You're able to view this page because you subscribed to CAREEREALISM. This free tool is our way of thanking you! Be sure to bookmark this page so you can return to it again and again. The information you requested can be viewed below or downloaded via the following button. Download PDF *To download, right-mouse click the button and select “Save Link As” from the menu. By CAREEREALISM Founder, J.T. O’Donnell This checklist provides an overview of the complete step-by-step process for identifying a career path and pursuing jobs that suit your needs. Using the right attitude and resources, you can narrow down the unlimited number of career choices and find a great job, just by following these simple steps: 1. Identify where you want to live. It sounds obvious, but honestly, there is no better way to narrow down a career search than defining where you want to live while you work. If your answer is "anywhere," then take the time to figure out where you would LOVE to live. Pick no more than two locations so you can limit your search to these towns and the surrounding areas. Keeping in mind, cost-of-living, transportation access, proximity to family and friends, etc., you'll want to select places that suit your lifestyle and budget. 2. Determine your skills, work preferences, and personal strengths. Take the time to write out on paper all the things you excel at. Ask friends and family to give their input as to what they think are your best assets when it comes to helping others and being effective doing tasks. It's time to organize your thoughts as to who you are and what you can offer to potential employers. Use assessment tests (i.e. my ISAT Test) to help you summarize your unique combination of skills and abilities so you can match them to careers and articulate them to hiring managers. 3. Create a list of "must-haves," "nice-to-haves," and "don't wants" with respect to work. What is most important to you? What do you want your first job to provide you with? What things must be present in your work so you can achieve not only your professional goals, but your personal goals as well? Keep this list handy and use it as a way to gage a career's ability to satisfy your needs. Note: The longer you make this list, the harder it will be for you to find a satisfying career. Don't make the mistake many Americans make with respect to career: expecting too much from your job is the fastest way to becoming unhappy. A good career doesn't guarantee a happy and fulfilling life. It's up to you to keep your career in perspective and make sure that you are able to find happiness outside of work. A career is just one aspect of who you are - it does not define you as a person, so don't wrap your personal identity up too much in what you do for a living. 4. Research careers using career interest tests. One of the best career interest tests I've ever seen is offered on-line by the University of Missouri Career Center. It can be found here. It is called "The Career Interests Game" and the university's career center designed it using Dr. John Holland's RIASEC Model of Occupations. This is part of the copyrighted work of Dr. Holland and his company, PAR, Inc. This test helps you see why you gravitate towards particular careers and provides extensive information on each career. Bonus: You can also download a copy of their Holland Code Guide here! 5. Create a Career Story (a.k.a. Personal Brand Statement). Write out and rehearse a short summary of who you are and why you feel a particular career is a good fit with your interests and strengths. Be sure to highlight your attributes and how you see them helping you to succeed in this particular career. You'll want to rehearse and get comfortable with this story so you can tell it, without hesitation, to anyone you meet, especially friends, family, teachers and potential employers. Anyone who could help you in your career search should be able to easily understand and get excited by your Career Story. 6. Design a high-impact resume that showcases your strengths and accomplishments. Most resume formats used today are out-dated and ineffective. Your resume should be a simple, one-page summary of your experience. But more importantly, it should quickly draw attention to your best attributes. 7. Set up and complete Informational Interviews. Contact your career center, your parents, friends and anyone else you can think of to help you identify individuals in your field(s) of interest. Your goal? To set up either a phone call or in-person meeting with them to learn more about this particular career and how they have become successful doing it. Note: You are NOT asking for a job, or even interviewing for one. You are simply gathering data so you can make an informed decision about a career. Think of yourself as a reporter, trying to get the whole story. The good news is the majority of college grads and young professionals who take the time and make the effort to complete Informational Interviews, usually end up getting job offers from either the person they interviewed, or someone they subsequently referred them to. This is called "networking" and it is the #1 method for getting access to the best job opportunities! 8. Pick a career based on how it will suit your needs, not someone else's. When choosing a career, make sure you choose a career you will enjoy… a career that will inspire you to want to learn more and grow your abilities. Becoming an “expert” in a field is one of the best ways to find career success and satisfaction. To achieve this, you must find your internal motivation for work. This can only be found when you choose work that makes you feel challenged, excited, and alive. Choosing a job solely to impress others, get status and recognition, or make a lot of money, may make you feel good in the short-term, but in the long-term, you will feel empty and unmotivated. Ask anyone who has chosen a career using these misguided reasons and they'll share with you the unhappy results. 9. Keep it in perspective. Statistics show most Americans today will have as many as nine careers in their lifetimes with an average of three jobs in each career. Do the math. You are going to be doing a lot of different kinds of work in your life, which means, they'll be plenty of opportunities to switch paths, should you find one no longer suits you. They call it a "career path" because of all the twists and turns you'll take along the way! 10. Take action! If you want to find a good, satisfying job, then you need to make the effort. Even a college degree does not guarantee a successful career. You've got to do the soul-searching, research, and action steps necessary for finding a career that best suits you. The sooner you realize and embrace the need to proactively search for a career, the faster you'll be on your way to finding the personal and professional success you want and deserve. So don't wait, and get to work!
If you're an executive or somebody in a leadership position, you have an executive presence. Your executive presence is your reputation. It's what people think when you walk into a room, and what they say about you when you're not in the room.
As a leader, actively maintaining your executive presence builds credibility, trust, and, ultimately, a following. It gives you a competitive advantage over other job candidates, allowing you to gain access to better career opportunities.
Every executive needs to think about their presence. But before you can effectively build a strategy to grow your executive presence and create tools that support it, you need to understand what your executive presence is. To start, here are three components of executive presence every leader should know.
Gravitas is the first component of executive presence. It's your chosen value. It's how you like to create value in the world, how you save or make an organization money to justify the cost of hiring you.
One of the factors of executive presence that corresponds with gravitas is your depth of knowledge. As an executive, you've gotten to where you are today because you've thought through a lot of situations. Developing gravitas happens naturally in your career as you gain more experience and climb the corporate ladder.
Some traits related to gravitas include practical knowledge, composure, confidence, resonance, and vision.
The second, and most important, component of executive presence is communication. How do you deliver on your value? Communication also includes things like your personality and your approach. These are the things that are going to convey your executive presence.
A factor of executive presence that corresponds with communication is your delivery of knowledge. After thinking through a lot of situations in your career, you've been able to communicate that evolution of thought. You've taken those experiences and learned and grown from them. This is the most important component of executive presence because for leaders with an effective executive presence, communication makes up 51% of it. In other words, the effectiveness of your executive presence depends on your delivery of knowledge.
Some traits related to communication include authenticity, constraint, integrity, concern, and humility.
The last component of your executive presence is your appearance. This is how your value is interpreted. It can be physical appearance (how you dress) or it can be body language like facial expressions and hand gestures.
The final factor of executive presence that corresponds with appearance is your style of delivery. As an executive, you've thought through a lot of situations in your career and communicated that evolution of that, and now appearance is the type of representation you choose to convey that message.
Some traits related to appearance include personal style, intentionality, inclusiveness, interactivity, and assertiveness.
As a leader in your industry, you have an executive presence. When others are assessing your executive presence (your reputation), they're taking into account your gravitas, communication, and appearance. Understanding the three components of executive presence is the first step to building an effective executive presence strategy, one that will give you access to better career opportunities.
To learn more about how to build your executive presence, download our eBook, 4-Step Process for Creating Your Executive Presence Online, written by J.T. O'Donnell, founder and CEO of Work It Daily.
Want To Build Your Executive Presence?
If you're an executive looking to advance in your career, you need to make your executive presence a priority. This includes your online executive presence. Failing to consistently contribute online in a meaningful way will put you on the fast track to being irrelevant and forgotten.
Join J.T. O'Donnell, LinkedIn Influencer and founder and CEO of Work It Daily, for this 3-hour live class designed to help you overcome these hurdles and stand out in the new normal of 2021 and beyond.
During this class, you will learn how to:
- Assess your executive presence to determine what you should convey online
- Make your resume, LinkedIn profile, and other professional branding tools say more by intentionally sharing less
- Create a "content tree" to ensure you always have plenty to share online
- Select the right types of content to share to maximize your ROI
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Being able to clearly define your value proposition can be hugely successful for a business, providing them a significant competitive advantage. Here are three steps to develop your value proposition.
Listen To The Article
What Is A Value Proposition?
First, let's take a look at what a value proposition is. A value proposition summarizes a promise of value, delivered to customers should they choose to buy your product or service. A good value proposition, as defined by Peep Laja, explains three things:
- Relevancy: Explains how your product solves customers' problems or improves their situation.
- Quantified Value: Delivers specific benefits.
- Differentiation: Tells the ideal customer why they should buy from you and not from the competition.
Understanding Your Value
In 1948, two brothers opened a burger joint selling them for half the price in half the time, utilizing self-serve counters, with food prepared ahead of time and kept warm under heat lamps, giving them an overwhelming competitive edge. In 1954, a traveling appliance salesman, Ray Kroc, convinced the McDonald brothers to let him sell franchises. Over time, he built the company into the multi-billion dollar enterprise it is today ($170B).
Ray Kroc had a vision for these unique hamburger joints: to serve burgers, fries, and beverages that taste as good in Alaska as they do in Alabama. The most important part of any business is the value it provides to its customers. McDonald's has been known for their value proposition: food of a constant quality, that is served quickly and consistently across the globe.
When crafting your brand's value proposition, think about the value you deliver to your customers. How does this value focus on a need that you fill in a unique way?
How To Create A Value Proposition
In my experience, many businesses struggle to define their value proposition because they don't know how to identify their unique offering that differentiates themselves from their competitors. When it comes down to it, there may not be a great deal of difference between you and your competitors. However, for your brand to stand out and be successful, you need to create a perception of unique value.
Here are three steps to create a value proposition that's actually valuable.
Step 1: Look For A Theme/Angle
Start by looking for a theme or angle for your value proposition. There are four categories of value propositions that work. If your value proposition does not fit into one of these categories, look at adjusting your approach.
- Best Quality: Successful brands in this category, set best-in-class standards, defining what quality is (i.e. Benjamin Moore paint).
- Best Bang For The Buck: Consumers are looking for the best quality-to-price ratio in this category (i.e. JetBlue).
- Luxury & Aspiration: This category promises the experience of a wealthy lifestyle to aspirational consumers (i.e. Patek Philippe).
- Must-Haves: The "must-have" content that business professionals could not do their jobs without (i.e. legal information and tools WestLaw provides to lawyers).
The Value Proposition Canvas tool is formed around two building blocks:
- Wants: What are the emotional drivers of purchasing?
- Fears: What are the risks of switching to your product?
- Needs: What are the rational drivers of purchasing? What are your customers' hidden needs?
- Benefits: What does your product do for your customers?
- Features: How does your product work?
- Experience: What does it feel like to use your product?
We help (X) do (Y) by doing (Z).
Your value proposition is a promise of value to future customers. If that promise is delivered successfully, you will turn your potential customers into paying customers. Spending time developing a clear, distinct, and meaningful value proposition will pay off by driving growth, conversions, and customer lifetime value for your business. Start building your brand leadership today. You've got this!
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Getting through to the job interview stage in the hiring process means the employer believes you have the right experience and skills for the job on paper. But now comes the real deal-breaker: whether you can communicate those skills effectively in person and come off as the right fit for the company's workplace culture.
There are typical red flags employers watch for in job interviews. Any one red flag can reduce your chances of getting a job offer, so here's what you need to avoid in your next job interview...
1. Poor Communication
This includes everything from talking too little, talking too much, or simply having poor nonverbal behavior like a lack of eye contact or making the situation uncomfortable with poor body language. When it comes to questions and answers, a job candidate who can't provide effective responses to questions that are necessary to assess their experience and skills is always a problem.
Be prepared to address every point you have on your resume. And when an employer presents a follow-up question like "Tell me more about..." they are trying to dig deeper either because they're curious, or you provided an insufficient response.
An inability to communicate well in a job interview will leave the employer questioning whether you do have the experience and skills you say you have on paper.
2. Question Of Permanency
When an employer puts out a job offer, it's going to be to someone they believe is committed to the job—not to someone who's simply looking to fill in an employment gap until a more fitting job comes along. Any reasonable job seeker wouldn't present such a front, but sometimes casual conversation can lead you to say things that are better off unsaid.
Avoid talking about challenges in your job search or how you were looking for a job in fashion marketing, but somehow you're now applying for this job in healthcare marketing. It brings to question if you're really interested in the job the employer has to offer.
Also, avoid talking about any long-distance relationships and try not to mention that your spouse and kids remain in another state. The employer will question if your personal situation may impact your job loyalty down the road if a relocation package is not going to be a part of the offer. And if they ask where you want to be in three years, answer with a position that corresponds with their growth opportunities.
3. Bad Talk
The purpose of the interview is to demonstrate why you're a great candidate for the job and effectively convey what you have to offer. It's not about letting your frustrations out about a boss you don't like or people you don't like working with. Any bad-mouthing simply sends a negative message about your character. It'll also make the employer question if you can manage workplace relationships professionally.
Often, bad-mouthing occurs when employers ask questions like, "Why are you leaving your current job?" Stay focused on answering with a positive response that relates back to the goal of improving yourself and utilizing what you're capable of offering.
4. Not Dressing The Part
Yes, it's wrong to judge a book by its cover. But in a job interview, this is what happens. If you're not dressed the part to look like you suit the job, it's going to be hard for the employer to see that, too.
It might also make the employer think that if you can't even manage to present a well-groomed appearance for a job interview that you'll be a slacker when on the job—and that's not going to work, especially if this is a position where you may have interface with customers or business partners that require a professional appearance.
5. It's All About The Money
Salary is a factor in determining whether the job offer is ultimately right for you, but bringing it up too early in the interview process comes off as though you're only in it for the money. And when you're the one to bring it up, it puts you at a disadvantage. You create a situation where you need to reveal your desired salary before the employer offers insight to what they're considering, which may end up being much lower or much higher from what the employer has budgeted.
The point is to first make the most impressive mark you can. If you're the one they want, they'll bring up the topic of salary and you'll have an idea of what they're offering, which you can then further negotiate so it meets your expectations.
Employers take into account many factors during the job interview. It's not just about the experience and skills you put on paper. Now, you can avoid all the typical red flags to keep yourself in the running.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.
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