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Three Career Missteps You Must Avoid

career, mistakes, tips, advice

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The following is an excerpt from my latest St. Louis Post-Dispatch Career Column. You can read the whole article here.

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I’m sure any of us who have been in the workplace for a while could write a book on what we wish we knew when we were younger.

We all make missteps in our career and hopefully we learn from them. But there are some reoccurring missteps I see way too often as a career coach. These are missteps that can lead to chronic frustration — and when you’re not happy with where you are in your career and life, everyone around you feels it. So for your sake AND that of your loved ones, consider these three missteps everyone can and should avoid.

1. Not choosing the career that really fits you.

In the economy of the past decade, many people have taken a job simply because it’s a job. This is usually a position you have the skills to perform, but you know you can’t reach your full potential in doing. But hey, it pays the bills. You start to justify why you should just stay comfortable — but in reality that “comfort” is really just plain old “existence.” And “existence” never leads to satisfaction. If you’re not pursuing something you’re passionate about, you’re wasting your time.

2. Not reading the culture and what behaviors get rewarded.

Fair or not, every organization has its own unique set of workplace behaviors that get rewarded. I once had a client who was very talented in selling medical equipment, however he was terrible at tracking data and results for his territory. He was one of the organization’s top sales people and presumed he would never be let go because his numbers were so good. But he failed to understand his boss was research-orientated, seeking reliable sales information and data that would allow the organization to capitalize on trends moving into the future. So, within a year, his boss let him go. What are you doing that’s not getting rewarded at work? Or more importantly, what aren’t you doing that DOES get rewarded at work? Understand this and it will make a lot of things clear — including whether or not you should pursue employment at a more fitting organization.

3. Not directing your career growth.

We are all creatures of habit, which makes it easy to become complacent in our careers. If anything, we just hope our bosses will recognize we’re doing a good job and promote us. And when that doesn’t happen, we get bitter. But what if your boss doesn’t even know you want a promotion? Never presume your manager knows what you are thinking. It’s your job…  Read the rest of this Career Column here.

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5 Tips To Help College Grads Land The Perfect Job

tips for college grads, job search

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If you’re like me, this is the time of year your social media feeds start filling up with pics of friends and family whose kids are graduating college. There is about to be a flood of recently graduated job seekers out there – so when contacted by St. Louis Magazine to write a piece for them, this topic seemed essential to cover.

Below is the introduction to the article. You can read the whole piece here.

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“School’s out!” For most students, those magic words signify the ultimate freedom. But for the hundreds of college seniors preparing to graduate, the end of school means the beginning of the “real world.”

After years of rising unemployment rates for young people, following the financial crisis of 2008, economists are projecting the best job market for new college grads in nearly a decade. Of course, it’s one thing to land a decent-paying job, but what about finding the right position to launch a fulfilling career? David Hults of Activ:8 Careers offers these five tips.

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Is Crowdsourcing Your Job Search a Good Idea?

job search, crowdsourcing

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I recently read an article titled Strategies For Crowdsourcing Your Job Search that was very thought-provoking.

The general idea is this: Leverage your social networks to transparently solicit the advice and assistance from your friends and family.

Why would you do this? The article brings up several relevant situations, like getting feedback on your resume from online communities, and identifying people who will let you shadow them for a day on the job.

So, as I asked in the title of this blog post – is crowdsourcing your job search a good idea?

My answer is MAYBE.

While transparency can be a big benefit to a job search, it can also be a hindrance. Some potential hiring employees could be put off by your public solicitation of help from others, and there’s always the chance that you could simply come across as desperate to your social community of friends and contacts – people you will no doubt need to help you network.

So how do you know how much is too much? I would recommend that you find someone you trust – be it a

mentor, close friend whom you respect professionally, or a Career Coach, and that you run your plans by them before publicly posting any crowdsourced feedback or assistance.

Simply having someone else help you think through all the possible results of you posting something could save you from making a big mistake.

Have you ever used crowdsourcing for assistance in your job search? What was your experience?

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What Font Should You Use on Your Resume?

Resume, Career, Advice

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It’s a simple question that so many ask – what font should or shouldn’t you use on your resume?

I’ve blogged a lot about how resumes are some of the most unnecessarily stressed about aspects of the job search. But I must say that the font you use for your resume does leave a first impression of your first impression!

I’m no design expert, but there are some fonts like Comic Sans that everyone should know not to use. But there are some fonts that say a lot about you.

I want to direct you to an article titled The Best and Worst Fonts To Use On Your Resume. It does a great job of collecting the opinions of multiple experts in the field on what each design says – or doesn’t say – about you.

Take a look and think about which one makes the most sense for you. Just don’t OVER-think it!

 

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May CAREEReport

CAREEReport

Every month I write a newsletter that shines a light on Job News, Career Tools of the Trade, Networking and Job Lifelines (i.e., testimonials).

This month’s report covers a variety of news and notes that everyone should take note of, including:

  • A 6-year high in wages
  • 6 career books to read in 2015
  • How to start a networking conversation
  • Practical advice for someone changing jobs
  • What you should never reveal about yourself at work

You can see previous CAREEReports here, plus sign up for future reports.

Let me know if there are any topics you want me to cover next month!

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New STL Post-Dispatch Career Column: SWOT Your Way Into a New Career

career, advice, counseling, coaching, job search, career currency

The following is an excerpt from my most recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch Career Column.

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Ah, the SWOT analysis. Many of you studied about it in college. Others have heard it discussed in circles of small business owners or entrepreneurs. Others of you have no idea what I’m talking about!

In short, a SWOT analysis is an acronym for a report that digs into Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. SWOT analyses are usually implemented in the context of a business to develop new revenue, come up with a strategic marketing plan or simply find a way to survive in today’s economy.

If you are looking for a career change, then in essence you to are trying to compete in the market just like a business. When in this situation, many individuals do a good job of focusing on what we in HR call “soft skills.” They take personality profiles to understand themselves better and learn about their work style behaviors. The problem is “soft skill development” often stops short in understanding how that translates to marketing oneself tangibly. A career SWOT analysis just might be the thing you need! Let’s look at how that might come to life… Read the whole column here.

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A Thorough Breakdown of Networking The Right Way

how to network the right way

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I’ve blogged a lot about networking and the many strategies that come with it.

Everyone has an opinion on “the right way to network,” but it’s rare that I come across an article that breaks down its reasoning as thoroughly as this Forbes article titled, You’re Probably Networking The Wrong Way.

The article makes its case against general networking meetings, conferences and events and hails building a network out of your existing inner network of friends.

I specifically found the article’s reference of a high school study in which students were asked to list their top 8 friends. The findings reinforce how you can cast a very wide net of connections through just a few people.

In short, it’s all about friends of friends and making REAL relationships, not just meeting people who you hope can help you get a job.

Read the whole article, and comment with what you find most interesting.

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Managers: Are You Asking The Right Questions During Times of Change?

change management, leadership, career questions

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The topic of professional change is of the utmost significance to me. Whether it’s a personal career change or a corporate/organizational change in policy, procedure or direction, I firmly believe that the way we handle the change process dictates success.

Mastering career change is the topic of my book RINGMASTER, and it’s also the topic of a recent article I think you should read titled Managing Change: 5 Critical Questions Leaders Must Answer.

The article focuses on change in the context of a workplace, specifically calling out what questions management should be able to answer. It’s a thought-provoking article with good, tangible considerations managers and their team members will equally find helpful.

Here’s a quick peek at the 5 questions:

  1. Why is this change necessary?
  2. What will each person be expected to do?
  3. Will we be able to do it?
  4. Ho will we manage the transition?
  5. Where are we in the process?

Read the whole article for more insight, and share your thoughts on how workplace leaders should handle change in the comments!

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Practical Advice For Someone Changing Careers

tips for career movement

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A lot of the work I do as a Career Coach is with professionals who are changing careers completely.

Whether it’s turning from an Event Planner to a Hollywood Make-Up Artist, or a from a Brand Strategist to an Entrepreneur, I help them implement strategies to reach their goals.

But sometimes in this process, you simply need to hear a good testimonial. By hearing what other people went through, you can pick up practical advice through their experience that compliments the strategic advice someone like myself can give you.

Enter this story featured in Forbes. The writer breaks down basics like saving money, opening up more time in your schedule, and learning from and enjoying the process.

These are very good things for someone who is approaching a career change to consider, appropriately setting up expectations.

Check out the article, and let me know YOUR thoughts on the advice.

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Burned Out Networking? Try These Tips.

networking burnout, exhaustion

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Networking is one of the most exhausting things for a job seeker – but also one of the most essential.

But after countless emails, calls or LinkedIn pursuits, how do you find the energy to keep doing it?

I have a number of networking strategies I implement with my Career Coaching clients to help fight networking fatigue. But if you’re looking for an introduction, check out the tips in this Huffington Post article. Here’s a quick intro:

  1. Make a realistic plan and stick to it.
  2. Make it convenient.
  3. Prioritize your new connections.
  4. Don’t attend networking events in a bad mood.
  5. Mix it up.

Again, these are some topline tips that have more follow-up detail over at the article. Check it out, and let me know how YOU have fought networking burnout in the past!

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