Year End Career Essentials

thumbtcksmalltltd

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

 As you wrap up this year and prepare for the next, remember these essential career tasks:

  1. Accomplishments. Make a list of your quantifiable career accomplishments during 2015. Include metrics—percentage, dollars, time. For example, “Reduced customer inquiry response time by 50% through work flow improvement,” or “Increased territory sales by 25%.”

Think about your accomplishments in terms of the value you added to your employer’s business: time saved, expense reduced, revenue generated or risk averted.

  1. Skills. How have you developed your skills in the past year? Note what classes, webinars in-service training programs or other educational offerings you completed. If you attended conferences, workshops, seminars or professional association meetings, list the topics you covered.

As with your accomplishments, the focus is on how you used your enhanced skills to contribute to the business. How did you apply your new skills productively?

  1. Recognition. During 2015, for what did your manager recognize you? This might have been formal recognition, such as an award or prize, or it might have been noted in your performance review. Consider this question: “For what are you known in your workplace?”

 

  1. Social Media Network Updates. Review your connections on LinkedIn and Facebook or other social media you use for career development. Have you expanded your network based on clear goals for enhancing your professional relationships?

Too many careerists ignore their online networks. They create an account and then forget about it until they need connections to help with introductions or job leads. Don’t be that person!

Your LinkedIn and Twitter profiles should be updated at least once a year. This is a great time to incorporate some of the accomplishments, skills and recognition to provide a fresh look at how you’ve developed in the past 12 months.

  1. Look Forward. The New Year is a good time to set your career development goals. What new skills will complement your current profile? What problems in your industry would you like to solve and how would you go about doing so?

Stretch a bit beyond your comfort zone to set ambitious and challenging goals. Feel a healthy level of stress about reaching your new dream. Be both reasonable and optimistic.

 Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

December Job Search Tips

Now Hiring Computer Message Showing Online Or Internet Jobs

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Contrary to this popular career myth, December is an excellent time to search for your next great job.

There’s a common misperception that employers aren’t hiring in December because they’re too busy with their end-of-year processes or everyone’s on vacation. Not so!

Less competition

You can benefit from this common career myth by actively engaging in your job search while the ranks are thinned by those who believe nothing is going to happen during the final month of the year. With less competition, it’s the perfect time to shine.

Work continues

Employers hire because there’s work to be done in their company. Unless the company’s business cycle is seasonal, the need for quality employees continues through the holidays.

Annual budgets expire

For some employers, the annual budget cycle ends in December and the money allocated for the current year isn’t carried over to the next. Managers in those companies and government entities understand that they’re likely to lose the budgeted dollars in the next year if they aren’t committed. If the work load justifies a position, the manager doesn’t want to lose the resources to pay for it and will try to fill the position by year-end.

Networking opportunities abound

Get out there and mingle in the professional world with holiday gatherings and charity events that are prevalent during December. Meet people who are engaged in your field and begin to build or enhance your business relationships. Remember, more than 70% of positions are filled without ever being advertised. Networking works if you work it well.

Follow-up

The holidays offer an opportunity for you to follow-up with people you’ve overlooked in your professional network. Connect with them and raise your visibility again. If you can identify an unmet need of theirs, do what you can to fill it: introduce them to someone who meets their current need, provide a testimonial or recommendation (Google, Yelp, LinkedIn), share an article or video addressing a problem common to their industry.

Volunteer

Whether for your professional association or a community service organization, use this time to become engaged in giving back. Your experience will make a strong addition to your résumé and if you’re working with others, it’s a chance to expand your network.

December offers many opportunities to build on established connections and to create new ones. Enjoy the season and always be nurturing your professional network.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

 

5 Ways to Increase Work Satisfaction

Young businesswoman showing thumb up     Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

 

When I work with a career coaching client and they find a job they love, it makes me more satisfied with my own work. I often have the privilege of helping talented and delightful people identify the work they would most love to do and plotting a strategy for achieving that goal. It’s the best job in the world for me!

If you’re not feeling as good about your job, here are five ways to increase your personal satisfaction.

  1. What gives you meaning and personal satisfaction? If you don’t take the time to recognize what makes you come alive and feel great about what you’re doing, you’ll end up running in circles, like a dog chasing its tail. This step is necessary for setting direction and goals in your work-life.

As the Cheshire Cat says in Alice in Wonderland, “If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there.”

  1. How much control of your time do you want? For some people, flexibility is more important that title or money. If that’s your need, look for the opportunity to build in the flexibility to modify your schedule or to work remotely as needed.

Flexible schedules are not yet the norm for American workers so if you need control of your time, build a strong justification for your manager to allow you to modify your work time.

Be prepared to give up something for the flexibility you want. That something else might be a title, status, money or benefits.

  1. How can learning increase your job satisfaction? Are there new technologies in your field? Is your industry undergoing transition? What’s happening in your local marketplace?

Learning requires you to step out of your comfort zone. Allow yourself to be unsettled for a bit in order to gain greater insight into your work and the environment.

What can your co-workers teach you? Allowing someone else to be the most knowledgeable person in the room can build a strong collegial relationship, which in turn leads to greater happiness in the work place.

  1. What can you teach others? Whether within your own company, a professional group or a community college classroom, when you help others learn what you know, there’s a psychological reward for you.
  1. What’s the point? Why does your employer do what they do? What’s the mission driving the daily work? Who benefits from the product or service and how?

Connecting to the purpose or mission of the company and recognizing how you’re solving a problem for your customers can lead to a greater sense of connection and satisfaction.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

What’s the Difference between Your Talent and Your Skills?

3D Skill Talent Crossword on white background

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

This question has come up in a few client conversations recently, so I’m taking this opportunity to elaborate on the distinction between natural talents and skills. It’s an important distinction, whether you’re managing a team, considering an employer or figuring out your career sweet spot.

Natural Talent

Many traits are casually (and often, incorrectly) attributed to natural talent. You’ve probably heard someone described as, “a natural born salesperson” or something similar. That kind of labeling can be either encouraging or disheartening, depending on which side of the assessment you’re on.

Natural talents are often called character strengths, the pattern of naturally occurring thoughts, feelings and behavior. These are developed early in life, a combination of genetics and learning, and go by labels such as creative, analytical, industrious, excellence and critical thinking. These talents provide a particular perspective that generates certain feelings and behaviors.

For example, one of my character strengths is known as industry and it’s described in the VIA Character Strengths profile as a hard worker who finishes work in a timely fashion and who takes satisfaction in completing tasks. That’s a great description of me, whether in my work realm or personal life. I don’t rest until I’ve finished whatever I’ve committed to do. It’s not that I think someone will think badly of me if I don’t, it’s just that I feel better when I listen to that internal driver. I can’t really pinpoint where that comes from, but it’s consistent throughout my life.

One characteristics of natural talent is that it shows up in all parts of life: career, leisure, family relationships, social engagement or any other role.

Talents are enduring, meaning they change very little over the course of a lifetime. They may shift a little but once developed, they’re unlikely to disappear.

Skills

These aspects of performance are built on the basis of a specific body of knowledge and time spent practicing. The skill to hit a tennis ball or to cook a delicious meal is something one learns from exposure to the science behind these skills and the repeated practice of the correct steps.

Skills are learned. When skills are aligned with natural talent, they are easier to learn, but one can usually learn some processes and routines outside of their innate preferences.

So What?

When a manager or leader identifies a poor performing employee, it’s useful to determine whether the gap is in talent or skill. If it’s a skill deficit, learning to perform tasks better is an option; if it’s a talent deficit, a new assignment is more likely required.

Again, using myself as an example, I know that I am error-prone and anxious when I’m handling financial tasks, like bookkeeping. I have learned enough through study and practice to be able to handle routine tasks, but it takes me longer to pick up skills in financial matters than in other fields. Knowing the difference between natural talent and learned skills, I decline the offer when I’m asked to work in a bookkeeping or financial role.

Understanding your natural talents and how to build skills within that realm can help you find a great work-life, one that feels satisfying to you and adds value for your employer or your company. It’s like sailing with the wind, rather than fighting it.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

Considering Company Culture from the Candidate’s Perspective

 

 

Group of business partners discussing ideas and planning work in office

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Human Resource professionals and hiring managers are advised to consider how a candidate will fit with the company culture before extending a job offer. Experience and qualifications are important, but cultural fit has become an unspoken criterion for new hires.

Thinking about the culture question, I recalled my personal experiences in relocating. I moved from Portland, Oregon, to San Francisco, California. Both are wonderful West Coast cities, but different in several ways. When I began working in San Francisco and meeting people through social events, the conversations often started with a comment and question something like, “Practically no one is from here, so where did you come from?” I always felt included and welcomed when added to the pool of people migrating to “The City” as it was known locally.

A few years later, my career took me to Reno, Nevada, and in my initial conversations with people I was surprised when I was told, “Oh, you’re new here—I’m a third (or fourth or fifth) generation Nevadan.” In the beginning, I thought that comment was a way of marking territory against an invader. After 15 years, I’ve learned it’s not meant to be exclusionary, but it’s a source of pride to be a long-timer in the Silver State.

My experiences entering a new community are similar to that of a new employee joining a company. It’s best to know what you’re getting in to before committing.

Assessing company culture

I encourage job seekers to consider the values and expectations of any company they might want to work for, along with their qualifications for the position. When the cultural fit is bad, it’s bad for everyone involved.

To assess the cultural fit, begin by writing down the things that are important to you about your future employer. How structured do you want your job to be? What will make you comfortable enough to do your best work?

Here are a few considerations about company culture and how it might (or might not) fit for you:

  • What matters most in this company? What traits and behaviors have been rewarded with promotions?
  • How is conflict handled? Is it openly addressed and resolved or pushed aside and not talked about?
  • How does the company (or department) respond to change? Do they lead change creatively? Wait until there’s no other option and modify only as much as required to survive? Something in between?
  • Do people socialize outside of work? Are friendships encouraged or discouraged?
  • How much interaction with clients is normal? With co-workers? With company leaders?
  • Is the tendency toward adaptability or structure?
  • How are new hires introduced to the company (department)?
  • What does the office (plant, factory, other facility) look like on Friday afternoon? On Monday morning?

You’ll undoubtedly have more specific questions that match your criteria for a great place to work. Do your research; get to know your target companies well before you’re invited to interview.

Candidates should be as concerned about the cultural fit as the hiring manager. If you accept a position in a company whose culture is a misfit for your own values and preferences, you’ll be unhappy, and it may even harm your career future.

Choose carefully—fit matters.

Marti Benjamin inspires great work-lives in her career coaching and résumé writing business. Enjoying the best possible job in the world for herself, she guides her clients to find the work that fits them perfectly. Her systems have led clients from fed-up and frustrated to fulfilled in their work-life. www.CareerFromHere.com

 

Social Icons Social Icons Social Icons Social Icons Career From Here, Marti Benjamin and Business Energetix Success Coaching Career From Here, Marti Benjamin and Business Energetix Success Coaching Career From Here, Marti Benjamin and Business Energetix Success Coaching