Archive for the 'Career Books' Category

The Executive Rules – Tips to Find A Job Today!

A position becomes available within an organization when someone finally says, ‘I need help now!’ Whether or not you get the job depends on how well you convince that person that you can come in and make a positive impact.” – Thad Greer, The Executive Rules

Thad Greer is a nationwide executive recruiter and his book, The Executive Rules, offers job seekers real-world, practical advice and strategies to increase the odds of finding the right job.

I was particularly interested in the fact that The Executive Rules focuses quite a bit on what Thad calls the “Evaluation” aspect of the job hunt. The book offers a number of great resources to help the job seeker self-evaluate, including personality assessments and skills assessments. He reminds job seekers that basic needs, such as “environmental preferences” (commute, work schedule, office environment, etc.) are not small factors in a job search.

With so many job seekers anxious for a job – ANY job, Thad reminds readers that the most important thing for job seekers is to know what they offer and how to market themselves.

Long-time readers know that I love when other career experts offer advice that agrees with my own. I was delighted to read that Thad refers to the resume as “probably the most important professional document you’ll have in your entire life.” He goes on to say that you should not write your own resume and advises that “a comprehensive, keyword-rich, professionally written resume is mandatory if you want to compete in today’s job market.”

Much of Thad’s advice echos what you may have read here on my blog.  For example, he suggests starting a blog and leveraging your social network (with care). In addition, he offers plenty of great tips to help job hunters take advantage of job boards (with some fascinating advice regarding how to evaluate if an online posting is worth applying for), how to follow-up with a potential employer and why some interviews are over before they even start.

Thad advises job seekers to “Reach out to a person, not a company.” He describes how easy it is to make a positive impression on the phone, even in a cold call to a potential employer, and offers terrific tips about  following up and avoiding getting trapped in the HR maze.

Thad’s perspective as a recruiter who knows what employers expect, like and dislike is valuable for job seekers who don’t want to look like deer caught in the headlights when asked something along the lines of, “Were you to accept this position, is this a role you feel you would enjoy doing every day for the next five years?” (Hint: an enthusiastic reply in the affirmative is considered a good answer!)

Thad’s practical tips and expert advice are great additions to any job seeker’s arsenal! I highly recommend you give it a read! The Executive Rules is available at Amazon.com. Look for it at your favorite bookseller soon!

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Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

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Review: Getting from College to Career by Lindsey Pollak: Career Advice that Transcends Generations!

To top off my “getting organized for your job hunt” blogs, I thought this would be a perfect time to review and recommend Lindsey Pollak’s book, Getting from College to Career.

Lindsey is an author, speaker and consultant specializing in career development for college students and young professionals. In Getting from College to Career, she warmly and generously shares personal experiences and stories from all types of professionals covering topics such as: figuring out what you want to do, how to market yourself, where to look for opportunities (including entrepreneurship) and how to prepare for interviews.

While the book targets college students and recent grads, the advice transcends generations! Lindsey acknowledges her “obsession with taking action, trying new things, meeting new people and having a wide variety of experiences” to enhance a job hunt. She notes (and I agree) that you can’t plan your career by sitting around and “thinking really hard.”

Her first tip – “Start Wherever You Are” – is a perfect opening for the job seeker who thinks he or she needs more – more information, more advice, more research, before REALLY starting a successful search. My first boss on Wall Street always said, “The perfect is the enemy of the good.” In other words, if you wait for all of the stars to align before starting something, you’ll never get off the ground. If you want to drive your own career bus, you first need to put the key in the ignition and turn it – no matter where you are parked!

Lindsey reminds her readers that “Action always yields rewards” and emphasizes the importance of taking action on behalf of your career every day. Make a call, write a note, send a follow-up email, attend a networking event…You can’t underestimate the value of every action you take to move your search forward.

How does Lindsey suggest you get organized for a job search?

  • Buy a notebook (with a cool cover) to record ideas and information.
  • Develop a filing system to keep all of the key paperwork that will pass through your hands.
  • Keep a calendar with ALL of your appointments to avoid double-booking.
  • Start a log or spreadsheet for all of your interactions with employers and networking contacts.
  • Create a database system to track everyone you meet along the way!

One of my favorite tips? #27 Relax. A Job Is Not a Soul Mate. The fact is, with workers expected to have 9 careers in a lifetime and an average of 3 jobs in each one (with 50% of those careers not even discovered yet), don’t think of a job as a marriage. If you make a mistake, you can take your transferable skills and move to another opportunity.

Getting from College to Career is a terrific resource, full of tips to guide job seekers along a successful path. I highly recommend it to anyone getting ready for a job hunt!

Ready to take the plunge and look for a job? Still need a great resume? Some help to write the perfect cover letter? I’m here to help! Write to me.

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Review of Retire Retirement, by Tamara Erickson

retire-retirement-picture.jpg

Regular readers know that I have been reviewing Tamara Erickson’s book, Retire Retirement. Although aimed at Boomers (born 1946 – 1964), the book offers insights that are useful across the generational alphabet!  Erickson’s research suggests that work culture will change in the next decade for several reasons:

1.  To accommodate Boomers seeking flexible, new experiences.  As the first generation with the realistic expectation of a 30-year healthy, active life after age 55, Boomers may engage in several new careers!

2. Because of Gen Y’s desire to have a work-life balance and refusal to join companies requiring 60-hour work weeks. 

(It seems as if Gen X doesn’t have much to say in this matter!)

Erickson makes the case that Boomers who wish to stay in the paid workforce will leverage a lot of power:

  • Boomer skills and experience are needed. Employers don’t want to experience the “brain drain” of Boomers retiring in droves.
  • Technology and a changing economy offer flexible ways of working.
  • Research shows that workers over 55 are more reliable and loyal than younger workers.

Erickson encourages readers to dream big and to think optimistically about their plans.  She believes that by 2025, more companies will embrace next-generation enterprises, which she describes as:

Intensely collaborative, continually informed, technologically adept and skilled at on-going experimentation…Companies will adopt flexible relationships and continual active connections to attract both talented employees and loyal customers (49).

As a result, she believes that employees should reasonably expect the following in the next 5 years:

  • Flexible time.  Changing shifts, compressed work week, individualized schedule.
  • Reduced time. Part-time, job sharing, leave-of-absence programs.
  • Cyclic time. Project-based or contract work.  Employees will focus on a project for a number of weeks or months, complete the work and then either take a break or move on to a new contract.  (Read more about this here.)
  • Flexible place. Telecommuting, no fixed location for work.
  • Task, not time. Instead of working 9 to 6, for example, employees would have a task and be required to put in only the time that it takes to get the work done.

Erickson offers specific strategies for Boomers to negotiate a new work plan.  She encourages this powerful and large group to reinvent themselves and dream big!  The book also outlines a myriad of ways for those seeking a brand new challenge (not with current or similar employers) to leverage their reputation, or “brand.”

Erickson emphasizes that responsibility for a new and improved work life is up to YOU!  Boomers (and future generations) need to plan in advance, position themselves and plot a course to navigate a desired career path.  Many successful workers will map their route years in advance and steer toward their goal.  Others will take advantage of unexpected opportunities.  Either way, a life’s worth of work impacts our options if we wish to work beyond traditional retirement age with the benefit of flexibility and personal choice.

If Erickson is correct about the changes coming to the workplace, Boomers, and younger generations as well should read Retire Retirement to begin to plan how to position themselves in a brave new working world!

Keppie Careers can help you achieve your career goals at any age!  Need a resume?  Job hunting help?  Keppie Careers will assist you every step of the way:  www.keppiecareers.com.

Career Advice from a Comic Book?

In the March 3rd issue of BusinessWeek, Susan Berfield wrote about a new career advice genre:  the comic book.  Berfield explains that many business publishers have been adjusting their products to be read in limited time slots, such as a two-hour plane ride.  The comic book appeals to those who don’t have time for too many words on one page.

Due out in April, The Adventures of Johnny Bunko:  The Last Career Guide You’ll Ever Need, by Daniel H. Pink, who also wrote Free Agent Nation and A Whole New Mind, is targeted to college students.  Pink says, “College students are making all kinds of assumptions about their careers that are just wrong.”

Berfield reports that there are six lessons in the book:

  • There is no plan.
  • Think strengths, not weaknesses.
  • It’s not about you.
  • Persistence trumps talent.
  • Make excellent mistakes.
  • Leave an imprint.

All interesting points.  I am curious to see how Pink elaborates on them in his book, which is touted to be a useful and entertaining work that can be read in an hour.

Seeking career advice targeted directly to you?  Keppie Careers will write your resume and coach you through the job hunt maze.


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