PARADE Update: One Step Closer

PARADE Update: One Step Closer


I’m delighted to see that Meghan has completed her first assignment – creating her personal Career Success Blueprint™. Her goal is to transition into a career that motivates and inspires her … and now she is one step closer. She’s created a career vision that excites her!

Many professionals and executives become stuck when they think of career goals. It can be difficult trying to envision a career that would be meaningful, purposeful and inspiring. I mean, seriously, who has that, right?

Well, actually lots of people! Specifically, those who are able to articulate their passions, strengths, successes and the type of organization and management style where they perform their best.

I’m thrilled that Meghan has successfully identified each of these key areas. She knows the type of career that inspires her includes doing meaningful, socially conscious work, flexing her creative muscles, as well as being in a project management-type of position where management respects her ideas and gives her decision making responsibilities.

She also has defined the type of organization, culture and management style that she needs in order to be at her career best.

This is a big accomplishment for Meghan, and I’m proud of her for completing her first assignment! Her background and work experience includes being an executive pastry chef, marketing specialist and entrepreneur, so getting clear on a career vision took dedicated focus and thought.

Establishing a powerful career vision and goals is critical if you want to have a meaningful and purposeful career. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my own career was thinking that if I got a job – then that was where I was meant to be. After a few months, I’d start feeling unfulfilled, unmotivated or unappreciated. Then, one day I realized that I need to be more proactive in my career. I needed to set the bar higher for what I wanted (and needed) in my career. Once I did that, I achieved greater success than I ever dreamed possible inside a Fortune 100 company.

Now that Meghan has a strong sense of direction and purpose for her career, we’re moving on to Step #2 which is – assessing the job market. Meghan needs to understand what kind of jobs are available that align to her personal Career Success Blueprint™.

Her assignment this week: review on-line job boards, industry magazines, company websites, and business periodicals to get a clear understanding of what the “hot jobs” are, and what the requirements are for those jobs.

She’ll need to come back to me with job postings that she’s found that excite her! It doesn’t have to be the entire job listing, but can just be something in the listing that excites her such as the job tile, a few of the key responsibilities, or even the description of the organization.

The purpose of the assignment is to see what types of job openings are available that align to Meghan’s strengths and spark enthusiasm for Meghan. This will give us the roadmap to create a customized resume to help her land her new career!

I can’t wait to see what she finds! 🙂

Career Reinvention: 5-Step Action Plan for Changing Job Roles, Industries or Professional Goals

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There are times in everyone’s career that you feel like running away and starting all over again, and I’m here to say that you can do it!

I’ve successfully reinvented my own career four times including being in radio, television, professional sports, high tech, and now a successful entrepreneur and business owner.

Now one of the things I get asked most often is, “Can I reinvent my career without taking a step down in salary?” Every time I’ve reinvented my career, I’ve received between 20 to 45% increase in my salary. So you can move into a NEW career AND INCREASE your salary.

So let me share with you my five step action plan for reinventing your career AND getting a salary increase…

  1. Find your passion. What gets you excited? What gets you jazzed? The first step in reinventing your career is to identifying where you want to go. In which industry would you like to work? Advertising? Finance? Health Care? When I wanted to stop being a disc jockey, I knew that I wanted to go into television. And after a successful career in television, I then set my sights on getting into Corporate America. I wasn’t sure what kind of job role I wanted (or could get!), but the first step was determining the industry where I wanted to work.

    If you’re not sure where you want to go then start reading trade magazines, industry publications, on-line job sites, even classified ads in your local newspaper. The key is to figure out what lights your fire and inspires you.

  2. Identify your transferable skills. These are skills that transition from industry to industry or from job role to job role. Examples include: managing projects, teams, clients or budgets, as well as negotiating contracts, or proposing and implementing ideas that generate money, save money, or help the company be more competitive.

    Other transferable skills include personal characteristics such as demonstrating leadership or risk taking, training or mentoring team members, being goal driven, results oriented, a problem solver, or having the ability to influence senior managers. These are great skills to have, and they transfer from industry to industry. All kinds of industries and companies value employees with these types of skills and characteristics.

  3. Matching your transferable skills to job roles. Read job descriptions posted on CareerJournal.com, CareerBuilder.com and Monster.com, as well as the classified ads in industry magazines, trade journals, and local newspapers. If you want to work for a specific company then check out their website’s on-line job postings. Learn the skills and qualifications required for various job roles.

    Match your transferable skills to those jobs you want to go after. If there’s a gap between the required skills and the skills that you currently have, then look for ways to gain that experience such as taking on an extended assignment in your current job, freelancing, consulting, or even volunteering.

    Also, attend industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Talk to people who work in the industry to learn about their career path, responsibilities, and advice for how to break into the business.

  4. Blow up your resume. The first thing I always did before I transitioned into a new career was blow up my resume. Trying to piece together a resume that highlighted the skills I used to get my last job with the skills I need to land my next job is like trying to weld together Lexus parts on a BMW. It doesn’t work. You need a brand new resume.

    Showcase only those jobs, responsibilities and successes that relate to the job you want. The hiring manager doesn’t care about every job you’ve ever had. They just want to know if you can do their job. You may also want to get a professional resume critique to help you customize your resume and identify your transferable skills.

  5. Attitude is the key ingredient! I’ve found that getting a new job really boils down to two things: confidence and passion. I’ve never walked into an interview having met all of the job requirements. In fact, for the television interview, I lacked the two biggest requirements which were a minimum of two years experience in television, and a tape to show my TV work.

    To compensate, I focused on my transferable skills which were being highly creative and a solid copywriter. That got my foot in the door for the interview. But to get the job offer and beat out the other 4 job candidates, I was passionate about the company and the job! I also told the hiring manager that I absolutely knew that I could do the job!

There’s a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we’re capable of doing. When you transition into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you’ll be successful in the job. When it comes to reinventing your career, it’s not just your talent but your attitude that counts!

PARADE Update: Make Those 20 Seconds Count

PARADE Update: Make Those 20 Seconds Count


Meghan shares the same challenge that many job changers in today’s market are facing. That is, her career history includes such a wide variety of industries, job roles and responsibilities, that she’s not sure how to market (or position) herself to potential employers.

The biggest mistake I see job seekers making is writing their resume and including every job that they’ve ever had and every skill that they’ve ever had. However, most hiring managers don’t care about all the different skills you have and tasks you can perform – they simply want to know – can you successfully perform their job?

So to position Meghan in the best possible light to hiring managers, and help her stand out from competition, I’m working with Meghan on the following –

Step #1 – Creating her personal Career Success Blueprint™. This includes her identifying three (3) primary areas of responsibility she wants to have in her next career. She’s also identifying her “must have” conditions about the company culture, management style and working conditions. These may include a baseline salary, flexible hours, telecommuting, professional training and development, a clear career path, autonomy, growth company, etc.

Step #2 – Assessing the job market. Meghan needs to understand what kind of jobs are available that also align to her personal Career Success Blueprint™. She’ll need to review on-line job boards, industry magazines, company websites, and business periodicals to get a clear understanding of what the “hot jobs” are, and what the requirements are for those jobs.

Step #3 – Customizing a polished and professional looking resume. Hiring managers, on average, only take about 15-20 seconds to review a resume before determining whether or not to interview the job applicant. Therefore, it’s critical that Meghan’s resume showcases her in the best possible light. I’ll teach Meghan how to create a resume that highlights the right key words, and makes her stand out from the competition.

Step #4 – Developing a personalized job search strategy. Now that Meghan will have a keen focus on what she wants in her next career, as well as a top notch professional resume – now she’ll be ready to seek out those job openings. I’ll help her create an on-line and off-line targeted job search strategy, as well as give her my exclusive networking techniques to help her get more referrals, recommendations and job leads.

PARADE Update: Getting Started: Sherri Thomas and Meghan Olesen

With nearly one in 10 Americans looking for work, the job search is tougher than ever. PARADE chose five unemployed people looking for work and paired each with a career counselor. Below is the first update from Sherri Thomas, Career Coaching 360 for the PARADE series “The Job Hunt“.


Getting Started: Sherri Thomas and Meghan Olesen

Meghan Oleson and I had our initial consultation this week so that I could better understand her career history, goals and vision, as well as share my strengths as a career coach and areas of expertise. I’m impressed with Megan’s young age (she’s 30 years old) and her ability to successfully transition into a variety of job roles and industries including being an executive pastry chef, marketing specialist and entrepreneur.

She has many wonderful strengths and passions, plus a wide range of transferable skills that we can tap to help her reinvent her career!

The first question I asked Meghan (and all my clients) is how best I could help her.
Option A) Help her find a job RIGHT NOW.
Option B) Help her create a career vision, action plan and transition into a meaningful and inspiring career (this approach takes more time, thought and focus – but the result is having a thriving career with more options, more stability and more passion!)

Meghan chose Option B.

This means that over the next several weeks, I’ll be giving her my exclusive steps to create her personal Career Success Blueprint™, as well as helping her create a simple but powerful career action plan that includes a job search strategy, networking techniques and a polished and professional resume to build a powerful personal brand, increase her marketability, and stand out from her competition.

After Meghan determined that this is the direction she wanted to go, then it was time for her first assignment – creating her personal Career Success Blueprint™. The first step is for Meghan to define her career vision. This includes three (3) key skills or responsibilities that Meghan wants to be known, recognized and paid for.

Envision yourself one year from now in a career that motivates and inspires you. What are you doing? What kind of responsibilities do you want to have? What kinds of projects and initiatives do you enjoy doing? What kinds of teams do you have a passion to lead? For her first assignment, Meghan is drawing a Venn diagram (three circles that connect to each other) and inside each circle she is writing one key skill or responsibility that she desires in her next career move.

With so many talents and strengths, I’m excited to see what she’ll choose … 🙂

Who Are Your Career Influencers?

As you may know, I’m a career coach who is also driving my own personal career. I’ve been fortunate to have some incredible successes while I was in the radio, television, advertising and high tech industries, but I’ve also had my fair share of career setbacks and roadblocks the size of Mt. Everest that I had to blast through.

 

Through it all, I’ve learned that one thing is for certain. Leaving my career in the hands of someone else like a manager, client, or even a company is a career killer!

 

So I changed my mindset and my actions. For the past few years, my mission has been that I drive my own career, and with this new mission came BIG RESULTS. I’ve been more satisfied, more fulfilled, and more successful in my career. Case in point, I was thrilled to receive my latest promotion a few days ago!

 

So over the next several weeks, I’m going to share with you my BIGGEST CAREER STRATEGIES that I personally use to drive my own career, and for this issue, it’s: The nitty gritty of networking strategically.

 

People are the jet fuel behind your career. People can hire you, promote you, inspire you, teach you, and introduce you to potential employers or clients. Whoever said business isn’t personal must have been someone who sits in their cube all day. Surrounding yourself with the “right” people and knowing how to leverage that support system can skyrocket your career into another dimension.

 

You’ll have more career opportunities and job security when you have a strong professional network in place of what I call – career influencers. These are people inside the company or industry where you work who could potentially advance your career, or open doors to new opportunities.

 

Who’s in your circle? Think about your current professional network. Are you connected with career influencers from each of the following four categories?

  1. Those who can evangelize your talents and successes to others.
  2. Those who currently hold, or have held, a position you want.
  3. Those who could teach you something new.
  4. Those who, just by being associated with them in some way, can strengthen your personal brand.

Think about your current and previous managers, colleagues, and clients. Look for those who could provide guidance, expertise, or information that not only helps you succeed in your current role, but could potentially help you get to where you REALLY want to go.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Taking Care of the Big Rocks First

Previously I talked about making the commitment to take care of the big rocks first. If you don’t take care of your big rocks, or big initiatives FIRST, then your day will fill up with a bunch of tiny insignificant tasks. And when that happens, you simply won’t have any time to fit in your biggest priorities, and you’ll be left working on less meaningful projects that leave you feeling bored and unfulfilled.

 

For many people, the question is HOW to take care of the big rocks. Here are a few tips suggestions on how to fill your schedule with your biggest priorities first (your big rocks), so that you’re able to work on more meaningful, exciting, and challenging projects, and take off some of those insignificant and “less filling” projects.

 

Pull out your calendar and start looking ahead to next week. Ask yourself, “What do I need to accomplish in the next 7 days?” Begin by scheduling 1-3 hour chunks of uninterrupted time you need to work on a client presentation, proposal, report, campaign, etc. Then, take a second pass and fill in those smaller yet still important tasks that will take you an hour to complete such as meeting with a customer, making progress on a project, or preparation time for an important meeting. Finally, block off time to complete the smaller initiatives such as doing some on-line research, filling out an expense report, sending out an update memo to your team or senior managers, etc.

 

Now, I’m not suggesting that you just stop showing up for meetings and working on assignments given to you by someone else, but perhaps you can start negotiating your time and projects. Maybe you can say to someone, “I’m sorry that I can’t give you an hour tomorrow, but how about if we meet for 15-minutes, and then if you still need more time we’ll carve out 30-minutes next week.” You’re setting the tone that your time is important and that you have your own set of priorities, but that you’re still a team player.

 

Be protective of your precious time and energy. Negotiate your time so that you can work on those highly valued, highly visible projects that you actually enjoy doing. This doesn’t mean taking on MORE projects and responsibilities while KEEPING the same projects and responsibilities that you already have.

 

Negotiate with managers or clients so that you can get off those lower valued projects, and instead devote your time to projects that allow you to flex your professional muscles, stretch yourself in a new direction, or work on those projects that excite you!

 

You will find that by implementing this simple strategy of owning your schedule, establishing your priorities, and putting your big rocks FIRST, you’ll be more in control of your career, feel more energized, and able to drive your career on the fast track!

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

TIME MANAGEMENT STRATEGY: Drive your schedule, drive your career!

Do you feel undervalued, or bored with your assignments or projects? Then maybe there’s a way you can juggle your calendar to work on more meaningful projects. No, I don’t mean taking on MORE work in addition to your current assignments. I mean juggling your calendar and learning how to negotiate your time so that you’re able to work on more meaningful, exciting, and challenging projects, and taking off some of those insignificant and “less filling” projects.

 

Take a look at your calendar. Is it filled with meetings and projects driven by other people that are their priorities? Or is it filled with projects and initiatives that are your priorities?

 

The key to having an enriching and satisfying career to work on projects that excite, challenge and motivate you. And the first step in doing that is taking ownership of your calendar. You own your schedule – not your manager, nor your clients, nor your partner, nor your kids. It is your schedule, and yours alone to manage, juggle, and prioritize.

 

One of the best career strategies I ever learned was from a teacher who taught me to prioritize my rocks. Let me explain. I was sitting in a training class thinking, “I don’t have TIME to take a class on time management.” I was leading global teams and managing high budget projects so what could I possibly learn? I was feeling overstressed, overwhelmed, and extremely frustrated that I had to waste an hour of my time to attend a training class on such a silly little topic. But something happened in that class that had a permanent effect on the way I manage both my time (and my career!), and I’ve been on the fast track ever since!

 

The instructor sat a large glass jar out on the table and started filling it with large rocks that he pulled out of a box underneath the table. After several minutes, the jar was piled high with these big rocks. Then he asked the class, “Can any more fit into the jar?” A few people said the obvious, “No”.

 

The teacher then pulled out a second box filled with little pebbles that he started dropping into the jar which filled up all the gaps between the larger rocks. Kur plunk, kur plunk, kur plunk. After a few minutes, he looked up and asked the class again, “Can any more fit into the jar?” Someone responded again with an obvious, “No.” He then reached under the table and pulled out a vase filled with sand and started pouring it into the jar filling up all of the tiny little holes.

 

By this time, I was really getting irritated with his 2nd grade analogy that you can always cram more into your schedule. But, that wasn’t his point at all. “The point is,” he said, “that you have to take care of the BIG rocks first.”

 

If you don’t take care of your big rocks, or big initiatives FIRST, then your day will fill up with a bunch of tiny insignificant tasks. And when that happens, you simply won’t have any time to fit in your biggest priorities, and you’ll be left working on less meaningful projects that leave you feeling bored and unfulfilled.

 

Make a commitment today, right now, to put your big rocks first.

 

In my next blog post I will discuss some of the career coaching resources and strategies to help you take care of your big rocks first!

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Take Control of Your Career

If I asked you, “Who is controlling your career?” what would you say? You? Someone else? Nobody?

 

My biggest source of frustration in my own career came about ten years ago, when I’d been laid off because the company I was working for wasn’t doing well financially. I felt that I was at the height of my career, yet the company just laid me off. There wasn’t any notice, just a meeting with my manager, a handshake goodbye, and a check for two weeks pay.

 

My mind was swirling. My world had just been turned upside down. I felt poor.

 

After spending about 3 days in my bath robe sobbing into my bowl of corn flakes (apparently I don’t cook when I’m depressed!), I realized that I couldn’t leave my career (my career!) in the hands of someone else. Like a manager. Or a company.

 

So I began taking more control over my career. I seeked out only those companies that I admired. When I interviewed for a job, I interviewed them. I said things like, “in my next job, I’m looking for a company that…”, and “I’m very goal driven and need to work in a culture…” It wasn’t so much the words I was saying, but a mixture of having career goals, a vision, and assurance that I can do their job that often got me the job offer.

 

If your world has been turned upside down, and you need a little help getting back on your feet – then I’m here to help you.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Blueprint to Your New Career

Now is the time to create the blueprint to your new career. Avoid the attitude that you will do it tomorrow, next week, next month, when your bonus arrives, etc. Be aware that “not now” soon becomes never. The good news is, you can start today, follow these steps, and be well on your way to a new and more meaningful career.

 

Step 1. Let go of the scarcity mindset and GET COMPETITIVE – It’s easy in this economy to adopt a scarcity mindset. The scarcity mindset lives in a world with limited opportunities, wealth and even happiness. When it comes to attaining a new career, those with a scarcity mindset feel overwhelmed and often miss opportunities because they think why bother?

 

Successful professionals embrace the opposite. They believe there are always career opportunities available because there are always companies hiring great talent. Companies cannot survive without employing the best and brightest people so they are always on the lookout for high performers. They understand that someone will be hired for an open position so why NOT them?!

 

In today’s economy, it’s not about applying for jobs – it’s about competing for them. Stop listening to the media telling us how bad things are and make an effort to tune out the dire news regarding the economy. Filter out only useful information from the negative media hype that can cause career paralysis.

 

Step 2. Seek Expert Advice – Chart your course with a professional career coach and don’t attempt to “do it yourself.” Would you conduct your own laser surgery, buy a house without a realtor or represent yourself in court without a lawyer? No, you would hire the best professional available to significantly decrease the risk and increase your success.

 

Earlier in my own career I went to a career coach and it was the smartest thing I ever did. Imagine driving to an unfamiliar place without your GPS or other Google map. Yes, you may eventually get there by winging it, but how many wrong turns would you make along the way? It’s the same in your career. Seek expert advice to help create your blueprint for career success.

 

Step 3. Chart Your Course – For many professionals a successful career translates into having a meaningful and purposeful career. So, what do you need to have an inspiring career? First, ask yourself if you’re working for people who value and appreciate your contributions. Then ask yourself the following: do you have career goals? Do you have a strategy in place to meet each of those goals? Does the work you’re doing excite you? Do you have a manager who supports you? Do you have a strong network of mentors and coaches who can teach you, inspire you, and introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?

 

Everyone has bumps in their career. Everyone. A good career blueprint will help you manage your career more easily through the turbulent times and bounce back quicker. That means you are proactive (vs. reactive) in driving your career, you always have career choices available, you know how to leverage your transferable skills so that you can quickly and easily change job roles or industries, and you know how to use available resources to seek out and compete for career opportunities.

 

Don’t let our current economy stall your career. Make up your mind to get into a career where you can thrive with employers who value and appreciate you. Then, follow the three steps: think of competing, not scarcity. Seek expert advice. And create your blueprint to a more meaningful and inspiring career.

 

If you’d like more tips to advance your career, visit our website for career tools, resources, and coaching support.

 

You can get all of my great career strategies to reinvent your career in my upcoming Career Change Bootcamp. Right now I’m sharing a special holiday savings of 25-percent off when you sign up before December 31st!

Are you getting paid what you’re worth?

Let’s face it, your paycheck has a direct impact on your quality of life. Yes, having a good boss, challenging work, and clients who pay on time are critical factors in your overall job satisfaction, but your salary, health benefits, 401k plan, and bonuses can tip your overall job satisfaction scale from being “very satisfied” in your current work situation to “I really got to get a new job RIGHT NOW!!”

 

So how can you know if you’re getting paid what you are worth, and how can you negotiate a better salary?

 

Your salary is determined by three factors.

 

First, the company you work for. There are some companies who are known for paying their employees a beefy salary and benefits package. Fortune Magazine recently compiled a list of top paying companies.

 

If the company you work for is not on the list, don’t worry. You might still be making a healthy salary based on your peers within the company, and even the industry. I recently spoke with Fred Cooper, compensation expert for a Fortune 100 company who gave some great strategies for determining your value in today’s marketplace. So the question is —
How do you know if you’re on the high end or low end of the market’s going rate?

 

Cooper said that there are two key factors that determine your salary. One is what the market is currently paying for your skills, experience and areas of expertise. The other is the company’s internal salary policies and practices.

 

“Research is key,” says Cooper. “You must determine the value of the job that you currently have or want. There are a number of salary surveys where jobs are priced that can give you a salary range for the work as identified in the job summary or job description. Make sure that when you start your salary survey that you have a good job description and understanding of the job you are comparing. Do not use job titles for comparisons but get in to the duties and responsibilities of the work being performed.”

 

“For example,” Cooper explained, “an ‘accountant’ for one company may be a true accountant while for another, the title may be applied to accounting clerks, financial assistants or others performing ‘accounting support’ work. Combining salary ranges in this instance would not provide a true sense of the market value.”

 

Before you go in to negotiate your salary with your new employer, be sure to schedule a career coaching session with me to help ensure you receive the best salary & benefits package possible! It’s a small investment to make compared to what you could be losing out on if you aren’t properly prepared.

 

In my next blog post I will share some of the best tools and web sites to help you with your research.