a senior level in your position. However, you will find that building momentum toward really GOOD opportunities takes more effort, more time and more energy when you’re spending most of your time online.

#8 – The Emotional Abyss

This is the real heartbreaking thing about online-driven job campaigns.  People start to question their worth, their viability, and their chances at improving their financial status. When online campaigns fail, people will blame themselves. This heightens the emotional stress of interviews, impeding your performance. Each interview feels like it “has” to work out. You may find yourself overselling yourself for opportunities that you wouldn’t even consider if you had a competing offer. You may even think you have to make yourself look less qualified. All of the visions of growing and developing in your career seem unlikely, like pipe dreams you have to abandon. You might feel like you’re letting your family down. Worse, you’ll feel like you’re letting yourself down.

In this emotional state, it’s much easier for unethical, inhuman employers to take advantage of your desperation. You may find yourself in a much worse situation, feeling stuck, feeling victimized – unaware that you can actually take control and make something happen.

It’s the whole negative tailspin of career confidence that is the worst part of relying on online efforts to produce results. You’ll never even know how great you could have had it, and you’re unlikely to believe you can have it any better.

Watching my mom go through this emotional abyss is why I do this work in the first place. It seriously breaks my heart.

#9 – The Flood of Irrelevant, Illegitimate Inquiries

I do recommend that my clients set up agents on job boards, and that they set aside 15-30 minutes twice a week to go through them all at once. This helps them better identify redundant postings, and decreases the chances they are persuaded by opportunities that don’t fit what they said they wanted.

Job boards are very misleading representations of how much opportunity is available. You might be tempted to pursue something that is not something you’d otherwise consider, as stated above, and that includes the flood of inquiries that you get to your profile on these job boards that are huge wastes of time disguised as “great opportunities for growth and income.”

Consider this – if technology has not progressed far enough to automatically send you relevant, legitimate opportunities that fit the criteria you entered, how well do you think it’s performing for recruiters in search of candidates? Even AI hasn’t yet made a dent in the quality of results.

#10 – It Is Passive and Inactive

Online resources keep you sedentary and tied to your computer, which isn’t great for your health or mood. Surrendering your power to some unknown force on the other end of an application also isn’t beneficial to you. The best job searches turn fun into results. Spend less time grinding away, and more time on self-care and enriching your life with new contacts.

If you don’t find networking fun, you’re probably not networking with your people. You also probably don’t know what to say that will inspire them to take action, and you were likely disappointed by people who weren’t able or willing to help you in the past.

Networking is not supposed to look like superficial schmoozing with people you don’t like. It’s more like a scavenger hunt that’s more fun with friends – a way to find the people who need you through people who like you and vice versa.


The bottom line when it comes to online campaigns is that there are just better, smarter, and more empowering ways to get yourself closer to the opportunities that are really right for you.

If you’re unsure what they are, I’ve embedded links to helpful articles throughout this post, but you can always reach out to me for some custom insights by scheduling a free consultation.

Mariah Carey – Make It Happen (Official Video)

Music video by Mariah Carey performing Make It Happen. YouTube view counts pre-VEVO: 21,232 (C) 1991 SONY BMG MUSIC ENTERTAINMENT #MariahCarey #MakeItHappen #Vevo

Karen Huller, author of Laser-sharp Career Focus: Pinpoint your Purpose and Passion in 30 Days (bit.ly/GetFocusIn30), is founder of Epic Careering, a 13-year-old leadership and career development firm specializing in executive branding and conscious culture, as well as JoMo Rising, LLC, a workflow gamification company that turns work into productive play. 

While the bulk of her 20 years of professional experience has been within the recruiting and employment industry, her publications, presentations, and coaching also draw from experience in personal development, performance, broadcasting, marketing, and sales. 

Karen was one of the first LinkedIn trainers and is known widely for her ability to identify and develop new trends in hiring and careering. She is a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, Certified Career Transition Consultant, and Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist with a Bachelor of Art in Communication Studies and Theater from Ursinus College and a minor in Creative Writing. Her blog was recognized as a top 100 career blog worldwide by Feedspot. 

She is an Adjunct Professor in Cabrini University’s Communications Department and previously was an Adjunct Professor of Career Management and Professional Development at Drexel University’s LeBow College of Business  She is also an Instructor for the Young Entrepreneurs Academy where some of her students won the 2018 national competition, were named America’s Next Top Young Entrepreneurs, and won the 2019 People’s Choice Award. 

Why Hypnosis? Answer: Disruption – For Real

Meditation by Johan Bergs on Flickr

Eight years ago I watched a video during my pregnancy called The Business Of Being Born. Learning about the cascade of interventions and how they can lead to further complications was frightening. I vowed to give birth under as many natural conditions as possible, avoiding all potential UNNECESSARY medical interventions, including, but not limited to an induction, epidural, vacuum, episiotomy, and C-section. I was already seeing midwives at a birth center. A client who was a midwife convinced me of its safety and the dedication of the staff at this particular birth center, which was right across the street from a hospital. I decided I needed some help keeping my body AND mind working in my favor, to control my environment internally and externally as much as possible, so I invested in a $500 5-month course called Hypnobabies.

It worked, not just once, but twice. I might not have been too good at staying calm and relaxed the first time, stretching labor with Daisy to 5.5 days with back labor. Even so, I delivered naturally, without drugs (not without pain; I was just able to manage it,) and without any other interventions. I’m certain that had my plan been to deliver at a hospital, they would have induced me when I showed up the day after my due date and labor slowed down rather than send me home, even though it was perfectly safe to labor at home as long as it took, since my water had not broken. The midwives, however, sent me home, advised me to get sleep if I could, and I came back two days later with much better progress. Daisy was born 5 hours later perfectly healthy.

During the second time, I was more effective at USING the contractions (reframed as “pressure waves” during the program but I reframed them again to “progress waves” for the 2nd birth) to accelerate labor to active labor; I delivered Adelaide within hours at the birth center, without drugs and interventions.
The course was actually training me in self-hypnosis so that I could induce hypnosis with the drop of a finger. This turned off my conscious mind where all my fears are to allow my subconscious to be a better partner to my body and allow things to happen naturally.

So, I already had a great confidence in hypnosis and had invested in courses and CDs for other things after that, such as increased focus and intuition. I have been studying related topics, such as neuroscience, guided imagery, creative visualization, meditation, etc., focusing on scientific evidence of efficacy in much more depth since then.

It’s not what you see on TV or at shows. It’s not mind control; it’s natural.

Ultimately, here is why I finally became a Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist:

As my clients have grown more willing to allow me to talk about other areas of their lives, I have grown ever more acutely aware of how intertwined our career is to other realms of our lives and vice versa. If a client was not able to land a job using the best practices, it was often because of an issue in another area of life.

During this epiphany, I realized that I need to be MORE than just a career coach if I want people to get where they want to go. I saw this in my own life too: A breakthrough in one area will start a cascade of positive impacts. Conversely, a limit or problem in one area can bleed into other areas of my life, holding me (and you) back from having what we really want in life, and wasting days of our lives that we could be happy, but instead we feel miserable and powerless.

The good news: Our mind is immensely powerful, and there is a lot that can be done to leverage the mind to create the change that leads to happiness. However, out of all the modalities I studied and tried over the years, hypnosis is the fastest way to access and leverage the mind’s power.

Why? Because hypnosis works with the subconscious mind, where we learn, store memories, operate automated body functions, and program habits.

Too many coaches focus on motivation and willpower. Some people are naturally inclined to be willful, but too many more have to fight the brain’s natural inclination to resist change. Without hypnosis, achieving change for the majority is a struggle. It’s an unnecessary struggle. Hypnosis makes change easier, meaning you have to rely less on willpower to overcome the mind’s resistance. Instead, the mind is working in your favor!

My sense of urgency to help MORE people create meaningful change NOW has continued to grow, as has my desire to impact more realms of life than just career. AND, if I can help you become your best self (which I can,) you can then also bring the best out in others, and then there are optimally creative and powerful minds working on the big issues together.

Also, the more I learned about the applications of hypnotherapy, the more I thought about current epidemics that it can help tackle, besides career disengagement, like:

>> Mental health issues, since most of the mass shooters and suicide victims were found to be on psychotic drugs for conditions that can be relieved by hypnosis (in conjunction with proper Psychological treatment)

>> The opioid crisis, since hypnotherapy has proven successful in alleviating chronic pain

>> Obesity-related disease, since forming better eating and exercise habits is integral to proper weight management

>> Stress-related diseases, which may as well be all of them since stress decreases your body’s own ability to heal itself

I really could go on and on….

What Science Supports This?

Besides what I mentioned above, a lot!

In the 1800s, before chloroform and other anesthesia, the surgery mortality rate was 80%, and patients died most frequently from infection, shock and/or fear. Hypnosis was attributed to lowering the fatality rate for surgeries by 10%. (10 years later ether was found to be 90% effective and hypnosis was abandoned.)

The American Dental Association includes hypnosis among methods dentists and dental students can use for pain control and sedation for patients undergoing dental procedures.

Freud, before he founded psychoanalysis and created a branch between psychology and hypnosis, studied at an elite school for hypnosis.

Hypnosis was accepted by the British Medical Association in 1892. In 1958, hypnosis was accepted by the American Medical Association as an ORTHODOX medical treatment. In fact, medical doctors and psychologists committed to helping patients find relief from a variety of conditions and chronic pain refer patients to hypnotherapists. It works in complement to boost the efficacy of standard medical or holistic treatments.

American Psychology Association has endorsed hypnotherapy as an effective method for pain relief, treating anxiety, forming good habits, and breaking bad ones, such as smoking. The British Psychology Society published a paper as recent as 2001 citing “convincing evidence” that hypnosis is effective for the same.

Other scientifically proven applications for hypnotherapy:

  • Improves memory – This is why meditation and hypnotherapy is now sometimes taught to post-graduate students
  • Dizziness in advanced cancer patients – Of the many symptoms that decrease quality of life, dizziness is one of the biggest, and it can put the patient at risk of injury, leading to further decreases in quality of life
  • Palliative care (end-of-life care) – Reducing anxiety can prolong life while also making the last days more comfortable and enjoyable

Why now?

Have you ever lost a loved one to an untimely death? I have. Two years apart my sister-in-law died at 51 and then my nephew died on his 28th birthday. We don’t know how much time we have. I see the pace of change accelerating, and I want to do everything I can while I’m on this earth to keep the trajectory going in a positive direction. That’s my calling; it’s my mission. It compels me.

Have I Changed Careers or Turned Against Coaching?

Absolutely not! I still believe fully in coaching and the advantage of having an objective guide to help identify blind spots so that you know for what to receive hypnotherapy. Plus, hypnosis is just one of many tools now in my tool belt, and it is not a cure-all (or a cure.) It still has to be applied responsibly and appropriately! There are things from my coaching experience that have taught me that what appears on the surface can be very different than what lies beneath. Some hypnotherapists without this experience may take things at face value, and treat only what appears on the surface, when what lies beneath is at cause and, potentially, in need of greater medical, psychological or specialist expertise. I will continue to qualify my clients as good or bad candidates for my solutions, because it is of utmost importance to me that they get what they came to me for: meaningful change.

Ready for change NOW? Schedule a session!

Corporate leaders: How many employees do you think are putting off doctor’s appointments, leading them to miss more work days in the long run, or failing to adopt healthful or successful habits? Invite me in for a workshop for dramatic improvements in collaboration, creativity, performance, and productivity.

Ella Fitzgerald / You Do Something To Me

No Description

60 Minutes to a LinkedIn Profile That Gets You Interviews

Passe partout by Wies Van Erp of Flickr

Passe partout by Wies Van Erp of Flickr

You are ready to land your next job, you know what you want from your next employer, and your résumé is polished to a shine. Before you venture out, or continue your great job seeking adventure, take a moment to review your LinkedIn profile. Are you getting the results you want? Do you receive messages from recruiters, and introductions to VIPs? Or has you inbox been quiet?  By now, I am assuming you know the importance of having a LinkedIn profile if you are job-seeking.

According to the 2014 Jobvite survey, over 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn when searching for job candidates. In part of an interview for my Philadelphia Magazine article, Jennifer Ghazzouli, QVC Director of Global Talent revealed that her hiring staff heavily relies on LinkedIn to discover talent. Given the heavy emphasis on LinkedIn by hiring managers, a powerfully-branded profile puts a wide gap between you and your competitors for jobs. Evaluate your LinkedIn profile again. If you have not been seeing the great results you want in your job search, it may be time to overhaul your profile.

In her Muse article, “How to Get Your LinkedIn Profile Ready for Your Job Search in 30 Minutes” Jenny Foss created a fantastic LinkedIn profile creation guide. Having your profile up and running is a great first step. However, if you want recruiters to call you first and excitedly invite you to an interview, then take another 30 minutes to further customize your content for your target audience.

Here is how to get your LinkedIn profile up and running and ready to attract employers. (A quick note: If you need further help with creating your LinkedIn profile, we have the tools to help. Our LinkedIn Profile Builder will guide you through creating a powerfully-branded profile that enables you to land twice as fast.)

 

Change your headline

The LinkedIn headline is automatically created when you enter your job title.  A customized headline grabs the attention of employers, recruiters, and anyone else who views your profile. An effective headline depicts the function, or role of your job, instead of the title. A job title is the name of position, while a function explains your daily tasks and activities for a position. A great headline helps employers see how you will fit into their company. In my article, “Increase Views: Ditch the Default LinkedIn Headline” I go into depth on how to create an attention-grabbing headline.

 

Use the summary section to shine

Far too many people use LinkedIn’s summary section to create a carbon copy of their résumé, when it is so much more. An effective summary tells the audience your story and is an opportunity to brand yourself. You have 2000 characters to illustrate your professional life and to sell your value to potential employers. A good headline hooks an employer, but your summary is what reels them in. The summary is also an area where keywords are listed to attract employers. Employers and recruiters often use keywords to search for talent. By including keywords relevant to your industry, it makes you easier to be found. That said, it is possible to use keywords incorrectly.

Also avoid using clichés in your summary, as these words are uninteresting and overused. Are any of these 10 words found within your summary? These words are so common that they mean very little to recruiters who read them day in and day out. Anyone can list them, but those who can prove they have these qualities are the ones who obtain the interview, or land the job. Any time you find yourself wanting to write one of these words, or any subjective adjective, ask yourself, “How would I prove this, and how do these words translate into value for an employer?” Instead, use more specifics and demonstrate them, rather than stating qualities.

 

Update your skills

Skills are a list of your talents and your hard skills. LinkedIn allows you to list 50 skills. Employers can view them at a glance to see how your qualifications match up with an open position. Additionally, skills are also another way to list keywords and to increase your chances of being found by an employer. Place the skills most vital to your position at the top of the list. Once you have your vital skills listed first, politely ask your connections to endorse your skills. Remember to also do the same for them.

 

Fill in the small details

The visual aspects of your LinkedIn profile have a big impact on how you are perceived by employers. Did you upload a photo? The lack of a photo is a turn off because employers or recruiters may ask “what are they hiding?” This is especially true for recruiters who want to submit candidates who present themselves professionally to hiring managers. Display your professional image. If you are self-conscious about your appearance for your age, invest in a photo shoot with a professional photographer and a make-up artist who will bring out your best features. If you are on a budget, you can still find a friend willing to donate their time and talent. Man or woman, you can visit make-up counters at department stores. The perception is that if you do not put your best foot forward online, you cannot put your best foot forward at an interview, or on the job.

LinkedIn is a professional social network, so use a professional photo. About Careers has great tips on how to take and choose a professional photo. A few things to keep in mind are that backgrounds should not be distracting. Your wardrobe needs to be business formal, not wedding formal. Lighting is complimentary, not halogen office lighting, or lamp lighting from a party scene. Do not include alcohol, unless you work in the beverage industry.

Also consider adding multimedia to your summary to further stand out from your competition, and to give your accomplishments some visual flair. In addition to talking about your accomplishments, you can provide your audience with specific examples. Such examples could include a picture of yourself in action on the job, slide decks of presentations you have given, video, audio, and your portfolio.

Take a minute to customize your URL. A custom URL is easy to remember and makes it easier to publicize your profile. Update your status once or twice a day with articles relevant to your industry. This shows employers you take a keen interest in your industry and that you are willing to share news and information. Go a step further and list your personal website or blog (unless they are irrelevant to your industry). Also make sure to add all social media profiles (that are of a professional caliber) to your contact information.

 

Action to take after customizing your profile

Once your LinkedIn profile is complete, consider participating in a few activities while using the service. The Social Media Hat contributor Mike Allton has created an extensive free resource that covers the features, benefits, and activities that make a huge difference in your visibility and lead generation on LinkedIn. Also try our 7 Day LinkedIn challenge. Our challenge is a way to identify and research potential employers, to make new connections, and to expand and strengthen your network.

 

Creating and maintaining a powerfully-branded LinkedIn profile increases the chances of landing your next job faster. LinkedIn is the go-to source for the majority of recruiters and employers. Having a profile that illustrates your brand and demonstrates your value allows you to stand out from the job-seeking crowd. If you have started your job search or are in the middle of a job search, updating and polishing your LinkedIn profile is the best way to give your search a boost.

 

How to Turn Being Fired Around

Failure-should-be-our

Netflix is a company that is notorious for firing people if they’re average, under-performing, or no longer needed at the company. In September, NPR’s Planet Money ran a story about Patty McCord, Netflix’s Chief Talent Officer. McCord was famous for helping to pen the company’s HR policies and designed a culture where a manager isn’t afraid to fire employees. Netflix had a product tester who was exceptional at finding software bugs. Automation tools were introduced to the company, but the product tester wasn’t adept at using them. Instead of shuffling the worker around, McCord decided the best course of action was to fire her. The meeting was painful for the woman and she found it to be incredibly unfair. McCord didn’t see it as firing a person, but instead helping them to move on. Eventually, the culture she helped create at Netflix turned on her and she was let go from the company after 12 years of service. Since then, McCord moved on to form her own leadership consulting group.

The loss of a job can be shocking, painful, and depressing. However, the loss of a job doesn’t mean the end of your career. A job loss can mean that a new chapter in your life has begun, and being fired from one position may be a blessing. The event can serve as a valuable learning opportunity on what not to do in the future and how to become a better employee. It can be what you need to finally find a job that truly excites and inspires you.

 

Not your true calling

The job you lost may not have been your true calling. Being let go from your position could be the opportunity to do something you are passionate about. People stay at jobs they don’t like, or outright hate, because they’re afraid to move on to something better. In fact, according to Dr. Travis Bradberry, 59% of people stay at jobs they don’t like. Being let go can be your chance to put your professional life into perspective. A career transition may require additional training, or going back to school, but the new skills you obtain can create new career options.

 

Leaving toxic working conditions

The working conditions at your previous employer may have been unfair, and being fired can allow you to escape from a toxic environment. High levels of stress, low morale, a poor work-life balance, and poor leadership may have been a constant part of your workplace. Attempting to address or change a dysfunctional workplace ended with you being fired. Toxic work environments can deeply impact your self-esteem, your outlook, and are detrimental to your mental and physical health. Dealing with toxic workplaces and leadership can be a form of emotional abuse. If you’ve found yourself in such a situation, you may want to consider talking to a professional (we can refer you). These symptoms can be similar to PTSD in extreme cases.

Being terminated from a toxic environment is a chance to start anew. Imagine working with an employer who values your input, your time, your well-being, and presents you with opportunities to grow. Optimize your job search by identifying the criteria you want from your next employer, and carefully researching them.

 

When being fired is your own fault

It may have been your fault you were fired, and it’s worth considering because any prospective employer will wonder. If being let go was due to your own actions, you can still turn the situation around and restore your integrity. I learned a new respect for integrity through Landmark Education. Having integrity is not exclusive to being moral and ethical: it also means keeping your word and being authentic. I realized with unprecedented clarity how messy life can become by being out of integrity; recovering can seem like an insurmountable task. While it can be challenging to stay in integrity in our lives and relationships at all times, and though people can forgive, they rarely forget. Integrity CAN be restored by being fully accountable for your actions, recognizing your mistakes, identifying how you can improve, and committing to acting as your higher, wiser self in the present and in the future.

 

Lighting a fire

Being fired may light a fire you never knew you had. It’s possible become comfortable at a job and to stop growing in your career. Being fired is a way to turn this around, prove your doubters wrong, and to improve yourself all at once. That said, please don’t use being fired as a tool to start growing in your career. If you are in a position where you find yourself receiving a warning or facing probation, it is time to make a decision to resign or redesign your career. A few times in my career, I didn’t move on until change was forced upon me. The times I took it upon myself to create change were when I knew it was needed, and I felt more empowered as a result. Don’t wait until an employer makes the decision for you.

 

Failure as a chance to grow

Failure, or what may be perceived as failure, is an opportunity to learn and grow. Many entrepreneurs believe failure is the key to success. Failure is a constant threat in the business world, but it also allows for growth. A fear of failure can often cause entrepreneurs to shy away from risk and new opportunities. Failure is a chance to learn from your mistakes and to grow.

 

Famous people who were fired but bounced back

There are people who are so wildly successful that it can be hard to believe they were terminated from their jobs. Not letting failure hold them back, they went on to create exciting opportunities in their professional lives.

 

Oprah Winfrey strived to be like Barbara Walters from an early age and took steps to make her vision a reality. At the age of 22 she co-anchored the evening news at a Baltimore TV station and was removed. She took over a Chicago talk show in 1984 and the rest is history. By rebranding herself as a talk show host, Oprah discovered her true passion and became one of the most influential people in the world. Through The Oprah Winfrey Show she touched millions of lives. Oprah is now a media mogul with the to power promote authors to the top of The New York Times Best Sellers list, has made the careers of other talk show hosts, and is one of the world’s richest people.

Shark Tank star Kevin O’Leary learned his first employment lesson in high school. He was fired from his first job at an ice cream shop after refusing to do a particularly menial task. Being fired convinced O’Leary to become an entrepreneur. He raised $10,000 to fund his first big idea, Softkey Software Products. He would go on to acquire other companies, and to star on Shark Tank (also gaining the name “Mr. Wonderful”). From an early age, O’Leary knew he wanted to be his own boss.

Mark Cuban, an entrepreneur and a star investor on Shark Tank, started his first job as a salesman at a computer software store in Dallas in 1980. He was supposed to open the store one morning, but met with a potential client instead. He was fired and decided to start his first company, MicroSolutions. Less than a decade later Cuban sold MicroSolutions and made millions on the deal. Since then, he moved on to own the Dallas Mavericks, Landmark Theatres, and Magnolia Pictures. Cuban wasn’t afraid to task risks, even though it cost him his first job. He continued to take risks and eventually that attitude led him to become a billionaire.

Steve Jobs helped co-found Apple with Steve Wozniak in 1975. After a disastrous launch of the Macintosh in 1984, Jobs began to clash with Apple’s board of directors. By 1985 he was stripped of all his power on the board and resigned. Undeterred by being pushed out of the company he helped found, Jobs would go on to co-found NeXT Computer Co., buy Pixar Animation Studios from George Lucas, and return to Apple in 1997 when the company was in serious trouble. Under his leadership, he turned the company around. Jobs’ visionary ideas may not have been well-received at Apple in the 1980s, but he never compromised his revolutionary visions of technology, nor did he stop striving for innovation and excellence.

Madonna was destined to be a star. She studied dance in college and dropped out after two years, before moving to New York. Madonna took a job working at Dunkin Donuts, was fired on the same day, and took several more fast food jobs. She never forgot her original vision. By 1982, she had her first club hit, “Everybody.” Madonna had to take jobs to keep from going broke, but she had a passion for singing and never lost sight of her true goal.

 

Being fired from a job is a difficult life event. It can be an anxious time filled with grief, anger, and embarrassment. However, being fired can also be an opportunity to change your life and your career. What do you want most from your career and your life? Is it time to change industries? Is it time to pursue that dream job that seemed out of reach? This could be the push you needed to start your own business, to transition into a new career, or to discover your dream job. Many people have turned their professional and personal lives around after being fired. Frank Sinatra sums it up nicely: “The best revenge is massive success.”

 

The Jetsons Predicted the Future of Work, it Never Came

The Jetsons on My Desk by Quasimime of Flickr

The Jetsons on My Desk by Quasimime of Flickr

 

Growing up I remember being inspired and intrigued by The Jetsons, which had an idealistic idea of the future American working culture. The Jetsons boldly proclaimed that in the 21st Century, Americans would work fewer hours and have more leisure time each week. In fact, the biggest crisis on the horizon would be the lack of working time and people not knowing what to do with all of their free time. The leisure-filled utopia predicted by those living in the 1950s and 60s never came to pass. Instead of a predicted 16-to-20 hour work week, Americans now work an average of 47 hours per week.

 

Working longer hours in America

When compared to other cultures, Americans tend to work longer hours and take shorter vacations. The US is also the most overworked developed nation in the world and has recently overtaken Japan in the number of hours worked per year. Working longer hours has had an interesting effect on the economy. The United States is much richer than Europe and has created more wealth because America has a higher population than Europe, and that population works longer hours. Individually, longer hours do not equal more productivity, especially if the number of hours worked extends beyond 50 hours per week. According to a CNBC article, employee output falls drastically after 55 hours per week, and around the 70-hour mark nothing more is produced. Additionally, many salaried employees putting in extra hours at work aren’t paid overtime: those extra hours are essentially “free” for the employer. The downside to employers is employee burnout, absenteeism, and higher turnover rates.

According to a DIT (Dublin Institute of Technology) research report, 1-in-6 US employees now work more than 60 hours per week. The number of American men who regularly work 48 hours per week or more has risen by 20% in the last 25 years. A study by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development stated that Americans are working 20% longer than they did in 1970, while the numbers of hours worked per week has fallen in other industrialized countries. The United States is the only developed country in the world that is not required to provide families with mandatory paid maternity leave, and the Family and Medical Leave Act only covers employees if they’re eligible. When compared with other countries, the situation is so bad that even comedians such as Jon Stewart can’t help but mock it. The Newsroom also addressed the issue, among many others, in a stunning response that debunks the myth of America being the greatest country in the world.

President Obama commented on America’s working culture in late June. “Too many Americans are working long days for less pay than they deserve.” As a result, upcoming changes to federal overtime rules may curb the number of hours salaried employees can work if they make $50,440 or less per year. Either employers will have to pay overtime, or employees will work fewer hours. The changes are expected to affect 5 million workers. The Vanguard Group has already implemented these changes by reclassifying 2,100 of its salaried U.S. employees to hourly employees and the results have been mixed.

 

Americans and vacations

When it comes to days reserved for vacations, American culture falls behind the rest of the developed world. Compared to other countries, Americans receive an average of 14 paid vacation days per year, while France tops out at 39, the UK receives 24 days, and even Canada enjoys an average of 19 days. In some countries vacation days are mandated by law. So why do Americans work so hard and take so few vacations? The reasons are numerous and complex. A Wharton article points out that despite employees’ willingness to accept less pay for more vacation time, hours have been creeping higher for salaried workers. Employees are being asked to work longer hours because it’s cheaper than hiring new workers and unions aren’t instituted in many sectors to protest this practice. People also refuse vacations because they want to get ahead in the workplace and fear being replaced if they take all of their time off. Others fear that work won’t function without them.

The Wharton article also states that Americans’ self-worth is tied to being able to earn more and to spend more. This means bigger homes, more vacation homes, and bigger cars than European counterparts. Additionally, workaholism is a point of pride in our culture, and even while on vacation, workers still engage with the office thanks to technology.

In an attempt to retain a happier, more productive workforce, some companies have recognized the importance of making quality-of-life improvements. These employers have instituted unlimited vacation policies. As long as people are on top of their work schedules at these companies, they are able to take time off whenever they need. Seer Interactive and the Brownstein Group are two local companies with such policies. When voluntary vacation days don’t work, other employers have been known to either force or entice their employees to take time off. Some companies, such as Evernote, give employees $1000 or more to leave work for a week, while other companies require their employees to take at least two weeks of vacation a year.

 

 

Working culture in Europe

In comparison, Europeans tend to value the ability to take long vacations and disengaging from work. When a European goes on vacation, it is not uncommon for an employee to not answer phone calls or e-mail until they return. France is famous for shutting down every August as the majority of the country goes on vacation. The ability to take and enjoy leisure time is seen as a badge of pride. When I was honeymooning in New Zealand, all of the other couples on our excursions were Europeans and were on eight-week “holidays.”

Even as Americans are working longer hours, some employers have been experimenting with other ways to boost productivity. One such method is the inclusion of naps in the workplace. These employers see it as a way to counteract sleep deprivation, lost productivity, and to reduce sick time taken. Companies such as Google, Nike, and the Huffington Post are known for allowing employees to take naps when needed. In fact, Arianna Huffington had her own revelation about sleep and productivity when she collapsed after working long hours with very little sleep. Allowing for naps can also boost an employee’s productivity in the short-term with improved performance and alertness.

 

Working culture in Asia

There are countries with longer working hours than the United States, namely in Asia. In many Asian countries working long hours, sometimes 12 hours per day, is considered normal. In Japan, this type of workaholism is known as “karoshi” or “death by overwork.” It causes 1000 deaths per year. The country also has one of the highest suicide rates in the world as more than 25,000 people took their own lives due to stress from work, depression, isolation, and financial problems. (Fortunately, the rate of suicide has been on the decline in Japan.) In many Asian cultures, people are expected to live to work and to sacrifice their personal lives for the sake of a company. In terms of vacations, workers are reluctant to take time off. In China over 70% of workers don’t take their paid vacation time, and some workers haven’t taken a vacation in years.

 

Why time off matters

The implications for health and personal well-being are numerous. In my previous article, “Is Work Killing You?” I wrote about how not taking time off is detrimental to health and productivity. Long hours do not equal more productivity, and ultimately cost employers down the line with absenteeism, sick time, and high turnover. Workaholism and the fear of being seen as unproductive may have become normalized, but the quest for an ideal work-life balance is higher than ever. There are countless articles that offer advice on how to balance a working life with a personal life. If you have your own work-life struggles, these articles are great resources.

Even as forward-thinking employers seek to address the lack of vacation time in American culture with generous perks and benefits, nothing will change unless the culture changes from the top. Americans can look to other countries for ways to structure their own vacation time, but cultural issues around vacations are deep-seeded. As long as people see long work hours as a point of pride, and others fear getting behind in productivity, or being fired, change will remain sporadic and slow because leaders determine the culture and set the example. If more leaders are willing to take more vacations, it shows employees that it’s okay to take and enjoy vacation time.

 

In the 1950s and 60s, labor experts were certain that Americans would be working fewer hours by the 21st Century. The Jetsons, inspired by the sentiment of the time, had George Jetson working nine hours per week. The idea of working less than 20 hours a week may not have become reality (and probably never will), but a 40-hour work week is definitely a more realistic approach. After all, working more than 50 hours per week certainly doesn’t increase productivity and leads to future problems. The utopia promised by The Jetsons doesn’t have to be a nine-hour work week, but the promise of more leisure time is obtainable. Just imagine what work and leisure time would look like if more Americans worked closer to 40 hours per week and used their allotted vacation time.

 

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Start a Networking Conversation

Social media, social networking, social computing tag cloud #3 by Daniel Iversen of Flickr

Social media, social networking, social computing tag cloud #3 by Daniel Iversen of Flickr

More than 70% of all jobs are found through networking. Many people know that networking is an effective job search method. Given these facts, what makes people continue to rely on job boards and filling out online applications? The answer is that many people have tried networking and it didn’t work for them. Most people are already out of their comfort zone when networking, so any sign of failure, such as failing to connect with people, or landing a job, makes it tempting to return to the familiarity of job boards. Networking doesn’t have to be difficult or uncomfortable, as it is really about developing long-term relationships. In fact, you already have a network, and achieving success is within your reach. If you haven’t been getting the results you desire, avoid the temptation to return to the comfortable. A few tweaks to your approach can transform your search. Think about it. Instead of asking your network for leads, your network will come to you for advice.

Social Media is a highly-effective way to expand your network during a job search. Using social media to start a conversation and establish a relationship can be ideal, because it is easy to find and connect with people. You can use social media networks to engage with others, form relationships with people (both online and offline), and garner introductions to powerful people.

 

  1. Start connecting:

Every relationship begins with creating a connection to someone important to your job search. It is possible to engage that person on social media and show them the value you have to offer. The value you offer could consist of bringing fresh insight to a popular topic, or offering support. It could also be as simple as striking up an interesting conversation, and being invited to learn more about that person. Moving your relationship offline with a phone call, or a meet-up as a connection is made can accelerate your results.

First, learn more about that person. Do their values align with your own? There are numerous questions you can ask them:

“What do you love about your work?”

“If I ask the people that you work with to describe you, what would they say?”

“What’s a major regret you had in your career from which you would try to save someone else?”

You’re not fishing for dirt here, and we certainly don’t expect anyone to be perfect. But, you’ll be able to gauge how well these answers resonate with you by your desire to move forward with that person. If they do resonate, find out what they’re up to, and the ways you can bring value to them.

Next, it’s time to articulate your brand. What makes you uniquely qualified? What contribution do you hope to make? Ask yourself how your life experiences and career paths have given you a perspective that enables you to see and do what others can’t. That’s easier said than done, as you may have to figure out your own value. If you’re unsure of the value you could bring to someone else, it may be an indication that you need to have a branding consultation with us so we can help unveil your brilliance.

You may not receive a great response if you connect with strangers and begin asking them for favors or advice without finding out if they are people with whom you want to associate. For example, asking a quick question might be okay, but asking someone to review your résumé, or grant you an interview may be met with a chilly reception, or be completely ignored.

However, asking to meet immediately with someone after finding them on social media can be a beneficial experience, especially if your values do align. Say the person you want to meet with is a member of an organization that meets monthly, and you tell that person you’ll be at the meeting so you can get acquainted. Or maybe this person is a stranger, but you have a trusted contact in common, so you invite them out for coffee or lunch. This happens frequently, but in your invitation there would be an indication of some potential synergy, or mutual value that you can both get from meeting in person. People who are avid networkers don’t think twice about meeting someone in person.

 

  1. Personalize your request to connect:

When you send a request to connect with someone on LinkedIn, take a moment to customize your request. Sending a default connection message might be interpreted by the recipient as not taking the time to research them, or that you’re only interesting in expanding your network, as opposed to making a genuine connection. Recently, LinkedIn has increased their users’ abilities to see with whom they should connect. However, on all of these pages where a connect button is present, and you’re not in someone’s profile, the site will automatically send the boilerplate message. Because of this feature people are a little more forgiving when receiving these default messages, but they may not be any more receptive to your request. To inspire somebody to be receptive to your request, send a personal note telling the person why you want to connect with them, that you want to learn more about how you can support their success, and that you would like to spend a little time getting better acquainted.

If you would like to customize your connection request, go directly to a person’s profile and click the connect button.

Linkedin-how-to-connect01-08102015

A LinkedIn invitation

A LinkedIn invitation

 

When sending a customized invitation, think about why you’re adding them to your network. Again, the point isn’t to simply expand your social media network. An effective connection means being genuinely interested in helping someone, supporting them, cooperating with them, meeting with them offline, and establishing a long-term relationship.

 

  1. Consider publicly asking others for advice:

There are several schools of thought about asking someone for advice on social media. One school of thought is to be mindful about how you make requests, because a public request for advice or help could put someone in an awkward situation. However, we have a different school of thought. I have advised clients in the past to publicly ask their network for advice. This is the purpose behind discussion groups, like those found on LinkedIn. They are a great way to solicit advice from others, especially people who are more-than-willing to help you. Additionally, status updates are another great way to ask for advice, engage an audience, grow your network, and establish your expertise.

An unemployed Australian man had no luck with filling out applications. So he posted a picture of himself, his contact information and his plight on his Facebook page for employers to see. His unemployment situation quickly reversed as he was inundated with job offers by phone.

 

  1. Be helpful:

Engaging someone on social media with the goal of creating a long-term network connection isn’t all about your needs. In other words, connecting isn’t about “How can I be helped?” Instead, it looks like being specific and directly asking a person what they’re working on and using that opportunity to demonstrate your value.

 

  1. Keep track of your efforts:

Carefully measure what works during your campaign to determine the effectiveness of your outreach strategy. If you send out six messages requesting an introduction or a request to connect and none of them get answered, it is a sign that you need to change your approach. Keep track of your successes and note what works in order to consistently replicate the results. Our conversation tool assists with this.

 

The end goal isn’t simply to add someone to your network in the hope that they help you land a job. Social media is capable of so much more. It can be the venue by which you become aware of someone, start a conversation, learn a little bit about them, and take that relationship offline. It is a way to enrich your own personal and professional life by meeting new people and creating new relationships that will pay off in both the short and long-term. This is the true value of networking in your job search, and social media can make expanding those networks a little less intimidating.