Tag Archives: Career coaching

Word of Warning: Snake Oil Career Vitalizer Elixer (Part II)

MMAYO-Clark-Stanley-Snake-Oil

In Part I, I addressed the dangers of relinquishing control of your career strategy to others with or without credentials (especially those earned online), and little to no experience vetting candidates they will actually hire. There are comedians, storytellers, and TV reality stars performing career coaching and résumé services that advocate making résumés more interesting or unique for hiring managers who are bored to tears reviewing typical résumés. Some of those folks have a few happy, satisfied clients.  “It’s about taking your brand to the next level,” some claim, by using narrative and other rhetorical devices. But they miss the boat when it comes to why hiring managers are uninterested and what’s needed to stimulate their interest.

Here’s the missing ingredient from their “taking it to the next level” approach: it’s how your brand, communicated largely through accomplishments and achievements, promotes the future benefits of your expertise that will interest hiring managers. Not narrative (do not use narrative formats as they are difficult for a hiring manager to scan for key words); not “interesting” entries.

I know of no hiring manager from my past experience who wanted to be entertained (on purpose anyway) screening résumés; it was an exercise in frustration most of the time searching for a clue as to a candidate’s potential for making the short list. Here’s how you make a résumé an interesting read:

  • Populate it with accomplishments and achievements (quantified, where possible) and use bold typface to highlight them
  • If you have a few articles published in peer-reviewed journals, place that list under the “Publications” heading (nothing says “expert” better than being published)
  • Include a link to your blog that addresses important issues in your field or industry
  • Include awards and honors you have received from recognized professional associations and employers (service awards and “employee of the month” awards don’t count)

Now THAT makes for an interesting read from the hiring manager’s perspective!

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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






 Donn LeVie Jr. is a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and has worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). He is the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, 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. He also offers a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

Does your conference need a keynote speaker or a career strategies seminar for conference attendees? Donn’s 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact Donn directly for more information or use the Contact page on this blog.

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter

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5 Reasons Why You Aren’t Getting the Job Offer

tattoo-interview-fail

I just returned from speaking on career transition strategies and doing personal career consultations with attendees at the 2016 Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Global Fraud Conference in Las Vegas. This was my 7th year providing career strategy presentations and consultations for the ACFE, and it never fails that at least one attendee each year will confess to me, “I have a great cover letter and résumé that gets lots of interviews, but I just can’t seem to swing the job offer.”

Let’s assume for the moment that variables external to the hiring process are not influencing the hiring decision and look at some things that are in your control but might be causing you some problems.

  1. You don’t understand the importance of impression management (“likeability”). We all use impression management for all social occasions, and I’ve blogged about the subject in the past. Impression management is not about being someone you’re not; it’s about bringing forward those qualities that garner favorable first impressions and draw people to you. You can’t walk into a job interview looking like you just came from your grandmother’s funeral (yes, we all know people who  seem to have one bland expression for all the emotions) because the first impression that telegraphs is “what’s eating this person?”
  2. You just don’t get the idea of impression management. See the guy in the photo above, or this guy…who also doesn’t get it…

kanye-west-fan

3. Your impression management language fails to focus on the future benefits of your expertise as it applies to solving the hiring manager’s problems; it’s less about the features of your past experience. It’s projecting your expertise forward as the hiring manager’s “wing man” (or “person”).

4. You don’t ask questions with a built-in assumption that you will be getting the job offer.  Three such questions: (1) “What would be the first project I would be working on?”; (2) “What is your highest project priority and how do you envision my involvement with it?”; (3) “Do you have any other questions about how I can help the team/department/project?”

5. You fail to answer THE QUESTION correctly: “So, tell me about yourself…” The majority of candidates will launch into a narrative about what they do (it’s already on the résumé, Einstein) and not who they are. They miss the opportunity to express a meaningful, memorable response. The best response I ever received to the question was from a software programmer candidate who told me, “I’m a cello-playing kids soccer coach and president of the PTA who also happens to be a damn good programmer with an eye on your delivery schedule and budget.” In on short sentence, I learned of his interest in classical music (my interest as well), his involvement with kids, the community, and how he’s going to be my solutions provider.

I decided then and there after that response that he was my No. 1 candidate and extended the job offer to him.

The hiring process–especially the interview portion–is always about what the hiring manager needs.

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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






My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, 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).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

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

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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Word of Warning: Snake Oil Career Revitalizer Tonic! (Part 1)

MMAYO-Clark-Stanley-Snake-Oil

It’s no secret that the professional career advice field overflows with tips, suggestions, strategies, and methods that run the gamut from the banal to the brilliant. Part of the problem lies with the nature of the employment process and the many variables that do lie beyond the control of applicants and employers alike. The global economy, the Fed’s influence on interest rates, government regulation, health care costs, competition from foreign markets, political instability overseas, the list is a long one.

And then there are some variables where candidates do have control over their career direction. One of those controllable variables is how you choose to get help with various aspects of your career, be it cover letter, résumé, job interview skills, building brand equity, or overall career strategy. For example, if you enjoy reading, there are career strategy books written by a dating expert from The Millionaire Matchmaker TV show, by two psychologists/personality experts, by an ex-Wall Street management expert-turned-career-coach, a former fund manager and stock broker, the president of a global consulting firm, an occupational therapist, and several from prominent names in academic leadership development. The applied value of books by such authors for getting hired or charting a career I leave to be determined by the reader.

Similar situations can be found with the plethora of different coaching titles and certifications that can be had in 3 days for as little as $795 as this Google search shows.

certified coaching google

The Universal Coaching Institute offers certification in, well, just about any conceivable area you can think of. The IAP College offers a part-time online Career Coaching certificate for $97 where they promise the course can be done in as little as four weeks. How confident would you be with someone who earned an online career coaching certificate in one month helping YOU with YOUR career you’ve spent years developing? I’ve worked with some outstanding career strategists who have spent years honing their skills in corporate positions before venturing out on their own. Their experience and knowledge has been tested in the crucible of time, and as Indiana Jones once said, “It’s not the years, honey….it’s the miles.”

There are comedians, storytellers, and TV reality stars performing career coaching and résumé services that advocate making résumés more interesting or unique for hiring managers who are bored to tears reviewing typical résumés. Some of those folks have a few happy, satisfied clients.  “It’s about taking your brand to the next level,” some claim, by using narrative and other rhetorical devices. But they miss the boat when it comes to why hiring managers are uninterested and what’s needed to stimulate their interest.

In Part II of this post, I’ll explain why it’s the hiring manager and not the career coach who determines the criteria for “taking your brand to the next level.”

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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






 Donn LeVie Jr. is a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and has worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). He is the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, 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 and “Talent Spotting” programs for hiring managers 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 2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact him directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information.

Don’t miss out on his blog posts…follow him now on Twitter @donnlevie.

 

 

 

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Should You Provide Salary History if Asked?

if-you-make-pay-the-big-deal-2Been away for a couple months – first to London, Paris, and Amsterdam for a fabulous vacation with my wife, then took a a month off to regroup and readjust my efforts going forward. Good to be back in the saddle…

Should you have to disclose your previous salary/compensation history on cover letters or applications? I’ve always been against HR’s insisting on using salary and compensation history when vetting applicants. It’s a variable that has only minor statistical significance, and it’s just too easy for an employer to use a candidate’s salary history to screen them from further consideration for open positions or toss out a low-ball offer. If HR screened résumés based on salary/compensation history before sending them to me, how was I to know whether they represented the best possible candidates of all who applied?

I understand that some company HR departments screen for salary and compensation to avoid wasting everyone’s time. Well, that’s just great, HR, but should THAT be a consideration? How about the cost of hiring the wrong person because the BEST person was eliminated just because a salary was outside the boundaries of what HR deemed “acceptable”?

I have screened candidates from further consideration because of:

  •  Insufficient skills, knowledge, experience or expertise
  • A horrible interview evaluation
  • A terrible personality that would upset the team dynamic
  • Poor references

And I have fought for higher compensation (salary, extra week vacation time, more stock options) for a candidate that I thought would greatly benefit the team and contribute to the higher strategic objectives of the organization.

Pay and compensation models vary from one company to the next (as do the expectations for similar positions)  and can be WAY off across different industries. It’s not apples to apples in many cases, but most HR departments try to strike the best arrangement for the potential employee and the employer (HR is, after all, the buyer’s agent).

Should you state your salary history in a cover letter or job application if asked? Depends on how you think that number will influence whether you’ll be considered for an interview. Avoid the temptation when asked about salary history to respond with, “salary is negotiable.” That may suggest to HR that you’re unsure of your compensation needs and you’re trying to hedge your bets. While I’ve been told that interviewers have more respect for candidates who can honestly discuss salary histories, I respect that candidate who can clearly and fearlessly state his or her trail of compensation after having done the upfront research.

showmethemoney

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






My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am the author of Strategic Career Engagement(September 2015), Runner-Up of the 2016 International Book Award for Business: Careers, 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).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

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

Don’t miss out on my blog posts…follow me now on Twitter @donnlevie.

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5 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Include Testimonials on Your Résumé

Testimonials-and-reviews

There’s a trend I’ve been reading about in different discussion groups about using testimonials on résumés in addition to or even in place of references. Many of the most vocal proponents are résumé writers who promote the idea that if it’s good for LinkedIn, it should be good for your résumé. It’s a way for others reviewing your qualifications to hear what others say about your expertise. Sounds like a good idea – at least at first. But here are 5 reasons (in no particular order) for not including them on your résumé:

  1. Hiring managers haven’t asked for this information on résumés. The final arbiter of which information is preferred on a résumé should be the individual making the hiring decision. Not HR (usually), not the career coach, and not the résumé writer. Hiring managers do not read résumés, and they typically spend less than 10 seconds on the upper 2/3 of Page 1 where the most recent information is located. Testimonials at the end of your résumé may not get read (that’s why I advocate keeping your References as a separate document).
  2. Testimonials should already be available on the candidate’s LinkedIn profile so it’s unnecessarily redundant on a résumé. I am constantly counseling clients and seminar attendees to avoid redundancy with information in their cover letters and résumés and to get to the point quickly. Repeating a testimonial that is just as easily available on a LinkedIn profile violates that proverb.
  3. Hiring managers want to be able to ask references their own questions about a candidate’s background and expertise. Most hiring managers will not settle for “canned” testimonials on a résumé in place of references. They have their own approach to vetting candidates and their own particular questions they want answers to.
  4. You can’t take at face value that the testimonial was written by the reference. The testimonial could have been written by the candidate (or a résumé writer) with the reference simply agreeing to the verbiage. Book authors do this all the time with blurbs from experts or celebrities.
  5. There’s a question of which party actually receives the added value: the candidate or the résumé writer. Originally, I had 4 reasons why you shouldn’t include testimonials on your résumé, but another manager friend suggested I add this fifth one. According to her, the whole testimonial thing is like someone being sold an extended appliance warranty that statistically isn’t that great an investment. Most of the time, you’re paying for something that wasn’t used.

Résumé testimonials are more of an idea than actual practice now, but no doubt more instances of their use will be seen in the future. Perhaps hiring managers will come around to embracing their use on résumés. However, as hiring managers are under more pressure to do a better job vetting candidates, the cost of hiring the wrong employee is too great to not perform thorough due diligence.

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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







My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am 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).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

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

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

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10 Cover Letter Clichés You Must Avoid

too much advice

I was one of those ornery hiring managers who wanted to be challenged by a candidate’s cover letter and dazzled with an achievement-heavy résumé. Most of the time, I was disappointed in what I saw. Sure, there are lots of hiring managers who don’t give a rat’s behind about how good or bad your cover letter is, or who may not even be aware of how a well-written, hiring-manager-focused cover letter can indicate a strong résumé is likely attached.

And then there’s those who want to see how good you are at understanding how to use the cover letter to promote yourself as key resource for the hiring manager instead just promoting yourself. You have just 5 to 7 seconds to grab a hiring manager’s attention with your cover letter and you MUST do that with your opening sentence. Do NOT state the obvious like most cover letters do.

But for those of you who want to stand out from the crowd of candidates who are equally qualified, here’s a list of 10 cover letter clichés that will kill your efforts for going further in the hiring process –  especially if the hiring manager is someone who also wants that “something extra” from a candidate’s cover letter. Avoid these (and similar-sounding ones) like the plague.

  1. I have enclosed my résumé for your consideration… For crying out loud – I’m reading a cover letter. I KNOW that your résumé is going to follow the cover letter and OF COURSE you want me consider it. You must get to the point immediately. Place the position title for which you are applying in the “re:” line just above your opening salutation. You can get that bit of business out of the way and not waste precious space stating the obvious.
  2. As you can see from my résumé…/As my résumé reveals, I have…Why do I need to look at your résumé if you’ve summarized it in your cover letter? That’s another misuse of valuable space. Never use your cover letter as a summary of your duties, responsibities, degrees, certifications, awards, etc. But DO include accomplishments – even better if you can attach some value to those accomplishments, such as revenues generated, costs avoided, percent improvement. And put that information close to the top.
  3. I am a self-starter/self-motivated/conscientious…Says who? You? This is just another way of saying you are a hard worker. Well, guess what…so is my grandson who works at Pizza Hut part time while pursuing his undergraduate studies. Such statements do not differentiate you from others who may be saying the same thing. Any statement about your personal qualities written by YOU will naturally be somewhat suspect because you won’t be writing that you are lazy, unmotivated, and require a kick start. Avoid the self-accolades. These are qualities that are best said about you by others.
  4. I feel that/I believe that/I’m confident that you will find….Hiring managers aren’t persuaded by what you feel, believe, think, or how confident you are about your qualifications for the position. They will determine that by seeing how much value your accomplishments (not duties or responsibilities) brought to previous positions from your résumé. Avoid such squishy language because it turns off many hiring managers.
  5. I am passionate about…/I love working with… Again, a hiring manager has no interest in what you love or what you are passionate about. More squishy language to avoid.
  6. I have a proven track record…Really? Then for me to believe the “proof” I’ll need to see highlighted accomplishments on your résumé that are (1) quantified or (2) demonstrate a contribution beyond duties and responsibilities to the organization’s higher strategic objectives. Don’t write this if you can’t comply with either/both of these requirements.
  7. Thank you for your time and consideration. Two statements that shouldn’t appear in a cover letter if you fully grasp the purpose of a cover letter: Please and Thank you. The cover letter should have a declarative tone as it’s a promotional piece that affirms your expertise as the problem solver the hiring manager is looking for. Their “time and consideration” is part of their job – they aren’t doing you a favor.
  8. I look forward to hearing from you…Of course you do. If you are the expert problem solver you claim to be, the hiring manager should be looking forward to hearing from you. To improve your odds of contining forward in the hiring process, you have to take control of the next contact. Tell that hiring manager you will be contacting him or her in the next few days to further discuss how you can be that solutions provider he or she has been looking for. And initiate the contact.
  9. I can be reached at the numbers below (or above). Do you really need to tell a hiring manager how to contact you when your contact information is at the top of the cover letter or underneath your signature block?
  10. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have. Really? Do you have to tell a hiring manager to do this?

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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







My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am 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).  I lead career strategy seminars at conferences, business/trade schools, colleges and universities, and U.S. military veterans organizations. I also offer a Career Engagement Evaluation subscription program to associations as a member benefit.

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

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

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6 Secrets to Enjoying a Rewarding Career from a Hiring Manager’s Perspective

secrets-career-success

We all know the role talent, knowledge, and experience play in getting hired and succeeding in any professional career. But little is known about what drives us to pursue long-term goals. Is it perseverance? Passion? Persistence? The great American psychologist, William James, wrote in the early 1900s:

Compared with what we ought to be, we are only half awake. Our fires are damped, our drafts are checked. We are making use of only a small part of our possible mental resources…men the world over possess amounts of resource, which only exceptional individuals push to their extremes of use.

Several studies by various university psychologists have shown that achievement is the product of talent and effort, which is a combination of intensity, direction, and duration of focus toward a goal. Follow-through is the purposeful, continuous commitment to a specific outcome; in fact, follow-through has been shown to be a very good predictor of significant accomplishment in science, art, sports, communications, and organization than other variables. After SAT scores, and high-school ranking, follow-through was the next best predictor of which students would graduate with honors.

In one study of 120 world-class pianists, neurologists, swimmers, chess players, mathematicians, and sculptors, each of the high achievers possessed three important characteristics

  • A strong interest in a particular field
  • A desire to reach a high level of attainment in that field
  • A willingness to put in great amounts of time and effort

What I Have Observed in My 25-plus-Year Career in Hiring Manager Positions for Fortune 500 Companies

Over the years as a hiring manager, I have taken notice of certain individuals I had a hand in hiring or managing who went on to enjoy highly successful careers for themselves. These people more often than not showed personal and professional initiative, a willingness to learn, displayed a flexible attitude toward projects, had great people skills, demonstrated excellent communication abilities, and possessed an ability to navigate successfully through organizational structures (and the politics that go with them).

I have categorized these abilities into six major qualities that each of these individuals possessed:

  • A sense of project ownership
  • A sense of project urgency
  • A sense of personal integrity
  • A desire to help others succeed
  • An attitude of being “self-employed”
  • A sense of the graceful exit

A Sense of Project Ownership. A sense of project ownership is prized by hiring managers everywhere because it conveys that an individual brings to the table a quality mindset, a get-it-done-right-the-first-time approach to whatever project is being undertaken. An individual with this attitude shows concern for budgets, schedules, and meeting customer requirements—whether that customer is the job foreman, the CEO, or the consumer in the marketplace. It is a forward-moving focus that can not help but pull in others in its wake. People who display a sense of project ownership are not clock-watchers—they often “call it a day” at some logical stopping point in their task, not when the clock says 5pm or when the whistle blows (union rules not withstanding).

A Sense of Project Urgency. A sense of project urgency implies that an individual’s approach to project work is immediate, purposeful, and resolute. Such determined individuals are decisive about which solution to a problem to embrace after a careful evaluation of the problem, the potential causes, and an assessment of all possible resolutions, and how those fixes should be implemented. Such folks rarely keep others waiting or guessing as to how to proceed next.

A Sense of Personal Integrity. Personal integrity is a quality that, when tarnished, is hard to return to its original luster. And when it is lost altogether, is very difficult to recover. A person’s integrity is wrapped up in their truthfulness about all matters, their honesty in dealing with people and projects, and their reliability to honor their word. Personal integrity is not a badge people wear on the outside, but it is more a reflection of the deeper nature of their character and moral, ethical fiber.

A Desire to Help Others Succeed. Many years ago early in my career, I heard some great advice from author and motivational speaker, Zig Ziglar: “If you help enough people get what they want, you’ll eventually get what you want.” That philosophy works best when it is a conscious heart-felt decision to help others first and not seen from the flip-side perspective: “To get what I want, I need to help others get what they want first.” It is embracing a servant attitude that is so often lacking in the business world today. Imagine if Wall Street investment bankers, mortgage brokers, and auto company CEOs, and movers and shakers in Washington, D.C. had just made it their daily mantra: “how can I best serve your needs today?” we would not have high underemployment, lost retirements, exploding health care costs, and an economy struggling to find any sense of consistency.

An Attitude of Being Self-Employed. Truly successful individuals always understand that no matter where the paycheck comes from, they really do work for themselves. Besides the skills, knowledge, and experience they bring to any job, project, or task, it is also the sense of project ownership, sense of project urgency, personal integrity, and helping others succeed that makes them “self-employed.”  Contractors and consultants know what being self-employed is all about but sometimes people in hourly or salaried positions lose sight of the fact that they are self-employed as well. No one keeps anyone on the payroll out of the goodness of their hearts; it is the application of all those qualities mentioned in the previous paragraphs that keep the paychecks coming on a regular basis.

 A Sense of the Graceful Exit. In many industries (particularly the high-tech field), people often end up working together again at different companies, or end up managing former peers. Not only is it a smart career move to not burn bridges when you leave one company for another, it’s just plain courteous. Your reputation will continue to linger in the hallways and cubicle neighborhood for some time after you leave, so how would the odor of burning bridges enhance your character in the minds of those you worked with?

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(This post is excerpted from Confessions of a Hiring Manager Rev. 2.0 [Second Edition]. Refer to Chapter 16 for more details on these 6 important secrets to a rewarding career).

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.

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My name is  Donn LeVie Jr. and I’m a former hiring manager for Fortune 500 companies (Phillips Petroleum, Motorola, Intel Corporation, and others) and have worked in the federal government (NOAA) and in academia as an adjunct faculty lecturer in the Department of Natural Sciences and Mathematics for the University of Houston (Downtown Campus). I am 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).  I lead 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? My 2016-2017 engagement calendar is starting to fill up…contact me directly at donnlevie@austin.rr.com for more information.

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

 

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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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6 Tactics for Working a Job/Career Fair

careerfair_1

I’ve been involved with my share of job and career fairs over my 25+-year career, mostly at conferences that sponsor the event. The candidates who understand how to work a job/career fair tend to stand a better chance of getting followup contact with company representatives who are present.

There are basically two types of job/career fairs: Conference-sponsored events and non-conference-sponsored events. Conference-sponsored events are usually supported by employers with a connection to the conference profession.  Non-conference job/career fairs typically have a variety of employers and industries represented.

Here are six tactics for maximizing your effort at a job/career fair:

  • Plan in advance. Review the list of employers who will be present and which companies will be of interest to your expertise. Follow up by researching the targeted companies to get a feel for the corporate culture and type of work environment. Make a list of “A” employers and “B” employers to visit or schedule interviews.
  • Memorize your pitch (value proposition). Your are the problem-solver and solutions provider they have been seeking, so sell them on the benefits of your expertise and how it will serve the hiring manager/company’s interests going forward. You should know every bulleted item on your résumé and be able to speak at length on each one. Be ready to answer the inevitable question: “So, tell me something about yourself…” Keep any idea of salary and benefits out of the discussion; you aren’t at that point yet.
  • Dress for success. Regardless of the type of position for which you are interviewing, dress like the CEO of “YOU, Inc.” Remember the power of visual first impressions; dress for how you want to be perceived by company representatives. It’s human nature for the eyes to exert so much influence over that instant first impression.
  • Establish your LinkedIn profile before attending the job/career fair. Many company representatives may first check your LinkedIn profile prior to your meeting. It’s a good idea to connect with the company representative on LinkedIn after the job/career fair.
  • Bring plenty of copies of your résumé with you. Be sure you pull out that copy of your résumé from a nice leather portfolio or briefcase, not a plain file folder. Be sure to have a reverse-chronological version if you are changing jobs; have a functional version for changing careers. Make them perfect so you don’t have to apologize for anything when you hand a copy  to the company representative. Bring with you a list of references, but unless you are asked for it, resist the urge to leave it and any other documents with employee representatives. They don’t want to be lugging reams of documents on the plane with them when they return to their home cities.
  • Don’t be a Ralphie. In the hit seasonal comedy, A Christmas Story, young Ralphie brings to class a large fruit basket for his teacher. After the teacher thanks him, he remains at her desk, staring and smiling at her, oblivious to the cue that “the moment” is over. Don’t be a Ralphie. Recognize social cues that your interview time is over (interview times at job/career fairs are often abbreviated due to the number of candidates being interviewed). Don’t treat the meeting as an excuse to linger in the booth area or intrude on free moments between interviews. Close it out by controlling the follow-up. Think of the encounter as the first of several meetings or communications with the individual or the company.

Having access to a variety of employer representatives gathered in one location is sort of like speed dating: you want to show up prepared, be a great listener, and leave a positive first impression that makes the employer representative wanting to know more about you – perhaps even discussing a job with the company.

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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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Why Including a Photo with Your Résumé is a Bad Idea

photo resumes

I am confounded that many career advisors still raise the question about including photos with résumés; it should be a no-brainer for experienced professionals. With nearly three decades of experience evaluating a variety of scientific/engineering, marketing, and communications candidates, I’ve learned alot about human nature. We are visual creatures, and we cannot escape the influence visual appearance plays on first impressions. In fact, many times, positive visual impressions provide a false inner narrative to hiring managers/decision makers about a candidate’s potential for success before the résumé is reviewed. The candidate evaluation is then adjusted to fit the first-impression narrative.

In the above example, how can you NOT look at the photos and in some way or fashion lean toward one candidate vs. the other without even so much as a glance at their CVs? (Yes, CVs for academic, medical and some legal positions; résumés for nearly all others.) Even without photos attached, there is the temptation to run a Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google image search on a candidate’s name before reviewing the résumé. A good policy is to not perform any social media searches on job candidates until they have been interviewed in person to avoid first being swayed by visual appearance. Adhering to such a policy helps ensure you bring on board the most qualified candidates as a first priority, regardless of their appearance (unless you’re interviewing candidates for the next Victoria’s Secret catalog perhaps, where a certain look and body type are a priority).

I’ve written extensively about hiring manager presuppositions and “positive prejudice” in the hiring process (a few previous blog posts too), and it comes in many forms – from comparing the expertise of a candidate with the person who last had the position, to comparing a candidate’s expertise to a preconceived “ideal” candidate. Hiring managers have to be aware of the condition in order to avoid it.

Yes, physical appearance takes priority over qualifications in many European and South American countries. Those preferences are built in to the culture as a way of doing business. When the most qualified candidates take a back seat to the most attractive ones, the business bottom line (and shareholders) suffer.(I’ll take the U.S. economy over Brazil’s or Italy’s any day).

This is not to imply that attractive people can not also be the most qualified for a particular position; the point here is that physical appearance should not be the definitive criteria for candidate selection.

When considering advice from career professionals, not all career professionals are created equal; choose wisely.

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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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