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!

What is your personal brand saying to others?

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. That means that 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.

 

So if you’d like to get into a career that actually inspires you to get out of bed in the morning, then a good place to start is by polishing up your personal brand.

 

* 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 sync. Send a crystal clear message that focuses on the value 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.

 

* 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.

 

* 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.

 

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. “CAREER SMART-5 Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand” can help you find YOUR personal brand.

Be in a career that excites and energizes you, and makes you proud

I received an e-mail that made my heart sink. It was from someone I didn’t know who said that his career had sunk so low that he couldn’t even look at himself in the mirror anymore.

 

I could see from his resume that he was a senior high tech developer, had an MBA, and was an adjunct lecturer for a well known university. So how could someone who clearly has such great discipline, training, and skills be at such a low point in his career?

 

I’m sharing this because I don’t want YOU to ever be in this situation. I want you to be in a career that excites and energizes you, and makes you proud.

 

If your career is making you feel unmotivated, and undervalued, then make a commitment to yourself to change jobs. Yes, change is scary, but sometimes the thought of NOT changing and staying in your job long term can be even more terrifying.

 

Take the first step in making a career change by building a strong support system around you. Talk to others who inspire, motivate you, or can teach you how to get into the job you really want. Find mentors and a career coach who can give you tools and resources to help you make a career change quickly and easily. (Even Tiger Woods has three (3) professional coaches helping him advance his career.)

 

Life’s too short to stay in a career that disappoints you. Get determined to work for an organization that values and appreciates all that you have to offer. Not only will you have a more enriching career, but you’ll have a more enriching life. And you’ll actually enjoy looking at your beautiful self in the mirror.

How to Sample a New Career

Career sampling is a great way to test drive a new career without investing a lot of time, or risking your paycheck. Here are three great strategies to help you determine if a new career is right for you…

  • Take on an extended assignment. Look across all the departments within your current organization to see if there are any projects or teams that interest you. Many times managers and project leaders jump at the chance to have someone join their team – even if that person doesn’t have any experience. This is a great way to test the waters of a new career.

    Also, are there any external initiatives that inspire you? Many companies have community programs and special events that you may be able to support. Finally, talk to your manager, peers and other department managers to see which professional and civic organizations they’re involved in. Take advantage of opportunities that could help you learn about new industries or job roles.

  • Try freelancing or consulting. If you’re thinking about owning your own business, try setting up shop first as a freelancer or consultant. You’ll be able to set your own hours, develop your business plan and gain some experience before investing all of your time, money and energy full time. It’s also a great way to earn some extra cash!

Why Should You Try Career Sampling?

Everyone has bad days at work, but if your bad day stretches to a hundred bad days(!) then you may want to start shaking things up a bit.

 

Twice during my own career I found myself in a frustrating and unchallenging job and stayed longer than I should have. Mostly because I was delusional and thought that if I proved my loyalty and stayed with the company long enough they’d reward me with a “new and improved” job, (did I mention the delusional part?), but also because I was afraid of trying something new, and potentially failing.

 

If you’re in a similar situation and the thought of charting into unknown career territory makes you want to curl up under your office cube, then you may want to try career sampling – the art of dipping your toe into a pool of new career opportunities, before diving in head first.

 

One idea on how to try career sampling is work part-time. It’s a great way to test drive transitioning in a new job role, company or industry is to start out part time. Investing a little time up front to take on a part-time position is a much better strategy than investing all your time and realizing you’ve made a bad career choice.

 

If you think you don’t have the right experience, a great attitude and eagerness to learn can help get your foot in the door. And once you start proving yourself and showing results, a promotion to a full time position could be just around the corner!

3 Career Tips to Change Jobs

Getting a Raise in a Tough Economy

For those professionals employed right now, you may be wondering if getting a promotion, pay raise, or increased perks are even possible given this tough economy. The answer is “yes!” If you’ve added value and achieved results for the company in the past 12 months, then follow these five key strategies to help beef up your paycheck –

 

1. Focus on results. Many professionals make the mistake of focusing on how hard they’ve worked during the past year. Instead, you need to focus on results. State what you’ve accomplished to help the company save money, or generate new revenue.

 

For example, you may be able to say that you helped launch a new product that resulted in a 2-percent increase in market share. Or, that you implemented a new technology that saved the company $20-thousand a year.

 

Those are REAL results that prove you’re adding value to the company’s bottom line. When you’re able to build a strong business case and prove that you’re adding value to a company, you’re much more likely to be financially rewarded.

 

2. Work with your manager. Many times, people see their manager as someone who stops them from getting a raise, when realistically your boss is your greatest ally.

 

The key is to get as much face time with your manager as possible, preferably weekly one-on-one meetings. Focus on the results your achieving, as well as making sure that expectations are aligned and that you’re providing value on the right kinds of initiatives.

 

Also, when you meet for your year-end performance review, you can focus on what you’ve accomplished over the past 12 months (which is what most people do), but you should also set a vision of what you will be accomplishing in the next six months. This shows that you’re a forward thinker, committed to the company, and that you’re going to continue adding value to help the company be successful.

 

3. Clearly identify what you want. If you’re working for a company that’s doing well, then by all means you should ask for a raise! But if you’re like most professionals working for a company that’s struggling to stay afloat, then a pay raise may not be realistic.

 

Think outside the box of other perks that you could negotiate for yourself such as a few more vacation days, one day a week to work from home, or access to the company’s box seats at the next sporting event. There are always perks you can negotiate.

 

Identify what you really want, clearly ask for it, and then make sure you walk away from the conversation with at least one great win for yourself!

 

4. Keep a good attitude. Right now it’s a pretty tough environment to get a raise so don’t get discouraged if your manager tells you “no”. Keep a good attitude and respond positively no matter what.

 

A good friend of mine Laura Browne, author of “Raise Rules for Women” states, “The goal is to position yourself favorably so that when the economy turns around and the company starts making money, you’ll be the first in line to get a raise.”

 

5. Set yourself up for success. If your manager turns down your request for a raise, a smart response is to simply say, “Help me understand what I would need to do to get a raise.” Try to get a clear action plan of next steps including priorities, goals, and milestones that will set you up for success. Then, make sure you follow-up by meeting with your manager every week, or at minimum every other week, to get feedback and help you stay on track.

 

All companies want to keep great employees. So no matter what the economy is doing, you should always prove how you’re adding value to the company and at least ask for a pay increase. When you demonstrate that you consistently add to a company’s bottom line, more than likely they’ll do everything in their power to keep you on board.

10 Tips to a Fast Career Change

It’s true that the economy and the job market aren’t doing well, BUT companies are still hiring! Just check out theLadders.com, and your local Business Journal for a list of companies looking to add great talent to their line-up.

It’s not enough these days to put your resume up on Monster.com and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. You have to work at finding a job, and making yourself stand out from your competition. So to help move into a new job fast, here are ten (10) career change success strategies. (The first five were covered in a previous blog post Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies. Below are strategies 6 through 10… put them all together and you have 10 simple yet effective career success tips.

6. Network strategically. Many people don’t enjoy networking. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and you don’t know what to say! So here’s a tip – when you meet someone who could potentially hire you (or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you), be sure to talk about the kind of work you enjoy doing, and the results you’ve achieved for other companies.

For example, you could say something like, “I like to create marketing campaigns that include TV and radio ads. In fact, the last campaign I worked on generated a 4% increase in sales for the customer!”

7. Power up your resume. Customize your resume for every job you apply for. Yes, it’s a pain, but it works! Showcase those skills and requirements that are listed in the job description. Think of it this way, the hiring manager doesn’t want to know about every skill you have – they only want to know if you have the skills to do their job.

If you don’t meet every requirement listed in the job description – don’t worry! Very few people do. A great rule of thumb is to match at least 60-percent of the requirements. If you can do that – then I say to “go for it!”

8. Focus on results! On your resume, in your interviews, and in your networking opportunities – instead of focusing on responsibilities, talk about your achievements. Also, try to quantify your achievements with a number, dollar, or percentage.

For example, don’t just say that you managed a team of 9 people in the sales department. Instead, say that you led a sales team that generated $250,000 a year for the past 3 years! This says that you take your job seriously, and take your career seriously!

9. Interview smart. Everyone dreads the big question, “What are your weaknesses?” The best way to answer this question is to identify an area that you’re already working on, and say what you’re doing to strengthen that area.

For example, if the job calls for someone who can create PowerPoint presentations and you don’t know how to do that – then maybe you could say something like, “I want to learn more about how to create PowerPoint presentations so I’m taking the Microsoft on-line training course.” But of course, only say that if you’re actually doing it!

10. If you’re stuck – get professional help! Never let your career sit on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then get help. Invest a couple hundred dollars in some professional advice wherever you need it –

 

Great companies are ALWAYS looking to hire great talent – and that means you! So, if you’re serious about getting into a new career, then follow these five tips, power up your confidence, and believe in yourself! You’ll significantly increase your chances of getting hired, and decrease the time it takes you to move into your new job!

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Online degrees, like the information assurance masters degree, could help you acquire the right knowledge for a successful career change, without sacrificing your valuable time.

——————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies

The job market is a little dicey these days, and you need to be career savvy in order to keep your job, or get into a new one.

 

So how can you bullet proof your career so that you stay in high demand with people who could potentially hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?

 

A new client I’ll call “Shawn” recently called me and said that he had gone through a change in management which resulted in losing his 7-year position as a Leading Program Manager of a prestigious high tech company.

 

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 IT department for another company. After talking for a few minutes, it became painfully clear why Shawn wasn’t able to get back on his career path.

 

1. Keep yourself marketable. Shawn shared that the high tech industry was starting to require a project management certification for project and program managers. However, Shawn wasn’t stepping up to get the required training.

 

What he WANTED was to get re-hired as a Program Manager, and then have the new company pay for his certification. What he GOT was two years sitting on the bench without a job.

 

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. Instead, seek out opportunities to keep yourself marketable. Use your “in-between” jobs time to get advanced training and education to help advance your career. Consider expanding your skill set by freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or at minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible, expand your network, and keep yourself marketable.

 

2. Fish where the fish are. Another mistake Shawn was making was not having a solid job search strategy. 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.

 

Start attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Also, join professional networking sites such as LinkedIn.com (you can connect to me!) 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 those in your network. 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. Consider Hiring a Career Coach. Everyone has career bumps, so it’s completely normal to be stuck sometimes. The important thing is to have a strong support system in place of mentors and career coaches who can offer support and guidance.

 

A great career coach can give you the tools, support, and a step-by-step roadmap to help put your career back on track. Making an investment in a career coach means investing in yourself and your career, and could result in cutting your search time by as much as 50-percent, plus MORE money in your pocket with a higher starting salary.

 

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!

Strategies for Staying Employed Longer (part 2)

In addition to being a jack-of-all-trades, you want to position yourself as an expert or the “go to” person in at least one specialized area. Carve out a niche for yourself. This is how you can become invaluable to an organization.

 

Take one of your natural talents or areas of interest and then learn everything you can through training, books, and mentors. When you become “the source” for information, and share your knowledge freely with others you’re not only helping advance your department, but you’re also making yourself sticky and indispensable to that organization.

 

Be a resource to others. People are the jet fuel behind your career. They can promote you, hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you. The key is to build and nurture a powerful professional network before asking for anything in return such as a plum project, key assignment, job lead, or recommendation.

 

Professionals are naturally drawn to those who are well informed and well connected. Be sure to tell your network about new technologies, events, professional opportunities, and news and information that may interest them. Send out quick e-mails with links to books, white papers, press releases, news articles, or websites.

 

Want more strategies for staying employed longer? http://www.careercoaching360.com/products/