Is your career headed in the right direction?
What is the right direction?
Everybody wants something different from their career so it is important to find out what career success means to you.
While consulting with someone regarding her next career move, I asked her about her career history and she said, “I suppose I should have just done what everyone else did and …” I had to stop her mid sentence and say,
“Never just do what everyone else does!
…. at least not for the sake of doing what everyone else does.”
Given that everyone’s career goals and aspirations can vary widely, I have come up with 5 questions to ask yourself to make sure you know what you want out of your professional life.
If you do not know what you want for maximum job satisfaction, you might not recognize it when you see it.
Here are 5 Questions to ask yourself to find out what you want out of your career.
- What is the best part of my job (or any job I have had in the past)?
- What is the worst part of my job (or any job I have had in the past)?
- What sort of projects do I take on voluntarily at work even if it means I will need to work late?
- Which projects or professional accomplishments make me the most proud?
- What would I do tomorrow at work if I had no fear of failure?
I know, it's not rocket science, right? Well, these 5 questions are not the catalyst to a potential career epiphany. The key is, after each question, you must ask yourself “why?” 2 times.
Example conversation with yourself:
What is the best part of my job?
“I get to solve their problems.”
Why is that so good?
“I feel like I am adding value.”
Wow! Epiphany! Maybe client interaction is not the “end all and be all” of job satisfaction but adding value is crucial.
The purpose of this exercise is not to come up with the title and location of your dream job in a few minutes but just to make sure that if opportunity knocks, you'll recognize it through the peep hole and open the door.
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Posted by:Saundra LeeCEO, Dubin & Lee
As a rough estimate, over the last 15 years, I have worked with over 500 hiring managers and corporate recruiters for thousands of jobs. I have become obsessed with analyzing why some job candidates are in such high demand despite the economic climate and others are not.
One consistency I have noticed is those that are not as in demand as others have made one or more of the following career mistakes.
Here are the Top 5 Biggest Career Mistakes
1. Taking a job for the money. Choosing a job purely because it pays more than the alternatives is not only short-sided but can have disastrous consequences. To understand why, read The Biggest Single Career Move Blunder.
2. Accepting a counteroffer. Accepting a counteroffer has all the detrimental consequences as taking a job just for the money but the terminal effects of being seen as a disloyal employee. Your employer is fully aware of the fact that money will not remedy the reason you wanted to leave in the first place even if you are not aware of it at the time. They will just start looking for your replacement confidentially as you settle back in. For more on the topic, read why accepting a counteroffer is a career ending move.
3. Complacency. Settling into a comfort zone is dangerous because you can only coast one way; downhill. Those that are interested in true job security are constantly looking for ways to take initiative at work and re-evaluating whether or not their current job or company has the capacity to take their career to the next level. To use the bus analogy from the book, Good to Great; if there not in the right seat on the bus, they change seats. If they are on the wrong bus, they change buses. Sometimes, they just get in the driver’s seat and drive the bus.
4. Failure to stay current. Those that do not stay current on the knowledge necessary for their industry will become obsolete. Every single time I have witnessed someone claiming age discrimination it was actually a current knowledge base issue. More than once, the person who got the job was older than the candidate dismissing the rejection as age discrimination.
5. Isolation. “Heads down” is not a strategy for career upward mobility. Networking with other departments, functions and executives outside the company is necessary for a thriving career. Just doing your job and keeping to yourself will limit your ability to create alliances and build a network that will get you in the door when your resume alone is not enough.
It is never too late. Pick one thing you can start working on tomorrow to ensure you are the person always in demand. You never know when the music is going to stop so don’t be left without a chair.
To make sure you don't make any of these career blunders, download the Guidelines to Avoid Choosing a Job for the Wrong Reasons complete with interview preparation and "thank you" note tutorials.
Posted by:Saundra LeePresident, Dubin & Lee
It is a myth that the most experienced candidate always gets the job. Matter of fact, much of the time, the company will opt to offer the job to the candidate with less experience.
Talent acquisition with a focus on potential is much more common in companies that have a strong commitment to their employees.
These companies place a high value on human capital and want to make sure that there is plenty of room for an employee to learn and grow. Good companies know when employees have the opportunity of constant career development that it creates an environment of high productivity and loyalty.
Here are 3 ways to beat out more experienced competition in your job search.
1. Show your enthusiasm. It is necessary for anyone to get a job offer to show enthusiasm but when you are lacking some of the items on the hiring manager’s wish list, enthusiasm is even more important. One advantage to hiring the lesser experienced person is the excitement that comes along with learning something new. The greener employee with be showing up early and staying late with lots of enthusiasm and will do so much more so than the “been there, done that” employee. If you any preferred experience for a job you are interviewing for, make sure your show your enthusiasm for learning.
2. Make’em feel special. Now is not the time to cut corners. Your cover letter, resume and thank you note should be customized for the job. Make sure the company knows that you don’t want just any job, you want this job! Your cover letter should speak specifically to why you are such a good fit for the job and company. Focus on the specific needs of the company and/or job and how you would be a benefit to them. Nothing should sound generic. Go the extra mile on the company research to make your questions and answers make them feel like you are obsessed with the company and not just desperate for a job.
3. Facebook! Yes, I said it, Facebook. There has been a lot of talk about companies checking a candidate’s Facebook wall before they make an offer and most people are focused on the negative ramifications. It is the company’s assumption that people will say anything to get a job and the potential employer might get closer to the truth by checking their social media posts. Now, what if you used this concept to get the job? From now on, start treating anything you post on social media as a branding opportunity. Post about the positive and productive and leave off the negative and inappropriate. Casual, hobby related and funny posts are fine. Be you, just the good you.
I wanted to mention Facebook because recently a friend of mine got a job because of a post on Facebook.
She was interviewing for a business development role for a non-profit related to cancer research. The enthusiasm she shared in the interview for the mission was equally matched by her more experienced competition’s enthusiasm for the mission but when they saw her post (a picture of her and her friends at the Breast Cancer Walk posted months before her interview) they felt she was more genuine about her enthusiasm and she got the job.
If you are ready to step outside your comfort zone and have not downloaded the Quick & Easy Resume Updater Guide yet, Download it now for free.
Posted by:Saundra LeeCEO, Dubin & Lee
Following quickly on the heels of Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, Ken Segall has written “Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success.” His focus is on Jobs’ secret weapon – Simplicity. Jobs insisted on it in every aspect of the business of Apple. Some examples include having not even one extra motion on the iPhone, no extra people on teams, and no extra words in print ads. He was convinced that simplicity was powerful. And he was right. Apple is now the most valuable company in the world.
Simplicity in communication also wields power. When one presents a clear, concise message accompanied by simple, direct nonverbal and tonal behaviors that reinforce the message, one conveys confidence and competence. These are characteristics of leaders.
Here are 5 steps to simplify your communication to give you the edge.
- Simplify Content: Whether you’re preparing for a one-on-one interaction, a meeting, or a presentation, write an introduction to your topic that answers 4 questions in 4 sentences; 1) who you are and what your role is, 3) the purpose of your interaction/meeting/presentation, 3) the compelling reason for someone to listen to you, and 3) what you’re going to talk about - agenda. Be succinct.
- Simplify Posture: Whether you are seated or standing, have a posture that is engaging and action-oriented. This means “squaring off,” meaning that your shoulders face the other person’s shoulders. In a meeting or presentation, square off to the farthest person in the room. This will give you peripheral vision to the entire group. Leaning slightly forward rather than sitting back encourages interaction.
- Simplify Tone: Use the melody of your voice to convey emotional content and to influence others. Practice a range of tones to indicate emphasis, energy, enthusiasm, or disappointment and then “choreograph” the feeling into select sentences. This will make your message stand out.
- Simplify Gestures: There are two kinds of gestures; those that indicate numbered items, such as an agenda, and those that show inclusiveness, when one refers to an individual or group. Crisp, large gestures – no floppy hands or wide-spread fingers – express confidence. Inclusive, engaging gestures are offered with an open hand and can be used whenever the words “you,” “yours,” or “we” are stated.
- Simplify Eye Contact: Offer information with eye contact that “lands” on an individual for a phrase or two, then move to another person. When there are many people in the room, offer information to sections of the room, then move to individuals.
Simplicity in communication yields results in greater presence, more confidence, and higher competence. That’s what makes the power of you come through.
About the author:Maxine Dolle has over 25 years of experience in training and coaching communication skills for organizations such as The Boston Consulting Group, Mercer LLC, Cornerstone Research and Pepsico.
Learn more about Maxine Dolle's communication skills training!
Guest Blog by:Maxine DolleCommunication Skills Training Expert