3 Career Ruts – And How To Dig Out of Them

3 Career Ruts and Solutions

My latest Career Column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch is now live! Below is an excerpt, but you can read the whole article here. Let me know your thoughts in the comments, and what topics you’d like me to cover in the future.

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So often I talk with people who tell me they have not been happy in their career for many years. They have learned to cope with a job that doesn’t excite them. It’s great to have developed a skill that enables you to manage difficulties in job duties or to cope with poor leadership. However, if this has become a way of job survival, then you may be caught in web that you have created. You may be searching on company websites for openings. But, the thought of leaving your current position can sometimes be overwhelming!

At times, we can get stuck in a rut. It’s like being on a road trip that will take you days to get to your dream destination. You stop at a small country town to grab a quick bite. But while you are there, an unexpected snowstorm comes along and you are paralyzed and can go no farther. In fact, a day later as the weather breaks, you are tempted to stay and make the best of it. But, you decide to give it a try one more time, only to find that you have followed the storm and find yourself stuck again. Little did you know that if you had driven north you would have gotten to your dream destination!

As you are driving your career, you may find that you run into what I call “career ruts.” Here are three career ruts that many of us have had to overcome or dig our way out of. 

Read the whole article at STLToday.com.

 

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Video: The Importance of Networking For Women

What a great video to wrap up your week with! There are some fantastic statistics and insights here in regards to how essential networking is to one’s career, specifically that of a woman.

Let me know your thoughts on the video, and have a happy Easter weekend!

 

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Are You a “Networker” or a “Connector”?

networking, connecting, job search, job hunt

Image by cooldesign, via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

When it comes to networking a lot of people in the Career Coaching, career counseling and HR world can get pretty bogged down in semantics.

It’s specifically easy for us to debate the nuances of networking, because that word has such a negative connotation to so many people.

They see networking as insincere and self serving. And therefore articles like this one suggest you become a “connector” instead of a “networker.” Now, I’m not dismissing the article. Quite the opposite. I think the ideas in it are fantastic, and if considering yourself a connector instead of a person out there networking helps you pursue making the right contacts for the right reasons, I’m all for it!

The point I’m making is this: “Networking” shouldn’t be a bad word. When done the right way, it’s authentic, valuable, and supportive of others as much if not more than oneself – just as the “connector” article suggests.

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Overcoming What You Can’t Control In Your Career

job search control tips

Image by jesadaphorn, via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I recently came across this very interesting Q&A in the Boston Globe:

Q. I am over 40 and work in a female-dominated field. I can’t even get an interview; younger female candidates get hired for jobs. I have years of experience and lose out to people with a fraction of my experience. What can I do besides getting a face lift and a sex change?

She’s obviously not the first person to have this question. We all have our own circumstances that we feel we can’t get out of.

Just as she feels her age is too old, there are many others who feel their younger age keeps them from jobs they can take on.

Others feel confined by their salary requirements.

Some feel the biggest impact when they try to shift gears into a new career and their resume doesn’t support the move.

So what can you do? You can stop worrying about what you can’t control and start focusing on what you can.

I love the response that was given in the article. This often starts with asking questions and probing on the reasons why you weren’t selected for a certain job vs. throwing a pity party.

I especially loved this piece of advice:

Instead of speculating, your focus should be to control what you can control, by gathering real feedback and information and committing to becoming the best job seeker you can. When someone tells you that you are not qualified for a specific role, you can say, “I am disappointed to hear that you don’t think I am qualified for this role. Can you tell me more about the skills you see that I have and the level you would need for this role?” Continue to probe if you can, especially if you are getting information that you can put to use.

What other advice would YOU give to the person asking this question?

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A Roadmap For Your Career

career coaching bookHave you ever met one of those individuals who, when entering a room, has such a magnetic attraction that they draw in everyone in the room?

They have mastered and developed poise and a presence, a secure confidence in themselves, but not arrogance.

Most people think this is just something you’re born with. But it’s not. There’s a way for everyone to achieve this sense of self, specifically within the context of your career.

But the answer isn’t found in making small resume edits, or any other job-hunting methods that, in the end, fail to empower you.

You need a roadmap.

As a Career Coach, my job enables me to work with people beyond “tips and pointers” on how to nail a job interview. People often ask what I do as a Career Coach, and providing this road map is the answer. In fact, I’ve developed a system that would help you take control of your career and transform you into a magnetic applicant that employers scramble to find a place for in their organization.

It’s the basis of my booklet, From Roadkill to Roadmap.

The 8 steps outlined in this booklet are critical. They’re all about creating an attraction – you! Plus, if you get behind the wheel and put your career in drive, these steps will help you avoid taking detours that are costly and waste time you can’t afford to lose.

If you’re one of the many people out there who’s looking for help, but isn’t sure you’re ready to dive into Career Coaching yet, check out the booklet. I think you’ll be inspired in reaching your ultimate career destination.

 

 

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What Do You Think About Anonymous Networking?

networking idea

Networking is all about getting your name and value out there for people to remember, right?

This London startup suggests otherwise.

Per this article about Makeshift:

In their system, a job seeker makes an anonymous profile and asks friends to back and share it. Interested companies can request the person’s real identity and she can agree or decline.

The idea is that asking friends for a tweet and endorsement is much easier than asking them to directly refer you or ask around in their own networks. Companies get to headhunt candidates that have the stamp of legitimacy without calling a recruiter, and candidates get broad reach while staying anonymous.

The service is still small, with somewhere over 7000 candidates and around 250 companies (including Stripe and Intercom). It has brokered 1000 introductions since launch last summer, according to its own data. But the company touts itself as a particularly valuable database of “passive candidates”—those who aren’t actively applying for new jobs but would listen to the right offer—which companies have the most difficulty finding. It’s essentially the service recruiters offer for large fees.

So what do you think? If this kind of service became credible in the United States, would you be drawn to it as an applicant? What about as an employer? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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How Much Should You Follow Up After A Job Interview?

job interview, follow up, persistence

Image by Chaiwat via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It’s one of the “basic” questions I get asked all the time – but when it comes to understanding how persistent you should be in following up after a job interview or good phone meeting, the answer is anything BUT basic.

It’s a fine line. If you don’t follow up enough and you may look like you don’t want the job as much as others. If you look over eager (multiple calls, emails, handwritten notes, etc.), then you may annoy the hiring decision maker and cut yourself out of contention.

I like the point-of-view Kimberly Thompson provides in this Houston Chronicle article. She writes:

Hiring managers are interested in good candidates and no doubt want to hire those who have a strong combination of skills and passion for the job. The challenge most job candidates face is the lack of communication between having a great discussion with an employer and the next steps.

As a job candidate you can stay in touch by sending an email a couple of times, one of which might be sending an example of your work or project that relates to the discussion you had with the manager. Leaving messages to support your emails doesn’t hurt, but use good etiquette.

So what does “good etiquette” mean? Put yourself in the hiring decision maker’s shoes. If you have received an email and a follow up call, and you continue getting emails and calls, wouldn’t you be annoyed? Gauge it based on a normal amount of time. But I woulddefinitely suggest no more than two contacts per week.

How about you? What do you think “the magic number” is?

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Know Your ABC Job Search Plan Before It’s Too Late!

career search time crunch

image by David Castillo Dominici,via FreeDigitalPhotos.net

None of us like to think about the fact that our job search may not progress as quickly as we think it will.

But the truth is that no matter how good of a networker we may be, we’re living in urgent times. That’s why you must have an A, B, C Plan.

Ask yourself, “Do I have a plan if I don’t find a new job as quickly as I expect?”

Sometimes people come to me way too late in the game. They’re about to lose their houses, they’ve resorted to cashing in retirement plans, and they ask me what they should do now. The sad truth is that they should’ve thought that through earlier. That’s why I urge all of my career coaching clients to set up a timeline that then drives their A, B, C plan. How long can you last before getting a solid outcome? Here’s an example:

A Plan: Transition from career to career.

B Plan: Part time work until I land the career I want or the education I need.

C Plan: Sell my home, lower my expenses and start over.

Identify your ABC Plan now, or reach out for help if you’re not sure where to start. You can also learn more about this topic in my book, From Fish Story to Success Story.

How many of you have experienced a long career search with or without a plan like this?

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CAREER EVENT TONIGHT: Learn How To Manage Workplace Change!

It’s not too late! Join us tonight at this exciting ExecLink St. Louis event, where I’m honored to be speaking on workplace change. The details and event writeup ExecLink is sharing is below, and you can register here!

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Learn How to Manage Workplace Change with St. Louis Career Coach David Hults and ExecLink St. Louis

Renowned career coach, author, columnist, and speaker David Hults of Activ8 Career Coaching in St. Louis will speak to ExecLink St. Louis on Thursday evening.

Hults will present “From Status Quo to Star Performer: 8 Powerful Change Strategies to Direct Your Career Future” on Thursday, Mar. 20 from 6 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Missouri Athletic Club West in Town and Country, MO.

“From Status Quo to Star Performer” is built around Hults’s latest book, Ringmaster, which focuses on helping employees and managers succeed in a changing workplace. The presentation will include eight points from which Hults will outline ways in which everyone in the workplace can make the most from change.

Those attending the meeting will:

  • Discover the kinds of behavior that drive change.

  • Learn how to manage change that your workforce is struggling to embrace.

  • Understand success strategies that will increase employee value.

  • See how to maximize employee productivity by developing specific tools.

  • Realize the rewards of retaining employees.

  • Discover how to cultivate a value-added culture that decreases absenteeism.

  • Learn how to thrive (not just survive) amidst career change.

  • Uncover how to promote healthy responses to change vs. reactions to change.

“ExecLink St. Louis has been managing a bit of change itself,” an organization spokesperson said. “We’ll share some highlights of our strategic plan of our evolving organization and welcome your input and ideas.”

This fun and informative presentation costs just $10 for members and non-members of ExecLink St. Louis, and light appetizers with a cash bar will be available after the presentation. To register, please visit the following link: http://execlinkstl-3-20-14.eventbrite.com/

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Change This LinkedIn Setting Before It’s Too Late!

LinkedIn mistake you can avoid

Image via CNET

If you’re on LinkedIn, you’ve seen that one of their most common messages – be it through an email with “updates in your network” or a simple notification on the site – is about someone getting a new job.

“Congratulate so and so on their promotion to [job title]”

or

“Congratulate so and so on their new job at [company name]”

The problem is that sometimes when you simply update your profile info to be more complete, LinkedIn reads that as a major career update, then broadcasts it out to your entire network!

Luckily for us, CNET has laid out the simple steps of changing your settings so that this won’t happen to you.

Read the article here, make the change, and save yourself the embarrassment!

 

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