Archive for the 'Self-Assessment' Category

Thinking About an MBA? You May Want to Think Twice and Listen Hard in Kindergarten

kids-in-sandbox

Thinking about waiting out the recession by getting an MBA?  A recent Newsweek article may may you think twice. The article, Happy Birthday, Harvard B-School reported on an 18-month study on the state of the M.B.A. conducted by Harvard professors David Garvin and Srikant Datar. They interviewed deans, recruiters, faculty and alumni from several dozen top business schools.

Their conclusions?

At some companies, longer-tenured employees without an M.B.A. face better odds of getting promoted than newcomers who hold the degree, and some employers now dissuade star employees from returning to school for an M.B.A. at all. Recruiters say the M.B.A.s they do hire have learned little about such skills as giving presentations, navigating corporate politics or leading co-workers. “The M.B.A. degree may be at an inflection point,” Garvin says.

The article goes on to say:

In the symposium’s most thoughtful remarks, Civil War historian and Harvard president Drew Faust suggested that B-schools may teach their students to become so focused on competing against colleagues and tallying individual rewards that they suffer “a kind of blindness” to “the fundamental interconnectedness of humankind, of societies and of economies.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of higher business education.

Clearly, in the working world, being able to communicate and lead are two crucial “soft” skills employers seek.  Having written about the importance of being connected, I’m intrigued to note the focus on the “fundamental interconnectedness of humankind.” In his book, Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi says, “…Community and alliances will rule in the twenty-first century…[success is] dependent on whom you know and how you work with them (291).” He asserts that living a truly connected life is a prerequisite to success. If this is true, it looks like the M.B.A. may not be the path of choice.

Could it be that all we really need to know are the lessons we learn in the sandbox? Is the poem “All I Ever Really Need To Know, I Learned in Kindergarten” turning out to be really true?

What do you think? When do we learn our most important skills – the sand box or the ivory tower?

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Need help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by patterbt

Ask for What You Want At Work. Or: Don’t Ask for Orange Juice if You Want Grape Juice

Have you ever known someone who doesn’t ever seem to know just what he or she wants? I know someone like that. In fact, I know him really well. He’s my 2-year old. He is in a constant state of not knowing exactly what he wants. A typical conversation:

Him: I want peanut butter and jelly. On bread.

Me: You want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Can you ask in a nice way?

Him: No. I want a waffle. (He proceeds to start removing an apple from the refrigerator.)

Another typical conversation at our house:

Him: I want orange juice.

Me: What’s a nice way to ask? (Pouring orange juice.)

Him: Please! No, I don’t want orange juice. I want GRAPE juice. In a cup.

I think you get the picture. If I’m lucky, he changes his mind before I prepare what he initially requested, but more often than not, I’m faced with trying to convince him to eat what he originally wanted or starting over. If I had a dollar for every time I say, “Oh…I should have known that when you asked for orange juice (and took it out), it really meant that you want grape juice!” – I would be on some island somewhere – someone would be serving ME drinks!

So, what does this have to do with the topic at hand? What does it have to do with your job?

Think about it – Do you really know what you want? Are you like the 2-year old who is asking for orange  juice, but really wanting grape juice? Are you impulsive, asking for (or wishing for) the first thing that comes to your mind? Unlike my 2-year old, whose only real consequence for his indecision is needing to say a few extra “pleases” or being stuck with whatever he first requested, there are real consequences for professionals who either don’t know what they want or don’t know how to ask for it.

What to do? Stop and think! Tiffany Monhollon writes that you should “stop, listen and move.”

It isn’t always easy to figure out what you really want. It certainly isn’t easy to decide to make a major change in the hopes of accomplishing what you really want. It is worth it, though. Don’t let life, or your job, just happen TO you. Stop. Listen. Move. If you want grape juice – don’t just ask for it – do what my 2-year old does when he is really desperate and I’m taking too long – get it out and pour it yourself!

Realize that you are ready to leave your job? Subscribe for free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt! Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

Can You Identify Your Single Greatest Accomplishment?

I’m working with a client whose documents include a note about a specific role that she performed in one of her positions. She indicates that this was “her single biggest professional accomplishment.”

This led me to ask: How many of us can identify our single greatest professional accomplishment? Can you? What if someone asked you in an interview what work experience made you the most proud? Could you pick one?

Maybe we are all too busy trying to identify our weaknesses to describe in an interview, when we should be focusing on the best things we have to offer. Think about it…If you don’t know your greatest strength, who does?

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 via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a linkto receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Can’t figure out how to optimize your resume with key words? Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by ducktourer

Is Your Resume Holding You Back?

If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, and you know that you are qualified, but no one is calling (on any of your phones!) What should you do?

I speak to potential clients who fit this category regularly. Clients suggest many possible scapegoats as to why the phone isn’t ringing:

  • Age discrimination.
  • My experience doesn’t exactly match their needs. No one will give me a chance to prove myself.
  • I’m trying to transition from non-profit to for-profit and they just don’t want me.
  • They look at my previous industry and discriminate against me because they don’t like (fill in the blank).

I would never tell potential clients that these factors have NOTHING to do with their hunt or that it is easy to overcome these possible roadblocks. However, when I review resumes from these job seekers, I usually identify fatal resume flaws that have nothing to do with age, experience or industry. Many times, it is clear to me that these job seekers are approaching their searches with resumes that are doing them more harm than good.

Some examples:

Age Discrimination. Many resumes appear old-fashioned and outdated. They include information that isn’t necessary (such as date of birth), but  omit key resume details (such as dates of employment). If the job seeker is “experienced” (read: older), an outdated looking resume only puts a spotlight on a factor that might be considered a drawback.

Lack of experience. Job seekers who don’t have direct experience in their field of choice make mistakes when they don’t attempt to address the needed skills and stick to a basic “this is the stuff I did” resume. Listing “stuff” isn’t going to cut it when you’re reaching for a job. Focus on those transferable skills. Look at your “soft” skills. Figure out what you have to offer and highlight it for the reader.

Transitioning. Consider how you describe your past experiences. If you are moving to a for-profit, use language that appeals to that employer. Always write for your target. I recently worked with a client to re-write a “non-profit” sounding job description using “for-profit” language. She landed an interview within 24 hours of sending the resume.  If you are applying for a job in France, you’d write your resume in French. Similarly, be sure to use lingo and descriptions that will make sense to the reader. Don’t expect them to translate it!

Industry Discrimination. I’ve worked with clients who believe their current industry isn’t an asset in moving to a new field. For example, a chiropractor who wants to work in accounting. It is easy to write a resume that makes accounting skills and experience the first thing employers will read. I’ve seen many resumes of job hunters who highlight the very information they think detracts from their candidacy!

So, if your phone isn’t ringing, don’t start assigning blame and throwing up your hands until you take a good, long look at your resume. You may be surprised at what you DO control in your job hunt.

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 via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a linkto receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Can’t figure out how to optimize your resume with key words? Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by friendly123

Win Free Career Coaching!

I wanted to let you know about a great contest that my colleague J.T. O’Donnell is running over at Careerealism. All you need to do is submit your career escape day dream at HER POST. You can also read more about the contest there!

What can you win? Something more valuable than gold for those thinking of making a job change – JT is offering UNLIMITED, private career coaching sessions until you’ve landed a new positions that “will no longer require you to want to indulge in career escapism.” Sounds like a great deal! Don’t miss the opportunity!

Wish you could leave your job? Subscribe for free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt! Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

Stressed At Work? Look for These Intangibles for a Better Work Life

Work presses your stress button? You are not alone. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or an MD) to figure out that work stress can cause health problems and a generally miserable life.

It turns out that employees need some very basic things to help them feel valued and committed to an organization, thus reducing stress and work angst. You may be surprised to find out that none of these basic core needs have anything to do with salaries or free massages at work! Click to read the rest at my blog on GreatPlaceJobs.com to learn more about basic stressers and the environments that may help you avoid them!

Social Networking Bridges the Generational Gap and Propels Your Career Forward

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So, I’ve written that participating in social networking can help you look younger without the aid of botox or hair dye! Since I’ve been writing about Twitter this week, and how you can use it to help you network and find a job, I thought I would end the week with some stories of people just like you who believe that using social networking tools are useful to propel them along the right career path.

Veronica Gliatti, a 40-something, experienced public relations and marketing expert, believes that her blog, which she created to help her look for not just a job, but the right career position for her, has helped drive interest in her for job opportunities.  She notes that the blog also “Helped instill more confidence in [her] own abilities” and that she knows several recent leads were directly related to writing a good effective blog with a powerful message.

Melissa Balmer, of Creative Conscious Connecting, 44, emphatically believes that being on line with her website, blog, Facebook profile, yelp profile, etc., helps keep her seeming younger, hipper and more connected in the eyes of her current and future clients.

Melissa notes, “Now that I have quite a dynamic web presence, including an updated photo, blogs in more than one place, presence on myspace, Facebook, linkedin and more, I’m finding that the ageism I grew to fear doesn’t exist for me. People are looking for great, responsible, tuned in people who can connect cross- generationally, and the internet is truly the way to go for this – it’s not someone’s age that matters so much as how ready they are to understand what makes things happen now.”

John Williams, Partner in B2B CFO® believes that having a presence on linkedin and other networking sites gave him more visibility than just being on The Ladders, Exec-U-Net and similar job sites. He also suggested that having a Blackberry “created an impression of being connected” and gave him an edge during his search. He notes, “Utilizing the web was very useful [during his search] and much more efficient than networking at the C level.” He suggests that “Job seekers will miss a major outlet if they are not on the web in this fashion.”

Perhaps one of the more persuasive arguments for using social networking to make yourself seem younger in the job hunt (especially for older workers) comes from Gary Stewart, an executive recruiter in the pharmaceutical industry. He says, “The problem that I have experienced as a recruiter is that there is a definite gap between those who are familiar with [social] networking” and the people he seeks – those who have a minimum of 10-20 years of experience.  He notes, “Most people with this much experience are not aware, or do not know how to take advantage of this sort of medium.” Gary acknowledges that anyone with that experience who participates in online networking would have an advantage in his book.”

If you’re convinced that learning about social networking can help with your job hunt, I can help you! It’s not rocket science, but if you’d like a helping hand to guide your entree to the online market, Keppie Careers is here for you. Email me at results@keppiecareers.com.

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 via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

picture by skampy


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