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Five Major challenges that Face Today’s Job Seeker

Scaling Walls and Overcoming Boundaries by Israel Defense Forces of Flickr

Scaling Walls and Overcoming Boundaries by Israel Defense Forces of Flickr

 

We certainly live in different times than when I first graduated college, and I’ve listened earnestly to generations before me to learn about what managing careers were like for them. They certainly make it sound simpler, but not necessarily more satisfying.

From my perspective, people enjoy a lot more freedom and options in opportunity, but navigating this cultural landscape has proven too challenging for most.

Below are five major challenges that I see continually standing to prevent many professionals from realizing their career potential.

 

1. The accelerating evolution of technology

While some fundamentals have never changed, such as treating others with dignity and respect, the tools and technology that help you position yourself as a competitive candidate in today’s talent marketplace continue to evolve. Additionally, the tools and technology that facilitate how work is completed continues to evolve. At what pace this happens can be highly determined by your particular circumstances. Some of my clients from Fortune 1000 companies will tell you that procurement, implementation, and adoption are too slow. The internal due diligence systems that ensure investments are made based on business cases can make it so that by the time technology gets approved and used, a new technology is close behind. Others can tell you that a company’s effort to be using the latest and greatest to gain the optimal competitive edge has gaps. These gaps are between the talent that understands fully how to best utilize the technologies and developing standard operating procedures that let them know for certain new technologies are working in their favor. When you want to consider changing roles, you face the challenge of deciding if you need to acquire new technical skills to be marketable to the most amount of opportunities possible, or if you can find a company that has the perfect blend of technologies that enable you to fit its environment.

How do you possibly manage your career or even develop a plan, without knowing what technologies businesses are going to find critical in the next five years?

Then, when it is your turn to prepare yourself for being in transition, how are you supposed to tell which tools and technologies are going to take you the furthest the fastest in a flooded marketplace of career apps and differing opinions?

 

2. Shape shifting models of progress

We can all look around and notice that there are a lot of broken systems. Hiring, healthcare, and Social Security are chief among these broken systems. Any significant changes intended to improve these systems (or even to replace the systems), stand to cause tremors in the careers of all professionals in those industries. Just imagine if we were to adopt a healthcare system that was more focused on financing preventative care. What if fewer people needed pharmaceuticals? What if it was a significant amount of people? Will there be enough customers to justify the cost of research and development? How will all the professionals in this industry transform themselves to fit the new model? Both presidential candidates have been focused on bringing manufacturing back as a major US industry. Whether they succeed or not, are the professionals who are impacted by the shift overseas going to find relief, or are they going to be impacted by the move to 3D printing?

 

3. Pessimism, cynicism, and self-limiting beliefs

I see this as the most dangerous challenge, simply because so many people have a blind spot to just how pervasive and detrimental these mindsets are once they become firmly embedded. Furthermore, if you don’t have a clue that there is something that can help you, why would you even think to seek it out, and even once you are aware that something can help you, if you are pessimistic (even if you decide to make the investment), your lack of faith will diminish its efficacy. I previously wrote an article about a belief that has been considered an epidemic– The “I am not enough” belief.  The experience generation tends to perceive the younger generation as having a sense of entitlement and even having it too easy- it is the “everyone gets a trophy” generation, where rewards are given instead of earned. How did that even happen?

It happened as a response to parents who had grown up feeling beaten down emotionally or physically, and swearing that their kids would have a better life. It is not as though there are two camps on this topic – there are actually infinite camps on this topic, and they do not necessarily have clearly defined borders. If you look at it from one perspective, you can see value in being able to confront and overcome tough challenges, developing grit and a thick skin, and being able to navigate the real world successfully. On the other hand, if you are groomed to know your worth, feel confident, and sense that things are easy to achieve, you are more likely to be a big dreamer and make big things happen in this world. Most people weave in and out of varying degrees of these two dichotomous worldviews.

Which one is right? I am not here to say and who is not right. I won’t find out if I’m right until my kids are fully grown adults with lives of their own.

I can certainly empathize with the constant challenge of trying to decide in every single circumstance how to help my children find a balance between a real world that is rife with adversity or where success is everyone’s for the taking.

At a minimum, they need to believe that they are good enough, or they will fall short of every single goal they set for themselves.

 

4. Being heard or seen in a world of communication bombardment

There is certainly a lot of noise to compete with if you want to get noticed. Big data has enabled marketing to know more about its customers, their daily activities, and when and how to best capture their attention. The science and art behind this craft is constantly being studied by Epic Careering, and the career services industry is starting to ride the big data wave to learn more about the behavior and preferences of hiring managers and recruiting professionals. That being said, people will continue to have their own opinions, preferences, and worldviews while at the same time their companies will be at varying degrees of hiring effectiveness, with most being at the low-end. Which begs the question, are we just capturing data on what is being done ineffectively? As far as I have seen, none of these new hiring systems and technologies has cracked the code on hiring effectiveness.

From a career management and transitioning standpoint, we do know which activities and behaviors tend to lead to job search success, and a targeted proactive networking-based campaign is statistically more successful than a reactive, internet-based job search.

However, when you are proactive, you have to gain a depth of understanding of your audience in order to ensure that you capture their attention, that your résumé is read, that it resonates, and that you choose the next company that will offer the best opportunity. A successful strategy will vary from person-to-person, which is why one-on-one career coaching (with Epic Careering) is really the best investment for an optimal and accelerated job search, if you can see it. (The next best thing is to learn how to build your own successful campaign with the Dream Job Breakthrough System.)

 

5. Distraction

It would not be fair to just point out that our target audiences face distraction without admitting how distracted we can easily become. There are day-to-day distractions that are much harder to escape, those things we have to do, such as pay bills, do laundry, mow the lawn, etc. We can certainly fill our day with these activities, but would we be really be accomplishing anything? I can relate to feeling so exhausted just by taking care of these things that I justify downtime, which I can admit is me wasting time with other distractions, like television and social media. Sometimes I even convince myself that this is an important activity for me, because I need to keep up with everything going on in the world. I, by all means, do not suffer from FOMO (fear of missing out), but some legitimately do without realizing that what they are really missing out on are adventures of their own. I know in my case I am prone to more of a curiosity that leads me down a path of unproductive input collecting. I have taught myself how to overcome these challenges by setting a timer, keeping a list of the things I am on social media to accomplish, and designating time after I have crossed off truly important AND strategic tasks to more personal exploration.

What do you notice distracts you from investing time in activities that move you closer to the life you want? What do you tell yourself that justifies engaging in these distractions?

I had a performance evaluation sometime during the planning of my wedding and a concern was that I had been spending too much work time taking care of personal details for my wedding. Of course my inclination was to assume I had been working diligently for an acceptable amount of time while taking a reasonably small amount of time to take care of the things that always need attention when you are planning a wedding. The only way to know for sure was to track my time. I was given a spreadsheet and instructed to track all of my activities for a week. I would have assumed that I was spending maybe three hours a week on personal business, and that it was mostly during my lunch hour. I was surprised to discover that while I was being paid to perform my job, I had actually spent double that on personal business during hours I was supposed to be working. I was very surprised and embarrassed, but I now knew that more self-discipline was necessary and more boundaries had to be enforced with my time.

 

  • We actually have solutions for all five of these major challenges.
  • We can help you master the tools and technology of modern career management and transition.
  • We can help you determine which technical skills you should plan on acquiring to position yourself for the best growth and fulfillment.
  • We can help you reinvent yourself if your industry is facing the potential for disruptive changes.
  • We can help you recognize and overcome models of reality and beliefs that limit your potential and interfere with your ability to achieve your goals.
  • We help you strategize breaking through the chatter to catch your next employer in the flow of their day with a message that creates an urgency to consider your value and hire you.

 

Does one challenge stand out as something you are experiencing? Does it threaten to stand between you and your next great opportunity?

We have a toolkit designed to help you stay focused on the activities and resources that open the most doors to quality opportunities. We can even text you a to-do list every morning so that you never wake up wondering what you have to do to get closer to a great job.

 

Comment with the corresponding number of the challenge that stands out to you as the biggest culprit of job momentum interference.

 

The Career Revival Concert Is Born. Will You Be My Monday Morning Quarterback, Please?

Waldermere Revival by Parke Ladd of Flickr

Waldermere Revival by Parke Ladd of Flickr

 

It is ironic that when I was a young girl I learned the rules of football so that I could bond with my dad, only to find as an adult he is the person with whom I like watching football the least. He is not just a Monday morning quarterback, he is a “in the game quarterback,” much like a backseat driver, and he does that from the front seat. He is infamous for his last minute, “Turn left here now. Aw, you should’ve turned left there.”

“Dad, there was a car coming straight ahead, a car behind me, and I had no turn signal on.”

“You could’ve made it.”

As much as I dislike hearing his critiques of the plays, because watching the game does not make you an expert even though he had his days of glory, spectators’ opinions matter. If there were no spectators, there be no sport. Or rather, there would be no business around the sports that would sustain its survival.

How did people know Quidditch, Ultimate Frisbee, or team building corporate retreats would take off? They recognized a growing interest, gathered and implemented feedback about the event or sport involved.

The Career Revival Concert was born many years ago, actually.

Much like I knew my broadcasting background would eventually boost my entrepreneurial efforts, I began producing marketing videos and podcasts, and I also knew that some day my music penchant and my life’s calling would collide. Then I read Napoleon Hill’s Think and Grow Rich, and he talked about a revival. Suddenly, I had a very clear vision of what this would look like.

However, now that I’ve finally brought this idea into the world, there is a lot of information that I need to gather, in order to figure out what the next steps of this event are. If you have found yourself bored by seminars, or disappointed that your enthusiasm to follow through after seminars waned, and you didn’t implement what you set out to achieve, then please take a few minutes to watch at least one of the songs and review the “What I know/what I still need to know” lists below and tell me what you think.

Take into consideration that hearing popular songs infused with inspirational and educational messages and lessons might spark and re-spark a motivation to get back on track toward your goals.

Here are the things I know about the event based on surveys we handed out, my own observations and feedback from my closest inner circle who were in attendance:

  • Most people want more.
  • Some people want less talking, but again they were there for open mic night and music, not talking.
  • People with diminished hearing could not hear me at all, so I would need a very good sound guy or girl to adjust the levels of the music so that there is a low sound bed underneath me while I’m talking. This means I would not want to talk over amazing guitar solos (or sax solos, or piano solos, or harmonica solos, etc.).
  • The pants I wore were not flattering.
  • The performance would have been better if we had done even a little practice.
  • The material would have been better if the integration between the lessons and music were planned and practiced.
  • There were things that I could have said and asked the audience to better engage them in the experiment.

 

Things I still need to figure out:

  • I still need to test whether there is a better way to integrate the talking with the music, or maybe I need to sing what it is I want to say.
  • If people know there is going to be talking within the song, would they still want less talking?
  • Would I charge for this and how much? (I was told by one of my business coaches that people pay for music, and I do, and I have to weigh what is more in alignment with my mission. If I use this event to generate revenue, I would have more capital to reinvest in improving our products and technology.)
  • It if were free, would I be wiling to find musicians, sound people, event staff, and venues who would volunteer their time and resources? Would I find sponsors or would I start a non-profit and apply for grants?
  • Should I partner with a big name in speaking or music? (That one seems obvious, right? But whom?)

 

Please watch the videos and answer the questions posed below, either in the comments or you can e-mail me directly at Karen@epiccareering.com (or LinkedIn message me).  You can be honest; I can take it!

What do you think of the mini Career Revival Concert?

____ Yes, I want more.
____ It was okay. Not my cup of tea.
____ I prefer the traditional seminar.
____ Yes, I would pay for more.
____ I like the music part best and don’t want talking over it.
____ If this was part of a bigger event, maybe.
____ I wouldn’t go, but I’d recommend it.

 

You’re the best!