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Move sideways to move up

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You think that you are close to having all squares neatly in one color and then you need to mess it all up again to make progress to the final stage.

Well that’s how your career can be, you think you have a great position, the boss is happy, your team is happy, so what is there not to like? The issue is that you may need to have another piece of experience before you can move up the ladder. This may mean having to accept a position that is not necessarily a promotion but maybe a sidestep or demotion. It may also be that you need experience in another region or location or business before you can move up to bigger and better things.

Making a sideways move can be intimidating, certainly when it involves uprooting the family and moving house, region or country. So why do it? Well if you want to be a well rounded professional and a senior player in the company you will have to be prepared to get the right profile. If it is not possible to get that experience where you are now or at the level you are now, you need to be prepared to, temporarily move somewhere else and come back to reap the benefits.

Moving sideways or voluntarily, for career purposes, taking a downgrade is not without risk. You could get stuck in the new position and not be able to find your way back and not get the intended benefit out of the move. It certainly helps if you have a, formal or informal, mentor in the company who monitors your progress.

Here are some tips to bear in mind when you are planning your career:

  • Be clear about your career goals, make sure senior management and/or HR knows why you are pursuing this move.
  • Go for the new position, you will need a success to be able to move again, so work seriously at acquiring the necessary insights and experiences.
  • Ensure you can afford to take a downgrade, do not live at the edge of your financial options and you’ll be a lot more relaxed.

the planRemember always up and up is not the most likely way to get to the top, roses and trees need to be carefully pruned before they can shine, similarly careers need to be pruned and tuned before they will produce the desired result.

It is not all about the education

Although it may be difficult to navigate an automated recruitment system when you do not have the diploma that is required for the position, it is never all about the education. You probably know the stories about MIT or STANFORD educated people who fail to be successful at jobs and people who came to the top with just a High School education.

After some years of experience you will find; it is not about “the right” education but about doing the right things with the education you have.

Often also presented as; it is not about getting married with “the right” partner but more about doing the right things with the partner you married.

It is attitude that plays a major role and continuing to  work on yourself. If you can imagine that you (or your career) is a product that you try to get people interested in, then you need to work on it every year and implement changes and improvements along the way. Doing the right things means looking out for opportunities to embrace, continuing to educate yourself in the area you want to be active in. Be a member of the right associations, go the conferences or meet ups and be a player in your field. It will give you a broad range of ideas and topics to discuss during interviews and you probably broaden your network at the same time.

It’s all about the pre-work

In planning your day, planning your career, working your job, attending a festival, attending a job-fair, going on vacation, planning a party etc. it is always about the pre-work. I can not emphasize more how important planning and  pre-work is.

Yes I have been on vacation without any pre-work. Let’s just go and we’ll see what happens……. only to find out when you are back home that you were actually a few miles from something great to see or experience.

Well like wise with attending job fairs. You must plan ahead and check out the companies that will be there. Usually there is a website that will list them or you can search information about last year’s event  or just ask the organization ahead of time for a list of companies.

You don’t want to come back home and find out after the fact that you missed visiting with a company that is on your favorites list. It is a lot of work but you really need to ensure that you do your homework on the companies that are out there. Make sure you bring copies of your resume but don’t just print off 5o copies of the same resume, you will tweak the resume to the companies where you intend to apply. Highlight some skills that would be of interest for a particular company and provide them with the resume that you have tweaked to best show how you would fit their profiles.

“Dress to impress” so they won’t forget you were there and make sure you follow up by putting your information into the online recruiting system, as companies these days tend to only accept applications that way and try to mention your visit and chat with the company recruiters on the job fair somewhere in your application.

Other than that, keep your smile, also with the last company you visit! Remember you maybe talking to your future colleagues.

 

Networking is the best job search strategy

It is a bit like in the old days when a father would recommend his son to the factory director and then the son would get an employment and would work in the factory for the remainder of his life. The director would know that this must be a great employee as his father and his father before him were great employees.

Well in our global society we have moved away from that concept largely but the networking and recommendation approach still works very effectively. Although there are some requirements about advertising a job en applicant rights for equal opportunities the fact is that when you get a tip from a friend to apply or when your friend puts your resume in the right hands your opportunity to get hired just went up a big notch!

Networking may feel uncomfortable at first or you don’t really know how to do this but the start is very easy. Just start today with mentioning to someone you know that you are looking for another job and what job that you are aiming for. Just ONE will make a difference and be the start of a network. 

Next read our page on networking and get into it in a big way because it will produce results and should really be part of everyone’s search strategy. Free registration on our site gives access to more articles and resources and you can always contact us if you need more help or extra services.

Job search approach; shotgun or sniper?

Finding positions to apply for should be easy these days. Lots of search engines to turn to and more information available at your finger tips than ever before. So why does your job search not go so smooth?

One of the myths that exists is that you can so easily now apply for many jobs because it is all online and the days of sending a handwritten letter and neatly typed resume are over. It could not be more from reality! Applying for jobs still takes considerable time. More often than not companies have their own proprietary recruitment system or if they use an existing recruitment system, remember that there are over 125 different recruiting systems on the market and even companies who use the exact same system will have configured it differently to suit their needs and navigating it will take considerable time.

It is essential that you adjust the focus in your resume to the position that you are applying for. It will give you the best opportunity to get through the algorithms of the recruitment software and get to the desk of the hiring decision makers.

This plus the joy of registering for the system, remembering the password and keeping track of which resume you have sent to which company for what position, makes applying for jobs still very time consuming. There is nothing wrong with this as it is an important decision to figure out where you want to work and for companies it is an important decision to hire someone. 

The above underlines though that you would be better off applying only for those positions that you know you will have a great chance of actually be considered for. The shotgun approach of applying to any job that seems anywhere a bit feasible will keep you busy, but will not necessarily produce any better results than focusing on just the best suitable jobs out there.

So my advice, be like the sniper, invest your time wisely in preparing all necessary documents and focus on quality rather than quantity of applications. Companies don’t waste their time interviewing 100 people to find the one employee, they rather invest in selection software and tools and cut the number of people they have to interview. Likewise you need to invest in finding out exactly where your best opportunity would be and don’t waste your time registering and applying for jobs you actually know are not for you.

On social media

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Your career needs a driving force and direction

Our logos and page background feature roads, train tracks and roller coasters to indicate that your career is a bit like this and has a certain direction. Like going on the road, you need however a driving force. A road is useless without a car, the train track without the train etc. This is where YOU come in. You need to be the driving force of your career. Going it alone is certainly an option but support is always welcome and makes it so much easier to find the right way and navigate it like a pro. That’s where we come in. Call us to discuss your career issues. If it is lack of interviews, anxiety about making a foreign move, doubt about your resume, we can certainly help. Let’s talk or send an email and let’s see how we can help.

 

Running your career

Running is my favorite metaphor for anything to do with careers. You can see a career as a run. Mainly a marathon, not usually a sprint. It means that you need to train hard to  be able to complete it with success. Well your average 18+ years in formal education will take care of that.

Important is also that you learn how to pace yourself, as to not get to exhausted in the first miles. Your first jobs will take care of that.

Next it is important not to loose focus and ensure you maintain a steady pace with getting enough food and liquid during the run. This translates in being goal oriented and ensuring you continue to learn throughout your career to maintain and increase your value to employers.

If you haven’t done anything lately in terms of education or course work, consider the availability of free courses made available by great universities.

good places to start are here:

https://www.coursera.org/

https://www.edx.org/

Resume Management

Your education is one item that you will carry with you the rest of your career. Once you have done about five years in the workforce, people will generally be less interested in your GPA and school and more in your experience, unless you have attended one of the top schools in your field, that advantage will continue to play a role. After five years it becomes important to pay attention to what you do to polish your resume. Make sure you can add to your training something each year. Make sure that you either go deep and specialize in one particular field or diversify and show by the jobs you have had and the exposure to various environments that you are broad based but remember, every step on the resume will become a conversation point in every next job interview.

So think twice before making a move. The fact that you have been offered a job does not mean you have to take it. Consider not only the compensation and benefits and content of the job but also how it fits into your overall strategy for a career.

Your career is like a maze, get help navigating it

Careers can be like a maze, you make progress, you think you know where you are going but unexpectedly you hit a wall and need to turn back in order to move in a different direction to continue your track.

Sometimes a job has no perspective and no future anymore and you have learned all you can learn in that job. If the company can not offer you something better you are sometimes facing the option to take a similar or even lower job at a different company that does have growth opportunities. Taking a step back or side ways to eventually longer term position yourself in the right spot for a better continuation of your career is no problem, you just need to plan for it. There may be temporary financial consequences but the alternative would be to get stuck in the job that you are in now or keep trying to get a promotion somewhere else.

So don’t dismiss these unorthodox career opportunities immediately and think about it, see how it can help you in the long run.

A career is not a sprint, but more like a marathon.

No Calls, No reactions, No problem

Just an encouragement to jazz up the job search.

When you get absolutely no reactions on your applications, after a while, you need to reflect. There are several common causes for this:

  • You apply to dream jobs that are not suited for you (yet)
  • You apply to jobs that you don’t qualify for
  • Your resume is not getting through the recruiter software
  • Your resume is not tweaked for the jobs you are applying for

The first two issues need a careful review of both your job search method but also your goals. Review if what you want is realistically what you can possibly do and have the qualifications for. Do you need additional training, a certificate, memberships etc. Are these the jobs that are right for you now or should you have more patience and get a more suitable job first at a great company and then make your career through promotions.

The other two issues need work on the resume and cover letter. One size does not fit all jobs. Read our recommendations and get help with fixing any issue between you and the next job.

Remember, you only need one job right? Sharpen your resume and be selective in which jobs you apply for to avoid lots of work and lots of disappointments.

Running your career and running

When you are young in your career you may be restless and anxious and dream of a stellar career and fast rise through the ranks in your company or trade. The unfortunate truth is that most careers are more like a marathon than a sprint.

In a marathon, you need to take care to pace yourself. don’t start too fast so you can keep the pace until the end. Ensure you drink and eat enough along the way and run your own race, don’t be too distracted by your opponents.  Other people may get shinier jobs and assignment but when you peak too early without taking on board the necessary experience and advanced learning, you will eventually not be able to keep up with the demands of the position and your career may end up hurting.

There are three stages in life, Learn, Earn and Return. Likewise in your career, Learn, then Earn and eventually pass on the experience and help to mentor younger staff; Return.