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7 Habits of Highly Successful Job Seekers

This post is in honour of the legendary management guru Stephen Covey, author of the bestselling book, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, who passed away recently. Mr. Covey’s principles were not meant to be a quick-fix prescription for personal growth, but a deliberate plan of action to achieve one’s personal, professional or business goals. In the same way, the tips below are not quick-fixes nor are they all-inclusive, but they can be applied with some degree of success if one is committed to professional growth. Highly successful job seekers:

  1. Are Proactive:  They know how fickle the job market is so they adopt a proactive mentality and are always prepared for their next opportunity. As such, their career marketing documents and resources (resume, cover letter, portfolio, personal website or blog) are up-to-date.
  2. Exude Confidence: They know their value and the contributions they have made to the company’s profitability, and are able to articulate this with confidence, but without appearing boastful.
  3. Invest in their Careers: They assess their personal strengths, know their areas for development, and are committed to continuous learning through formal and informal means.
  4. Have a Circle of Influence:  They have built their own circle of influence because they know that they cannot accomplish much on their own and that they need the support of others to succeed. This circle is a formal or informal board of directors of 4-8 people, including some whose career trajectory they would like to emulate, and others who are ready to dispense advice when requested.
  5. Are Active on Social Media: They know that social media is an equal opportunity platform that does not require a Ph.D. to sit at the table, but offers opportunities to have a presence, drive engagement, demonstrate their expertise and build credibility.
  6. Demonstrate Cross-Cultural Competency: They make a deliberate effort to operate in different cultural settings because they recognize the benefits of having diverse groups of talented people working together to solve problems better and faster.
  7. Know How to Collaborate in Virtual Teams: They know that their team members are not always in the cubicle next door, but could be miles or oceans away. In this regard, they have well-developed skills to work productively in virtual teams.

As you reflect on the life of Stephen Covey and his contributions to society, take a moment to reflect on your own career and see if you are on the right path, and even attempt to create your very own ‘7 Habits’ that will help you move your career forward.

Related link: Proactive Workers Stand Out from the Pack

10 Reasons CareerTips2Go Café is better than Starbucks!

We all clamour for that cup of coffee, and in my case, that cup of tea, to start our morning. On a Monday morning like this, we probably need more than one cup to get us started. What if you were being offered something much better than that cup of coffee or tea; something to put your career on the fast track to success? You can have it. It’s offered at our CareerTips2Go Café, and it’s longer lasting than what you get at Tim Hortons, Starbucks and even McDonald’s. Here’s what the Cafe provides:

  1. A Coach-on-Call to assist you with your resume, interview, and other job search questions.
  2. Step-by-step instructions on how to how to create your own story-telling resume.
  3. Opportunities to learn how to leverage social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Google+) to build your professional network.
  4. Tactics on researching companies, bypassing the gatekeepers and getting to the decision-maker
  5. Strategies to increase your confidence and boost your self-esteem.
  6. Access to up-to-date interview trends and case studies.
  7. Coaching on how to articulate your accomplishments, strengths and potential to your next employer.
  8. Up-to-date career resources and techniques at your fingertips.
  9. On-demand coaching customized for you.
  10. An objective voice to tell you like it is even though it might hurt.

Drop by and see what we have on the menu, and give us some feedback while you are there!

Happy New Year…What Are Your Plans for the Next 364 Days?

 

Did I catch you off guard with this cartoon? Well, it’s adding some humor to the first day of a brand new year!

Anyway, I want you to make the most of the remaining 364 days, so I have gathered some links, quotes and some of my own musings that I hope you will find helpful.

  • After setting your goals, plan to evaluate your progress each day. “If you believe that you need to improve your self-discipline – hire a coach”, says Glenn Llopis of Forbes Blog. Related article here: Top 5 Career Investments for 2012.
  • Start the New Year on the “Wright” foot. Reserve your spot today to join me on a FREE teleconference on January 3, @ 8 pm Eastern.  Register here.
  • Networking is still one of the most successful job search techniques, so nurture your network. Don’t wait until you are in a rut to connect with them.
  • Understand how to use the ‘Vacuum Theory’  to advance your career: do the jobs others won’t do, make a visible difference with your presence, and become known as the ‘go to’ expert.
  • Find a job you like and you add five days to every week. ~H. Jackson Brown
  • Don’t allow anyone to discourage you from dreaming lofty dreams. “People too weak to follow their own dreams will always find a way to discourage yours.” @WomenofHistory.

Hope you find them helpful. Happy New Year to you and much success in 2012.

Ditch Your Resolutions and Set SMART Goals in 2012

January is just around the corner and it’s time to start thinking about New Year resolutions, or is it? How many of your 2011 resolutions did you keep?

For several years now I have been advocating that people set goals instead of make resolutions. Goal setting helps you to decide what you want to achieve and create a step-by-step plan to do it. Resolutions, in my humble opinion, are ideals that are short-lived. Most people give up on them within a few short months. Goals, again in my opinion, are more realistic. You lay them out, break them down into small manageable steps, and they suddenly appear achievable.

The SMART acronym – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely – is usually the centre of any discussion on goal setting, but for this article, I have put a new spin on it:

Set Goals and ditch resolutions. As stated above, resolutions are transitory, so set realistic goals and then commit to them. Goal setting is such a critical element of one’s career, or life that it requires discipline, commitment and desire. Don’t just say “I need to get a new job, or I need to change my career”, then sit around and wait for it to happen, because it won’t. Create a plan.

Make it happen. Keeping your goals in your head won’t make them happen, but if you write them down and surround yourself with a circle of people who will hold you accountable, a major shift will take place.

Abandon negative self-talk and fear. These attributes – negative self-talk, being around negative people, and a fear of failure – coalesce to hold us back from achieving our goals.

Record and Review your activities. Identify and record the steps you needed to achieve your goal. This act of recording is essential to making your goal come alive. In writing them down, they become clearer to you. After that, spend as little as 1o minutes each day to review your progress.

Think Big and Bold! It is said that one of the mistakes we make in setting goals is not thinking big enough, but big goals generate excitement and passion. If you stretch yourself to set a few big and bold goals, it should be enough to capture and hold your attention.

2012 will be your banner year, if you focus, invest in yourself, and stick to your plan. Set your SMART goals and see what’s possible for your life. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage and inspire you and share in your successes. Take time to reward yourself for each accomplishment, however small because these tiny rewards will serve as motivators for you to keep on going.

Become your own success story in 2012! Remember, “Successful people always do what unsuccessful people do not”. Be the change you want to see!

A Happy and Prosperous New Year from The Wright Career Solution, the company that moves your career forward…one step at a time!

 

11 Things You Can Do Between 11 AM & 11 PM on November 11, 2011

While this blog post is not really connected to November 11, and the Poppy, I have chosen its image as a reminder of the many people who paid and continue to pay the ultimate price for the freedom we so often take for granted. In their honour, I ask that you take a brief moment (less than 11 minutes) to read and understand the significance of this memorable poem written by Lt. Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army. In Flanders Field.

That said, today being 11/11/11, appears to have a significance of its own for many people and what’s going to happen after this date. An extract from the following blog post: The Aquarian Shift: What Will be Different in Our World After November 11,  states:

“You are ready to accept that you have the knowledge and wisdom within yourself. It is no longer necessary to attach to something outside yourself, but to become a leader of one: yourself. Instead of being a railroad car that is pulled by an engine, you become your own engine. It is your responsibility to stay on the tracks and to keep moving forward.”

Here are 11 things you can do to show you are, indeed, leader of one – yourself’ – and that you have the courage to become your own engine’:

  1. “Greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp.”Elbert Hubbard
  2. Show appreciation to those who have fought and continue to fight for world peace.
  3. Learn to say “Thank You” in 11 different languages.
  4. Pick up the phone and make one of those cold calls you’ve been procrastinating about.
  5. Take 11 minutes out of your 15-minute break and mentor someone.
  6. Randomly select 11 people from any of your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts, and send them a message to say how glad you are to have them in your network.
  7. Take an 11-minute mind break to be alone with yourself. Even if you are in an office full of people, just take the time to be quiet.
  8. Send a motivational quote, a tip or a favourite recipe to 11 people in your address book.
  9. Write down 11 accomplishment statements you could use to improve your resume.
  10. Write down 11 interview questions that you struggle to answer.
  11. Send a LinkedIn invitation to 11 people with whom you would like to connect.

Happy 11/11/11, and to whatever significance you attach to it, if any.

 

Do You Have the Courage to….?

 

After my Mother passed away recently, I took a respite from everything for several weeks, including my business. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do anything and so I needed something to pull me through. I decided to use the time to ask and answer my own questions:

  • What did it take for me to make the decision to move to Canada?
  • What did it take to apply for and get a job at the UN while I was enroute to Canada?
  • What did it take to negotiate my salary with my first Canadian employer when the initial offer was not what I expected?
  • What did it take to get a teaching position at Sheridan College?
  • What did it take to start my business?
  • What did it take to write my book?

As I reflected on each question, one word kept revolving in my mind and it was COURAGE! I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be in any of those decisions, but each time I felt this burning feeling in my stomach to do something, I took a leap of faith.

How about you? What giant (or small) leap have you taken after just seeing the first step? Or, are you someone who has to see all the steps before making a move?  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or giant step, if you are to move from where you are to where you want to be, it will take courage. You have to be prepared to:

C Commit and persevere. This is sometimes the most difficult part, as many people give up soon after they start. Remember, “there’s always a dip in the middle of working toward a goal. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just brush yourself off and re-commit!” (Shawn Driscoll)
O Open your eyes, ears and mind for new opportunities and offers. They come in various forms, but you have to be prepared to seize the moment.
U Uncover your talents. You may have latent talents just waiting to be uncovered. Take an assessment if you are unsure about your gifts, or enlist the help of a career coach.
R Reach out and request help from others. Many people are willing to offer you assistance, but you must ask. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Family, friends and professional colleagues played a huge role.
A
Accept the fact that failure is a part of success. My colleague @LydiaFernandes tweeted recently, “Everytime you fall, it’s an opportunity to get back up & rock it out even harder!” and Author Tim Harford in his new book: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, says we should “fight failure with courage.”
G Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Let go of whatever is holding you back and take the first step. Linda Mastandrea said “Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it is.”
E Engage people face-to-face and through social media to build relationships. Up to 85% of opportunities are found through networking. Keep in mind, however, that it’s a two-way-give-and-get street.

It is as easy as that. Everything begins with a first step. That first step is commitment. It might take you some time to get there, just don’t ever dare to give up. As you do some reflections of your own, let me leave you with these words from Dale Carnegie & Ralph Marston:

“Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” ~ Dale Carnegie

“Your biggest limitation is your reluctance to move forward. Get over that, and you can get over anything .Time, money, knowledge, and resources are minor considerations when compared to one vital factor. That factor is your willingness to get it done.” ~ Ralph Marston

I hope you will take your leap of faith, and Just Do It!

Feel free to share your comments below about COURAGE.

The Tale of a Title Change

One of my lovely nieces emailed me last week to solicit my career coaching assistance. She wanted to approach her boss about changing her title to reflect the work she is currently doing.

I asked her to send me a list of her accomplishments. She sent me a list of her MAJOR RESPONSIBILITIES. I sent it back to her with a phrase at the end of each statement, “And so?” She understood what I meant, as the list I got back was filled with value-based scripts.

Two days later, she had the conversation with her boss and gave him the list of her achievements. Without any hesitation she had her title changed from Software QA Specialist to Senior QA Analyst. While she did not ask for a raise because she understands the company’s financial situation, she was told in a memo that “…You will also be considered for a salary increase if any funds become available later this year”.

All it takes is a short conversation. It’s as simple as that!

Take a Leap of Faith, Not a Leap of Fear

My previous client newsletter briefly discussed the dreaded word “FEAR” – that scary monster that grips, paralyzes and keeps us from moving forward with our dreams. This short New Year’s message comes with a request that if you find yourself gripped by fear, make a concerted effort to replace ‘fear’ with ‘faith’ in 2011. That’s right! Start believing in yourself again!

Reflect on just one thing you would like to achieve for yourself in 2011. Don’t worry about what you didn’t do in the past. Darren Hardy, editor of SUCCESS Magazine said, “No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.” Imagine that! You do have a spotless future. You have a clean slate or a blank canvas to paint whatever picture you wish in 2011. In your mind’s eye, visualize or paint the picture in its finest detail, just as you would want it to be. Is it a picture about your health, career, finance, family, spirituality, or is it something as simple as retooling your skills just to be ahead of your competition? Whatever it is, start now. Let go of whatever it is that you fear – the fear of failure (or success), the fear of what people might say, the fear that you are not good enough, not healthy enough, not young enough, not smart enough – and go after what it is that you want.

As a gift to you, watch this short slideshow, and see if you will be motivated to start making things happen for you! Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous 2011.

Don’t forget to visit us at the Careertips2Go Café to see what’s going to be brewing in the New Year! We might just be able to help you take a leap of faith and achieve something for yourself.

Slideshow:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Are You ‘Shoulding’ on Yourself?

Merry Christmas… Joyeus No?l…Feliz Navidad…Season’s Greetings…Happy Holidays!

Well, 2010 came in with a bang, and now it’s almost gone. As you reflect on the year, how do you stack up against those goals / resolutions you set at the beginning of the year? Are you pleased with your accomplishments, or are you lamenting the fact that much of what you had hoped to achieve just didn’t happen? In fact, are you ‘shoulding’ on yourself because of what you failed to get done? You know what I mean – the “I shoulda, coulda, didn’t bother…” conversations that tend to clutter our minds when we fall short of our own expectations.

Don’t waste another minute shoulding on yourself. What’s gone is gone, and there’s nothing you can do about it. There were moments when I wanted to ‘should’ on myself because some of what I set out to do got derailed – sometimes because of my own effort (or lack thereof), but I changed the direction of my thoughts and focussed on what I had accomplished, and what still had to be done. That mental shift made the world of difference to finishing the year having done much of what I set out to do. It’s not too late for you to make that mental shift. Here are three tips to help you if you really want 2011 to be different:

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Some people are so fearful of failing, that they don’t bother trying. Later on they blame themselves for things they should or could have done. Whatever it is that you really want to do, I urge you to feel the fear and do it anyway! R.W. Emerson said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain“, and former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look FEAR in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”. So, look at FEAR for what it really is – False Evidence Appearing Real, and take a leap of faith and surprise yourself.

Move Out of Camp Complacent. If it feels too safe and comfortable doing the same thing(s) day-after-day even though it no longer gives you satisfaction, it’s time to move. Complacency destroys drive and passion. That promotion, that new job, that sales call you need to make, that business you want to start, that book you want to write, stretch yourself and strive to make them happen in 2011. Remember that if you continue doing what you have always done, you will remain exactly where you are.

Commit to Making a Decision. Too many people prefer to sit on the fence of indecision while life is passing along on its merry way. Case in point: It took one man nine months to get back to me about working on his resume. He was unemployed when he first contacted me, and he was still unemployed nine months later. What did he say when he came back? “I should’ve done this a long time ago.”  What he was also doing was copying and pasting parts of different sample resumes to create one of his own. That did not work, so he too, began ‘shoulding’ on himself.

As you look forward to a New Year with all its potential, tell yourself that you cannot hold on to the life that was, but you can fully live the life that is, right now. Make a concerted effort to make your dream a reality in the coming year.  If you would like some assistance in the New Year, check out my new website CareerTips2Go Café and make plans to join me in January, when the Café officially opens! It’s a work-in-progress, but there will be tools and resources to help you in your job search or your career transition.

Job Search Trends for 2010 and Beyond

In writing this article, I perused a couple of blogs and extracted some interesting job search and work trends that provide insights and forecasts to help both job seekers and career practitioners stay ahead of the ever-changing world of work. The common thread in these resources is how we get our messages across in this 140-character era and what we do to stay on the radar of recruiters and hiring managers.

Resumes: These will continue to become shorter, tighter and more laser-focused, according to one Career Thought Leader. Individuals who like to detail their entire work history in a resume will now have to make sure to include only information that will entice the hiring manager to contact them for an interview. Therefore, that way-back-when job, that has no relation to your current focus, should not be on your resume.

Personal Contact Information on Resumes: With multiple means of contact – email address, home and cell phones, faxes and pagers – the trend is to limit personal contact information, especially because of identity theft issues. Jobseekers should be careful not to list home address on resumes being posted online. It’s adequate and appropriate to just use an email address and cell phone number.

Career Coaching – Group and Online: With the economy as it is, and people becoming more conscious about their money, group and online coaching are growing in popularity. Career coaches have long offered online or telephone coaching to clients, but now corporations are beginning to do the same for their employees via email, instant messaging, and other web platforms versus the more traditional voice-to-voice and face-to-face coaching methodologies.

Interviews: Because of the proliferation of webcams and companies looking to save time and money, the use of cheap video-chat software is becoming a low hassle way to vet job candidates. That means a growing number of people looking for work are meeting their prospective new bosses not at the office, but in the comfort of their own home. Read the Time.com article: How Skype is Changing the Job Interview.

Social Networks: Social networks like LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook (to a lesser degree) are replacing Job Boards as the ‘go-to’ sites for recruiters as they look for talent. Some companies, that haven’t yet started, say they plan to begin using these vehicles very soon.

Latest statistics show that the use of social networking sites to find information about candidates has risen from 22% last year to 45% in 2009, and another 11% of employers have plans in place to use social networking sites for screening. A survey conducted by Head2Head, a recruiting firm in Toronto, revealed that more than 69% of Canadian recruiters are using LinkedIn to source for jobseekers.

Smart professionals are creating and maintaining online profiles, whether they are actively searching for a new job or not. It is imperative, therefore, that jobseekers embrace social networks to raise their visibility and become known by the people who need to know about them. LinkedIn is referred to as the “passive database” allowing recruiters to keep an eye on potential candidates.

Manpower World of Work Trends

In this report, Manpower identified the following megatrends  as critical to navigating the changing world of work: Demographics/Talent Mismatch, Rise of Customer Satisfaction, Individual Choice and Technological Revolutions. Companies will be under pressure to find the right skills in the right place and at the right time, and individuals will have to make sure they are equipped and ready to be found. Below are three takeaways that I would bring to your attention:

  1. Because of changing economic conditions, motivations and preferences, individuals with the ability, access and self-motivation will benefit from the shift of power from employer to individual.
  2. Individuals with general, mainstream skills, shared by many, will be marginalized unless they improve their skills and workplace relevance.
  3. Individuals will need to take more responsibility and ownership for their careers and development.

For survey details click here Manpower Research

Feel free to add your comments on job search trends for 2010.

Sources:

Career Thought Leaders

MANPOWER Research