Monthly Archives: December 2015

Adam Smith says: “Before You Take that Out-of-State Job….”

Adam smith

Adam Smith (1723 – 1790) was a pioneer of political economy and a Scottish philosopher. He is best known as the author of An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations (1776), which is considered his magnum opus and the first modern work of economics. Smith, who laid the foundations of classical free market economic theory, is cited as the father of modern economics and is still considered among the most influential minds in the field of economics today. In The Wealth of Nations and other works, he expounded upon how rational self-interest and competition can lead to economic prosperity.

A well-designed career strategy can likewise accomplish the same.

Every now and then, one of the online job sites publishes a list entitled something like “The 10 Best Cities for Getting a Job.” The list is then retweeted by countless career coaches, recruiters, résumé writers, and other career professionals because such an enticing title and list draws in everyone looking for a new job, a new career, a fresh start somewhere else. Most people will compare various aspects of the costs of living before making a move to another state because any difference from their current residence will either put more money in the bank for them – or take it out of their pockets. A 25% pay raise for a job in California may disappear immediately when such costs of living are considered.

But there’s another far-reaching factor that slips most people’s awareness when evaluating job opportunities in another state: local and state tax policy.

An Inquiry into Wealth of States_

Titled after Adam Smith’s tome but focused on the tax policies of the 50 states, An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of States should be required reading for anyone considering packing up the family to move from one state of the Union to another in search of better job or career opportunities. Individual state and local tax policies can either be a boon or bust to a state’s economic growth and wealth creation. The volume of data (Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Census, IRS, and private enterprise) on the consequences of state and local tax policy is not only immense but speaks louder than any populist rhetoric and political promises we hear from some presidential candidates.

The Wealth of States (short title) compares numerical and statistical data among the 50 states – with special attention to comparisons among the states with the highest taxation and those with the lowest taxation.

Wealth doesn’t stay put. Businesses and individuals in upper economic strata go where their interests are protected. The result? As this book demonstrates, almost every measure of economic prosperity at the state level – population, employment, and beyond – is linked to taxation. Low-tax states in every region of the country are outperforming their neighbors. (from the book jacket)

One thing the data in this book makes crystal clear: Taxing the wealthy to distribute to the poor encourages an exodus of the wealthy (along with their tax dollars and their businesses) across state lines. Regardless of the size of the state, high state and local tax policies can put a lid on individual and corporate prosperity.

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER







Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of the newly released Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).

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5 Tips from Impression Management Master Class

PresentationLoad-Selfpresentation-PowerPoint_640X330In previous posts, I have written about the importance of impression management and the relationship psychology involved with job interviews and an overall career strategy. In my Career Strategy Master Classes, I dig a little deeper on 5 critical issues in shepherding hiring managers to settle on you as their candidate of choice. Here they are – but remember, these are techniques of persuasion, not argumentation:

  1. Given the various presuppositions, prejudices, and preferences hiring managers bring to the hiring process, realize that for some individuals, persuasion may be a challenge for you. A hiring manager with a death grip on an issue or opinion is likely so engaged based more on emotion or beliefs than fact or reason. He or she is operating from a own blind spot where they are blind to their blindness. The strategy here is to employ a series of nudges rather than one big push to gradually move them off their fixed position.
  2. The core of your impression management strategy is always about the hiring manager’s needs and issues, not yours. Your series of nudges must resonate with what is important to the hiring manager; otherwise, you won’t make any progress with self-aggrandizement language.
  3. Remove disparaging rhetoric from your impression management language. Eliminate any thoughts or verbiage that denigrate ideas or individuals. I was once part of an interview team that was vetting a software programmer who was asked to draw on a whiteboard how he would code a particular programming problem. When one of the interviewers asked him why he didn’t opt for a different code approach (one the interviewer preferred), the candidate sneered, “Why go that route? That’s a stupid approach…” and then failed to explain why it was so.
  4. Determine what concerns or issues might prevent the hiring manager from considering you further for the position (he or she may offer that information voluntarily in the interview), and acknowledge his or her concerns. But don’t acknowledge that they are issues. Remove those concerns by focusing on the future benefits of your expertise in a sequence of nudges. Remove the objections one nudge at a time.
  5. Incorporate storytelling into your impression management strategy.  Some hiring managers may ask you to relate an experience where you solved some problem –  or failed to resolve it. That’s not quite what I’m talking about here. Storytelling is a powerful form of persuasion that provides a different perspective or context outside of the “raw data” that’s so typical of interview data collection. A black-and-white fact has a greater impact when it is couched in a colorful story that reinforces the fact – especially when used near the end of the interview.Moby-Dick author, Herman Melville, was a master storyteller. Entertaining Nathaniel Hawthorne and his wife one evening, he related a story of a fight he had witnessed on an island in the South Seas, in which one of the Polynesian warriors had wreaked havoc among his foes with a heavy club. Striding about the room, Melville demonstrated the feats of valor and the desperate drama of the battle. After he had gone, Mrs. Hawthorne thought she remembered that he had left empty-handed, and wondered, “Where is that club with which Mr. Melville was laying about him so?:” Mr. Hawthorne maintained that that he must have taken it with him, and a search of the room revealed nothing. The next time they saw him, they asked him what happened to the club. It turned out there was no club; it had simply been a figment of their imagination, conjured up by the vividness of Melville’s storytelling.

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER







Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of the newly released Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).

 

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Protecting Your Brand: Do You Suffer from Ultracrepidarianism?

 

expert

No, it’s not a disease your doctor should screen for, nor is it last year’s National Spelling Bee stump word. But ultracrepidarianism is something that we all suffer from now and again: giving opinions, advice, and prognostications on issues outside of one’s competence or knowledge domain.

Wherever there is more than one side to an argument, there will be those who practice ultracrepidarianism. Researchers wrote about it in The Cambridge Handbook of Expertise and Expert Performance, and Steven Levitt and Stephen Dunbar wrote about it in Think Like a Freak, where they quoted two psychologists who stated that:

Despite spending more time with themselves than with any other person, people often have surprisingly poor insight into their skills and abilities.

Religion, politics – especially politics – , and business are full of ultracrepidarianists. The whole idea seems to be linked to our worldview presuppositions which can cloud our ability to understand the real truth behind divisive and emotionally charged issues, but that’s too deep for this post. Let me bring it back to career and job strategies.

In the workplace we often encounter “Yes, but…” people who have the insatiable impulse to always interject their opinion or advice no matter how relevant or germane to the question or matter at hand. I once worked with a fellow geologist from Mississippi who always began his contribution to any conversation – regardless of the subject matter – with “Well…taint only that…” Around the office he earned the nickname, “Taint.”

Such out-of-his-league bloviating damaged how receptive any valuable ideas or suggestions he had could have been to others. People began tuning him out as soon as he started talking. Any real or perceived expertise he possessed was discounted because of his urge to always be the “answer guy.” Saying “I don’t know” or even just being quiet was too high a price to pay, so he opted for offering a misguided or totally incorrect opinion.

Knowing what ultracrepidarianism is will score you points at the next cocktail party, but avoiding it will help you preserve your professional brand that you have worked hard to establish.

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Want to receive a free copy of my Career Strategy Tip Sheets? You get 5 bundled tip sheets (PDF) for career strategy, cover letters, résumés, job interview, and salary negotiation. Just let me know your thoughts on this or any blog post–or let me know of a career topic you’d like me to discuss from the hiring manager’s perspective.

ALL TIP SHEET COVERS TOGETHER







Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of the newly released Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).

 

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Why Not Getting the Job Offer Isn’t All Bad

No-Job-Offers

Didn’t get that job offer you wanted, even though you followed all the right strategies and tactics (hopefully the ones I recommended)? Well, there are some variables of the hiring process at play that you don’t have any control over, such as the state of the economy, the current state of your particular industry or profession, regulatory compliance that stymies job growth, and so on.

But, it’s not all bad and here’s why. Let me suggest another way of looking at the situation. Rather than bemoan the fact that you didn’t get the job offer, why not look at it as you didn’t get the job offer today.

So many people give up pursuing a dream job when someone else got the job offer. But guess what: you don’t have to stop promoting your expertise and interest to the hiring manager because you don’t know if the person who was hired will work out or quit in the meantime (don’t assume all employers will “keep your résumé on file”).

If the job is one you see as a great opportunity for enhancing your career, here’s a strategy that embraces the idea of “switching on your own career”:

  1. Honestly self-assess how well you think you performed in the hiring process; what might you have done differently if given the opportunity? Adjust any aspect of your documents or interview skills that need it.
  2. Three to 4 months down the road, send an email to the hiring manager expressing your hope the candidate has worked out well for the position you applied for. This email continues developing the associative model in the mind of the hiring manager, connecting your name with your expertise for that position.
  3. A few months later, send the hiring manager another one of the documents in your Professional Skills, Knowledge, and Experience (PSKE Portfolio) using the Trojan Horse technique (attaching the Post-It Note to the document) that I’ve written about in my books and in previous blog posts.
  4. Repeat Step 3 four to six months later. Let all this simmer in the hiring manager’s mind.

Of course, in the meantime you have been pursuing other opportunities and may have snagged a terrific job. The point here is that you don’t have to stop promoting your expertise after job interviews have ended and you don’t have stop promoting your expertise after the job offer goes to another candidate.

Some folks may feel “I don’t want to seem like a pain in the a** to hiring managers by doing this…” I understand, but that’s an employee attitude. The consultant’s attitude continues to promote the benefits of that expertise without placing time limits on that effort. And, you never know who will end up with that post-hire information you sent.

In 1993, I interviewed for a position at Motorola. I didn’t get the job but I followed up with the hiring manager by sending him (using the techniques described above) a copy of a peer-reviewed journal article I had published and a few months later, a column I wrote in an industry newsletter. Didn’t hear back at all from him.

One year later, a different hiring manager from Motorola contacted me to see if I was interested in a team lead position with his department. I didn’t apply for the job – in fact, I didn’t know about it – so I asked how he came upon my résumé, and he told me another hiring manager (the one I interviewed with a year previous) had forwarded it along with the other documents to his attention.

When you absorb a consultant’s attitude toward the benefits of your expertise, you’ll realize communicating those benefits has no time limit.

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of the newly released Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).

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Comparing Public and Private Sector Organizational Values

Public-sector-vs_-private-sectorWhen people want to transition from careers in the public sector to opportunities in the private sector, they have to embrace new ways of how they approach these positions. It’s not just getting used to new organizational structure, goals/objectives, and required skills, but such transitions require rethinking which values are important and which ones are less so.

Let’s review the results of research that compared most/least important values in the public sector with those in the private sector (according to public sector executives).

blog table

The rankings were influenced slightly by gender and age of respondents, years of employment, previous working experience in the other sector, and organization culture. Other studies have shown that younger public sector employees plane more importance on career work values than older employees, though work values are also influenced by personal preferences. Low ranking values does not imply such values are not important, but only that they were seldom mentioned as organizational values in decision making.

Further analysis revealed that “profitability, innovativeness, and honesty” are clear private sector values while “lawfulness, impartiality, and incorruptibility” are clear public sector values. Common core values were revealed to be “accountability, expertise, reliability, efficiency, and effectiveness.”

The ranking of such values may differ when subjects from other job functions are tested; the same could be said for the generalizations of the study results for other countries because values and ethics are tightly correlated with cultural traditions and preferences.

Nevertheless, the comparisons and contrasts provide a basic values map for individuals seeking to transition careers from one sector to the other.

(from Public Administration Vol. 86, No. 2 2008 (465 – 482).

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of the newly released Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).

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5 Factors that Influence Your Promotability

job-career-promotion-19497041

How promotable are you? Your promotability within the organization hinges on several key variables including these I consider critical: (1) your effectiveness as a problem solver; (2) the consistent quality of your work; (3) your communication skills; (4) your attitude on the job—and about the job; and (5) how you promote yourself in the work environment.

  • Your Effectiveness as a Problem Solver. This should go without saying: Your promotability quotient gets higher as your effectiveness as a problem solver increases. Your performance shows your ability to deliver solutions. Problem solvers help generate revenue, avoid costs, improve efficiencies, and otherwise contribute to the higher strategic objectives of the organization.
  • Your Consistent Quality of Work. This aspect of promotability involves taking ownership of projects and acting with a sense of urgency, striving to complete them ahead of schedule and under budget.
  • Your Communication Skills. You’ll find over the course of your working life that, as you ascend in the organization (or across organizations with job changes), your communication style must evolve with each new position of increased responsibility. As a team member, your communication skills are direct and immediately relevant to others. When you manage the team, your communication skills must be sharpened because of the nature of the messages you convey to subordinates and higher-ups.
    As your career develops, your communication skills become more refined because your messages change from people and project issues to establishing direction, forging a mission, and ultimately, to setting a vision. The communication skills of the first-line manager are different from those of the corporate vice-president or CEO because of the content of the messages.
  • Your Attitude on the Job—and About the Job. I’ve seen highly capable technical people with lousy attitudes get passed over for promotion in favor of less capable individuals who possessed a very positive attitude. Much as an ill-fitting suit says something about the wearer, a bad attitude says something about the individual. A bad attitude affects an employee’s approach to the job, work quality, interactions with others, and self-image—and it does not invite promotability.
  • How You Promote Yourself in the Work Environment. The best time to influence your promotability is well before an opportunity opens up for promotion. Build your network of influencers before you need their help; this will remove the perception that you are just jockeying for position for the promotion. Ideally, you want others to think of you first when an opportunity opens up.

All of these factors work together to allow other departments, functional groups, and upper management to include you and your ideas for higher visibility projects, adding even more polish and equity to your brand.

Former Fortune 500 hiring manager Donn LeVie Jr. is the author of the newly released Strategic Career Engagement (September 2015), and the book that reset the rules for successful job and career strategies:  Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 (June 2012, Winner of the 2012 Global eBook Award and Winner of the 2012 International Book Award for Jobs/Careers).

 

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