Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Top Ten Success Don'ts

Every person out there, especially you, has his/her own special abilities and potential to achieve whatever they set their mind to. Sadly due to the wrong mindset, that true potential is never reached. There are many reasons why most us in our own minds are unsuccessful. But I am going to express what I believe are the top ten. I want to share them with you so you can become aware of them, and ultimately drop some of these habits or traits, whatever you want to call them. Lets get started right now.

Yup, everyone knows their guilt in this area. If there is an important task you must get started on, by all means, START NOW! Not tomorrow or a month from now, right now! There will never be a perfect time or place to start, so start now! I honestly believe that procrastination causes time to speed up. You say "Okay, I'll start next week", next week comes "okay next week" and so on. Whatever the task is, it is always on the back of your head. And you know you were supposed to start last night. No more of this, this has to change. This is one of the first crucial steps to doing anything, do it right away!

9. Comfort

Think of where you are at in your job. Whether you like it or not it's money right? And for the time being, it sure beats getting a whole new different job starting form square one, when your already at square 9 or 10, right? As well as the fact that for many of you it has taken quite some time. 1, 3, 8, 15, 20 years to establish yourself, which you do not want to go to waste, correct? We can safely agree that you are for the most part comfortable with your situation. You do not feel the need to go outside of your comfort zone and try something new or different. If you want to accomplish things for your SELF, and not your BOSS, you have to be willing to sometimes venture outside of the comfort zone.


One big reason we as human beings choose not to go outside our comfort zone is fear of the unknown. Whether it be fear of loss, change, or fear of fear itself, no one will give it a try. This is how fear, comfort and procrastination team up and stop you from ever stepping up to the plate, let alone getting started. IF you let go of fear, the sky's the limit. The biggest risk is not taking one!


Getting started is just the first small hump with even bigger ones to follow. Seeing where you need to go, and seeing all the obstacle obscuring your view can be too much too handle sometimes. Most of the time success, however you define it, is a far, far, far path, the kind that makes it easier to just turn around and go back. You must learn to break a big task into smaller steps that can be completed daily.

6. Boring effect

If you do not make what your doing fun and interesting, you will become bored with it and eventually withdraw completely form your task. You might even have to question whether it is a smart move to even consider going on with certain tasks you might be doing, because deep down it is not something in your heart that you enjoy doing or can tolerate. Be creative as to not lose interest, and always follow your heart.

5.No Urgency

Treat the tasks you complete yourself like the tasks you do for your job. If you hope to make a big change with where you are in your life, you must place whatever that is in high regard. When it comes to yourself, it's very easy to hold low importance on tasks beneficial for you. There is no pressure to get them done, usually there is no pay, and you don't have to report to anyone. It's very easy to forget about. If you want big change, treat it with bog importance.

4. Unaware of self-improvement

I had a friend who wanted to become an entrepreneur and quit his job. He had goals of making $60,000/yr form his own business. As soon as you set a goal such as that, you need to acquire the right mentality and responsibility to live up to it. But he was still heavily involved in his job and took his business lightly. There would be no way for him to be making that kind of money with the mindset he had at the time. The only way he can make that a reality is to become more professional and have a higher self-esteem, which he did not care about. Bettering yourself in the best ways possible towards your success, is the only way to success.

3. Short-term thinking

The only way to ultimately get by in this world is to look at the big picture. Nothing happens overnight, even the lotto (you have to wait 3-5 weeks after you claim the money). Many people today fall victim to wanting results NOW, and if that doesn't happen, they are thru with whatever they signed up for. Do you honestly think Bill Gates got what he wanted in one year? Absolutely not. It took him more than a decade to get to where he is and maintain it. He knew he had to stay in for the long run and make decisions based on that.

2.Absence of knowledge

Knowledge is an important key to whatever you do. Everyone wants to be able to instantly transform and have the type of skills they've always wanted without the hard work and research. Even worse, trying to start a certain task or job without acquiring the proper skills can waste money, time, and effort. Do not pursue something you cannot do. Countless times have I come across individuals who not only foolishly jump in head first without proper knowledge, but they also have a certain air about themselves and feel they can do it on their own without anybody's help. In the end, they eventually got frustrated, and moved on to something different. Make sure you seek the help you need beforehand and acquire the skills needed to start your task.

1.No Clarity

This is the single most devastating business killer of them all. 85% of new businesses fail in the first 3-5 years of business. Either there was not any clarity, or they did not change what they needed to stay clear. Do not venture into the void if you are not clear on exactly where you want to go. Having no clarity will only cause you too shoot shots in the dark, not knowing what you are trying to hit.

Your outlook on life should be clear and long term, but that doesn't mean you lose focus on daily tasks. If you really elevate yourself in these areas, and are willing to make changes, I'm sure you will accomplish whatever it is you set out to do.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Key Salary Negotiation Technique

Here's an ideal scenario: After a grueling number of job interviews with a prospective employer who is hiring someone for the job of your dreams, you're again meeting with the hiring manager when she turns to face you and gives you the job offer, but at a salary below what you had expected. You are still excited, elated actually, but what you do next could have consequences for years to come.

Even if the job offer is acceptable to you, most career experts agree that you should take the time to clear your head and consider the offer -- away from the pressure of an interview. So, make sure to thank the interviewer for the job offer and express your interest in the job and the company, but ask for some time to consider all the details.

But what if the offer is unacceptable to you? If it really is one of your dream jobs -- or even simply a job you really want -- you should consider moving into the negotiation phase by making a counter proposal to the employer. That's what this article is all about -- taking you through the key negotiation strategies you should apply and providing you with one key tool -- the counter proposal letter -- as a means to negotiating a better offer for yourself.

Key Salary Negotiation Strategies

  1. Delay salary and benefit negotiations for as long as possible in the interview process. You’ll have more power to negotiate when the field of candidates has been reduced to just you -- when the employer is completely sold on you as the best candidate for the position.
  2. Remember that you'll have your greatest negotiation leverage between the time the employer makes the original offer and the time you accept the final offer. Once you accept an offer, you have little to no room to negotiate.
  3. Don't negotiate at the time the initial job offer is made. Thank the employer for the offer and express your strong interest and enthusiasm in the job, but state that you'll need time to evaluate the entire compensation package. Most employers are willing to give you a fair amount of time to review -- and if you run across an employer who wants a decision immediately, consider long and hard whether you want to work for such a company.
  4. Do your research. The greatest tool in any negotiation is information. Make sure you have done a thorough job of determining your fair market value for the job you are seeking, the salary range of the job for this specific employer, and geographic, economic, industry, and company-specific factors that might affect the given salary. Also try to obtain information on the employer's standard benefits package so that you have information beyond salary.
  5. Just do it. While a large percentage of corporate recruiters (four out of five in one study conducted by the Society for Human Resource Management) are willing to negotiate compensation, only a small percentage of job-seekers actually do so. You don't have to be an expert negotiator to get a sweeter deal; you just need to know the rules and strategies of negotiation.
  6. Negotiate to your strength. If you are a smooth talker (an extravert), call the employer and ask for a follow-up meeting to discuss a counter proposal. If you communicate better in writing, follow our guidelines for writing a counter proposal letter (below).
  7. Always ask for a higher salary (within acceptable limits) than you are willing to accept so that when the employer counters your proposal, the salary should be near your original goal. And when possible, try and show how your actions (once on board) will recoup the extra amount (or more) that you are seeking -- through cost savings or increased sales revenue, productivity, efficiencies.
  8. If the salary you're offered is on the low end -- and the employer has stated that salary is not negotiable (probably due to corporate salary ranges or pay grade levels), consider negotiating for a signing bonus, higher performance bonuses, or a shorter time frame for a performance review and raise. Always negotiate base salary first, and then move on to other elements of the job offer.
  9. When presenting a counter proposal to the employer, be sure and include a few benefits that are expendable so that you can drop them in a concession to the employer as negotiations continue.
  10. Remember that even if all salary issues are "off the table," there are still numerous other benefits you can negotiate, such as moving expenses, paid vacation or personal days, professional training, and more. See the sidebar for the entire list of negotiable items.
  11. Never stop selling yourself throughout the negotiation process. Keep reminding the employer of the impact you will make, the problems you will solve, the revenue you will generate. And continue expressing interest and enthusiasm for the job and the company.
  12. If you have no intention of accepting the company's offer, don't waste your time or the company's by entering into negotiation. Negotiation is a process designed to find common ground between two or more parties.
  13. If you have multiple job offers, don't put the companies into a bidding war for your services; it rarely works out.
  14. Don't enter negotiations with the wrong attitude. Always have in the back of your mind that your goal with these negotiations is a win-win situation. You want to get a better deal, but you also need to let the employer feel as though they got a good deal as well.
  15. Given a number of factors, such as the strength of the economy, the size and vitality of the company, and the supply of job candidates with similar qualifications, some employers simply will not negotiate.
  16. Never make demands. Instead, raise questions and make requests during negotiations. Keep the tone conversational, not confrontational.
  17. Be prepared for any of a number of possible reactions to your counter proposal, from complete acceptance to agreeing to some concessions to refusal to negotiate.
  18. You have to be willing to walk away from negotiations. If you don't have a strong position (a good current job or one or more current or potential job offers), it will be harder for you to negotiate. If you really need or want the job, be more careful in your negotiations.
  19. Once the employer agrees to your compensation requests, the negotiations are over. You cannot ask for anything more -- or risk appearing immature or greedy and having the employer's offer withdrawn or rescinded.
  20. Always be sure to get the final offer in writing. Be extremely wary of companies that are not willing to do so. Note: one advantage of writing a counter proposal letter is that you list the terms of the offer in your letter.


Monday, April 18, 2011

You First, Family Second, Job Search Third: How to Deal with Family Anxiety During a Lay-Off

Individuals aren’t the only ones dealing with the range of emotions that a job loss can ignite:  shock, fear, paralysis, disappointment, anxiety, and more.  These potent emotions affect the individual initially, but quickly affect the spouse, and certainly the children.  Here are some strategies for helping relieve that anxiety for you, your spouse/significant other, and your children.  But first things first – you need to be ok before you can assure others.

YOU FIRST Only when you are centered, confident and ready to move forward, will everyone else in your family be ok.  So you first need to concentrate on finding that inner courage to move forward.  Being unemployed should be treated as an objective problem because it doesn’t define you.  It’s an event / something that happened, which in turn, redirects a lot of your energy.  Treat it as an experience.  I know – this isn’t easy - but do what you can to not take it personally.

Another way to decrease your stress is to review your finances, and determine how many months of cushion you have financially.  If there isn’t much of a cushion there, take action NOW:  decrease expenses, sell things on ebay, tap into a HELOC if possible, take on temporary employment.  

Perhaps this perspective will give perspective:  Truly, you have a job.  Your JOB is to find a job.  So set aside 3  – 5 hours a day to WORK on your job search by:  researching companies, networking, and following up. 

If you still cannot find your inner strength, perhaps talking to a professional will help.

FAMILY SECOND OK – you are ready to go, focused on your job search, have a smile on your face, but your family still feels the pain.  Here are some strategies to help them deal. 

You can’t look for a job 10 hours a day, but 3 to 4 hours is a good amount of time.  So during some non-search time, spend time with the kids doing productive things that don’t cost anything.  Clean out that garage/attic!  Getting organized makes everyone feel great!  Instead of spending $100 per month on lawn care, get the kids into the act and make it a family affair, which saves money, makes your home look beautiful, and everyone benefits from the exercise.  Get involved in the PTA, the community and your children’s sports activities.  You’ll have fun, and you’ll meet a lot of new contacts - not a bad way to invest some time, AND build your network!  Ninety five percent of this country believes in a higher power, so strengthen your family by praying together.  It brings a lot of piece to a lot of people so try it!

by: CT

Friday, April 15, 2011

A Creative Approach to your Job Search

I’ve run staffing groups at Fortune 500 firms for almost 25 years and now I’m a career coach and train individuals on how to have the best job search process possible.  Often times, I help them map out what their top strengths are, and what areas they are looking to develop, because this is a top question that is often asked in an interview.
So the pre-work is very important if you are going to answer this question effectively.  I suggest individuals list their top 10 strengths, and in the column next to each strength, list an example of how the excel at this, and in another column, ensure the example is quantified.
One strength you may have is creative problem solving as it’s a characteristic that is greatly valued by any company.  Let’s face it - business is all about solving problems and coming up with creative solutions.  The more creative you are the more successful you will be.  This applies to any disciple:  marketing, finance, human resources, the law, operations, and the list goes on and on. 
Here are some examples of creative problem solving:
1.  You were tasked with creating a new technology tracking system for new accounts.  Your boss gives you a 2 month timeframe and tells you that you are the lead project manager. 
o   A creative move could be to find someone else in the company who worked with the technology group and ask them to be an “advisor” to save time and money that they perhaps wasted because they didn’t know any better.
o    Also  – if you had a friend who worked at another company who had a similar program, perhaps they could share it with you … as long as it didn’t violate any confidential or privileged  info.   
2.   You are tasked with creating a new campus recruiting brochure at your company.  You have to decide what “hot” colors are in and have no budget to hold focus groups or do market research.
o   You could visit the closest Gap store and check out their color arrangements.  Gap pours tons and tons of marketing dollars into the latest colors and this could appeal to your exact demographic.
3.   Your manager asks you to significantly decrease the error rates on the opening of new accounts:
o   A creative move could include doing some research on how errors are decreased:  both on the web, and perhaps at Barnes & Nobles.  There’s a book about everything!
o   You could also do a survey of the new account opening reps and ask for the last 100 issues with new accounts, and create a short but succinct error analysis.
During an interview, it’s important to highlight what creative moves you made and what the result was.  For example, the new brochure perhaps gave you strong accolades from your new recruits.  Your approach to decreasing errors on new accounts decreased errors by 25%.  And, your new technology program came in under budget, on time and the users are raving about how easy it is to use and how helpful the info is.
Remember during your interview to identify these success strategies and use them to “ease the pain” of the employer you are interviewing with.  Remember, it’s always about what you can do for them … so be confident about your background, and be clear in your explanations…and quantify EVERYTHING!

By  ct

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Part-Time Work Or Full-Time?

Part-Time Work Or Full-Time? … 
In A Field That Isn’t Really What You Want?
The economy being what it is these days, with job searches stretching out for many people, sometimes unbearably, the question that often comes up during our coaching sessions is to whether the client should:

(a) take a part-time job, 
(b) a full-time job, or 
(c) tough it out until they land the job they really want and are suited for?

In one recent article I read, it flatly stated that, yes, a job-seeker should take a second job, without any question.

This article suggested working in an amusement park, since it’s summer, on the assumption that such jobs were open and unfilled, or something similar … and my guess is that it was how unequivocal this suggestion was that startled me and started me thinking about how I coach people to understand what might work for them when their searches seem to be taking far longer than anticipated. In short, the subject, I believe, isn’t that simple and needs some thought before dashing off in desperation to find some kind, any kind, of job.

First off, let me state that I believe there is one situation in which any type of job, part-time or full-time, should be taken, always, without question. That is when the client (or job-seeker) really needs the money to live on. There is no doubt in my mind about it. Survival comes first. If you have to be a dishwasher or a cab driver or an amusement park attendant to pay the bills and put bread on your table, yes, take that job and continue looking for the type of job that your background, abilities and education qualify you for at the salary level you feel you’re suited for and worth.

But it gets more muddy when you’re not on the thin edge, when the search has begun to stretch and stretch and stretch, when you feel the old ennui, when it seems like a dry period and you begin to wonder if it might not be preferable to work at something manual or mundane, just to get out there again and rub shoulders with other people and get some kind of check at the end of the week.

What are the downsides and upsides of doing this?

• It can feel like a “giving up”. 

• You can begin to believe that there are indeed no jobs of the type that you’re fit for out there any more, and then that you’re taking two (or more) steps backward. This certainly isn’t good for your ego or morale, if you begin to feel that way.

• Then there’s also the fact that a full-time job (and, often a part-time job) does use up considerable energy, which doesn’t leave much time for job-hunting at the same time. My observation is that people who take a job just to keep themselves working often slack off on their job-hunting efforts and, thereby, decrease their chances of finding something new.

• Be aware that, if you’re receiving unemployment, you can also lose those benefits (or at least decrease them) by taking new employment. It’s a good idea to check with your state department to check this out beforehand, because very few people want to lose or decrease their unemployment benefits.

What are the upsides?

• Having a place to go every day and a reason to get up every morning and get out of bed. Getting out of the house, in other words.

• Keeping the emotional machinery going.

• Being among other people again during the day in a work environment.

• Feeling good about earning money for your efforts.

• Heightening the dynamic so you feel more motivated to continue putting out effort in your search for your “real” job.

• If it’s a “no brainer” job, very different from your previous job, it can be refreshing. One person I coached, for example, took a job as a cab driver at night, while he continued his search for a position in Corporate Real Estate Development as location scout who determined where new stores would be built, and it didn’t drain much of his energy because driving a cab was easy for him. (In this case he made more than his unemployment would have paid.) Or, as another example, it could be a physical job, such as Aerobics Instructor, very different from, say, a the brain-work and people-interaction required of a Director of PR.

There is a third alternative, however, and that is to find something that corresponds to what you were doing before you were laid off. You might try being a consultant in your own field, using your accumulated expertise, for example. Some of my clients have been successful ing that. This can make sense in terms of putting something on your resume that indicates you haven’t been unemployed during the time you were laid off, but it needs to contain something substantial to be credible.

Another rather creative approach might be what a client and I strategized and came up with after she’d had a series of interviews after which the jobs she’d gone for had had their funding withdrawn. Rather than letting her get discouraged, I worked on it with her, and she then wrote short letter proposals to those companies, suggesting they might still have a need for her services on a contractual basis to work on the highest priority projects they’d discussed which probably hadn’t gone away as the funding had. She got a response from one company, negotiated an assignment, and worked part-time on their project.

What was really interesting about this was that (a) she ended up getting paid relatively well, (b) she was learning something new in terms of content and in terms of writing for a website distributed to employees, and (c) of course she was “working.” What really made it interesting, and a positive experience, was that as a result of this strategy, when a position did open up and she went to interview for it, the new experience made her the prime candidate, because she had been updating her skills in a new area of great interest to that employer.

Well, those are some of the alternatives, as I see them. There are more, and it’s worth expending energy on coming up with them. As you might infer, I tend to coach people to maximize their job-hunting strategy and their efforts so they pay off, rather than just doing something for the sake of doing it.

By: ej

Monday, April 4, 2011

Networking: Why Most People Don’t Actually Do It

Most of the people I work with as clients, and most of the people who have been laid off whom I have contact with, agree that networking is one of the really good ways to find a job. My article last month emphasized why it is useful.

That said, I often find myself shaking my head in disbelief 

-- because my observation is that the very people who say this and believe this don’t actually practice networking; they don’t even go through the motions when they’re on their own in a job search. In other words, they talk a good game, but never really do it. They say all the right words, but their actions aren’t consistent with what they’re telling you and me.

Why is this? Why do so many people who acknowledge that networking is a good thing, never actually get around to doing it?

I’ve been studying this phenomena for some time and here’s a random sampling of fifteen of the answers I’ve come up with:

1. They’re scared. To them, networking is equated to selling and selling equals cold calling. Fear of rejection keeps them from even trying it. This is wrong, of course, but unless they understand it, it constantly prevents them from doing it.

2. They don’t know how. For all that’s written about it, it’s a confusing subject. It’s a mystery, even though everybody talks about it.

3. They tried it once, without knowing how to do it correctly, and “burned up” the possibility of a network. Now nobody in their “network” will return their calls.

4. The process is not a 1:1 process. By this I mean, often networking appears to be a meandering path, not a straightforward one, in the same way answering a job listing or ad is straightforward. And goal-oriented people, who need short-term results, don’t get quick results from networking. This results in their getting discouraged.

5. They have the “I have to be prepared before I do it” syndrome. In other words, for one or more of the reasons I’ve already elaborated, they feel they “aren’t ready for prime time” yet and need more rehearsing, more preparation, more of something they don’t presently have – before they can actually do it.

6. They overlook the wealth of networking prospects close at hand and are always trying to find the “perfect” person to network with who will offer them a job on the spot. This is, of course, a delaying tactic.

7. They confuse networking with a pro-active broadcast letter or an e-mail campaign.

8. They have a pre-structured outlook on life that says, “You never are supposed to ask others for help.” Which automatically cuts out networking.

9. They have read too much and thought too much – and, therefore, they can tell you why networking is passé, why networking doesn’t work anymore in the new economy, why it’s over-used, why people who are employed out there are fed up with “information interviewing.” Ergo, there’s no need to do it because it will fail.

10. They operate in an internal domain (the domain of “I”) as opposed to a social domain (the domain of “We”). This ties in with their approach to the world and, consequently, networking, which is interacting with others, just doesn’t appear on their radar screens.

11. In much the same vein, they’re “macho” or “macha”. Their internal dialogue goes something like this: I need to do it all myself, in sorrow or in shame (because I don’t have a job), and therefore I won’t share it with anybody.

12. It’s unfamiliar territory. They’ve never been in it before. And, of course, that makes networking very scary.

13. They believe they’re not the “out-going” type, not “gregarious” enough, to carry it off. This is especially true of people with an engineering and IT work history background. This is a prime example of how nominalization holds people back.

14. Networking is hard work and some people don’t really like hard work. I repeat, good networking is hard work and some people don’t really like hard work. Setting up appointments and juggling people who are not in with their voice-mail, going out on interviews and scheduling one’s time, all sound like hard work and actually are hard work. Just like most regular eight-hour-a-day jobs.

15. Many people equate any structured attempt to find a job as equal to rejection when they don’t get (a) asked for an interview, (b) told of a job opportunity, or (c) receive an offer. And, because of this, they feel as if they’re constantly being rejected when they attempt to network and, therefore, they shy away from it because it’s painful.

If any of these resonate with you, dear reader, it’s obviously time to take stock

by EJ