You have a wonderful position with a great company, but are already thinking about the next position you will hold. What? You are not?! Well, according to Richard Templar and his 2005 book The Rules of Work: The Unspoken Truth About Getting Ahead in Business (Pearson publishing), you should be! In his book, Richard examines his successful climb to the top of his career path. He provides a set of work rules to live by, in hopes to help you succeed towards your dream position. For example, according to Richard, you should always find a good thing to say about co-workers and never speak negatively. Richard provides you his guidance in avoiding business pitfalls, and feels you should be acting and dressing for the next position you wish to hold with the company. Now, you are thinking, “I already knew these rules!” Well bare with Richard, I mean “me,” as I examine the book and the rules provided. I will point out that Richard’s rules have validity, but we can’t all be managers at our companies, there are not enough management positions for all of us! In Richard’s book, rule number 30 is to “Look for Opportunities”, but Richard’s opportunities are about finding a moment with Senior Management and providing insight about the company. Yes, I agree, if you get a moment with the Senior Managers, you should take the opportunity to share your business story. However, within every department or business unit, there are concrete opportunities to help the business. This is a great way to have upper management take notice of your efforts. The first step is to know what an opportunity looks like. Last month, my company laid off employees in an adjacent department. One of the people laid off was a report writer, like me. When his position became vacant, the work he was completing no longer was being worked upon. Realizing the bind the department was placed in with the layoff, I informed the Director of that department, that I would be willing to help with reporting needs. Unfortunately, the work was not available for me to complete, however, the Director thanked me for my offer. The good thing is that Director will remember me for volunteering to help. It may lead to future work opportunities or even better, she may need to hire that position and my name may be remembered for the position! Not to say that this would always work in your favor, but to realize that the department may need a help to get through a tough time, is the opportunity you should be looking for. A word of caution, make sure you are not going to step upon another person’s skill-set! When you put your volunteer notification out there, be sure to avoid conflicts from both your immediate manager and team members. Always act in a positive light towards the goal of helping others. An opportunity may look like this: a way to improve a process or write about a procedure to complete the process better. When you do move on, the next associate will have your technical documentation for review. Once you see an opportunity, pounce upon it and do a great job, but don’t allow your assigned work to deteriorate in quality or delivery times! A second way to stand out is to build a cheer team. I want you to realize who you are interacting with on the job. When you are assigned a project with another department, don’t assume that the members of this project are only working on that deadline. They may be working on that project, but have other very important work to be accomplished sooner. I am on a testing team for a product. Our deadline is Friday! However, when speaking with the Team Test Lead, she indicated that another project is of higher priority. I simply informed her that I am ready when she is and if she should need a hand, I will provide the assistance to keep our testing moving forward. This conversation accomplishes two work goals with the Test Lead, 1. It provides the lead a chance to work on her higher prioritized project without worrying about the upcoming deadline on the less prioritized project. Secondly, now the Test Lead remembers that I can be flexible in assisting her to meet both goals. She will remember that Mark was a very patient and helpful asset to the project team. She will want to work with me again. Having cheerleaders in your organization is the way people will remember you when it is time for your promotion or next position! Building your cheer team will increase your exposure to the hiring managers! I do recommend this book. The guidance, Richard provides, help you develop a plan to reach your future position. Mark Dubay is a a seasoned Business Analyst/T-SQL Report Writer for a large communications company, in San Antonio, Texas. In his own words, "I have a fantastic wife, of nearly 10 years, and two wonderful kids. I have a well-rounded life balancing family, play, and work!" Mark can be reached on LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/mdubay and Twitter http://twitter.com/mdubay.
We get it. Looking for work can be scary, especially if you’ve been at it for a long time and haven’t gotten any results.
Understanding which fears are getting in the way and how to overcome them will make all the difference. Sometimes you might not be aware of which obstacle is getting in the way of your goals. If you want to overcome these fears once and for all, we invite you to join us!
In this training, you’ll learn how to:
- Utilize strategies for coping with your job search fears
- Be confident in your job search—from writing your resume to networking
- Face your fears and move forward
Join our CEO, J.T. O'Donnell, and Director of Training Development & Coaching, Christina Burgio, for this live event on Wednesday, October 5th at 12 pm ET.
CAN'T ATTEND LIVE? That's okay. You'll have access to the recording and the workbook after the session!
One portion of an employee’s personal development is work-related, but there is more. When you think of an employee’s personal development do you think of the skills for them to keep current, get a promotion, or transfer to another department? Improving core skills such as analytical abilities, critical thinking, and/or decision making? Skills to take on a leadership role and manage staff? Obtaining higher credentials?
Assuming so, organizational leaders should:
1. Make sure you understand what employees do and how it aligns with the company’s goals
2. Let employees do the job you hired them to do (leveraging their strengths and interests); nobody likes to be micromanaged
3. Challenge employees with stretch goals
4. Encourage employees to learn new things and give them the tools they need to learn:
- Read books, magazines, trade journals, newsletters, blogs
- Watch online videos, listen to podcasts
- Take courses (in-person, online) and attend webinars, workshops, conferences
- Company-provided training - Microsoft Office, application-specific courses
- Hard skills such as an SQL class, foreign language
- Effective communication skills - writing classes or speaking training (e.g., Toastmasters)
- Other soft skills - time management, problem solving
- Learning platforms - LinkedIn Learning, MasterClass
- Leadership-related training
- Supervisor skills, management trainee program
- Some will want to manage people, but others won’t and that’s ok
- Professional license, certification (e.g., PMP, CISSP), college degree
- Don’t forget to support CPE (continuing professional education) requirements
- Groups - professional associations, networking groups, etc.
- Other - internships, volunteer opportunities
These are great work-related considerations, but there is more. There is a saying by Confucius: “I want you to be everything that’s you, deep at the center of your being.” Do you encourage employees’ personal development (and the key word is personal) to be the best version of themself? Have you asked them what is important to them? If it’s important to them, it should be important to you too.
Developing A Growth Mindset
Personal development is lifelong learning and it’s never too late to start. Encourage employees to develop a growth mindset and continue learning while working for the company. This includes opportunities to:
1. Enhance their quality of life such as health/fitness, self-care, self-confidence2. Self-improvement to fully develop their character, capabilities, and potential
- Develop a reading habit
- Personal finances, personal creativity, or other personal-related learnings
- “Work-related” skills listed above even if they aren’t relevant to their current role
- Some organizations (such as Amazon, Chipotle, and Starbucks) have free or practically free college programs for front-line employees, which removes financial barriers
3. Realize their dream - maybe to become an entrepreneur and start their own business
How To Create A Custom Personal Development Plan For Employees
Has your organization recognized that they need to think differently about developing employees? They should work together with the employee to create a custom personal development plan (PDP) based on what the employee is interested in (including both work and personal aspects). Four basic steps are:
1. Perform a self-assessment
2. Establish and prioritize goals (both short and long term) breaking up the goals into manageable tasks
3. Create a step-by-step plan identifying required resources, timelines, etc.
- Identify objectives to reach the goals as well as strategies to achieve the tasks
- Identify any weaknesses, development needs, barriers
4. Measure progress
- Reward and celebrate accomplishments
- Be prepared for setbacks - adjust and course correct
As a leader, be available when employees want to talk with you as well as periodically check in with them to ensure they have a good work-life balance. Both of these could be good coaching/mentoring opportunities.
When there is a comprehensive personal development plan, the employee is more likely to be and stay excited about what’s next (and stay with the organization longer). For more information about personal development, follow me on LinkedIn!
I got an email yesterday from a client wanting to know if I had any job search tips. Unfortunately, he had been recently laid off and found himself on the job market. Talking to him got me thinking...What really makes a job search successful?
The bad news is that there isn't a magic formula. The good news is that there are a number of very simple things you can do to improve your marketability.
Here are four easy steps to follow if you want to speed up your job search:
1. Update Your Resume As Soon As Possible
This might sound simple, but it is by far the most important (and first) step in a job search. You need to have your resume ready to roll at a moment's notice.
The way I see it, there are two kinds of job seekers. There is the job seeker that draws confidence from being prepared and then there is the kind of job seeker that gets blindsided by the unexpected. I know which kind I'd rather be.
The best time to focus on your resume is when you don't need it.
2. Figure Out Who Your Resume Is For
Is your resume for you or is it for prospective employers? The resume might have your info, experience, and accomplishments on it, but, ultimately, the documents that make it past the ATS not only have the right amount of keywords peppered throughout but also show, very clearly, what the applicant can do forthe potential employer.
When writing your resume, always keep potential employers at the forefront of your mind. Make sure you quantify your experience, skills, and accomplishments. Give them a preview of the kind of positive impact you could have on their organization if they were to hire you.
3. Realize It's Not About You
Really. It's not. The most successful job seekers understand that it's about what you do for others, not about what they can do for you.
This is a fundamental idea that for some I hope turns the act of "networking" completely upside down. In every interaction, the most important thing is to demonstrate, "How can I help YOU?" It's the folks who unselfishly look out for those around them who make opportunities happen. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
What connections can you help make? Ask open-ended questions. You may even choose to treat the conversation like an informational interview. What professional needs does the other party have and how can you fill them?
4. Determine Your Target
This is such a simple concept, but it's probably the biggest obstacle I see with many of my clients. You need to have a target. It is as easy as that. How can you expect to reach the goal of employment without aiming for a bullseye?
The first step is to clearly identify the job/profession/industry you are targeting. You may even have a company that you've always wanted to work at. (It's always a good idea to have an interview bucket list—a list of companies you're passionate about that you'd love to work for someday.)
Make sure that your goal aligns with your experience. Then (and only then) are you free to begin outlining a plan to achieve your goal.
Here's an example:
I have an open door policy with my resume clients and I keep tabs on them throughout their job searches. Out of all the resumes and resume clients I've ever had, only one resume didn't work. One. When I wrote the initial resume, my client was targeting retail sales positions. Then she called one day a couple of months into her job search wondering why she wasn't getting any responses. I asked her to send me an example of the jobs she was applying for and guess what? All the online job applications she had filled out were for human resources positions. No wonder her resume didn't work!
After rewriting her resume, she found work relatively quickly and it just goes to show how important it is to aim before you pull the trigger.
Know your audience, be proactive, and remember that it's not about you. If you apply these things to your job search, you'll be employed in no time!
Need more help with your job search?
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.