Tag: career goals
An advanced degree is certainly helpful in any business climate-no one disputes that. But degrees do not guarantee success and true entrepreneurs and leaders often have other special talents and virtues that empower them to achieve great success. I work with many executives who do NOT have their advanced degree and some have no college degree at all – and they share with me in confidence that they worry about the perception of that.
To be sure we are looking at the picture of success with eyes wide open, let’s take a look at just a very small list of executives (in no particular order) who did NOT obtain their college degree:
Ted Turner, Time Warner / AOL Philanthropist
Ralph Lauren, Ralph Lauren Corporation
Anna Wintour, English Editor-In-Chief of American Vogue
Sheldon Adelson, CEO and Chairman of Las Vegas Sands
Bill Gates, Co-Founder of Microsoft Corp
Steve Jobs, The late Co-Founder of Apple
Matt Mullenweg, Founder of WordPress
Larry Ellison, the CEO of Oracle
Arash Ferdowsi, Co-Founder of Dropbox
Mark Zuckerberg, Founder of Facebook
David Neeleman, Founder of JetBlue Airways
Susan Lyne, CEO of AOL’s Content Brands
John Mackay, Founder of Whole Foods
Michael Dell, Chairman and CEO of Dell
There is nothing like a third-party endorsement to earn someone’s trust and respect.
But you have to do it right.
You don’t want to attach letters of recommendation – these are too long. What you want is to create one or two pages of short quotes from people who have worked with you in the recent past.
Marketing yourself may not be your first love, but making sure your references back up your achievements with their endorsements is critical. Here are some tips to getting them.
Use LinkedIn to Get Endorsements
If you are a professional, I strongly recommend having a LinkedIn profile. You should send an invitation to connect to everyone associated with your career history (with the exception of your current employer, if you want to keep your job search a secret).
Become a “Reference Collector”
From here on out, consider “collecting” references and testimonials well before you think you might need them. You can accomplish this by simply telling your potential references that you are gathering testimonials as you go… as part of your long-term strategic career goals.
Widen Your Pool of Potential References
Do you know that many people other than your immediate boss can be a highly compelling reference? You can get references from colleagues, people that work for you or with you, clients, vendors, and even co-members of associations or boards on which you serve.
Ask for a Written Reference
Why not ask for powerful, short performance statements in lieu of the more typical “letter of reference”? I put together a one- to two-page document for my clients filled with short statements from all sorts of credible references speaking from their unique vantage points.
The result is a reference page that reads like a list of 5-star book reviews!
You may even offer to write the reference FOR them and then simply get their OK. Though this can be a little uncomfortable at first, you will end up with some very powerful reference statements that convey exactly the message you want to get across.
References that say “Jim is a great guy. I would definitely refer him to others,” is vague and unimpressive. If you get a reference like that, you might go back to your contact and ask if they wouldn’t mind inserting a little more detail; something like this:
“Jim helped us close a $140 million healthcare construction project that opened the door to a new industry segment for us. In addition, he also happens to be a positive influence and a great person to work with.”
Additional Ways to Help Your References Help You
You will do well to take an active role in developing a powerful reference topic or topics. Simply give potential references two or three things to focus on. Of course those two or three things should be in sync with the kind of position you are focused on. Let’s say in your next position you want to target a Senior VP Operations role. You could coach your references to comment on the following strengths:
1. My abilities as a leader; taking a company global.
2. My capabilities on the new technology integration task force.
3. My abilities to analyze current operations and pioneer long-term growth plans.
Using these easy and powerful tips, you will soon have an abundance of highly targeted and compelling references that will have potential employers taking notice!
Question: I am so burnt out and literally loathe my job. I have been dreaming about changing industries for over 2 years and I know I will just keep getting more of the same the longer I procrastinate, but I just can’t seem to take that step forward. I highly doubt I can get what I want in this economy and I don’t have a clue how to go about getting hired in an industry I am not qualified in. Can you help? – George C., Minnesota
Answer: George, I have helped so many people over the years that shared that same story! It is frustrating to be in a rut, but I commend you for thinking about the future – you have taken the first step. Most often, people who are happy and satisfied in their careers are ones who have done some soul searching, figured out what they really wanted, and then did what it took to get them there. – Mary Elizabeth Bradford
How to Begin Creating Your Plan
When first creating your career plan, allow yourself to brainstorm. You must begin to get what’s in your head out on paper, so you can start to come to terms with what’s important to you, what you need to get rid of, and what might be holding you back.
I should mention that money is often the jailer that holds my clients hostage so many times. “I can’t change careers or positions because I really need the money I am making now.” If this is your position as well, I would challenge you to first come up with a plan and a timeline for changing that situation. Even if the goals you map out are a couple of years away, the power of writing down your goals and working toward them – either solo or as a family – is profound.
Sometimes we think we will have to take a pay cut, but guess what? A focused plan for a career transition and a powerfully written functional resume can do AMAZING things for you in the money department. The better you look on paper and the better you interview, the more your potential companies will want you. Often I help clients change industries and they take NO salary cuts AT ALL! They are always amazed.
Tips for Brainstorming
Write out all of the things you dislike about your current and past positions. This is usually an easy one to start with, as most people are really clear on what they don’t like!
Now, throw that piece of paper away. It’s gone. Time to let those things go and focus on what you do want. If this sounds too “woo woo” for you, just wait… you will be surprised how this process helps you to move forward!
Establish Your Career Parameters
Write down your “driving motivators.” These are the two or three things that MUST happen in your next move – they are essentially fixed, such as geography, industry or financial needs. Be honest with yourself.
Next, brainstorm on your secondary career parameters. These are things you would like to have, but it’s not a deal breaker if you don’t get them.
Finally, it’s time to define your dream job. Picture a blank canvas that you can draw any picture that you like on. Crystallize your vision of your dream job by closing your eyes and thinking about what your dream job means to you. Here are a few questions you can ask yourself:
- What does it look like?
- Where are you working? At home, looking out the window at your garden, or looking out at the skyline from your downtown office on the 9th floor?
- Is the environment cutting edge and fast paced? Highly technical? Is it refined, traditional or academic?
- What kind of people are you working with?
- What are you doing?
- Are you working independently or with a team?
And so on. Treat this as a creative and fun experience. It’s a good idea to send your thought gremlins that tell you all the reasons why you can’t do this on a coffee break so you can have a clear head and an open heart as you begin.
Now identify three things you can do right now to get you moving in the right direction. Do you need to hire a resume writer to help you? Do you need to join an association that will open up a window to the people you need to know in your industry of choice? Do you need to join some groups on LinkedIn that are in your new industry of interest (you can “hide” your groups if you don’t want your current employer to get suspicious)?
Break your goal down into manageable steps. One step builds upon another and small steps lead to change and growth more quickly than we often anticipate!
Every successful project first begins with a well-thought-out plan, and your success largely depends on the components of that plan.
For example, depending on your personality, you may subscribe to the method of “I will know my dream job when I see it.” Personally, with my creative personality, I empathize with this method (which is not really a method as much as it is just intuition). However, this is a poor choice for planning a career move.
Here are the things you must know BEFORE you begin writing your resume, and for that matter, your entire job search – if you want to ensure any kind of purposeful direction and control over its outcome:
- Your career goals.
- Your driving motivators.
- Your dream job.
- Your target markets.
- Your titles/positions of choice.
- Other important career parameters.
Your Career Goals
This is a statement about where you want to go and the goals you want to reach in the next 3 to 5 years. It’s really, really important that you give yourself some time to focus on your answer and write it down.
It’s amazing how oftentimes when we put career hopes and dreams on the back burner (i.e., in the back of our minds), we simply cannot have anything more than a foggy idea that is unfocused, not ready, not purposeful, and not exciting. The simple ACT of committing to focus on what YOU want and writing it out is a simple, but powerful step forward on conscious and subconscious levels. It’s also the precursor to a highly targeted, powerful, and effective resume.
Your Driving Motivators
What are the bottom-line needs you have to meet to make your next career move? A different position, a new industry, more money, a new location, or more work-life balance? List your top three.
Your Dream Job
Picture a blank canvas on which you can draw any picture you like. Crystallize your vision of your dream job by closing your eyes and think about what your dream job means to you.
- What does it look like?
- Where are you working? At home looking out the window? In your garden? Or looking out at the skyline from your downtown office on the ninth floor?
- Is the environment cutting edge and fast paced, or highly technical? Or is it refined, traditional, or academic?
- What kind of people are you working with?
- What are you doing? Working independently or with a team?
- Are you brainstorming or planning or are you more hands-on, managing projects?
- Are you working with your hands, building or doing something tactical and “in the present,” or are you paving roads into the future, thinking of the bigger picture and creating plans? Are you implementing those plans or directing a team to do it for you?
- How much money are you making? Are you traveling? If so, how often?
- Where are you? In your current location or have you relocated? Are you in the city or a smaller, more rural area? Are you working internationally?
- If you want to do some even deeper soul searching into defining your core skills and abilities, there is a great online assessment test at www.keirsey.com.
Your Target Market/Title/Position of Choice
Whether you are changing industries or staying in the same industry, you will want to write down your target market and what position you are pursuing. If you apply for multiple positions in multiple industries, you will soon find yourself changing your resume to match every different position and getting spread way too thin with very few good results.
If you are looking to change industries, here is a tip for you: the easiest way to check out an industry for its career potential is to connect with people in those industries who can answer your questions and give you the mentoring you need to decide whether or not to move forward.
Other Important Career Parameters
Now you want to list all the other parameters important to you. This can include travel, benefits, work environment, future opportunities, company type (i.e., traditional, growth oriented, family friendly, etc.), and anything else that is relevant.
Another excellent article by the Automatic Business Coach, Sandy Martini. I am making my list right now………
Click here to learn more about Sandy
Every year millions of us diligently work on our New Year’s Goals or Resolutions, determined that this year will be *THE* year, somehow different from all the rest which preceded it.
We labor over writing the goals, create Vision Boards, and start the year bright-eyed and bushy-tailed (like children on Christmas morning when they see a tree loaded with presents).
And yet within a week, maybe two or three, reality sets in. We’re the same people we were before midnight on January 1st and, likely have the same habits. . .good and bad.
So how do we create results and not simply resolutions?
The answer is simple. . .treat the New Year as you would any large project and break it down into manageable pieces.
Let’s see what that looks like:
1. Choose one of your annual goals and break it down into 4 quarterly (90 day) goals.
2. Take the first quarter (January – March) and break that down into monthly goals — what do you need to achieve each MONTH to reach your first quarterly (March 31st) goal?
3. Take the first month (January) and break that down into weekly goals — what do you need to achieve each WEEK to reach your monthly (January 31st) goal?
4. Take the first week (January 4 – 10) and break that down into daily ACTIONS — what should you do each day which will allow you to reach your weekly (January 10th) goal?
5. And what needs to happen for you to get your daily actions DONE?
Do you limit your email/Twitter/IM time? Do you tell your best friend you have work to do? Do you get up an hour earlier or work an hour later? Do you invest in a mentor who can save you hours of learning time? Figure out what you need to do. . .and then do it!
It is until you take a look at ALL your New Year’s Goals and realize you’d have to work 15 hours a day and be on a treadmill eating carrot sticks while chatting with your friends and family the remaining 9 hours in order to reach every goal you set.
The above exercise does two things for you:
1. It gives you the power to create real results. . .in a way which keep you focused and allows you to see progress throughout the year and
2. It forces you to “get real” about how much you can achieve and where you may want to pull in outside resources to speed up your learning curve, outsource work, etc.
So, what’s next?
You have a choice.
You can take this ezine and move it to your “I’ll get to it later” folder, you can delete it, or you can use it to change your 2009 forever.
Copyright 2009 Sandra P. Martini. The Automatic Business Coach & Mentor. Get Sandra Martini’s FREE “5 Simple Steps to Putting Your Marketing on Autopilot” e-course/audio mini-workshop and her FREE small business success how-to tips at www.SandraMartini.com.
Each product and program I create is inspired by years of accumulated input from job seekers worldwide who have shared their dreams, goals and challenges with me.
Add to that my seven years as an executive recruiter studying how dozens of corporate executives make their hiring decisions and top it all off with an intimate understanding of what job search strategies work (and which do not), earned though working one-on-one with over 500 job seekers until their job search was complete.
How do I feel about my unique accumulation of experience? I feel a responsibility to advocate what really works and help as many job seekers as I can.
This is one of my primary goals for 2009.
The market climate right now demands you work wisely and strategically to meet your goals. To accomplish this, you should invest in information from an experienced and reputable source. Then prepare yourself to take action – moving forward boldly and consistently!
So, what are your career goals and/or challenges for 2009?
Small Business Coach Sandy Martini has a GREAT blog post here which details her list of things she is “letting go of” in 2009. She “warns” her list isn’t for the faint of heart. Here are the highlights:
- Vendors who don’t meet the terms of our agreement (they’ve been fired)
- Clients who want everything and yet implement nothing (yes, I’ve let a few go)
- Biz owners who fail to recognize the importance of building relationships and being authentic (we can tell when you’re being inauthentic, REALLY!)
- Companies who don’t know the meaning of customer service or who retain employees who don’t believe in it (I’m boycotting)
- Negative Nellies (I wish them well and would gleefully welcome them back into my life if they could display some optimism)
- Voicemail messages with no contact info, no real message (just “call me”) and no good time to return the call (do everyone a favor, leave a detailed message with your phone or email so we can actually get back to you)
- Ditto incoming faxes with no return contact info (DUH!)
- Sales letters which promise the world and don’t even deliver a county (we’re back to being authentic)
- “No shows” who schedule a call and don’t call or reschedule (this one shows absolutely no respect for the person being called)
I love Sandy’s list. I have a similar one. The longer I am in business for myself the more I learn that there is no one to BLAME but myself because I am the Captain of this ship – in charge and fully responsible of all the rules, boundaries and relationships.
And speaking from experieince what and who I “let in” does get to me, for better or for worse. So I opt for “the better” so my clients always get me at my best.
So, what are you letting go of for 2009?