Step up, find your voice and learn how to tell your “career story” with confidence!

 

 

You are the “story teller” of your own career.

Every day, people are making judgements and assumptions about you based on what you’re telling them.  So if you’re sending the message that you’ve been short-changed, passed over or stepped on in your career, then people will see you as someone who doesn’t have much value in the workplace.

However, if you send a strong, clear message that you’re a key contributor with some big successes under your belt – others will be more likely to give you job leads, job offers and bigger career opportunities.

 

 

Here are a few tips to help you frame your “career story”…

  1. Stop being humble.

Being humble can be a career killer, or at its very best, a career stifller.  Yes, it’s a nice quality to have, but if you never talk about some of the successes you’ve had with your professional network, then you career is sure to sit on a shelf for the next 10 years.

I had lunch yesterday with one of my best friends from college who went on to become an Emmy winning TV news reporter and now advises Corporate leaders as a Media Strategist. He mentioned that he’s ready to expand his business, but he’s not the type of person to brag about himself.  This is a man who has interviewed 3 U.S. Presidents (Carter, Clinton and Bush Jr.)  How would organizational leaders ever know to hire him if he doesn’t “put himself out there”?

Talking about your accomplishments builds your credibility. It lets people know what you’re good at, what you can accomplish, and what you have to offer.  It makes you stand out from the crowd.  If you want to get noticed, then you’ll need to learn how to talk about your achievements, not in an arrogant kind of way, but more in an “I’m a key contributor who gets big results” kind of way.

Write down 2-3 of your biggest achievements over the past three years.  Now, practice saying out loud in a sentence or two how you contributed to those successes and what the impact was to the organization.  For example, “I was the technical lead for a new internal tool that was launched on the SAP platform.  The tool is now saving the company $100,000 a year.”  Or, “I was the Creative Director on the marketing campaign for the xyz product which helped the company gain 3% more market share.”

The key to getting more job offers, leads and opportunities is leaning how to talk about your successes.  Nobody will know what you’ve accomplished unless you tell them.

        2. Frame your story in a positive way.

One of my favorite chapters in my new book, “The Bounce Back” gives strategies on how to frame your story to hiring managers after you’ve been laid off or experienced a career setback.  Managers, Sr. leaders, customers, and hiring managers create their perception of you based on what you tell them.  So if you talk about your career in a positive, confident way – then they are going to think of you as a positive and confident employee.

For example, earlier in my career I was laid off and then hired as the Regional Marketing Manager for a Fortune 100 company.  I believe that a large part of the reason I was hired was because of the way I told my story to the Vice President (who hired me and became my direct manager.)  During the interview, I talked about how the company that laid me off was a great company and how much I loved my role and responsibilities. I truly believed in what I was saying and so my tone was very genuine. Then, I addressed the reason for my layoff which was, “I didn’t realize when I took the position that I was expected to fill the shoes of two employees. Even though I had some big results and was good at my job, I just simply couldn’t fill both of their shoes.”  The VP called me the next day to tell me I was hired.

Everybody has setbacks in their career. Everybody!!  The key is to frame your career story in the most positive, honest and confident way possible. 

         3. Don’t take yourself out of the game because you fumbled.

I had a TV interview last week and the reporter asked about my book. I froze up.  I got nervous, said “umm” and garbled out a few sentence.  Man oh man, I wish I could have a do-over.  

It happens to all of us. Whether it’s a job interview, a big presentation or the perfect networking opportunity – sometimes, we just freeze up. It happens, and it happens to everyone.  The key is not to beat yourself up.  And don’t shy away from future opportunities to give a big presentation or go on job interviews.  The lesson is to learn from the situation and then do better next time.

Continue looking for opportunities to step into the spotlight and tell your story again and again.  If you flubbed up a presentation, then go ask the team leader if you can present again with some new data that you just received.  If you fumbled an interview, then send an e-mail to the interviewer providing a little more clarity on your experience or area of expertise.  For me, I wrote to the TV reporter and tee’d up a few more tips out of the book to share with her viewers, and right now we’re scheduling a follow-up interview.

Sometimes a do-over isn’t possible, and if that’s the case, then just get on with looking for your next opportunity and be ready to strut your stuff.  Don’t let a negative experience stop you from moving your career forward.  Get out there, find your voice and share your career story with confidence.  Your next career opportunity is out there – you just have to go find it! 😉

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback“ also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.   Sherri’s gift to you is (3) THREE FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

Was this the year you were going to make a career change?

 

One year from now, do you want to be doing the exact same kind of work you’re doing today?

If not, then there are a few things you need to START doing, and a few things to STOP doing…

  1. Stop going with the flow.

    Stop working on mundane projects you can do in your sleep. Part of the reason you’re feeling under-utilized and under-valued is because you’re under-challenged. We weren’t meant to take a job and then stay there forever. We’re meant to stretch, develop, grow, bounce. Look for ways to step up and flex your professional muscles. When you stop learning and growing, your career will stall.

  2. Stop taking setbacks personally.

    Everyone experiences career setbacks. Everyone! If you’ve been a victim of a layoff, a demotion, a project that failed or didn’t get accepted then get over it! Hanging on to feelings of rejection, embarrassment or anger isn’t helping you. You only think other people care about your setback, but seriously, they’ve moved on and you need to, too. It’s not the setback itself that is holding you back, but how you’re internalizing it.

  3. Stop being “small.”

    If you think that being humble and shy will help you be successful, think again. When somebody offers you a big juicy project or a spot on a high profile team – grab it! Saying things like, “Oh, I don’t know if I’d be the best choice for that,” or, “I don’t know if I have the right experience to do that” will keep you sitting on the bench. You’ve got to step up, be bold and put yourself out there (especially if the new opportunity scares you!) Yes, finding new opportunities means taking risks – big bold risks that you won’t be able to take if you’re playing it small.

And here are a few things you’ll need to start doing…

  1.  Start talking about what you want to do.

    Start describing the types of responsibilities and the kinds of projects and teams you want to work on. If you don’t have a crystal clear vision, then at least start talking about the type of work you enjoy doing. By simply having these conversations with your manager, colleagues, and those in your network can lead to new career paths and opportunities.

  2. Start claiming your space.

    Put your expertise out there by showing others you have something to say through presentations, articles, coaching others and speaking up in meetings. Don’t be a shrinking violet, but instead, have confidence, be bold and voice your technical opinion. So what if someone may not agree with you – that just makes it a more interesting conversation. Successful executives and professionals constantly put themselves “out there” – that’s why they’re successful. Don’t shy away or back up, but instead step up, speak out and claim your space at the table.

  3. Start charting your course.

    Go find people working in different industries and job roles. Ask them about their responsibilities, education, training, challenges and career paths. Get connected to those who inspire you. Give yourself permission and time to explore all possibilities. That doesn’t mean that you have to accept every opportunity that comes your way, but you at least owe it to yourself to learn what else is out there so that you can get ready for your next career move.

Successful professionals aren’t successful because they let things “happen.”  Instead, they make things happen in their career.  They figure out what they want, take some risks, stretch, grow, fall down, learn and bounce.  Don’t let someone else take the wheel on your career path.  Step up and make things happen.  It’s your career and your year! 🙂

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of two books including “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” which is currently on AMAZON’s TOP 10 LISTfor personal branding books, and “The Bounce Back – personal stories of bouncing back higher and faster from a layoff, re-org or career setback” also available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.   Right now you can download three FREE CHAPTERS of “The Bounce Back” at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

 

Is Changing Your Career Worth the Risk?

Everyone has a few bad days and a certain level of frustration in their career, but when is too much too much?

The answer is when it starts consuming you.  When the voice inside your head tells you 20 times a day, “I need a new job!”

I had been working as a Marketing Manager at a Fortune 100 company for two years when the voice started consuming me. First it started telling me, then demanding, and then screaming at me at the top of its lungs, “I need a new job!”  The trouble was that I loved my job role and responsibilities.  The work was challenging, meaningful and just plain fun!  So what was the problem? My manager.  He was a putz.

Secretly in my mind I had nicknamed him Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh.  I tried to block him out and just focus on doing my work but he slowly, methodically began completely sucking the life out of me.  So after two years, 24 loooong months, with the voice pounding in my head getting louder and louder, I reluctantly came to the realization that I needed to change jobs.

But changing jobs is hard.  Incredibly hard.  Every time I thought about switching careers my heart started pounding faster and my forehead started sweating. I was faced with all kinds of fear including fear of change, fear of failure, fear of self-doubt, fear of rejection, fear of the unknown, etc.  I kept thinking, Should I stay in my job where it’s safe and be miserable, or change my career and potentially fail? What if I can’t get another job? What if my new manager is worse than my current manager?

After doing some deep soul searching, and downing about 5 gallons of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby ice cream, I decided that life is way too short to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate and value me.  And so I began my job search looking for internal jobs.  Within 8 weeks I was interviewed for two job openings and during those interviews I asked questions about the manager’s management style, how they kept their teams motivated, and what were some of their teams’ successes that they were most proud of.  Yes, I actually interviewed the hiring managers.

One of the managers said that his strength was “nurturing his team members to bring out their best.” As he said those words my heart started pounding faster.  I knew I liked this guy.  He offered me the job and it turned out to be one of the best career moves I ever made.  My new manager helped me strengthen my leadership skills, learn new technical skills, and gave me a promotion with a 30% raise.

Is it worth the risk?

I would have never found my new manager if I hand't jumped ship and taken the risk for something better. Yes, there’s risk in any job change. But in today's struggling economy, isn’t there also risk if you stay in a job? Who’s to say you’ll still be employed in your same job tomorrow? Organizations are going bankrupt, companies are downsizing and executives seem to be in a continuous loop of job rotations like they’re playing musical chairs.

Bottom line: if you feel like you’re stuck in a bad job with questionable job security – then why stay? 

Ask yourself – Why does the risk of staying in a frustrating job outweigh the risk of trying for something better…?

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.  You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

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Are you living a “small” career?

 

 

Nothing is worse than living in a small world in your career.  Doing boring work where you feel under-utilized, under-challenged and under-valued in your job.

I’ve found myself there a couple of times during my own career and I’ve learned that you if you truly want to have a career that excites you, then you have to step up, take ownership and look for ways to expand your skillset, your scope and your leadership abilities.

 

That’s what I admire about Vid Vidysagara’s story.

In my new book, The Bounce Back, he reveals how his career had once flatlined as a Project Manager and how he took control to move into a management position with more visibility, influence and leadership responsibilities.

Here’s an excerpt from Vid’s story…

“I was in a rut. I was a project manager working for a technology company, and had 6 years of successful performance reviews. But I was working long days and felt pigeonholed as an expert in a particular area with no opportunity for growth.

Then, one day I noticed that a project owned by a senior leader urgently needed resources. This project had been shunned by many others, due to the tough goal set and the unattractive nature of hard work required. Despite being overstretched, I volunteered. I just wanted the chance of doing something different and working with a senior leader of the company.

Although my day now was stretched even longer, I found that this volunteer opportunity brought some excitement and differentiation to my otherwise boring routine. By definition, a “project” has a start and end date, so I knew the situation would be temporary and was determined to make the best of my investment. A few months into the project, there were some personnel changes that were made and I was given a terrific opportunity to become the project leader.

After the project was successfully completed, I volunteered for several more high profile projects. By increasing my visibility, network and reputation with Sr. leaders, I have been given numerous opportunities to branch out into other challenging areas and grow in my career in management.”

Vid goes on to say how he believes that there are always opportunities around (even though at first they may not look very attractive), and that he has gone on to mentor several employees on how to look for opportunities to help them build their credibility and influence, develop a new skill, or even help secure employment.

I love Vid’s story because it’s a wonderful example of how he stepped up and made things happen. Rarely, if ever, do plumb jobs and assignments land in your lap. You have to go after them! You have to look for volunteer assignments where you can stretch and flex your professional muscles. It’s okay to get into a career rut. It’s just not okay to stay in one. 🙂

Are you living small in  your career right now…?

 

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.  You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

How a Finance Guru got Four (4) Job Offers in just 3 weeks After Being Laid Off

Whether you want a new career because you’ve been laid off or because you’re ready to leave frustrating and unsatisfying job, there is one key skill that will be critical to your success – your ability to be a rainmaker for your own career and create job offers and opportunities.

I love that Chris Rock says, Being rich has nothing to do with money. It has to do with having opportunities.

My good friend Cindy Hoyme is the poster girl for creating opportunities!  She had been a rock star in the financial industry for 30 years, when 8 months ago her boss brusquely told her that her job had been eliminated due to the down economy. Suddenly unemployed, and the main bread winner for her family with a daughter in college – she had to find a new job FAST! In my new book, The Bounce Back, Cindy reveals how she networked her buns off to receive a remarkable four job offers in three weeks!

Here’s an excerpt from Cindy’s story…

“After 30 years in the financial business and many job changes due to better opportunities, I was faced with a sudden job loss. I felt abandoned by the person who had hired me and I had been working with for 10 years. With a daughter in college and financial obligations, I needed a new job and needed one fast. I had not updated my resume in years, nor had I kept up with my networking.

Waiting was not an option for me. I updated my resume and then contacted everyone I knew that had called me when they were seeking employment. I set a goal to have one appointment a day. I set up 21 appointments in three weeks, getting to know every Starbucks in town. I kept a normal schedule and did not hesitate to call almost anyone.”

Cindy goes on to talk about a variety of strategies she used to get reacquainted with past colleagues, managers and clients, which in turn, helped her land appointments, interviews and eventually four potential job offers.

“The interviewing and job seeking process is much different now than it was 10 years ago. It wasn’t shopping my resume on the Internet that got me my next job, but instead it was by word of mouth. In my industry talking to people and getting connected is still the way to secure good positions.

Thanks to developing and expanding my large network, I had four potential job offers that came together around the same time. I did not want to take the first offer but, instead, evaluated what I really wanted in my next career and what kind of people I wanted to work for. With the power of prayer and lots of good friends and acquaintances, I landed on my feet with a great company. I feel grateful and very fortunate, especially in this job market, for my new career. During the transition, I also researched and looked into certifications to pursue a second income in the future which now is a possibility.”

What I love about Cindy’s story is that she learned how to be a rainmaker for her own career.  She didn’t sit back and wait for job openings to pop up online.  Instead, she fast tracked her job search by going straight to her professional community asking for job leads, referrals and recommendations. Not only did she receive four job offers in just three weeks, but now she’s proactively creating opportunities to help secure her new job, and her future!

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.  You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

Would you leave your safe job for the chance at something better?

Where’s the point that you would stop settling for an average or mediocre career, and put it all on the line for a chance at something better?

Rich Dubek found his tipping point after spending 20 years working in television as an award winning reporter in Phoenix. He talked about the frustration he had, the risks he took and the strategies he put in place to set himself up for success in the next chapter of his career in my new book, The Bounce Back.  Here’s an excerpt from Rich’s story…

“I had been a successful, two-time Emmy award winning Senior News Reporter for many years at a local NBC television affiliate. I loved my job, and I had recently broken some major national stories, exceeding all the lofty goals set by my employer. But I had worked long hours under the most stressful of circumstances as I continued to “pay my dues,” sacrificing time with my family in the process.

After 15 years with the same TV station, I set my sights on a new goal – to move from being a TV news reporter, into a TV news anchor. In the rapidly changing media world I knew news reporters were getting younger and cheaper, while being asking to do much more for less. In addition, the bottom line – not the quality of work as a reporting journalist – was rapidly becoming the priority for TV news management and this didn’t match with my personal values or ambition.

I was on top of my game when my employer wanted me to sign a new 3-year contract. I only asked my employer for one thing: The opportunity to advance my career with fill-in anchor opportunities in addition to my reporting duties. They offered me a pay increase but clearly stated I would not have the opportunity to anchor.

I realized that I needed to assess my long-term goals. Did I want to lock myself into a job I already had mastered for three more years, with no option to branch out and learn new skills? Was it worth missing out on my wife and teenage sons’ life events such as holidays, basketball games and band gigs?

If I left the TV station, what would I do? Go to another TV station where I might get a better opportunity but more likely would be stuck in the same industry with the same standards and demanding work schedules? Or do something entirely different?

A couple of things were clear: I really enjoyed telling stories, producing videos, and helping people become better communicators, and I had built a successful career doing these things. I didn’t want to move to a completely new career, I just wanted to apply my skills in a different way. I had also heard about the freelance media world, where “news people” could continue to work in the business but on their own terms. This sounded appealing. After my assessment of the situation, and a long talk with my wife (whose support was and still is critical to my success), I knew it was time for me to take the leap of faith. I decided to walk away from my successful job and paycheck and go out on my own.”

Rich goes on to tell about how he made the decision to quit his job, and the strategies that he put in place to set himself up for success as he ventured out to start his own successful business, AZ Freelance TV.   He talks about how making a decision about changing careers isn’t just about a new job, but that it’s also considering factors such as lifestyle, family, independence and self-management, as well as income and benefits.

Just because you get hired in a job, doesn’t mean that you have to stay there forever. Your drive and passion can change over time, and with that, may come the need to change your career. Career changes are hard, but the key lesson out of Rich Dubek’s story is that when you plan ahead, mitigate the risks and set yourself up for success – you actually can have it all!

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Sherri Thomas is a Career Strategist, international speaker and best-selling author of “The Bounce Back” and “Career Smart – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand. “ Get more tips and strategies on how you can bounce back from a layoff, re-org, bad manager or other career threatening setback in my new book, “The Bounce Back” now available on AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.  You can download the three FREE chapters of THE BOUNCE BACK at http://www.MyBounceBack.com

5 Strategies for More Job Offers

It’s scary out there.  In a world of constant career turmoil there seems to be a tsunami of lay-offs, re-orgs and career setbacks happening across the globe.  So how can you turn the tides so that you’re in a position of more control, confidence, and just plain happiness?     

 

 

 

 

 

The answer is by investing in yourself so that you have more career offers and opportunities!

A new client I’ll call “Jim” recently called me and said that he had gone through a change in management which resulted in losing his 7-year position as the General Manager of a prestigious golf course.

He told me that after one year of searching, he had taken the “only job he could get” which was working part-time in the golf pro shop at a different golf course. After talking for a few minutes, it became painfully clear why Jim wasn’t able to get back on his career path.

  1. Invest in Yourself.
    Jim shared that the golf industry was changing and that companies were requiring a specific kind of training and certification to be a General Manager. But Jim wasn’t stepping up and getting the training. He’d rather fight the system (which he was losing) and not invest $2,000 for the training in the hopes of one day getting hired again as a General Manager. What Jim was actually doing was down sizing his career, his morale, and his paycheck by electing not to invest in himself.

    Never let your career sit on a shelf longer than 6-months. Never!  Keep the same drive and discipline that you had when you were employed. Get focused. Get a plan. Make it happen. Wallowing isn’t allowed.  Create opportunities by using your “in-between” time to get any training or education you may need.  If you’re not working, then start freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or at minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible, boost your resume and expand your network.
     

  2. Fish where the fish are.
    Another mistake Jim was making was not having a solid job search plan. Where are your potential employers? Find out by reading trade magazines, industry publications, company websites and classified ads in your local newspapers to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and what the hot jobs are.

    Then, start attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and  association meetings.  Also, join professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com to get connected to industry leaders and company decision makers. Make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire you, hire you, or introduce you to potential employers.
     

  3. Be a resource to others.    
    Never give the impression that you’re hungry for a job.  Instead, you want to be seen as someone who drives initiatives, solves problems and leads teams.  This is one reason why you want to consult, freelance, or volunteer while you’re in between jobs. 

    Get personal with your professional network.  Send out links to reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think might interest them.  Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers.  Influencers are drawn to those who are resourceful.
     

  4. Give your resume the “it” factor.
    When it comes to resumes – looks are everything!  If you’ve been applying for jobs that you’re qualified for, but you’re not getting the interviews, then you need a stronger resume.

    Hiring managers can have stacks and stacks of resumes piled high on their desk which means that if your resume doesn’t have the “it” factor – you’re toast.  Don’t lose out on a great job because your resume doesn’t stand up against your competition.  Instead, invest in a professional resume critique. You’ll get specific strategies based on your goals, strengths and accomplishments to get the attention of hiring managers and put yourself in high demand! 
     

  5. Interview smart.  
    If you’re getting interviews, but not job offers – then you need stronger interviewing skills.

    Interviewing brings up a lot of anxiety mostly because it seems that the interviewer has so much power and you, the one being interviewed, has so little.  But there are things you can do to balance the scales of power.  Invest in a session with an interview coach before your next interview.  You’ll get crisp, solid strategies to learn how showcase your strengths, answer the tough questions and what to say to close the interview. 

The point is that if you’ve been unemployed or at a lower level position for longer than six months, then you need to shake things up!  Try different career strategies and start thinking outside the box. And never, ever give up your drive, ambition and courage that it takes to move your career forward.

Your job is out there waiting for you. You just need to go get it!

Your Assignment…  

Invest in yourself so that you have more career offers and opportunities!

Make a plan right now to get any training or education you need to get your next job. Think ahead to the career that you really want.  Read job postings to understand the qualifications and skills that are required.  If you need training or education, then schedule time on your calendar to research options, costs and time commitments.   

If you need experience to make your next career move, then invest your time in freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or at minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible, boost your resume and expand your network.

Make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire you, hire you, or introduce you to potential employers.  Schedule time in your calendar to attend industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and  association meetings.  Also, join professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com to get connected to industry leaders and company decision makers.

If you’re feeling stuck and need some help reinventing your career, then consider hiring a career coach.  A career coach can give you the tools, support and the roadmap to help you advance your career.   Be prepared to come into a session with your toughest questions, biggest challenges, and an open mind to get new ideas, strategies and best practices to get your career on track!

How are you going to invest in yourself?  Share your strategies with me in the “comments” section below…  🙂

3 Easy Ways to Put Yourself in High Demand with Hiring Managers

As a leading Career Coach for professionals and executives, my phone rings every day with professionals  (just like you!) looking to make a career change.  I know what a tough job market it is right now, but my clients are consistently able to put themselves in high demand with new clients, managers and hiring managers.  In fact, 3 of my clients are interviewing this week!
 
If you’re looking for your next career opportunity – then I have three (3) of my biggest career changing success strategies to help you change your career faster…

 

1. Keep yourself marketable. If you’re looking for a new job, then use your “in-between” time to get any training or education you may need. Job requirements can change over the years. Industries can change. So make sure you stay current with the demands of the market by assessing your skills and qualifications with what the market is demanding. Most industries have a kind of license or certification that’s highly valued – such as project management certification, marketing certification, financial planning licenses, and so on. So keep yourself marketable by staying current with required training and education.

Another strategy for keeping yourself marketable when you’re not working, is to start freelancing or consulting. This shows hiring managers that you take initiative and that you’re considered an expert in your field by others. Also, join an association’s Board of Directors, or at minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible, expand your network, and boost your resume.

2. Fish where the fish are. In other words, know where your potential employers are. Find out by reading trade magazines, industry publications, company websites and websites that advertise job openings like CareerJournal.com, and CareerBuilder.com to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and what the hot jobs are.

You can also learn about companies that are hiring by attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Another good idea is to join professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com to get connected to industry leaders and company decision makers. Make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire you, hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you.

3. Be a resource to others. When you’re in the market for a new job, you never want to give the impression that you need a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who’s a leader, a driver, a mentor to others, and someone who’s resourceful – who knows how to get things done and get results. This is one reason why you want to consult, freelance, or volunteer while you’re in between jobs.

So here’s a tip – instead of sending the message, “I need you to give me a job”, you should send the message, “I’m someone who is resourceful, insightful and has a specific area of expertise.” In other words, “I’m someone YOU should get to know!” This is a major shift in the way others perceive you.

One way you can do that is to send out personal notes with links to cool videos, reports, press releases, or websites that you think might interest them. Another tip is to invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers in the industry.

The bottom line is that successful professionals are drawn to other successful professionals and those who are resourceful. So get personal with your professional network and show them how you can help them be more successful.

And finally… 

 
If you’re ready to make a career change, get some professional help.  You’ll have an easier, quicker, less stressful journey ahead of you when you have a partner who can give you the roadmap on how to reach your goal.
 
Check out Career Coaching 360’s personal career coaching packages with a variety of services and budgets available.    Also, hear what our raving fans are saying about we helped them reinvent their career!

Powering Up Your Personal Brand for More Career Opportunities

Cover of "CAREER SMART: Five Steps to a P...

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What is your personal brand saying to others?  Getting bigger promotions, better clients, and a richer career depends largely on how you’re perceived by senior managers, business associates, and potential employers.
 
 People are the jet fuel behind your career. People can promote you, hire you, mentor you, inspire you, or introduce you to others who could hire you.
 

To help you transition into a career that inspires and motivates you, I’m sharing below some tips from my book: “CAREER SMART – 5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” (which is now on Amazon’s TOP 10 LIST for personal branding books)…

  1. Send the “right” messages.
    Everything you do and say sends messages to your senior managers, clients, peers, networking contacts and potential employers. Your words, actions, presentations, reports and work deliverables all shape the perceptions others have about you.You influence people through your actions and your words so make sure both are in synch. Send a crystal clear message that focuses on the that you consistently deliver to a company or client. Your “value” is a unique blend of your strengths, professional accomplishments, and personal characteristics such as being a good leader, risk taker, problem solver, strategic thinker, etc. 

    All of these things combined make up your “value package” which makes you truly unique from a crowd of colleagues, business associates, and even job applicants.If you’re currently working with a company and you’d like to stay there, then you may want your message to be that you deliver high quality and results.  For example, if you’re in sales then your message should be that you consistently generate revenue.  If you’re a creative director then your message should be that you consistently develop fresh campaigns that increase sales.Take every opportunity to send your value message through project updates, status reports, presentations, hallway conversations, business networking events, in your resume, and in your interviews.  Talk about the results or the success of the projects and teams you’ve led, or the benefit they added to the company like generating more revenue, saving costs, or making the company be more competitive.  If you want to be seen as a problem solver then talk about the challenges that your team overcame, and the key lessons that you’ve learned.

    The key is to role model the “value” that you provide by consistently demonstrating it, living it and breathing it. 

  2. Go for the “High Value” Projects
    Getting on the right projects and delivering strong results is the single most effective way to boost your personal brand. That means aggressively going after those projects that generate money, save costs or make the company more competitive.Just like everyone else, you have 8-10 hours a day at work. Now, you can either spend those hours parceling out your time in bits and pieces working on a variety of tasks and assignments, or you can concentrate your efforts on making major contributions that generate BIG results.
    Consider where you can make the biggest impact for your organization and aggressively go after those assignments.  Successful professionals don’t leave it up to their managers and senior leaders to drop plum projects in their lap.  They drive their career by volunteering for, or even creating, projects that make the biggest impact.
  3. Get into a career where you can thrive (not just survive!)
    It’s impossible to have a powerful personal brand if you’re just going through the motions at work.    If you’re walking around dull and listless (like the Clairol Herbal Essence girl before she shampoos her hair), then others are sure to see you that way. You need to be in a career that challenges you, flexes your professional muscles, and excites you!Think about what kind of work you want to be doing.  Start by identifying the three key ingredients you need in the work itself to be happy and fulfilled such as leading teams, working on creative projects, developing new technologies, etc.  Once you’ve defined the three key ingredients, then do whatever it takes to drive your career towards that vision. 
     
Bottom line: you need a powerful personal brand if you want to have more choices and options in your career. So what is your personal brand saying about you?  Powerful personal brands don’t just happen overnight.  It takes time, focus, and commitment, but the payoff is a deeper, more meaningful career.

And finally… 

 
If you’re ready to make a career change, get some professional help.  You’ll have an easier, quicker, less stressful journey ahead of you when you have a partner who can give you the roadmap on how to reach your goal.
 
Check out Career Coaching 360’s personal career coaching packages with a variety of services and budgets available.    Also, hear what our raving fans are saying about we helped them reinvent their career!
 
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NETWORKING STRATEGICALLY How to get more job leads, referrals and recommendations

High Speed Business Networking Event (Paris, 2...

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The goal of networking is NOT to start asking about job opportunities the instant you meet someone. The goal of networking is to create a connection or establish a relationship with someone.

As a Career Coach, I’ve noticed that many professionals looking to reinvent their career make the mistake of sending a message to others, ” I need a job.” But instead, you want to be sending the message that you’re a successful professional who’s resourceful, well connected, and who has some similar interests as they do. You want them to realize that you are someone that THEY should get to know! 

Below is my simple step-by-step process to help you build a powerful network to get more job leads, referrals and recommendations…

  • Seek out others in the industry or job role where you want to work.
    The next time you meet someone who works for a company where you want to work, or in a job role that you’d like to have, keep the conversation focused on that person (it’s not about you! -at least not yet!) Talk about their latest marketing campaign or product launch, or something new or interesting that’s going on inside their company. 
  • Ask to keep in touch!
    Next, you don’t need to have a long, in-depth conversation with each person. Instead, when you feel that the conversation has run its course, simply say, “I’d love to stay in touch – how about if we exchange business cards?”
  • Send the message that you’re knowledgable and resourceful!
    Follow up by sending a piece of information you think they might be interested in such as an article, or the results of a new study, a link to a cool website that relates to their business, or an announcement about an upcoming conference or networking event. You want to send the message that you’re someone who is well connected, resourceful and that you are someone that they want in their network! 🙂
  • Mention a few of your contributions and successes!
    Once the door is open, then talk about some projects or teams that you’ve worked on that have been successful. One thing that works really well for me, is offering to share tips, insight or lessons I learned about the project. l I find that by doing this, people who appreciate these successes will naturally gravitate towards me. And it provides the foundation for a long-term relationship.
  • After you’ve established a relationship, then drop the hint!
    If you’re looking for a new job, then go ahead and drop a hint that you’re looking for “other opportunities.”  

Believe me, when you use this simple step-by-step formula, if your connections know of any opportunities they’re going to let you know!

One final thought, I strongly believe that no matter where you are in your career, we’re always in a position to help out others. Is there someone else you can support by introducing her to a potential employer, or giving a recommendation, or inviting to a networking event? Sometimes we get caught up in focusing just on ourselves, but remember that when we help out others along the way – the universe gives back to us more than we ever dreamed possible.  🙂

  Bottom line: you need a powerful network if you want to have a powerful career. 

So start making connections and nurturing your professional relationships. You’ll find that once you have a strong team of career influencers on your side, doors to new opportunities will open and career will soar!  

 

And finally…

 

If you’re ready to make a career change, get some professional help. You’ll have an easier, quicker, less stressful journey ahead of you when you have a partner who can give you the roadmap on how to reach your goal. Check out our career coaching services to learn how we can help you advance your career. 

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