5-Tips for Career Changers

binoculars1. Look at the issues that make you crave change and outline your goals
What are you satisfied with about your current situation? What are you dissatisfied with? Is it your boss or the culture of your organization? Or do you really want to change careers? Outline your goals- for example, more money, more time off or more flexibility. Write it all down.

2. Work to understand your inner critic
Observe thoughts that trap you with fear and prevent you from achieving your objectives. Write these down on a piece of paper, then crumple it up and throw it away to symbolize your freedom from thoughts that interfere with your goals and dreams.

3. Recognize recurring patterns in your life
What makes you happy? What are your recurring interests and social needs? What makes a work environment feel good or not so good to you? Write it down.

4. Network and investigate career interests that map to your goals and needs
Once you’ve identified your patterns and desires, start thinking about careers that make sense for you. Give yourself one to three months to explore your curiosity by finding people who do these jobs and talking about the pros and cons of their work. Explore anything and everything until you’re satisfied — or until your time runs out.

5. Make a plan that takes your financial situation into account
Change is never simple, but having a plan that outlines your steps and financial requirements makes it doable. Will your new career require additional education, a small business loan, time off from work or relocation? Make a plan with financial considerations and a realistic timeline that you can follow through on.

©MWeisner2017

Tips for Effective Networking

MH90043755180% of jobs are unadvertised and found through networking

Whether or not you are currently engaged in a job search, networking is a fundamental activity that should be embraced for numerous reasons. With time at a premium for most working adults, adding more to an already full schedule may feel like another obligation. It’s true that unless there is a clear intention and purpose, attending an event with a general notion of making contacts is unrealistic. It requires a plan.

We recommend the 3-3-3 approach as a minimum goal for any event:
Choose a minimum of 3 people to connect with more than superficially. Listen. How might you help them?
Collect 3-business cards from people you spent time talking to
Call within 3-business days and follow up with another time to meet.

Networking doesn’t always mean carving out hours to connect and make introductions. Technology has created unlimited opportunity to reach out on LinkedIn, Facebook, Classmates, alumni and special interest groups along with many other sites. You can renew relationships with former colleagues, research new interests or connect with people who are doing interesting things.

Joining organizations that are not related to your area of expertise brings you into contact with new people, who don’t know you as (fill in the blank). This is especially helpful in a transition period where you may be looking at a career change. Attend an industry function as a guest to see if that demographic is a good fit. An added bonus is learning more about aeronautics, public relations, marketing or perhaps community theater.

Be curious! You never know how you may be a resource for someone else and likewise, how you can develop broader connections and learn something new in the process.

Tips for Seeking Professional Advice

ask-mdBelow is an excellent piece by Margaret Mofford with tips for not being a leech when seeking professional advice.

“Business people generally think of networking as a mutually beneficial meeting for both parties. But that’s not usually what it is. Far more often, it is one person asking the other for a favor.

I have been a management consultant, business owner and speaker for more than 12 years. Before that, I was a business executive and a trial lawyer. Along the way I have received invaluable advice from others — guidance that educated me and helped me make important professional connections. Because this advice has been such a great help to me, I believe in helping others in the same way, without expecting anything in return.

During the course of a year I receive numerous requests from people I do not know, asking me to network. I respond by meeting at least once a week with someone who is seeking advice on their careers or businesses, either in person or on the phone.

In the course of these meetings, I have come across people who fall under the category of what I call “networking parasites.” These are people who fail to understand that I am giving them information that my regular clients pay for.

I am not alone in this. Doctors, accountants, plumbers, computer experts, lawyers and financial advisers all must deal with people shamelessly asking for meetings, free advice or free services or treatment — without remotely acknowledging that these professionals make their living selling that time and expertise. Over the years, dozens of experts have told me about being accosted at parties and on airplanes by strangers who ask for a free consultation under the guise of “conversation.”

Surely you do not want to be the kind of person who antagonizes professionals in this way. So here are some tips to help you avoid becoming a networking parasite.

Make the meeting convenient. Ask for time frames that would work well, and meet at a place that is convenient for them, even if you have to drive across town. If they leave it up to you, give them three options and let them pick the one that works best.
Recently, someone asked me to meet him for coffee, and I told him I could make “just about anything work” on a particular Friday. He responded with, “I like to start my day early, so let’s meet for coffee near your office at 6 a.m.” I wrote back that 6 a.m. was too early, to which he responded, “O.K. Let’s make it 7 a.m.” If you want me to pull out all the stops for you, this is not the way to start.

Buy their coffee or meal. Insist on doing this as a sign of how valuable you consider their time and advice. If you are on a tight budget, ask them to coffee, but insist on paying for it by saying, “This is a huge favor to me, so please let me do this small thing for you.” If you can manage it financially, try to meet for drinks or dinner after work. You will get more of their attention if you are not sandwiched in during their day.

Go with a prepared list of questions. People whose advice is worth seeking are busy. They don’t have time to sit through your stream-of-consciousness thoughts. Figure out in advance what information you want from them, and send your list ahead of time so they can be thinking about the answers.

Don’t argue about their advice or point out why it wouldn’t work for you. You can ask for clarification by finding out how they would handle a particular concern you have, but don’t go beyond that. You get to decide whether or not to use their advice.

Don’t ask for intellectual property or materials. I am amazed at the number of people who ask for copies of my PowerPoint presentations and seminar materials to use in their organization, with no understanding that these materials are original and copyrighted — and how I make my living.

Never ask for any written follow-up. It is your job to take good notes during your meeting, not their job to send you bullet points after the meeting. No one should get homework after agreeing to help someone.

Spend time at the end of the meeting finding out what you can do for them. Do you know anyone who could use their services, or who would make a good professional connection? At the very least, consider writing a recommendation for them on LinkedIn.

Always thank them more than once. Thank them at the end of the meeting, expressing your appreciation for the time they have spent with you. Follow up with a handwritten note — not an email or a text.

Do not refer others to the same expert. I just helped someone (whom I didn’t know well) polish her résumé and craft her job-search pitch. Then I worked my contacts and helped her land a great new job. The result? I received emails from two strangers, asking me to “network” with them, because the person I had just helped suggested they contact me to do the same for them.

Ask an expert for free help only once. If the help someone offered you was so valuable that you would like them to provide it again, then pay for it the next time.

As you ask people for help, always consider how you in turn can help others. At the end of each workweek make a list of the people you have helped, and the favors you have done for which you received nothing in return. If your list is empty week after week, then you really are a networking parasite.”

Margaret Morford is the owner of the HR Edge, a management consulting firm, and the author of “The Hidden Language of Business.”

Career Change Tips

career-changeHow often have you contemplated doing something entirely different than what you are doing right now? Before quitting your job, look at the bigger picture and the implications of making a change or not doing so. Will you be proactive or just let things slide and continue? What’s really at stake? Let’s examine a more systematic approach to finding answers that work for you.

1. Look at the issues that make you crave change and outline your goals.
What are you satisfied with about your current situation? What are you dissatisfied with? Is it your boss or the culture of your organization? Or do you really want to change careers? Outline your goals- for example, more money, more time off or more flexibility. Write it all down.

2. Work to understand your inner critic.
Observe thoughts that trap you with fear and prevent you from achieving your objectives. Write these down on a piece of paper, then crumple it up and throw it away to symbolize your freedom from thoughts that interfere with your goals and dreams.

3. Recognize recurring patterns in your life.
What makes you happy? What are your recurring interests and social needs? What makes a work environment feel good or not so good to you? Write it down.

4. Network and investigate career interests that map to your goals and needs.
Once you’ve identified your patterns and desires, start thinking about careers that make sense for you. Give yourself one to three months to explore your curiosity by finding people who do these jobs and talking about the pros and cons of their work. Explore anything and everything until you’re satisfied — or until your time runs out.

5. Make a plan that takes your financial situation into account.
Change is never simple, but having a plan that outlines your steps and financial requirements makes it doable. Will your new career require additional education, a small business loan, time off from work or relocation? Make a plan with financial considerations and a realistic timeline that you can follow through on.

©MWeisner2015

Networking Tips

Importance-of-Networking-and-Events-300x199I love to network, meet new people, make connections, learn about a topic/offering or learn how I might be of help to someone else. Yet all too often I hear people complain that they find it’s a waste of time and that may be true for them, especially when unprepared. Why do so many people attend high potential events only to remain glued to someone already known to them? Yes, it’s a way to quell anxiety, fulfill the obligation of being there and doing a bit of socializing is a bonus. This Velcro phenomenon is best left at the door along with bad jokes and interminable stories. It’s the “trifecta” of business development for all the wrong reasons. With limited time in a busy work day or evening, you want to maximize the impact of your attendance as being well spent.

The best networkers know how to:
1. Introduce themselves confidently
2. Make eye contact
3. Always wear nametags on the RIGHT side
4. Describe their business briefly
5. Describe their ideal client
6. Tell you how you can help them
7. Ask how they can help YOU!

We can always benefit from pre-planning by having business cards readily available, however the number of cards you collect is more important than the number you give out. Remember, with their contact information you are in control of the follow-up.

©Mweisner2014

Appearances DO Say A Lot

MH900437551Your appearance has a direct effect on first, second, and third impressions. I recently attended a networking event and was introduced to an interior designer who looked as if she had just emerged from a wind tunnel on a rainy day. Would I ever hire her? That would be very unlikely. It was not a question of stylish attire or even an extenuating circumstance that might have occurred in the parking lot moments earlier. On the contrary, the designer seemed quite comfortable and eager to exchange business cards. It has been my experience that the external is also an expression of the internal and vice versa. Attention to detail is important and you will be judged on it well before you have an opportunity to even be introduced.

In business, the opinions of others matter. Business etiquette experts suggest you consider the following:

• Do my clothes conform to the company policy or do they push the limits? Too short, tight, low-cut or too loud?
• Are my clothes in good repair? Free of stains, odors, rips?
• Do I dress appropriately for the situation? Is the meeting at Starbucks or a private equity firm?
• Am I prepared for an emergency? Keep an extra outfit in the office, just in case.

Body language is an important part of overall appearance:

Eye contact– do you look people in the eye. Focus on the area between the eyebrows rather than a stare down.
• Posture- Standing or sitting in an erect manner, conveys a confident image…no slouching
• Gestures- Lean slightly forward to demonstrate engagement and receptivity
• Nervous habits– foot tapping, fidgeting or other unnecessary movements give off a sense of uncertainty.

Advance preparation can make all the difference and you never know who you will be meeting in the course of your day.

©2013 Maureen Weisner

10 job search non-negotiables

career-development-modelBecause the employment world has changed so much in the last five years, job seekers need to change their game, too.

There are no shortcuts and no compromises on using the right techniques at every step of the process. Although the list below may look like a list of choices, it is not. You MUST do them all. You can’t do some and miss on others. At least not if securing your next job faster is a priority.

1. Goal setting: Write down your job goal “script.” Be clear and specific about your desired job title and roles/responsibilities.

2. Tracking: Build a spreadsheet or other useful tool so you track every piece of data you collect during your job search.

3. Sourcing: Based on your goal in the first item above, list the resources you will use to find your next job. Don’t just rely on one. There are many.

4. Social media groundwork: Learn how to maximize social media by taking tutorials specific to job search techniques on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

5. Obsessive research: Spend hours – not minutes– on every job opportunity prior to applying. Use the Web to research the people, company, division and function for the position for which you are applying.

6. Networking precision: Prepare to make your face-to-face and online networking most effective by writing out your networking plan. Then practice asking for support during your job search.

7. Application preparation: Find one job within your goal description and prepare a practice cover letter and résumé. Proof it and ask someone for feedback.

8. Interview prep: (Do this far in advance, not the night before!) Prepare your best interview attire and fill your briefcase with document copies. Be ready with two alarm clocks. A couple of days before your interview, drive to the location to find parking and the exact entrance. On interview day, if you’re not in the lobby 30 minutes early, you’re late!

9. Phone interview excellence: Print hard copies of your notes and the job description, then organize them within arm’s reach. Don’t forget to write three bullet points for all of the most common interview questions. Choose a quiet place to take the call and be ready 30 minutes early.

10. Follow up after every interaction: This is the single sloppiest part of almost all job searches. Without a tracking tool and calendar reminders, most followup is terrible. Every contact you make requires impeccable follow up as a short-term courtesy and for long-term networking.

 

source:  http://www.bizjournals.com/jacksonville/news/news-wire/2013/08/15/10-job-search-non-negotiables.html?page=all

LinkedIn Still Rules As The Top Job Search Technology Tool, Survey Says

Wordle_JobSearchHelp imageAccording to a new survey of job seekers, hiring managers, recruiters and HR executives, close to 100% of job seekers use LinkedIn as their number one social media site for job hunting. Hiring managers also prefer Linked in over other sites by two to one.

The survey by Right Management, the talent and career management arm of staffing giant Manpower, polled 300 job seekers and 100 people on the hiring side, including hiring managers, recruiters and human resource executives throughout North America. Among the job seekers, two thirds were Baby Boomers and one third were members of Generation X. Some 95% say they are looking for a permanent job, up from 84% in 2010. Just 23% want to be entrepreneurs though slightly more Gen X job seekers, 27%, want to work for themselves. Right Management does the survey once a year. It ran this survey in the second quarter of 2013.

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As any job seeker or hiring manager knows, technology now dominates the job search process. Print media barely registers anymore among recruiters, according to the survey.

Some of the other findings are striking, if not surprising. One of the new trends: the rise of video interviewing, both live and pre-recorded. The number of job seekers who say they have had video interviews in the past year more than doubled from a year ago, to 18%. One quarter of Gen X candidates say they have done video interviews.

As for those doing the hiring, the majority use Skype. Pre-recorded interviews are still rare, with only 3% of candidates saying they have done them. Among hiring managers, 45% say they expect video resumes to become more common. For now, just 19% of hiring managers use video interviews, roughly the same as last year, though more than two thirds say they predict video interviews will spike in the next three years.

Here are some other findings from job candidates:

– Some 94% say they prefer LinkedIn as their chief job hunting tool.

– After LinkedIn, job seekers are more likely to use Google+ than Twitter. Gen X candidates rank Facebook, Google+ and Twitter evenly.

– Some 22% of job seekers use smartphone job search apps.

– Macs are on the rise: This year 86% say they own a PC, down from 91% a year ago, while 33% own a Mac, up from 23% last year.

– Landlines are also on the wane, with only 34% of all job candidates saying they have one, down from 40% a year ago. Even Baby Boomers are letting go of their landlines. Only 38% say they have one, down from 41% a year ago.

Here are some findings from the hiring side:

– Social media sites like LinkedIn are the top way to search for candidates. Hiring managers and recruiters also still use company websites and employee referrals.

– Job boards and recruiters themselves are on the decline – After LinkedIn, hiring managers use Facebook, then Google+ and Twitter in a distant fourth place.

– More than half use social media to post jobs and three quarters use it to find possible hires.

– Some 65% also use job boards. Company websites rank third.
6 Inspiring Careers Via LinkedIn; 5 Paths To Well-Paid Tedium George Anders George Anders Contributor
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Even with all this social media use, the most effective way to get a job remains the old-fashioned method: People find jobs through people they know. The Right Management survey comes with a telling quote from Senior Vice President Monika Morrow: “Success almost always comes down to the candidate making a personal connection with a person or persons on the hiring side. The technology, now so integral to the job search, is just a tool, not by itself a solution.”

Just today I got a comment from a frustrated job seeker on a story I wrote about young people and technology jobs: “I have personally applied to hundreds of such jobs, and haven’t even received so much as the courtesy of a response from the employers.” I fear this job hunter is making the mistake that so many people make: They use technology to the exclusion of human contact. It’s far more effective to apply to two or three jobs where you can find a personal connection than it is to apply to 100 jobs where you know no one and you can’t communicate with a real person beyond an automated application process.

As I’ve written many times, it’s essential to have an up-to-date LinkedIn profile so hiring managers and recruiters can find you. It can also be useful to hunt for openings using LinkedIn job listings or company sites. But it can also be more effective to figure out what you want to do and where you want to work and to find a way in before a job is listed.

If you find an online job listing that seems right, use your networks, both online and off, to make a human connection. Reach out through LinkedIn, Twitter, or better yet, by email or phone, and try to set up an in-person meeting. At the least, find out whether the job opening exists, or the listing is out of date. If it’s real, do your best to find a personal connection to the person who is doing the hiring. Technology is a great tool but it still doesn’t replace human contact.