Archive for October, 2011

Jump the tracks, Change your career direction

Feeling trapped in your current career path?  Candidates frequently call recruiters seeking a role outside their experience and current career.   Maybe they are frustrated in their current path or are seeking a corporate role after spending years on the road in a sales role.   It can be difficult depending on what your desire is but nothing is impossible if you have the willpower.    A recruiter may be able to help you or you can help yurself if you have taken one or all of the following steps:

Is there a degree or certification that is required or preferred for the new path?  Attaining a degree or certification make you more qualified and it will also show a hiring manager commitment.  Also a little exercise for the brain will help in the interview process because continuing education keeps you nimble and fresh.  In working towards the degree or certification you will also find out if you really want to take that new job.    You may find the grass really isn’t greener.   If you are committed and know what you want to do, it is time to dig in and be a student.  Once accomplished it will show committment and build your resume and qualifications.

Location. location, location.  Not just yours, but of the company and its competition.  Let’s start with your current company.  If your current company is not hiring or expanding in your new career path you may want to start looking elsewhere.  Look locally and nationally depending on what you want to do and how that pertains to your desire.   Examples are pharma in the New Jersey market or tech in the Silicon Valley.  Both having a large number of companies in the same niche in a close proximity.  The proximity fuels more opportunity and the companies are competing for talent, so there may be more flexibility around qualifications.  And on the opposite side of the spectrum is third tier markets.  Companies based in remote or unpreferred locations may have a difficult time finding staff.  Therefore, they are likely to be a bit more flexible in terms of requirements and qualifications.

Build your network.  One of the greatest benefits of resources like Linkedin is that you can connect with people in your desired niche.  Join groups aligned to your new career path and network with hiring managers in the field.  This is probably the easiest step but be sure you are leveraging your connections.  Send a congrats note when someone is promoted, compliment an article someone has written, and repond to threads or tweets.   The whole idea is that you want to be known.  If you take the time to build your name, you can take the next step and send a personal note indicating that you would like to get into their field.  If you find someone who is receptive you can even ask them what steps you need to take.  An easy way to get someone to open up is by complimenting them on their career progression or company.

Another opportunity that offers inroads into your desired field is tradeshows or seminars.  They offer a blend of education and networking in a short span.  This might be an option for you depending on the cost and travel required .  Also if there is a certification you are working towards there may be credits offered.  Another benefit is that tradeshows and seminars are usually held in vacation destinations so you can get some enjoyment out of the trip.  Start searching online for schedules, locations, and costs.

Take one or all of the above steps and you will find yourself closer to your desired careerpath.  You have to show the commitment, do the work and don’t expect a job to land in your lap.  Everyone has heard a story of how a dream job landed in someones lap.  It happens, people get lucky but luck also favors the prepared!

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Building AWESOME References

So the inevitable statement at the end of the interview..Please provide your references.   Hopefully, you do not find yourself scrambling to track down contacts from years past.  Be prepared!  Do an inventory a few times a year.  You never know when the phone may ring with a great opportunity or you get caught up in a restructure.   Great references can get you the job.   Here are a few tips to help cultivate your reference list.

Do the work!  When backfilling a role in which a candidate has left, hiring managers will frequently say “I knew they were leaving they checked out months ago”.  Don’t go there.  Do the job you were paid to do.  Fill out the TPS reports, focus on getting as close as you can to the unattainable goals set for you, and complete all the crazy tasks that have nothing to do with your job but were dropped on your desk.  Not only for your job security but for your co-workers and for your reputation.  It is a small world and a hiring manager may know someone at your old company that is NOT on your reference list and call them.  What will they say?  If they say “hard worker” guess what you may have just got the job.

Build great networks.  An outstanding read for everyone is “How to win friends and influence people” by Dale Carnegie.  Timeless book, quick read,  and why reinvent the wheel.  Follow Carnegie’s plan and focus even more attention to people of influence in your company.   And this is important, on all departments of your company.   If you are in a large organization, focus on the ones you interact with frequently.  Again it is a small world and you never know who may be able to pull the strings to get you promoted, that new job, or keep the role you have in restructure.   Pay attention to the people of influence at your current company, past, and your clients/accounts.   Build that network and you can have along list to choose from for your references.

And finally, cultivate that list.  Just like a farmer that pays attention to their crops.  Keep track of birthdays, kids graduations, and send a Christmas card.  Send an email checking in every once in a while.  Keep up with them on Linkedin and send a congratulations note when someone gets promoted or takes a new role.  Write a great reference on them on Linkedin.  So much you can do, just make the effort.  Plant those seeds that will grow into great references.  You reap what you sow!



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Wall Street and Jobs…Steve Jobs

So as the world mourns over the passing of a legend..Steve Jobs..others scream, hold signs, and protest capitalism.   Steve provides a tremendous example of how with work and focus they, the protestors, can be the masters of their own destiny.   Steve was the adopted son of blue collar parents.  He went to college but didn’t graduate.  He was a drop out then as he termed a drop in..someone who stuck around campus.  But he had a thirst for knowledge and a strong desire to succeed.   Which led him to start a computer company in his parent’s garage.  During a time when he could have been protesting all that was “wrong” in the world at that time.

And then the next page in his life, pretty soon that small company grew to a multimillion dollar enterprise.  New leadership in the organization had him fired.  Image that day for him…fired.  All that hard work..then to be cast out by your own creation.  Did he stand out on the sidewalk in front of Apple with a sign?  Show up a investors meetings screaming at the new management?   No, he went on to create two other innovative companies.  Soon through a purchase of one he found himself back at the helm of his creation.  A place which he until only months from his death.  I’m sure under much duress.  Cancer sucks..the treatment is almost as bad as the disease.  He was a fighter.    He fought the good fight…for creation, innovation, success, and for life.  As we all should.


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First_Last, Make It Count!


Your name…most likely the first thing that was given to you.   Even before you were granted your social security number you were given your name.   The first thing you put on every homework page, test, report card, and then on your diploma (s).   And now it is the first thing on top of your resume before you fill in your experience, education, and even email address (which ironically is your “virtual” name).
Do your best to build your name, promote your name, and grow your name.  So it is something you are proud of having.  Just like when you get that great feeling when you treat your body well by eating right and working out.   Now go out and get the same good feeling when you see your name on a recommendation, accolade, or charity contribution.  You will find you get the same feeling when you look in the mirror and say  “wow I look good!” after completing a boot camp or P90x.   And just the same it is hard work but work worth doing…and passing down to the next generation.

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Loyalty Cards and Food Safety

Reading the recent news on the Colorado Cantaloupe listeria deaths I thought back to a phone call and letter I received on a separate food
recall.  The fact that stands out is that the food chain today is long and difficult to track.   Once the farm was identified as the source the government had to sort through a web of distributers, processers, and retailers that had sold the Cantaloupes.   But who purchased the product? How do reach out to the customers besides the newspapers &TV?

The loyalty card can be a link to notify customers before they have had a chance to consumer the recalled product.   A number of years ago I received a phone call from one of my favorite Grocery Retailers.  An item I had purchased had been recalled.   I had filled out my Loyalty
Card and had included my phone number.  I had noticed the headlines in the news but did not read the story so I had no idea I had purchased a suspect item.  News of food recalls are frequent and can be overlooked for news of popular trials, politics, or sports.  The loyalty card can be a valuable tool to notify the public of a recalls.

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