What The Beatles Can Teach You About Your Job

Recently, I read a book entitled, You Never Give Me Your Money: The Beatles After The Breakup by Peter Doggett. In it, the author details the breakup of what many consider the greatest band ever, as well as the aftermath that enveloped the various other business entities that grew out of the group.  While it was certainly a breakup caused by creative differences, the Beatles‘ parting was, in a sense, a business breakup as well.  The four lads from Liverpool who started with little but a dream in 1960 were, by 1969, vastly different people, each with different viewpoints, different ideas as to their role in the band and the world at large, larger egos, and even bigger bank accounts (to say nothing of the effects of their use of mind altering substances and belief in the power of 1960s era hippie idealism).  Though Doggett offers no opinions on who to blame for the ultimate breakup of the Beatles, in its’ simplest sense, the four primary employees of what became a huge corporation could no longer stand to work together.

So what does any of this have to do with employment?  Well consider your current position versus where you started.  If you find your job description, responsibilities, or expectations are different, and you’re not happy about it then, believe it or not, you have something in common with the Fab Four!  And like John, Paul, George, and Ringo, you can do something about it. It’s never too late to start planning your next career move and it is always better for you to decide to move on, rather than the company telling you it is time for you to look for new employment.

Especially in today’s environment, don’t overlook the fact that the company you’re currently working for may be merged/acquired and the name changed. Consider names like Arthur Anderson, Enron, Standard Oil… Some merged, some broke-up, some went belly-up, but the end result was the same. That company was and is no more.

As the Beatles so aptly sang a long time ago, it is a Hard Day’s Night, the world of employment is ever-changing, and you simply can’t afford to Let It Be. Ultimately, it’s more fun for you to be in control of that change than it is to give the control to someone else. And if You Are The Walrus, don’t you want to be the one that decides where you swim?

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How Do You See Yourself?

Recently, I read a post about Perception on another blog and it got me thinking about what one hears often from people considering a career change.  That is, “I just don’t see myself as (insert career choice here).”

That’s why, if you’re at a career crossroads, a Career Coach can come in handy.  Why?  Because their job is to look at you objectively and help you find the career where you do see yourself succeeding.

How do they do that?  First, a Career Coach will assess you, how you work, and your strengths and weaknesses.  From there, you can establish a plan of action that will emphasize your strengths to help you achieve your goal.

A Career Coach can also help sharpen your game, be it your résumé, your interviewing skills, your job skills, or even your basic attire.  A coach can also be your biggest supporter, but also that objective opinion source who’s not afraid to tell it like it is.  And that’s an important part of how others, such as potential employers, see you!

If you’re ready to get into a different game, you need game-changing advice.  And helping you get on top of your game is what a Career Coach can do for you!

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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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Thoughts On Networking And Connections

By Kay Stout

Electronic collaboration is the perfect solution when you need information and/or help from a friend or colleague.  You don’t have to be in the same room, city, or country, you just need to be connected electronically.  I was reminded of this when Employment-Essentials asked for my contribution. Enjoy – and stay connected electronically.

It’s true that everything that was old, soon becomes new again.  In today’s job search the buzz word is “networking”.  While many see it as a rather new element of the job search, like the Beatles once sang, With a Little Help from my Friends, in today’s world it is about making a connection with someone.  The fun today is you can make a connection electronically, in the comfort of your home in your favorite at-home attire.  Remember, if you are connected by Skype and a camera, you might even be seen ‘round the world in a less-than flattering way.  Also, everything you say electronically may be transmitted by someone in such a way that it goes around the world.  So think twice, type once, and hesitate  awhile, before you hit the send button.

Also realize that, just as one Can’t Buy Me Love, you can’t Buy Me A Job.  But you can make connections that will prove invaluable with today’s job search.  And, if you stay in touch, they can prove even more valuable five to ten years from now.

There was an interesting article last fall in Forbes, profiling Sheryl Sandberg and her makeover of Facebook.  Everyone wants to be connected, to network, and to reach out to family and friends but, as the article highlighted, the challenge is, how does that help from my friends translate to money for the people behind the scenes who’ve written the connections that make Facebook so much fun?

Before they become profitable, Facebook’s theme song could be A Hard Day’s Night as they grapple with the balance between connectivity and profitability.  For us, it will be how much connectivity do we want and with whom???  We want help from our friends – – but not all our friends. It is going to be an interesting journey for everyone.

Kay Stout owns and operates P S Consulting, an Oklahoma City-based human resources firm offering career counseling, executive placement, and military transition services. The company specializes in consulting advice that will provide the catalyst to help their clients achieve their desired position.

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How To Make The Best Of A Bad Boss

At one time or another, we’ve all likely had a bad boss.  And while that connotation can include bosses who intimidate employees and play favorites, those who aren’t qualified to lead, and even those who inflict emotional and physical abuse, there are several steps you can take to insure your bad boss doesn’t jeopardize your good career.

First, analyze how your bad boss acts with everyone in the workplace.  You may find that your boss is bad to everybody, not just you and, if so, don’t take it personally.  Keeping your head down and making sure your boss’s actions and attitude don’t affect your performance is a key technique that plenty of people, from athletes to architects, use to survive on the job.

From there, analyze how your bad boss manages.  If he or she is a micro-manager, learn to get ahead and provide information and updates well before it would be required or requested.  It may take a lot of work initially, but it can save your sanity and improve your productivity.  If your bad boss barely manages, do everything you can to make sure your contribution stands out from your supervisor’s shadow.

Next, analyze the effectiveness of your bad boss.  If he or she isn’t achieving what they were hired to do, make sure you keep records at home of your contributions and the challenges you’ve conquered.  And, if you haven’t done so already, start your search for a new job pronto!

Finally, analyze his or her ethics.  If your boss takes credit for your ideas or accomplishments, maintain your own records at home for use when you create your new résumé.  If your bad boss is breaking or bending laws or even violating company policy, and your previous analyses listed above have provided negatives at every turn, then it’s definitely time to update your résumé, brush up your interview skills and jump ship.  If it gets to that point, you may be leaving a sinking ship to the rats, but in the long run, your career will still be afloat!

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How To Find Hidden Jobs

Even in a down economy, there are still good jobs available. However, since those positions are often unadvertised, it’s important you know how to tap into the hidden job market.

Now more than ever, it’s important to develop professional and personal networks because, in this day and age, who you know is as important as what you know. Building strong networks professionally and personally can give you an edge over the competition in a job search.

Start building your network via friends and acquaintances and then current or former co-workers. From there, connect with suppliers, clients, and even competitors. There’s strength in numbers, but it only takes one of your connections to think about you first for the job you’d be perfect for!

Even if you currently have a job you love, it’s good advice to keep feelers out anyway. Job requirements or personnel can change, so you never know when you may decide to seek a new job. That’s why keeping in touch with friends and colleagues can put you at the top of their mind if and when they hear of a position opening. And that’s the inside info that can get you in the door for a new job first.

Finally, even if you don’t land the first hidden job you encounter, it can still work to your advantage. The person or persons you interview with, even if you don’t get hired for the position, are contacts that can expand your professional network even further in the future. And that can give you access to even more hidden jobs.

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The One Question To Ask Yourself Before Every Interview

By Kari Mirabal

For many people, searching for a new job means asking, “What’s in it for me?”  However, with unemployment at its highest rate nationally in the last 20 years, job seekers might find more success if they instead ask, “What’s in it for them?”

Applying the “what’s in it for them” strategy requires you to successfully demonstrate your transferrable skills to a potential employer.  That means acing the interview and being able to show what you can do for a company and why they should hire you, in a quick and concise fashion.  Remember that the primary interest of an interviewer isn’t to hear your life story, but rather to determine if you, as an employee, can help their company reach their objectives. And the easiest way to do that is to turn your skills into selling points in your career campaign.

To do that, make sure you know what your transferrable skills are and be ready to present them in an interview.  Start by writing down your top ten skills and then ranking them in order of priority.  Then, consider examples of work experience you can use to illustrate how your skills translated into saving money or making money for your company.  Finally, practice presenting your examples verbally in 60 seconds or less.  Prepare and present your answers confidently and with the company in mind at all times.  Remember that general interview statements like, “I’m organized” mean nothing unless you can explain how your organizational skills will help their company get ahead.

It’s up to you to present what you can offer a potential employer.  So brush up on your interview tactics, learn to present your transferrable skills quickly and concisely, and put the best light on what you can offer a new company.  And remember that how you answer that one important question, “What’s in it for them?” can mean a great new job for you!

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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Does Your Professional Profile Have A Social Network Hangover?

Anyone in the job market should network and maintain a professional profile. However, for those who maintain a professional presence and a social network on the Internet, remember that what you share with the world socially today can adversely affect your professional life tomorrow. Even if you have a job that you love right now, what about two years from now? What will a potential employer find when they Google your name? If it’s something like this…

…odds are, you’re not going to be hired for that high-salary, management position you’ve been looking for.

So remember, when preparing your professional profile, make sure your personal profile reflects equally as well on you. And, though you may not be thinking about a new job right now, don’t forget that potentially every personal photo, video, or bit of information you post or share via Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, blog, or email immediately becomes part of the Internet public domain, and subject to forwarding, linking, and posting elsewhere. And that means the party you enjoyed too much last weekend might still be hanging over you several years down the road.

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How To Avoid Getting Jobbed In Your Employment Search

The recession has left many people looking for new or better jobs. However, it has also given rise to many scams designed to take advantage of those job-seekers.

Because of their enthusiasm for finding a new job, it’s often easy for a job-seeker to overlook the warning signs of a job-search scam. The jobs offering unrealistic pay for two days work are easy to spot but, in the age of the Internet, con-artists have gotten a lot more advanced and job-seekers need to keep their guard up at all times.

Remember to take note of return email address domains, such as Gmail, Yahoo, or Hotmail and remember that most legitimate employers and placement firms will use an email address from their company’s domain. Job-seekers should also be on the lookout for any firm or recruiter asking for personal information, social security numbers or financial information up-front.

You should also practice caution when choosing a job placement firm. While it’s not uncommon for job-search firms to charge a fee, make sure you meet with them in person and have a full understanding of what you’re paying for before you spend your hard earned money. Never provide money or sensitive information without a face-to-face meeting.

In addition, just as reputable employers will do their research on you beforehand, you should do your own background check on any potential job opportunity. The Internet makes it easy to research businesses, email addresses, and phone numbers and, if a Google search turns up the same, once-in-a-lifetime job opportunity associated with a given company, email, or phone number in several cities over several months then, odds are, that’s a scam.

Finally, don’t forget to practice common sense. Remember that, no matter how much you might want a new job, if an offer seems too good to be true, then it probably is too good to be true.

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