Category Archives: Career Advancement

5 Signs You Suffer from Career Entropy™

meltingiceEntropy. A long-forgotten term from our high-school physics days, no doubt. Let me refresh your memory: Entropy is a lack of order or predictability; a gradual decline into disorder in a system. Examples would include ice melting, your teenager’s bedroom, and our propensity for less physical activity as we grow older (for many of us anyway).

Your career and your professional brand can suffer from entropy as well (“Career Entropy” doesn’t seem to exist as a formal term, so I’ll claim it with a ™ ). Early in your working life you may have been actively involved with professional, social, religious, or community organizations. The excitement of working in a profession that you devoted at least 4 years of your student life to fuels your drive to achieve and excel. As your career matures, maybe you’ve let up on the gas pedal just a little; maybe you find yourself being distracted by things you would have ignored before.

Here are 5 signs that your career universe is slowing down to a crawl:

  1. You aren’t involved with professional associations to the same level as you once were. You don’t read the journals anymore; your attendance at chapter meetings has been hit or miss; you don’t go to as many conferences as you used to, you thought about submitting an article for publication, but it’s too much trouble – maybe you let your membership lapse completely.
  2.  You’ve exchanged your “consultant” attitude for an “employee” attitude. You’re starting to find yourself cutting corners on the quality of your work, unnecessarily pushing out schedules, or just skating by with a lower level of effort than before.
  3. Your level of social media activity has decreased or changed direction. You are spending less time on networking sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn,  and cranking out fewer blog posts, and putting more effort into social sites. (True, there’s too much of that seeping into networking sites now).
  4. You’ve been bypassed more than once for a promotion or raise. Before you start thinking “conspiracy,” look in the mirror and perform an honest assessment about your performance at work. The truth is out there.
  5. You have an itch you can’t scratch. Maybe that restlessness, that full stall you find yourself going into is a signal that you need a change of job, company, or career. Truly evaluate your current situation and future prospects; they can’t pay you enough to be miserable. Time to move on.

To paraphrase an old saying, if you ain’t moving forward, you’re moving backwards. Or maybe it was no matter where you go, there you are…

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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 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). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

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5 Ways to Up Your Interview Chops

cowardly-lion[1]

Look, not all of us have that Tony Robbins charisma when it comes to speaking to crowds or even one-on-one in a job interview. But we all have the capacity to rise to the occasion when it’s in our best interest, especially when it’s to avoid negative consequences. I have a friend whose picture is in the Whos’s Who of Introverts, but can reason and persuade like William F. Buckley when it comes to talking himself out of a speeding ticket. He rose to the occasion to avoid  a very expensive ticket and taking a hit on his car insurance.

Interviews are no different. The negative side of doing poorly in a job interview is not continuing forward in the hiring process. That’s pretty strong incentive to put on your game face if you’ve made it as far as the job interview. It’s not about trying to be someone you’re not; it’s about stretching more out of your own comfort zone to embrace the opportunity. Just adding some slight vocal inflections and facial expressions adds enthusiasm to your statement “I have the necessary skills and background to help add value to the team” (or something like that). A genuine degree of enthusiasm helps convince the hiring manager you are interested in the position.

Here are 5 suggestions for upping your interview chops:

  1. Embrace the fact that no one knows YOU and your expertise better than YOU. How can someone without the knowledge you have of your accomplishments, skills, and knowledge get the best of you? Only if you let them.
  2. It’s OK if you’re a little nervous, but try to eliminate any fear of failure. The highly skilled concert pianist may be nervvous as he or she walks out on stage, but the audience is on the artist’s side – they want the event to be successful. It’s the same with hiring managers – they have thought highly enough of your background to invite you for an interview; it’s in their interest to want you to do well.
  3. The best antidote to nervousness is knowing your résumé and accomplishments backwards and forwards. You can’t get tripped up by anyone regarding your work history if your résumé serves as your talking points; letting fear control your emotional response to an interview situation might, however.
  4. Ask questions about the project work, challenges to be addressed, or specific tools to help you control any sense of being in the witness box. When there’s a two-way exchange of information, a conversation happens, which is a lot less threatening than an interview.
  5. Have a sense when the interview is over. When I have interviewed quiet, introverted candidates, many just didn’t have any sense of timing when the interview was concluded. There’s that embarrassing pregnant pause and stillness in the room as if  the candidate is waiting for someone to call him or her out of the room.  I’ll often toss out the cue, “Do you have any other questions for me or about the position?” That’s usually a signal that we’re done if you don’t have any questions.

With solid preparation and going in to an interview to have a conversation about how you are the hiring manager’s problem solver, you’ll  eliminate the competition “from top to bottomus.”

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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 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). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

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Use Project Metrics to Highlight Your Expertise

project metrics

In my career strategy books and seminars, I emphasize the critical importance of being able to track (or ask for) key project metrics to gauge the value of your contribution. If you want credibility with such statements as “I have a proven track record of accomplishment” then you should have some metrics to back up that statement. Quantified accomplishments always speak to hiring managers.

When I worked in the oil industry as an exploration geologist, there were always plenty of project metrics available to assess the value of oil and gas drilling prospects I generated.  If the exploration project was successful, then the metrics of interest would be barrels of oil or thousand cubic feet of gas per day the completed well would yield. That in turn became a line item (in bold typeface) on my résumé.

When I or my team wrote B2B eCommerce proposals, it was easy to determine the value of contracts awarded to my employer; when I participated on a feasibility project team to determine the perceived cost savings to convert from print documentation to XML database publishing, the cost savings estimate was an important element of the proposal. Those quantified accomplishments became highlighted bullet list items on my résumé.

If you improve a some work process by 20%, you may be able to determine the value of the time and/or costs saved (maybe with the help of the finance department). Or, an honest ballpark estimate may suffice as well as long as you disclose it it an estimate.

If you don’t have access to such financial information or your position doesn’t address such types of measures, shift the duty/responsibility to an accomplishment by asking these questions after every bulleted list item:

  • And what exactly did this duty/task/responsibility result in?
  • What was the bigger picture that my duties and responsibilities contributed toward?

You still have to ask the question: “Do these individual items, as worded here, make me stand out from the competition with similar experience?” and you can begin to see how to differentiate yourself from others.

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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 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). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

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HR Trends in Hiring You Need to Know

hr-changes

As social networking sites become more attuned to the needs of employers, research suggests that HR departments will change how they use video résumés, social and networking sites, and cover letters.

A study from 2009 found that:

  • 46% of employers (HR departments) prefered to receive résumés via email (41% attached; 5% embedded), 38% uploaded to the company web site (34% résumé copied in entirety; 4% in sections), and 7% preferred a paper résumé. None of the employers preferred to review a candidate’s résumé on a candidate’s own web page.
  • Companies with fewer than 100 employees preferred to receive résumés via email than larger compaines.
  • 71% of employers preferred the traditional chronological résumé format (21% prefer text format)
  • 56% of employers preferred a cover letter to accompany a résumé.

A 2015 study by the MacroThink Institute found that employer preferences were not projected to change for next two years. However, the use of video résumés was found to be a statistically significant change indicating a steady increase in the number of employers who will want to use video résumés two years from now.

The 2015 study suggested use of cover letters to decline over the next two years, but despite the expected growth of video résumés and decline of paper cover letters, the expected preference of cover letters is still nearly double that of video résumés.

Most practices and tools used by HR will remain relatively unchanged for the next couple of years, but social and professional networking, video résumés, and application tracking systems will become more prevalent.

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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 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). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

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New LinkedIn Referral and Recruiting Tools

smart medical doctor working with operating room as concept

LinkedIn is becoming even more of a recruiter/hiring manager’s best friend with the introduction of these three new/updated tools according to an article in the December 2015/January 2016 issue of HR Magazine:

LinkedIn Referrals: Released in November of 2015, this tool identifies participating employees’ first-degree LinkedIn connections who match the criteria for open jobs at the employees’ companies. Those who sign up will be able to see which of their connections are good matches for jobs on the company’s LinkedIn Referrals page. They can also send out job posts and share them through status updates. Cost to organizations: $10 to $12 per worker annually.

LinkedIn Recruiter: The next version of this tool will be available Spring 2016 and will be a free upgrade for current users. This tool has a user interface that is designed to help anyone find candidates using an existing employee’s profile, to create and modify search strings, and to sift through talent pools to differentiate talent using a variety of customized subsets.  The tool will also show the terms it used to build the search string and allow users to modify the search.

Spotlights: Talent pools can be further subdivided using Spotlights, which will take members who already fit the search string results and break them down into various subsets, including people who have engaged with the company brand on LinkedIn and candidates who have previously applied for jobs at the company.

Let’s look at a couple implications these tools offer for candidates.

First, such advanced LinkedIn features further elevate it as one of the top recruiting tools for hiring managers and recruiters, putting more distance from Facebook, Twitter, and other social media. If you’re not on LinkedIn, well…

Second, by understanding how these advanced features can be used by paid LinkedIn subscribers, candidates can outline a strategy that places their expertise in ways that increase the odds of ending up on a recruiter or hiring manager’s short list for open positions (positively engaging with the company brand, for example, may be one additional filter your candidacy passes through to be considered further).

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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 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). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group.

 

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Where You Need a Social Media Presence…According to HR Professionals

Social media signs

According to a study entitled “The Importance of Social Media for Recruiters and Job Seekers,” sponsored by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR professionals believe job seekers* should have a presence on social media (in order of being ranked “very important”; second number reflects “somewhat important”):

1. LinkedIn (54%; 35%)
2. Professional or Association site (40%; 43%)
3. Facebook (2%; 23%)
4. Google Plus (4%; 15%)
5. Blog (2%; 21%)
6. Twitter (1%; 17%)
7. Instagram (1%; 9%)
8. YouTube (1%; 6%)
9. Pinterest (0%; 5%)

* (especially for jobs in communications, media and public relations, marketing and sales, advertising, IT/computer specialists, HR staff, executives; less so for jobs in manufacturing, construction, and transportation)

From a (former) hiring manager’s perspective, I agree with No. 1 and No. 2. But I would insert “Blog” in the No. 3 spot and “Twitter” in the No. 4 spot. I would place Facebook way down the list, unless the list is addressing specifically a professional Facebook page, where you prevent recipes, pet videos, unflattering photos, and political rantings from ever showing up there. YouTube might be higher up on the scale if your videos have content others deem of value.

I think in addition to LinkedIn being No. 1, you should maintain your own separate contact list because you own it. There’s a saying in content marketing that you “don’t build your house on rented land.” In other words, don’t place all your career strategy eggs into the baskets of social media controlled by others. Your personal contact list is still going to be your best bet for having a “presence” with others because you control how, when, and where you use that list for your career strategy efforts.

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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 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). He leads career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com.

Don’t miss out on Donn’s blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie and join in the jobs/career conversations at the Strategic Career Engagement LinkedIn discussion group. 

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