Happy Labor Day!

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

In the United States and Canada, we celebrate Labor Day (or Labour Day) on the first Monday in September, this year, the 7th. The holiday was originally created to recognize the efforts and contributions of workers, but now it’s become a time to enjoy the last few days of summer vacation season. Whatever your reason for celebrating, I hope you’ll enjoy it.

Why work?

One of my favorite coaching questions when I begin with a new career coaching client is this: If money were no object and you knew you couldn’t fail what work would you do choose?

When both the financial incentive and the fear of failure are removed, we can view work as an effort to achieve other goals, such as personal satisfaction or service to a particular group of people or issues. Digging into this question often reveals a passion for a specific occupation or perhaps, entrepreneurship.

Choosing work that motivates you while also earning you a living is one of the best ways to enrich your life enjoyment. “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” –Theodore Roosevelt (in The Art of Motivating Employees)

Why do you work? Would a different type of work be more fulfilling? Make the change necessary to find the reward President Theodore Roosevelt described—working hard at work worth doing.

Beyond work

Too much of a good thing is still too much!

I’m one who loves my work and is guilty of letting it encroach on the rest of my life. It’s not unusual for me to think about work projects during my leisure time or to put in long hours to complete something important.

I’ve struggled to accept that I produce better quality when I’m not focused on work to the exclusion of other satisfying pursuits like reading, writing, being with friends and enjoying the outdoors. As much as I don’t like to admit it, the quality of my output declines when I put in unreasonably long hours. Quantity comes at the expense of quality.

Recent articles in the business press describe workplaces that expect employees to place their job above all else and to sacrifice proven healthy living practices and family priorities in favor of more work hours. There are some workers who willingly make those trade-offs, seeking higher financial rewards, but for most, the pay-off soon becomes inadequate.

We aren’t work machines. We need rest, recreation, nutrition, positive relationships and a sense of meaning and purpose in our lives in order to operate at our highest and best level.

As the Labor Day holiday approaches, I hope you’ll reflect on the ways in which your work enriches your life. And, remember to take time to catch your breath, renew your energy and make a difference to those around you.

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

 

 

 

 

 

The Future of Work: How Ready are You?

balanceworklife

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

I wish I had a crystal ball so I could predict the future of the workplace and offer my clients a glimpse of what they’ll need to be prepared for. As I scan the horizon—read what futurists predict, imagine the extension of current trends and identify some unmet needs—it’s easy to forecast a few changes in business that I think will impact all of us.

Boundaries between work and non-work

We’ve seen those boundaries blur over the past few years and there’s no reason to believe the workplace will suddenly revert back to a tidy little container defined by your hours in the office. In spite of some hearty nostalgia for the past, I expect to see more work being done on smart phones and other devices in the hours not usually considered regular business hours.

The upside of this situation is greater flexibility. Perhaps that fluid boundary will allow parents to volunteer in their child’s classroom and learn more about his/her school life; perhaps children of aging parents will be able to attend medical appointments and understand more fully what their family member needs to thrive.

The greater willingness to modify rigid work demands might allow for working from home on occasion or even working remotely all the time. Advances in communications technology have allowed for working whenever, wherever…for better or worse.

New business models

Companies are considering contractors, part-time workers, consultants and temps to cover workload they may not yet see as core to their business. Even some mainstay functions, such as sales and accounting, are being covered by someone who wants greater flexibility in their work-life and is willing to trade the security of a full-time position for the benefit of greater control of their schedule.

More and more work is being completed through projects and for workers who crave change and variety in their work tasks, this trend can be a great fit. Workers can specialize in certain aspects of a project or a particular industry and move from one work setting to another.

Every job is temporary

As frightening as that might be, business demands change so rapidly that the successful enterprise must bob and weave to keep up. That often means changing the staffing model drastically. The Great Recession taught us that people who had always felt safe and secure in their employment, weren’t!

If you assume your job is temporary, it makes sense to always be learning what the next job will demand. If your occupation or profession doesn’t require continuing education, you can be sure that the marketplace will. Lift your head up, look around and see what your company, industry and region are doing today that foretells change. If seeing the big picture isn’t your strength, subscribe to blogs and follow talented futurists on social media to glean the knowledge you need to prepare for the future.

The transferrable skills needed to move from one role to another are less about subject matter and more about thinking skills and getting along: critical thinking, creativity, systems thinking, communication and optimism. And, perhaps the most important skill of all: learning to continually learn.

Who’s in charge here?

The baby-boomer generation is not retiring in the way their parents did. They’re working longer, but not necessarily at the same level. Encore careers might be entrepreneurial, part-time, contract, project-based or consultative. These more experienced workers aren’t going away, but they’re changing the terms under which they work, just as they’ve negotiated everything they’ve encountered in life.

Management positions will change as the GenX and GenY leaders take their place at the head of the department or business function. These younger workers are more fluent with technology and will find ways to use it extensively. Replacing full-time employees for routine tasks? Creating new work routines based on common scenarios? Outsourcing? Project-based reporting structures (i.e., this boss today, a different one tomorrow)? All of these are distinct possibilities in the new workplace, under the new leadership.

If I were to summarize all the changes I see in the workplace of the future, my advice for everyone would be this: Take 100% responsibility for your career. You have to know what’s going on and pro-actively prepare so you aren’t left behind. It takes a different mindset to own your career. Adopt it now and learn your way to a great work-life.

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

 

Working with a Recruiter

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, PCC

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Many professional, technical and managerial candidates realize the importance of recruiters in their career management strategy, but are unaware of how to utilize these powerful connections. I’ve never worked as a recruiter but I know several talent acquisition professionals and I’ve learned about their priorities and processes. Hopefully, I can help you see the job matching process from their perspective and with that insight, you can find ways to develop beneficial relationships with recruiters in your field or target employer.

Follow the money!

Professional recruiters are paid by the employer. There are companies that charge candidates to shop their résumé, but these companies are generally less successful in placing candidates in the jobs they want to be in. Most job seekers don’t need to resort to paying a fee to find a way into their target employer.

A recruiter gets paid only when he/she successfully identifies the candidate chosen for a position an employer is trying to fill. This explains why the recruiter’s priority is to source applicants for positions under contract right now, not something that might arise in the future. He or she needs to deliver on the promises to current clients as well as possible or the possibility of future work is diminished.

Don’t take it personally when a recruiter doesn’t call you back promptly or sends you a brief email saying, “I don’t have anything that fits your profile at this time. I’ll keep your résumé on file and contact you if I have a suitable position in the future.” The best recruiters want a data base with qualified candidates but they’re unlikely to take much time out of their daily schedule to talk with prospects. That conversation will come when there’s an actual, active position in play for which you are qualified.

Being found

Finding high quality talent is the biggest challenge for both internal (those employed by the company) and external (those outside of the employer organization) recruiters. Social professional networks are now the #1 source for quality hires according to several recent industry studies. If you want a recruiter to find you, improve your social media presence with a complete LinkedIn profile (still the dominant player in social media recruiting) and Facebook. Build your online professional network and manage your professional image.

About 75% of candidates identified by talent acquisition specialists aren’t actively looking for a new position, but are open to talking with a recruiter. These candidates are called “passive” talent. Small businesses are highly focused on this pool of candidates, while larger employers still reach quality talent with their own website.

Some employers also reward their employees for referring qualified candidates for open positions. Use your professional network to identify connections within your target employer and talk with those individuals about whether their company offers them an incentive to identify quality prospective employees. If so, you’ll both benefit if you’re selected for the position.

Which recruiter?

Some recruiters specialize by industry or business function—information technology, health care, finance, manufacturing, sales, etc. Ask your colleagues and professional associates if they’ve worked with a specialized recruiter and if so, will they introduce you.

These specialty recruiters have a greater, in-depth knowledge of the requirements of the field and the key players.

I hope this information about recruiters will help you develop and execute your career management strategy. If you have questions or suggestions, please leave them in the comment section.

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

 

Are You Ready for a Great Job Offer?

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, Professional Certified Coach

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Imagine this scenario. Your cell phone rings and it’s a former colleague you haven’t spoken with for a few months. After catching up a bit she says, “Are you still interested in a job with the company I work for?”

This is your dream employer; you’ve done your homework and understand the company culture, the leadership philosophy, the compensation structure and their mission. It’s a perfect fit!

“Yes, of course I’m interested,” you reply excitedly.

She proceeds to explain a position that’s about to be announced and it’s your perfect job—exactly what you’d like to be doing, in this company that fits your values and preferences perfectly.

And then she says, “Great! Send me your résumé and I’ll deliver it to the hiring manager along with my recommendation. Get it to me right away because they’ll be posting the position in a day or two unless they find the right person before that.”

Did your chest just tighten and your brain turn to mush? Did a little panic set in as you tried to remember where you last saw your résumé?

Unfortunately, this scenario plays out dozens of times each day. If you’re one of the people who doesn’t keep your résumé up to date at all times, you’re setting yourself up for missed opportunities.

Why should you always have a current résumé?

  1. More than 75% of positions are never posted. These jobs are filled by people who can respond in a timely manner when they’re alerted to an attractive position. They can get in front of the hiring manager before other candidates even know there’s an opening.
  2. Many employers reward their employees for referring suitable candidates. Your colleague stands to benefit, both monetarily and in status, by recommending you if you’re chosen. You’ll strengthen your connection by responding quickly to your friend’s request.
  3. If you can’t respond quickly, you lose the “first in” advantage. Once the hiring manager is swamped with applications and recommendations, it’s harder to stand out as the one to beat.

I suggest that you set a date every month or quarter to jot down notes of your achievements. Keep track of the projects you’ve completed and your quantifiable accomplishments. Don’t put this off until you need your résumé; you’ll probably forget important points.

Either update your résumé yourself or have your Career Communication writer do so, at least once a year. Capture your achievements and new, relevant skills acquired. Consider whether the summary statement or headline still fits with your career direction; is there a tweak that would place you in a stronger position to compete for your dream job?

If you’d like to have a professional critique of your current résumé, remember that we offer that service at no charge at Career From Here. Visit Career From Hereto submit your résumé and ask for a free review.

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

 

CareerComm: Career Communication Tools You Need Now

Career Myths and Mysteries

Marti Benjamin, MBA, Professional Certified Coach

Certified Career Management Coach | Certified Professional Résumé Writer

Managing a 21st century career requires a current set of tools. You need a portfolio of career communication documents to showcase your accomplishments and potential.

Most likely you’re competing with people who have credentials as strong as yours and appealing to a hiring manager with very little time to translate your past experience into the language of his/her needs. You have to tell your target employer why you are the best choice for adding value to the business. Anything less leaves you in the “also ran” category.

Résumé

Research your target employer(s) and identify the position for which you are the ideal candidate. Use that position posting to identify the keywords describing qualified applicants. For example, a recent posting for an accountant described the major challenge of the position as working with customers in response to financial issues. If I were writing a résumé for a candidate for this position, I’d make sure I highlighted customer relationships along with the normal accounting functions of journal entries, reconciliation and analysis.

Don’t let a sense of humility keep you from claiming credit for your accomplishments! Your future employer needs to know what you’ve done to increase a company’s value—tell them clearly and concisely, using quantifiable measures as much as possible.

Branded Identity

Your goal is not to just be determined qualified, but to stand out as the best candidate for the position. To do so, you need to articulate what makes you uniquely well suited to the job. If you can’t, perhaps you’re not targeting the right position.

Success Stories

Showcase your talent with a few success stories. This document can be used as a tool in your interview, as a leave-behind document or as a follow-up email sent to the hiring manager. Success stories describe a business situation, the action you took to improve it and the results attained. We refer to this as the SAR formula: Situation, Action, Results.

Marketing Brief

In orchestrating your career campaign, you’ll need a document to let your professional network know what you can do so they’ll think of you when they hear about job opportunities. A marketing brief highlights your skills and accomplishments and reminds your connections how you’ve helped your previous employers succeed.

Social Media Profiles

Expect your potential future employer to check out your social media presence at some point in the process of considering your application. Recruiters will usually check your LinkedIn profile and other social media postings to see what they can learn about you in addition to your résumé or application.

Your online presence is part of your branding, whether you intend it to be or not. It should support your claims of knowledge and expertise, without duplicating your résumé and other CareerComm materials.

At Career From Here, we specialize in developing branded and coordinated CareerComm. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you with your campaign for a great job, visit our website CareerFromHere.com and contact us to schedule a free 30-minute CareerComm consultation.

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

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