Monthly Archives: June 2010

A Five-Point Plan To Find A Perfect Job

By Kari Mirabal

Thinking of looking for a new job?  Then, before you consider salary and office perks, think about your current career position and determine if satisfaction and growth potential rank high on your personal fulfillment ranking.  There are a lot of reasons people change jobs but, ultimately, if the position you were hired for isn’t satisfying you and you don’t feel you’re going anywhere professionally or growing personally, that’s when you should consider developing a new plan of action for your career transition.

Out of fear that their perfect job doesn’t exist, some people opt for a new position that neither challenges or excites them.  Others simply don’t have the time, desire, or wherewithal to put the work into what it would take to go after their ideal position.  Thus, job seekers often don’t take the time to create a plan to reach their objectives.  And, if you haven’t developed your plan, finding yourself disappointed with your career decision isn’t uncommon.  That’s why every professional, regardless of job status, should conduct their own career assessment annually.

Not sure where to start?  Consider these steps to create a plan of action that can put you on the path to finding the perfect job for you:

1. Evaluate Your Dissatisfaction – Take a moment to consider what you don’t like about your current position.  Are there opportunities for you to step to the plate and volunteer your time/experience to help the challenge?  Successful career professionals look for opportunities to shine and help organizations versus complaining.  Be part of a positive change in your workplace – you may be able to fix your own challenges by developing creative solutions to the problems you have identified.

2. Complete a Self-Assessment – What do you enjoy doing at work?  What transfer-able skills do you possess?  Are there interests, values, abilities, and or specific industries you prefer to work in?  Write these thoughts down and use them as a reference for evaluating job offers and positions you proactively apply to.  If the job posting doesn’t offer similar skills, chances are you’ll be unhappy in the long run.  Don’t settle!  Keep searching.

3. Communicate with your manager – Don’t wait for your annual performance appraisal to evaluate your career path.  Discuss productivity, career satisfaction, and performance by initiating a conversation with your manager.  Ask for recommendations, volunteer to take projects that align with your career goals, develop suggestions to help the company, then offer to drive these initiatives.

4. Continue to Network – Evaluate your professional network and maintain these contacts.  Staying abreast of changes in specific industries or fields through contacts you have can help you understand trends.  This information is vital during interviews or transitions at your own company.  Talk to professionals in your field of interest and ask questions to determine if transitioning into this direction would be beneficial for you and your skills.

5. Seek Career Advice – You work with dentists when your teeth hurt.  You work with personal trainers when you need help putting together a fitness program.  You take your car to the shop when advice is needed for maintenance.  A Career Adviser or Career Coach can discuss your professional objectives and help you develop a plan that works!

Finally, take time to step away and evaluate how you may have outgrown your current position.  Try to figure out what’s changed; the actual work requirements and expectations or your personal objectives.  If you’re outgrowing your current position, take steps to change direction and don’t give up.  Career transition can be difficult but, in the end, the work you put in to create a plan of action can pay off with a perfect new job!

Kari Mirabal is a Career Advisor, IT Recruiter and Speaker specializing in helping individuals clarify their career goals and develop action plans to attain them through career transitions.

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The Power of People

While we often speak about the importance of networking in a job search, take a few moments to consider these three stories…

In the 1930s, my Uncle managed the Kent Coffee Shop in the western Kansas town of Ellis. During that time, he got know one of his vendors, a man who sold coffee and coffee filters.  A few years later, as the Great Depression continued, the man, looking to catch up to an old acquaintance, randomly found my Uncle’s name in the Wichita phone book, where both were then living.  Acting on a whim, the man called my Uncle and, as they caught up, mentioned that he needed a job.  My Uncle, then working in the Cessna plant, invited the man down the next day to go to work for him.  Both men wound up retiring from Cessna, but I first heard this story in 2006, when the man’s daughter came to my Uncle’s wake service to pay her respects to the man her father had told them about their whole lives, the man who gave him the job that became a lifetime career, my Uncle, Penny Windholz.

In 1970, a young Navy lieutenant and a distinguished, older gentleman met in a Washington, D.C. waiting room.  Comparing their meeting to passengers on a plane, the inquisitive Navy officer, who was nearing the end of his service and worried about what he’d do with the rest of his life, began peppering the quiet and reserved older man with questions.  Discovering some shared experiences, the younger man asked the older man for his phone number and, over the next few years, called him frequently.  When the younger man emerged from the Navy, the older man became a source of advice, direction, and even a career coach. Their relationship would become life-changing when the younger man, Bob Woodward, by then a reporter for the Washington Post, became known the world over for helping to expose the Watergate conspiracy, which led to numerous criminal investigations, convictions, and ultimately, the resignation of President Richard Nixon.  The older man also became known to world, as Deep Throat, the deep background source that helped guide Woodward and Carl Bernstein as they unraveled the maze of Watergate.  Though Woodward swore that he would never reveal his friend’s identity while he was still alive, Mark Felt, the number two man in the FBI during the Nixon presidency, revealed himself as Deep Throat in 2005.

In the mid-1980s, Oklahoma was still recovering the bust in the oil industry.  This hit home for me as my father, who was the truck sales manager at a Ford dealership in Oklahoma City, followed record sales years during the waning years of the boom in the early 80’s with record numbers of repossessions, as struggling oil companies had to hand back the trucks they’d purchased during the good times.  Another casualty of the bust was Sooner Ford, one of my father’s primary truck sales competitors.  Within days of Sooner’s closing, one of their salesmen, who had been acquainted with my father over the years, appeared in his office seeking a job.  The man returned several times over the next few weeks to check in with my Dad, and to use the office as a base to freelance a few truck deals with some of his customers.  Apparently, his persistence paid off, as my Dad ultimately hired him and he’s still selling trucks for the same dealership to this day.

So, what do all these stories have in common?  People.

In the cyber age, we’d call what occurred in each of the stories leveraging your network.  However, in the days before the Internet, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, and email, it was called cultivating your relationships.  And the important thing to take from all this is, ultimately, regardless of how big your network is, it won’t do you much good unless you take the time to cultivate relationships with the people behind the contact name.  Though there’s still room for hundreds or even thousands of contacts in your job search network, remember that the most important part of any job or job search is, first and foremost, people and the relationship you have with them!  And whether those people are current or former co-workers, competitors, associates, vendors, or just friends you make along the way, the relationships you grow today can blossom into a new job tomorrow!

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