New Year’s Resolution: Get a Coach?

New Year’s Resolution: Get a Coach?

Last week I was contacted by a late-thirties executive who was seeking a career coach. He said he had worked previously with a coach in another state, the result of which was a move to Atlanta with a step up to a Vice President position and considerably more income. I asked him why he called me and he said he was ready to take the next step in his career. He said he had been very happy with the help he received from his last coach and wanted a local Atlanta coach to work with him in making his next step upward. I smiled … outside and inside. A common expression some coaches like to use is “Even Tiger Woods has a coach.” They say this in an attempt to wake people up to the fact that every level of performer can benefit from being professionally coached. Because many people are resistant to change, I believe that this comment tends to fall on deaf ears. Engaging a coach is an action that openly invites change. If you are like the VP who called me and are open to change, then professional coaching may be right for you. Most career seekers I speak with each week are not like my VP caller. They have gaping holes in their thinking when it comes to career planning and career changes. They want some free advice and then, upon receiving it, go along their merry way. But, if you are the exception and are interested in learning more about the benefits of coaching, then professional coaching may be right for you. Coaches seek to determine if a prospective client is “coachable.” Even if you are open to change, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are willing to do the work. It also doesn’t...
Synchronize Your LinkedIn Profile for a Better Career

Synchronize Your LinkedIn Profile for a Better Career

I spoke with a job seeker this week who is seven months into his search. After receiving his inquiry and before calling him, I did what many professionals and all recruiters do these days…. I reviewed his LinkedIn profile. What I saw was that he had eight jobs in the last 11 years. Yikes! When we got on the phone, I told him that I had reviewed his LinkedIn profile. He shared his background, which I had already seen (and was frightened by) on his LinkedIn profile. I asked what he wanted to do next and he told me he wanted to be in sales or business development with a technology company. After a few more minutes of conversation, I decided to “hit him” with a question that I hoped would get his attention and be helpful to him. (I do this frequently when I see people shooting themselves in both feet.) I asked him “Do you realize your LinkedIn profile is scary?” He said he recognized that his frequent job changes were not good, so he had just updated his resume to lump some of the work together under a title like “consulting” or something similar. Your LinkedIn Profile and Your Resume So, my next question was “Why didn’t you do the same thing on your LinkedIn profile?” He said he hadn’t gotten around to it yet, but planned to do it soon. Remember… this is seven months into his job search! I tell you this story because I want you to avoid making the same mistake this job seeker made… using a scary resume and LinkedIn profile, plus not synchronizing them. In addition...
Career and Attitude:  Five Tips for Improving Your Attitude

Career and Attitude: Five Tips for Improving Your Attitude

Improve Your Attitude – Improve Your Career Are you happy with your boss, your income, your career progression to date, your opportunities for advancement, your choice of profession, your industry’s outlook and your employer’s culture?   If so, then you probably don’t need to read this.   If you are unhappy with any of these, however, I want to help you. Consider this…. Most of us have been encouraged to get a good education and become knowledgeable in our professions. Many have spent thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of hours earning credentials and gaining professional expertise. While these (may) have been good investments in your career and your future, how much of that time did you invest in thoughtfully developing and improving your attitude? If your answer is “Not much”, then please keep reading! I suggest in the first chapter of my career book that “Attitude is important in landing a job, keeping a job, and being proactively prepared to change jobs.” Beyond this, I also believe your attitude is an important contributor to having a satisfying career and happy life. If you would like more career satisfaction and happiness, then it will definitely be worth your time to try one or more of these five tips for improving your attitude: Five Tips for Improving Attitude  1. Monitor Your Thoughts Select a point in time during your work day and monitor your thoughts for ten to twenty minutes. Categorize each thought you have as positive or negative. Avoid cheating by labeling thoughts as neutral. Keep score and see how you do. Make a game out of rephrasing your negative thoughts into positive ones. 2. Physical...
Seven Reasons Your Resume Is Hurting Your Career

Seven Reasons Your Resume Is Hurting Your Career

I have reviewed over 300 random resumes in the past two weeks and, based upon that sample and my past experience, I can tell you that it is highly likely yours is working against you. Why? Because it contains common errors that detract from your initial impression and your overall professional presentation. There are two types of resumes — egocentric resumes and committee resumes. The former are written by those who think they know what they are doing and don’t listen to the advice of others.  The latter are written by those who listen to others but, in most cases, don’t know enough to select useful advice among what they are given and instead make revisions based upon random inputs.  Which ones are better? It’s hard to say. But what I can say is that the majority of resumes fall far short of the mark and tend to work against their owners. Even a great resume will tend to work against you, which is why I recommend that my clients withhold giving people their resumes in most situations. As suggested in Chapter 6 of Fast Track Your Job Search (and Career!), “Strive to meet with contacts and hiring decision makers without sending a resume in advance. Avoid sending your resume to anyone unless there is a critical need for it.” The primary exceptions to my guideline concerns people who are in the direct or indirect decision chain related to current or future job openings — recruiters and hiring managers (or others who have direct influence in the hiring process). They may need to see your resume in order to consider you for specific current or future...
LinkedIn as a Career Networking Tool

LinkedIn as a Career Networking Tool

Are you “on LinkedIn”, but not feeling like you are getting maximum benefit? In this fourth and final post in my series on leveraging LinkedIn for your career, we will examine one of LinkedIn’s most valuable uses — a networking tool. Connect-ability In an earlier post, we discussed LinkedIn visibility, credibility, and connect-ability. I coined the term “connect-ability” to emphasize the importance of connecting, communicating, and engaging with existing and new contacts on LinkedIn. “Connect-ability is the key factor you need to understand and leverage to maximize your proactive networking.” If you are directly connected to someone, then reaching out to them is simple. Send them an InMail or, if they have their contact info shown, you can email or call them. But what about the millions of other people you might want to engage? Engaging your pick of these millions is the true power of the system.  Here are four examples of helping clients or friends connect to new second level contacts which are, aside from direct connections, the easiest way for them to expand their connect-ability. Expanding Your Connect-ability:  Four Examples 1. A client does a search and discovers that I have a first level connection on LinkedIn that they want to engage, such as in an employer of interest to them. If I know the person well, I reach out to them (a) via a LinkedIn InMail message, (b) via an email outside the LinkedIn site, or (c) via a phone call.  If I don’t know the person or don’t know them well, I ask the client if they want me to take a shot at making the introduction and proceed accordingly. 2. A friend identifies...
LinkedIn: Five Tips for Developing Your Strategy

LinkedIn: Five Tips for Developing Your Strategy

In my last post we examined the concepts of LinkedIn visibility, credibility, and connect-ability. Much of the discussion centered around developing an effective profile that is more searchable (visibility) and that presents you as an authentic professional.  Included were a few ideas for improving in these areas. But, where do you go beyond this? My recommendation would be to develop your unique, personalized strategy for increasing your LinkedIn results. In this post, I want to share five tips for going beyond the ordinary and achieving more of what you want. LinkedIn Strategies:  Five Tips to Boost Your Career Networking Results 1. Decide what you want. This is obvious, but many people join in order to check off the “I have joined LinkedIn” box… and then hope something good will happen. Deciding what you want will provide you guidance in all your activities. As a career professional, one of the most frequent things my clients want are improved odds of getting better jobs and career growth. What about you? What do you want from LinkedIn? 2. Decide to whom you want to be connected. If you create a great profile and stop there, then you will only have the control of accepting or rejecting connection invitations from random people. You stand to get far more if you reach out and take action to build the network of connections you desire. Let’s assume the default I suggested in Tip #1, that you want to improve your career options. Then, your strategy needs to be to grow your contacts in your desired industry, in your desired profession, etc. 3. Decide how you will go about growing...