What IS CareerFIT…and HOW Does One Achieve It?

JigSaw-partnershipIn order to market yourself, you must first know yourself.  The job search process is essentially a highly personalized marketing process.  The process starts with your candid self-assessment, which allows you to gain a thorough and workable understanding of who you are in product marketing terms.

When a Company looks for qualified employees, they seek functional evidence that demonstrates a job seeker’s ability to perform to expectations… JOB REQUIREMENTS represent the HR screening process!


Next Session, Thursday, July 11th… Achieving CareerFIT:  an exploration of the ‘two flavors’ of assessment to assist in career decision-making and collateral word-crafting


chalk1Especially if you are starting a resume “from scratch”, or if you are truly unsettled on next steps along your career path, this becomes a necessary first step in the process.

What do you do best?  What are your strongest transferable skills?  Think broadly in terms of managerial and technical/ functional strengths involved in what you have to offer.  Discovering your “pattern of success and satisfaction” is your goal, here.

What is a Good, Career FIT For You? 

To achieve a good “fit” between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers. The fit depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs. The employer will make a decision and extend an offer to you: now it is time for you to make your decision.

Write out the factors that are important to you in a job… actually write out your list.  During your career transition, learn the value of setting your offer criteria, a key element of your Personal Market Plan:

  • Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
  • Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research (factual information) and networking (more subjective information);
  • Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.

 OFFER CRITERIA

Write out the factors that are important to you in a job…actually write out your list. During your career transition, you learn the value of setting your offer criteria.

1. Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
2. Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research and networking;
3. Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept.

  • Keep your “offer criteria” in that dynamic state of change that allows you to adapt to market conditions.
  • If your current goal is to find a new position, then you should prepare your search as a “business model”, manage it accordingly, be flexible, and be ready for the unexpected.

Your ability to express the collection of your functional strengths will measure your marketability.  This collection of keywords and their supportive evidence creates your communication strategy, the basis of your value proposition.

The old “round peg in a round role” theory of career planning is dysfunctional.  In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition. In the traditional job market, job seekers are the sellers and their potential employers are the buyers.  The commodity is JOBs and the competition is fierce.

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Are You TOUGH Enough?

bob-maher-4587-editPersonal accountability, it seems, is something nearly everyone would like to have—and which many of us think we could benefit from working on.  In active job search, it would help a job seeker in identifying and maintaining focus on appropriate tasks and activities that generate success.  And from the more strategic career focus, it will create the confidence to be aware of, and act on, appropriate next steps along one’s career path.

Too many times, we fall victim to distractions from the job search. The trap of sleeping late, watching TV, and playing on the Web can ensnare us. With no one but ourselves to hold us accountable for our job-search goals and plans, time can just slip away. It’s so easy to lose balance between personal needs and wants and our job search.


Thursday, May 16th… Developing YOUR Personal Marketing Plan (PMP)


JigSaw-partnershipThe other end of the spectrum is becoming a “job search-aholic.” For many of us, our identity is tied up tightly in our career, while others need a job right away just to make ends meet. No matter how great the need or desire for a new position, conducting a job search 24/7 non-stop can actually be a detriment to a successful campaign.

It’s about adding good habits to your routine.  What behaviors should you engage in every day for greater grit?   Here’s a handful of the Careerpilot’s suggested habits to get you started.

  1. Set Realistic Boundaries… You can’t be mentally tough if you don’t take responsibility for your own situation. That means being firm about what is and is not acceptable to you instead of letting others influence your behavior and mood in ways that you don’t agree with. The mentally tough, in other words, “refuse to let other people dictate whether they’re going to have a good day or a bad day.” You must identify and rely on your unique internal voice/ compass.
  2. Accept Responsibility… You can’t get better if you don’t admit your short comings and weaknesses… and you can’t learn from mistakes if you refuse to accept responsibility for them. “Rather than make excuses for their mistakes or failures, seek explanations that will help you perform better moving forward.” Be assertive in creating your internal voice/ compass.
  3. Be Realistically Optimistic… When it comes to the right outlook for optimum resilience, it’s all about balance. Blue sky optimism will only lead to disappointment, but knee-jerk negativity will ensure you never even try to reach your full potential. To maintain just the right amount of optimism the mentally tough “strive to re-frame their negativity,” replacing “exaggeratedly negative thoughts with a more realistic internal voice/ compass.”
  4. Monitor Your Emotions… Contrary to popular belief, mental toughness isn’t about suppressing your emotions, it’s about being aware of and honoring them. The truly mentally tough “monitor their emotions throughout the day and recognize how their feelings influence their thoughts and behaviors.” They know sometimes reaching their greatest potential requires them to behave contrary to how they feel.
  5. Practice Self-Compassion… Nor is mental toughness about being your own harshest critic and strictest taskmaster. Instead, those with exceptional resilience speak to themselves with kindness and compassion, not judgmental self-bickering and bargaining. They forgive themselves for mistakes and cheer themselves on as they work toward achieving their goals.

Getting The Most Out of Social Media: Task#1 Your LinkedIn Profile

chalk1THE Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH Touch philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.  Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…

Where to begin? THE Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions.  A terrific launching site for such an effort is LinkedIn.


THIS Week’s session, Thursday, January 24th… A LinkedIn Primer: Task #1 Your Profile, a discussion to help you make the push-pull decision in creating your digital footprint


Pilot OnboardJoining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s a start at how to set up a profile and put it to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.

Plan to spend a few hours simply exploring the site and its many applications… Your first goal is to establish your profile and begin developing your network. Then make time to check in at least once a week to see what everyone is up to.

TASK #1… The Evolution of a Compelling Profile

Before you connect to others, you must first set up a profile page at http://www.linkedin.com. While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It becomes the core of this high tech, written collateral.

As you proceed, keep your goal in mind…

·         Do you want to have that fully optimized, SEO-centric magnet that attracts interested parties TO you?  -OR-

·         Do you want that terrific, user-friendly home page and profile that is easy for a reader to navigate?  -OR-

·         Do you want your profile and homepage to be appealing to both?

A checklist of things to include:

  1. A picture. It’s been said that, “People do business with people.”
  2. A specific and high impact “headline” with keywords relevant to your industry… your headline follows you around through several of the interactive applications.
  3. Preferred contact method and data… At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone.
  4. Desired information, networking “targets… What you want to be contacted about… At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities. Be sure to update your profile to stay in synch with your career.

…and don’t overlook the “power” of recommendations… start thinking of who you might want to encourage to endorse you and your services.  Job seekers: your references are a great start!

The LinkedIn site will walk you through filling in the blanks, but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

Positioning Yourself

Just like on a GREAT RESUME, directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you.

Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry? Then a simple, title-oriented headline like “Senior Product Development Director at The XYX Corporation” is best. Are you seeking to branch out into other areas? “Leader of High-Performing Engineering Projects” alerts others quickly to the value you would bring to an organization. Regardless of how you phrase your headline, make sure to use keywords that will help others find you.

Be Clear on What You’ve Done, and What You Want to Do…

Whether you are an active job seeker, or simply using LinkedIn to extend the reach of your personal marketing plan, POSITIONING yourself clearly is the epicenter of efficient networking… just as if you were beginning to launch an active JOB search to implement your Personal Marketing Plan!

When listing your past job experiences, use verbs as much as possible. Show what you’re passionate about, and what you’ve learned from each job. Consider listing “non-jobs” you’ve done, like chairing a conference or leading a panel.

ADVICE OVERLOAD vs. “LISTENING TO YOUR MARKETPLACE”

roadsign-banner2Many people talk about “information overload” and “decision fatigue” when it comes to how to conduct your job search, or write your resume, or develop your LinkedIn Profile…or answer those challenging interview questions.  THE Careerpilot  believes there’s another side to the coin… Receiving options is actually motivational and liberating, with the right mindset.  Asking for someone else’s advice isn’t about getting the right answer out of them. Rather, it’s about adding perspective to your view so you can choose the right answer for you.

So, how can you ensure another ‘second opinion’ doesn’t cloud your judgement?


NEXT Session: Thursday, November 8th @8:45 AM… Closing The Deal I: Interview STRATEGIES, including MoneySpeak and PRE-Offer negotiation.


chalk1First and foremost, understand that your ‘core personality,’ defined by your unique strengths, skills, interests, preferences, and values (Step#1: ASSESSMENT), drives your “gut feel” on matters of choice.  TRUST that!

In THE Careerpilot’s 12-Step M.A.P. for career transition, Steps #1 and #2 are in place for one simple reason: If you don’t have a grip on what you want to do next in your career, work toward giving yourself that grip!  Your core personality should be represented in your offer criteria BEFORE development of your Personal Marketing collateral materials, like your resume!

If you cannot connect your motivated skills and strengths to supportive and confirming episodes from your actual experience, you should be utilizing your first wave of implementing your Personal Marketing Plan (Step#9) to identify and resolve this vital issue.

Only then will it become effective to proceed with Step#3 in the development and practice of your collective communication strategies (keywords) in the design of your collateral materials, both verbal and written.  Remember: Perfect practice makes PERFECT!

And that brings us to Step#4, once you are satisfied with a market-ready resume, share it with your references, coaching them to be in sync with your communication strategies.  Your references should know you well, better than any other editorial resource available to you.  Consider these two things before reaching out:

  1. ALWAYS respect the time management of the person you’re interacting with
  2. Instead of seeking JOB help… consider a very different acronym: AIR… you should be seeking Advice, Information, and/or a R

When asked, your contact may throw ideas out there for the kind of job you should have, the kind of path you should take, the kind of responsibilities you should own, or the kinds of decisions you should make. You can let it overwhelm you, or you can pick and choose what you want to factor in, and let everything else fall to the wayside…

This is an over-simplification, but it’s truly that simple. Once you see others’ advice as something you can take rather than something you have to take, the pressures off, and you can make decisions that align with your values.

This also frees you up to make the more challenging decisions based on cumulative feedback that you have heard and listened to from the job market…  how to conduct your job search, or write your resume, or develop your LinkedIn Profile…or answer those challenging interview questions. The more collective ‘advice and information,’ the better!

Remember, too, that the traditional marketplace’s over-reliance and obsession with keywords is what drives your dynamic need for feedback on your resume.  Besides, you should be constantly tweaking your market-ready resume to stay in sync with actual job descriptions and other opportunities.

Learn to embrace the OTHER job market!

YOUR DIGITAL FOOTPRINT: A LinkedIn Primer

chalk1Networking is a primary means of finding and landing  that next right employment opportunity. Social Media is an internet phenomenon that has become a very important tool for job seekers to use in their networking efforts. It is an extraordinary method for self-marketing. In fact, I like to call it your “GPS for Efficient Networking Activity.”

CAUTION:  USE TECHNOLOGY to save time and access information, but NEVER allow technology to replace person-to-person networking and relationship building. NETWORKING is a (very personal) contact sport!


THIS WEEK’s Session:  Thursday, October 11th, 8:45 AM at The Egg and I:  A LinkedIn PRIMER:  TASK#1, Evolving Your Profile


Pilot OnboardThe “top three” social media sites for job search are Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter

LINKEDIN

LinkedIn is the most used social media site for business and professionals. Thus, it is an excellent site for job-search purposes. Recruiters and the more sophisticated companies use LinkedIn to source potential candidates for their open positions.  Facts about LinkedIn…

  • LinkedIn is a business networking tool, not a social networking site
  • Over 500 million LinkedIn users and trending up
  • Approximately I million new users added each week
  • Close to half of all LinkedIn users are in the U.S.
  • Executives in every Fortune 500 company are users
  • It is estimated that 85% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to find talent
  • Recruiting services is one of the major sources of revenue at LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn offers both free and fee-based services, but you do not need to pay to effectively use this networking tool

LinkedIn is like a multi-faceted “diamond” for networkers.  In fact, it might be helpful to see the multiple functionalities of LinkedIn in three “tasks.”  Your TASK#1 Is to have an account and create a high impact Profile that is in sync with your resume.

Already you need to make an important decision.  Will you be using LinkedIn to PUSH your message outward, creating visibility for you availability?… or using LinkedIn to PULL people to your KEYWORDS?… or, my favorite, using both approaches together.

TASK#1: Having a LinkedIn Profile that “fits” your use of social media, including a Headline and SUMMARY that allows you the best of PUSH and PULL marketing tactics…

YOUR HEADLINE…

BUSINESS ANALYST: Operations Accounting | Database Administration | Financial Analysis | (more if space allows)

 YOUR SUMMARY…

(Start by copying and pasting from your resume… then personalize by putting the nouns back in and adding KEYWORD accomplishments…)

I am a resourceful and productive Business Management professional with over twenty years of diverse and progressively responsible experience in a fast paced dynamic environment.  My proven strengths lie within the areas of accounting and administrative assistance.  I am used to the dynamic demand of operations accounting, customer service, database management, data collection and analysis, and prioritizing workload.   I’ve been reviewed consistently for having a pro-active attitude, focusing on the customers and their needs.

Managers seem to value me as a detail-oriented, critical thinker who thrives in a team environment with diversified stakeholders and clientele, focused on personal development and process improvement. Proficient within proprietary and other systems, as well as Microsoft Excel.

OPERATIONS ACCOUNTING: I was promoted to continue previous retail billing duties with the addition of commercial billing duties for commercial and retail platform.  I coordinate with customer service and manufacturing to obtain information related to customer’s account and orders.

DATABASE ADMINISTRATION: I’ve prepared detailed invoices per customer contract for commercial accounts, including credit allowances to customer as required by account contract.  I have also assisted with individual account budgets, providing data input of pricing, cost, VAR information.

FINANCIAL ANALYSIS:  I prepare detailed invoices, including credit allowances to customer as required by account contract.  This requires knowledge of customer contracts, pricing list, invoice discounts and rebates when applicable.

Available for immediate contact at phone# and email address

***

TASK#2 is to learn the various functionalities that allow you to find new connection, grow and focus your network, and find useful information.

  1. Join LinkedIn groups and post comments
  2. Post relevant content in groups
  3. Post questions
  4. Promote events in which you are involved

 TASK#3 is to exploit the JOBS and job seeking functionalities.

Branding Yourself For The Digital Recruitment World

bob-maher-4587-editThe Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of business professionals using social networks to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves.  While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.

Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts…  Where to begin? The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions.


NEXT Session: Thursday, August 9th…A LinkedIn PRIMER:  Task#1, having a Profile that is in sync with your PMP


chalk1A terrific launching site for such an effort is LinkedIn. Developed specifically for business, the site doesn’t run the risk of blurring your professional life with your private one; and with more than 25 million users, it serves virtually every industry and profession.

Joining a network like LinkedIn is simple, but turning it into a powerful networking tool takes a bit of savvy. Here’s how to set up a profile, build a network, and put it all to work — without HIGH TECH, social-networking anxiety.

TASK #1… Having a Compelling Profile

Before you connect to others, you must first set up a profile page on LinkedIn. While your page will detail your work history, don’t assume you can copy and paste your resume and be done with it. Your profile page should reflect your professional interests, passions, and ambitions at this point in your career.  It becomes the core of this high tech, written collateral.

As you proceed, keep your goal in mind…

Do you want to have that fully optimized, SEO-centric magnet that attracts interested parties TO you?  -OR-

Do you want that terrific, user-friendly home page and profile that is easy for a reader to navigate?  -OR-

Do you want your profile and homepage to be appealing to both?

A checklist of things to include:

  1. A picture. It’s been said that, “People do business with people.”
  2. A specific and high impact “headline” with keywords relevant to your industry… your headline follows you around through several of the interactive applications.
  3. Preferred contact method and data… At the bottom of your profile, you can let people know how you want to be contacted — through LinkedIn, by e-mail, or over the phone.
  4. Desired information, networking “targets… What you want to be contacted about… At the bottom of your profile, you can select interests like reference requests, consulting offers, or career opportunities. Be sure to update your profile to stay in sync with your career.

…and don’t overlook the “power” of recommendations… start thinking of who you might want to encourage to endorse you and your services.  Job seekers: your references are a great start!

The LinkedIn site will walk you through filling in the blanks, but you’ll want to think ahead about two areas:

Positioning Yourself

Just like on a GREAT RESUME, directly underneath your name will be a short headline of four or five words. More than anything else in your profile, these words are how people find and define you.

Are you seeking to connect mainly with others in your field and industry? Then a simple, title-oriented headline like “Senior Product Development Director at The XYX Corporation” is best. Are you seeking to branch out into other areas? “Leader of High-Performing Engineering Projects” alerts others quickly to the value you would bring to an organization. Regardless of how you phrase your headline, make sure to use keywords that will help others find you.

PLAN Before You’ll Need a Plan

Compass-seaLWhile involved in ‘the challenging waters’ of career transition, the same chaotic, jobless, trying times are very productive times. Don’t waste them by floundering with lack of focus and direction, falling into the dark, depressive attitude of distractions and, worst of all, inaction…

When we are employed, we tend to function under the guidance of our employer’s business plan, or, more specifically, our job description. Our ‘routine’ is defined by:

  • Personal accountability to a labyrinth of responsibilities, some structured— some not structured at all—but all contributing to productive work activities…
  • We create productivity and efficiency with our sense of time management…
  • And as ‘top talent’ professionals, we often take initiative, make process improvements, and contribute to the Company’s growth.

This Week’s Session, Thursday, August 2nd, 8:45 AM, at The Egg and I Restaurant in Addison… Developing Your Personal Marketing Plan


chalk1So, why not recreate all that with OUR OWN PLAN, a Personal Marketing Plan, to move toward job satisfaction, commitment, and appropriate compensation, for the rest of our careers… including any current, short term job search?   But, before looking at what such a Personal Marketing Plan would look like, let’s review the PREPARATION Portion of the 12-step Process Model (on the left).

If an individual is under-employed, seeking a change, or actually unemployed, they must be visible to potential employers who are seeking their services. Creating this visibility is strategic, personal market planning and execution—in can be marketability without rejection!

And, employed or not, Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed… As you move through your career transition or ‘job search campaign,’ make adjustments as you would a business model.

BRANDING Yourself In The OTHER Job Market

Your “market-tested” RESUME TEMPLATE can now serve as the basis of your correspondence templates. Become familiar with the AUTO TEXT and MAIL MERGE applications within MS Word to create efficiency in the editing of your templates to meet the needs of specific opportunities that you are marketing yourself to.

Now it is REALLY beginning to feel like YOU are market-ready… but, THE Careerpilot encourages you to be totally prepared before you do. Let’s not forget to be prepared for the digital face of the job market…

 LinkedIn Task#1: INITIATING YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGY

The Careerpilot’s high TECH-HIGH TOUCH philosophy comes into play with the explosive growth of using social networks to recruit top talent and for job seekers to build relationships, meet new contacts, and market themselves. While the Internet provides many choices, diving into the virtual meet-and-greet can represent a real challenge.

Which one is worthy of your start-up investment: learning curve time and actual ROI of your efforts… Where to begin? The Careerpilot encourages a choice that reasonably assures one’s confidentiality, has a multitude of useful applications, and can serve as your focal point of networking decisions… LinkedIn.

INITIAL RESEARCH:  To Create Focus

 Make a concerted effort to research trends and target organizations of geographies, industries, and functions that interest you. Access market research reports, the Internet, your own network… start with the resources with which you are already comfortable. Develop your research awareness and abilities.

Begin to assemble your INITIAL Target Organization List.  Start your list of companies and industries that are attractive to you. Your targets are companies that utilize the functionality and RESULTS that you can bring to the table. A great start is to consider industrial trends in the marketplace that point to an organization’s need for your services.

 INITIAL CONTACTS List

 Make a list of coworkers, bosses, customers, suppliers, associates, external consultants, etc. Make a list of family, extended family, friends, relatives of friends, neighbors, people you know from special interest groups like bowling or bridge, church contacts, former classmates or alumni, and professionals like your doctor, dentist, or hair stylist.