Archive for January, 2008

Don’t Waste Time and Talent – Give Your Career A Jump Start

I want to tell you a story about someone I know. 

She is a stay-at-home mom who decided that, after years of living on one salary, it was time to make some money.  She knew that she had a very marketable skill, but hesitated to try to start her own business because there were so many things that she didn’t know how to do:  build a website, advertise, etc. 

She discovered secret shopping.  (For the unaware, there are companies that will pay you to go to stores and restaurants, evaluate the service and fill out an evaluation.)  Sounded like easy money.  She threw herself into secret shopping and went after opportunities with wild abandon.  She would even drive for miles at the prospect of earning $5 or $7 on a “job.”

Although her hourly rate was practically nothing, she did manage to bring in a quick several hundred dollars with persistence and hard work.  Despite her little windfall, my friend realized that she was wasting herself on secret shopping and that her time and talents would be better spent developing something with longer-term prospects (and a higher hourly wage).

She realized that she was letting fear prevent her from pursuing dreams that offered a better use of her skills.  Instead of running around checking numbers on the bottom of hairspray at drug stores for 20 cents a number (really!), she should invest the time, effort, energy and solid work ethic in something with real value.

So, after much soul searching and concerted effort to overcome her fear, she is now going after her own dreams with the same zeal that she used to earn several hundred dollars by secret shopping.  And, guess what?  She’s already reaping the benefits in spades! 

Are you wasting your time at work?  Maybe you’re not running all over town after a few dollars, but maybe you  realize that you are similarly “spinning your wheels” in your own way.  Don’t let fear prevent you from taking a new path.  Time is wasting!  You are the only one who can put one foot in front of the other.

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When you work with Keppie Careers, you will learn how to overcome obstacles keeping you from making positive changes in your life.  We’re not just selling resumes.  We offer confidence, clarity and know-how!  www.keppiecareers.com

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Lost Your Job? What to Do Next

I’ve written about jobs predicted to have a rosy future in 2008 and offered suggestions of what to do if you think that your job is in jeopardy.  But, what approach should you take if you have lost your job and you (and many, many others) are now seeking work in a flat economy?

The first thing to do is stop and get a handle on your job search materials.  Do you have a resume that represents you and all you have to offer?  Have you brushed up your job seeking skills (networking, cover letter writing, interviewing)? It’s not like riding a bike – you CAN forget how to look for a job.  Worse, you may never have really known how to job search in the first place.  Keppie Careers offers an array of services to help get you prepared.

Sarah Needleman addresses the topic of job searching in a recession in the Wall Street Journal Online.   Gary Rich, president of Rich Leadership, an executive advisory firm in Pound Ridge, NY, believes that selling and servicing jobs are more resilient, as they impact the bottom line.  He says:

Less durable jobs are those in human resources, public relations, finance, strategic planning and other non-vital business functions.

Needleman’s article also suggests that if you don’t work in a promising sector, focus on your transferable skills  and consider switching industries.  Plan your transition.  Network and research organizations and industries and learn how you can best use your skills to benefit them.  Consider volunteering with organizations on special projects to demonstrate your added value.

Keppie Careers can help tailor a transition resume to highlight what you have to offer.  We recommend focusing on your skills and accomplishments rather than “what” you have done in your jobs to help potential employers envision you working for them.

Don’t forget that, even in a recessionary economy, some jobs and skills are still invaluable and sought out.  So, just because you may work in an industry that is experiencing a lull, if you have prepared and positioned yourself to have the skills and training needed to fill management gaps, you’re in good shape!
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www.keppiecareers.com
We advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers.  We offer resume writing, mock interviews, coaching and more to position you for your future.

Good News for (Some) Job Seekers

In a Wall Street Journal Online  column, Carol Hymowitz suggests that, despite the fact that this is a tight job market during which companies will be laying off workers; many businesses will seek talent that they have not developed from within their ranks.  She notes:

Companies haven’t been grooming and training enough employees for promotions and now have a mismatch of talent for open positions. In the past, top managers would plan far ahead to fill a position. Today, every vacancy seems to be treated as unique — and even as a surprise, despite the long-term trend of frequent job changes by employees. “Workplaces are filled with frustrated people who want to advance but haven’t gotten training or broad enough experience,” says Peter Cappelli, a management professor at the Wharton School and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources. “In coming months, we’ll likely see companies laying off employees but also crying that they can’t find people with the skills they need.”

This may be good news for those thinking of bagging their job searches in exchange for sitting tight and waiting out the economic downturn.  If you have acquired the training and experience you need to position yourself to advance, this may be a good time to seek a new opportunity.

It also reminds us of a very important point:

Increasingly, employees are responsible for their own career trajectories.  Most managers aren’t sitting around thinking about how to help make you more marketable for promotions.  At the expense of becoming a broken record, YOU NEED TO DRIVE YOUR OWN CAREER BUS!  If you don’t seek training and opportunities, they may pass you by.

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Keppie Careers will help you jump-start your job search:

www.keppiecareers.com

 

Interviewing Positively

Would you want to hire someone who trashed her former employer?  As the next and future employer, you might be concerned about your own reputation should bad blood come between you and the new hire.

No matter how much you hated your old boss or loathe your current supervisor, it is a BAD idea to let anyone interviewing you know about it.

Instead, try to put the situation in the best possible light if pressed and avoid discussing it if possible.  Negativity can only hurt you, so why go there?

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Keppie Careers can write your resume and offer mock interviews to get you ready for your next opportunity!  Our mission:  to advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers.  Visit www.keppiecareers.com to see how we can support you in your job search.

Netweaving – An Underutilized Job Search Strategy

I attended a networking meeting this week, and one of the participants talked about “netWEAVING,” the process of creating communities to help one another find solutions for problems.

This is not a new concept.  An article by TechRepublic by Michael Sisco explains:

The term was coined by Bob Littell, a consultant who focuses on strategic marketing, product design, development, and implementation issues within the financial services industry. Rather than going to the “party” to learn what you can that might lead to new business, you attend with the intent of learning all you can from as many people as possible about their business, their needs, and their challenges. The objective is to try to help as many people as you can. The help or insight you provide may be putting them in touch with someone you know or sharing insight that can help the other person.

This approach, which is reciprocal by design, may be more comfortable for those who view networking in a negative way because it seems too much like “using people.”  If you focus on going out to seek and share information, your return will be even greater!

Keppie Careers can transform your resume and help you learn how to network and netweave!  Our mission is to advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers!
www.keppiecareers.com

Branding You for Career Success

In some circles, “branding” sounds more like something you do to an animal than a topic for a career column.  Others nod silently, recognizing the concept…Self branding, actually thinking of yourself as a brand like Coke, Disney or Nike, is a career strategy.

If you recognize that a resume is nothing more than a marketing document – marketing you – thinking of yourself as a brand can actually help you focus on what you have to offer an employer.

You need to know yourself to sell your skills.  Think about it:  What makes you special or different?  Can you succinctly talk about it in 15 words or less?  How about in a 30-second “infomercial” for yourself?  Otherwise known as the “elevator pitch,” having something short and sweet to say that describes you (your brand) is key to networking and job searching.

Once you clearly and efficiently describe what is unique about you, you are on the road to defining “BRAND YOU.”

Stay tuned for more on personal branding in future blogs!

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Looking for a job, but you need help figuring out what makes you unique?  Can’t put your finger on what skills you have to offer?  Keppie Careers can help!  We’ll transform your resume and support you every step of the way!

Our mission:  to advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers!

www.keppiecareers.com

Best Companies and Work Happiness

Fortune announced its Best Companies to Work for in 2008.  Based on employee surveys, Google ranked #1, probably as a result of their unique company culture, benefits and work environment.

What makes a great company?  Great pay and perks, training, job growth and flexibility are among the characteristics that employees appreciate in their work place. 

Free scuba classes, prayer and meditation rooms, free trips and free lunch are among some of the unique perks at some of the top 100 employers rated in the survey.

Even if your company or employer didn’t make the list, less tangible factors also make for a great workplace.  For example:

  • Mentorship,
  • Support for implementing innovative ideas,
  • Latitude to be creative,
  • Emphasis on promotion from within and
  • Support from non-micro-managing leadership.

Working with people whom you respect and like is another important, although intangible factor that influences your experience at work.  Although pay and perks are great, in my opinion, working with people whom you admire and enjoy being around may be the most important factor influencing a positive work life!  After all, many of us spend more waking hours with our work colleagues than our friends and families.

Feel free to share what makes a top workplace in your opinion!

Let Keppie Careers help you find a better job!
We advise, encourage and enlighten job seekers.

www.keppiecareers.com


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January 2008
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