Archive for June, 2012

Are You In Control of Your Career, or Is Someone Else Pulling Your Strings

June 29, 2012

A client came to my office this morning, devastated because he had worked for a company for 16 years and recently found out that his position has been eliminated. This man turned 60 last month and thought he would be retiring from the job he just lost. Now, he is scared, angry, feels he has no control over his career, and doesn’t know what to do next.

I know from talking with thousands of business professionals, that many of you feel the same way. Let me suggest this – ultimately each one of you works for yourself and each of you is responsible for your own career. It’s important for you to keep focused on what’s most important about your career, and that you build, steer, and proactively manage it in the direction in which you’ll find both personal and professional fulfillment. Nobody cares about your career as much as you do, so make sure you take control and lead yourself to success.

Having said that, I want to share my new venture with you. There are so many of you over 50 who are either unemployed, underemployed, or in a job where you feel you are not going anywhere. I am launching the Affiliation for Business Professionals over 50 (“ABPOF”), designed specifically for people over age 50 who want to take charge of their career, whether they are currently working or not. You will be hearing a lot more about this in the near future. And, if you would like, feel free to contact me by email (careerest@aol.com) or call me at (248) 478-5662 to find out more about this unique Affiliation.

I would like to have each of you stop and take a moment to reflect on your career. Is it what you want? How would you like things to be different? Do you know what value you bring to your position? Have you kept your skills current? Will you be caught off guard with an unplanned job loss? These days, there is no job security. The only security is within yourself, so see that your skills are up-to-date and be clear about what specific value you provide your employer.

I welcome your comments regarding this topic. Also, feel free to ask any questions you might have and I’ll be happy to address them in future blog postings. That way, I can address your needs, and make sure you get the relevant information that matters most to you.

Should You Divulge Your Past Salary History?

June 27, 2012

ImageThink carefully before divulging your past salary history in an interview. Many people think that by not doing so, it might prejudice an employer’s offer, so they gladly reveal their salary history if required, so as not to be disqualified.

Instead of trying to placate an interviewer, try to focus on projecting a clear impression of what’s important to you and what you’re worth. When you withhold your salary history, it forces a candidate and an employer to negotiate based on the candidate’s future value. Do you really want to get stuck defending what your last employer paid you?

This salary issue is more than a question of being cooperative. It’s about making sound judgments. In my opinion, an intelligent disagreement and discussion about salary reveals integrity and it stimulates an important dialogue. Employers who rely on salary history to judge you, are trusting another company’s evaluation of you. Think about that. It’s almost insane. What really matters is what you can do for this company now and in the future. Is the company able to make that judgment? Why does it need your last employer’s “salary input”?

Declining to divulge salary history is not about being uncooperative. It’s about shifting the interview to a higher plane. Don’t worry so much about getting disqualified. Any candidate can be cooperative, but few can demonstrate their value and get paid what they’re really worth. Your value lies in what you can do next; not in what somebody paid you to do last year. If you learn to hold your ground properly you will earn a manager’s respect, and maybe the offer you deserve.

I welcome your comments about this topic. Also feel free to ask any questions you might have and I’ll be happy to address them in future blog postings. That way, I can address your needs, and make sure you get relevant information that matters most to you.

5 of the Biggest Ways to Ruin Your Resume

June 20, 2012

  • Not having a specific focus or target

Often time people think if they put a real broad focus or target at the beginning of their resume, they will cover all of their bases and qualify for more jobs. Employers want to know exactly what kind of position you want and how you have the skill set for that position. The way resumes are scanned into company computers these days, it is imperative that your resume be as specific as possible.

  • Not having a summary of your career on the top half of the first page

Employers want to know more about your skill set, some accomplishment highlights you’ve had, key words that are relevant to the position you want and your education. Employers read this part first to see if they want to read further. The first half of your resume needs to be as concise as possible, yet give a maximum amount of information.

  • Not including accomplishments under your various positions

I can’t tell you how many resumes I see that list their responsibilities or what I call “tasks & duties” and nothing else. Employers don’t want a running dialog of what you did in other positions, they are much more interested in how you were successful – how you helped the company solve their problems or add to their bottom line. After all – that is why they are hiring you in the first place.

  • Including your salary demands

This should not be put on the resume. Its only used to screen a candidate out of the running or influence the employer to offer less money. Salary should not be discussed until you have had the opportunity to explain your value – in person or over the phone.

  • Using incompatible file types and formats

Electronic resumes should be created in the most readable file for (Internet-recruiting) systems, which is plain text or Microsoft Word.

Today’s resume needs to be readable by computer software that almost all companies have that store and sort resumes for open positions for that company. Text should have a font size between 10-12, and a simple font style, such as Arial, Courier, Helvetica or Times New Roman.

If your resume is not a “10”, it’s a waste of time to send it out, because you will not get calls for interviews.

Google Searches and You

June 19, 2012

I talked with a client recently who was telling me about doing a Google search of their name and not liking some of the information that came up. Let’s say it was less than flattering to the client, and we were discussing ways to clean up what you might find floating around in cyberspace.

According to a survey conducted by Execunet, 93.2% of recruiters admitted to using online search engines to uncover information about candidates. Of these recruiters, 53% admitted to eliminating candidates based on negative information they found. So you can see – your image on the Internet is important.

In order for you to avoid “sticky situations” in your job search, it is necessary to clean up your digital dirt. This can be accomplished by doing the following:

  1. Google yourself routinely. Analyze your results to ensure that nothing unflattering is floating on the web. If you discover something you want removed, send an email to the host website asking that your information be deleted.
  2. Hire professional assistance. If you don’t have time, or know how to effectively clean up your online profile, hire a professional service to help. One such service is www.reputationdefender.com.
  3. Develop a powerful personal PR file. Just as bad press can seriously damage your job search, an abundance of positive web entries will help to impress potential employers. Write a blog, comment on a blog or build a personal website that highlights your professional accomplishments and expertise.

I would like your feedback – have you experience some “sticky” information online?

7 Tips To Make Sure You Are In Control of Your Career

June 14, 2012

In my last blog posting, I gave you 7 tips for maximizing your presence on the Internet. Today, I want to give you some more tips to achieve a successful job search.

  1. Make sure you have a 60-Second Commercial that clearly articulates your career goals, give an indication of the value you bring to the type of job you want, and at the same time, creates a positive, lasting impression with the listener. This could make the difference as to whether your name is passed on to others or not! By the way, a 60-Second Commercial is needed whether you are currently conducting a job search or not.
  2. Take control of your career now. Whether you are employed, or unemployed, taking control of your career and your career destiny requires just one thing – action. Today’s career has a life cycle of its own. It changes often. It is fluid and dynamic, responding to market changes and taking advantage of new employment opportunities. Once you understand and accept this concept, your career will change. Then it’s up to you to take control and steer your career path in the direction that you want to go.
  3. Seek out a mentor – someone you admire, who is successful, has a higher position than you and is preferably in your field. Ask them if you can talk with them, on a continuing basis, about your career. You will be amazed at what can happen.
  4. Headhunters match candidates and companies together. However, they work for the company, not you. They will negotiate the best deal for you, as they are paid a percentage of your salary.
  5. References can make you or break you. Contact your references before you need them. Get their work and home numbers and email address. Ask, “Can I count on you to give me a good reference?
  6. If you are thinking about moving on to a new position, leave your current company gracefully, even if it is involuntarily. Don’t burn any bridges. You’ll need former employers and bosses as references. Show what a professional you are and that’s how they will remember you.
  7. Salary negotiation rule of thumb: Whoever mentions money first, loses. Don’t show your hand until the employer sees all the value you have to contribute and wants to hire you.

Whether you are looking to find a new job or not, practice these tips to keep your career on track.

Let me know what you think about these tips and what your best career advice is.

7 Tips To Make The Most of Your Internet Presence

June 11, 2012

With employer’s family and friends using the Internet so frequently, it is imperative that your Internet presence is readily apparent and presents you in your best light. Over 95% of employers check out potential employees on LinkedIn and Facebook, so I want to give you some tips to ensure your Internet presence is the message want to convey.

Check your online presence. Google yourself to see what comes up. Employers Google you before interviewing you, or offering you a job. Make sure they see the “right” information.

  1. Have a great profile on LinkedIn – one that shows the value you want to convey to employers. Most employers check LinkedIn before calling for interviews.
  2. Include your LinkedIn URL on your resume and on any business cards you pass out at networking meetings.
  3. If you have a blog, list it at the top of your resume. Play up your online presence – Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter – as much as possible; you’ll have a much better chance of being found.
  4. Know your target – think like the employer. What do they need fixed? How can you help them achieve their goals? What can you do to make their job easier? Help others get what they want and you will get what you want.
  5. Spending most of your job search pouring over, and responding to, job boards is a huge waste of time that will bring very little results and a lot of frustration.
  6. People hire people; companies don’t hire people. Build relationships with people – your chances of getting hired will be much greater. The Internet is a great way to do this.
  7. Good things come to those who initiate. Don’t sit around and expect a job to come to you – MAKE IT HAPPEN!

Take time out now to check your Internet presence and make any adjustments or changes, as needed.

Slash Weeks Off Your Job Search By Taking A Few Simple Steps

June 6, 2012

One of the questions I get asked most often is “How long do you think my job search will take?” And the answer I always give is “It depends.”

It depends on if your resume and cover letter clearly show your value. Do they let the reader know your specific uniqueness and how you’ve made contributions in your past positions? The reason you get hired is for the value you bring to the company. If an employer can’t see the value you have to offer through your resume, they will never call you for an interview – no matter how great a skill set you have. If your resume doesn’t show your value, it’s a total waste of time to even send it out.

It depends on how much time you have to devote to your job search. If you are working full time, or even part time, you obviously won’t have as much time to devote to a job search as someone who is not working at all. Whether you are working or not, it’s necessary to schedule specific time into your daily/weekly routine to allow for your job search. And it’s imperative to stick to your schedule – be consistent and diligent. Keep in mind, the more time you devote to your job search, the quicker you will find a new job.

It depends on the avenues you utilize to conduct your job search. Are you following a step-by-step proven system that works, or are you tackling it willy-nilly, hoping for the best and wondering if what you are doing is going to work or not? Are you spending all of your time on job boards — which really deliver almost no results – or are you spending most of your time researching companies where you’d like to work, and then finding someone who works for that company and getting to know them through social networking? Are you also networking in person? Networking is the #1 way to find a new job.

It depends on whether you have a good plan of action for your job search, and whether you work your plan on a consistent basis. A good plan of action consists of knowing what works and what doesn’t, and using multi- channels during your search.

It depends on whether you have the right tool to conduct an effective job search: a great resume, cover letter, elevator speech, business card, a URL on LinkedIn, a great plan, and a solid support team, to name but some of what you need for success.

Each of the above points contribute to shortening your job search. It all boils down to knowing what actions to take and then taking those actions.

By having a clear strategy, and working that strategy consistently, you WILL take weeks off your job search, and you WILL have a much greater chance of landing the PERFECT JOB for you.