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Advancing your careerMotivation, mentors and networks. These are three key ways to get your career moving ahead. Advancing your career Enhance your success with internal applications Get noticed, get promoted Getting that raise How to handle a job performance REVIEW Job reference FAQ Manage your career & your "Me Inc" Moving up from junior jobs Now youre the boss The changing world of work Cut that hair! Polish those shoes! Nine tips for starting out (or starting over) How to jump into the global workplace Lateral moves checklist The second time around When should you make a career move? How to write your resignation letter Interviewing after a job loss Leaving a job gracefully The secret of reinvention Advancing your career Motivation, mentors, and networks by Pat BoerThink an MBA or law degree will advance your career? Think twice. Experts say the best way to advance isby having a trusted and powerful mentor. A mentor is a person who advises and coaches you, offerssupport, and acts as your advocate. From the beginning, a mentor shows you the ropes, introduces you tothe right people, and points you in the right direction, suggesting training and professional developmentopportunities for career advancement. In short, a mentor works to ensure that you receive advantages foradvancement.Few are lucky enough to have mentors tooting their horns. Most stumble along or believe success dependsupon qualifications and credentials. Credentials do open doors, yet advancement requires more, includingmotivation and multiple networks.Motivation is the toughest. Start, by recognising that youre in charge. You have skills and talents and likeany professional, you need support. Lots of it. You need more than one person, too. Staying motivatedover the long haul takes networks of people to tap. Whether to relax, find assistance with projects, or gaincareer advise on promotions and raises, three types of networks will help you move forward.Personal networks: Family and friends, like-minded people whose eyes light up when they see you.These are the people who make you feel good or recharged when youre around them, who love you, andwho want to see you happy. Making time for your personal network is absolutely necessary for motivation.
3. LEARN, LEARN, LEARN. Improve your skills all the time, and figure out how to let your boss know youre doing it. 4. ANALYZE. Figure out what really matters to your boss and to your bosss boss -- and put your creative energies to work on those projects or problems. 5. PSYCHOLOGIZE. Master the art of working effectively with people different from you. You might also ask the HR folks where you work to run an MBTI workshop for your whole unit -- that always generates interest and gives "permission" to talk about different styles. 6. ABOVE ALL, BE HAPPY! Keep your complaints to yourself and a very few people you trust -- spend your time talking about positive new ideas and plans. Getting that raiseQuestion: How do I prepare for a performance evaluation and ask for a raise?Answer: Youre right to want to prepare -- you need to go in to the session with a clear sense of howyour efforts are accomplishing the organisations goals, and be prepared to insert that evidence into theconversation wherever appropriate. Use some good listening skills here -- make little "deposits" into theflow of the conversation; dont just "dump" all at once. In a good year, most organisations are willing togive between 3.5% (about cpi) and 10%.Dont set yourself up for disappointment by expecting too much! Be clear and logical -- and be sure topractice with a tape recorder and another person playing the boss. Have the other person be cantankerousand ask why you want a raise at all. It will seem silly while youre doing it, but youll be glad for thepractice in the end!Good luck! How to handle a job performance review by Sylvia Ho 1. Try to find a career path for the job you are in. What is the next logical promotion or job that would give you greater responsibilities if you do your job well? Is it higher paying, does it have more responsibilities? If there is no career path and you are ambitious, you may realise that you are in a dead-end job and decide to start looking around. If, on the other hand, doing your job well may lead to a promotion, you will want to know what it is that you have to do to get the promotion! 2. Get your supervisor to explain in detail what the measurements of good performances are: What do you need to do in order to get ahead in the job you already have, or move laterally, or get an increase in pay? 3. Agree with your supervisor on your plan for accomplishments this next year. This way, you and s/he can be on the same wavelength as to how you meet these measurements, and you can feel confident about getting an excellent performance rating or a promotion for the next review. 4. By the way, dont argue or take things personally. It never works. The review is not a reflection or your own accomplishments or self-worth -- its only a perspective of the reviewer given a set of priorities that the reviewer has. Try to find out where the reviewer is coming from and get a sense of his/her plans for the department, so that you can know how to deal with him or her in this next year. 5. If this does not turn out to be a good review, QUIETLY look for another job. Between the boss and the subordinate in a performance review, the boss usually wins!Good luck!
Job reference FAQs by Barbara ReinholdQuestion: What are references good for?Who is a good or bad reference? What are these people asked?Are they really contacted by employers?What if the employer cant reach them?Why is it bad to lie on a resume?Are the past employers contacted?What are they asked?Can an employer find out about a person through a totally different source?How is a new employee checked out by a company?What does the company do when it receives a resume?Do they bother if they see that the person was in a foreign country for a few years?Answer: Lots of questions there -- lets try a few.First off, a reference gives you a chance to get your cheering squad in order, and so you want to choosepeople who are pretty smart and articulate and who can "sell" the prospective employer on your goodqualities. It goes without saying that you need to choose folks who like you. Take your reference list tothe interview with you, and make sure that you have the correct name, address, title, and phone numberfor each person on it.Many potential employers will want to talk with your last supervisor, so if that person is not on your list,theyll want to know why. They might indeed call your last employer without your permission, and theyare also free to gather information about you in any way they can. Some employers now ask permissionto look up your credit rating and debt history, on the assumption that if you cant handle your personalfinances well, then you might make a mess of your work with them.Why not lie on a resume? Because people find out -- and then you get fired because they figure youre nottrustworthy. As for having been out of the country, it depends on what you were doing and where youwere, for fairly obvious reasons. The bottom line of all of this is that your past does follow you, and thefabrications you try to pass off as truth almost always come to light eventually. Manage your career & your "Me Inc" by Alicia KarwatThis article provides a framework to manage your career in the new work place paradigm of "Me Inc.".The same career management principles apply regardless of whether you want to take charge of your career in yourcurrent organisation or you are looking for opportunities somewhere else. You need to recognise the fact that your "MeInc" has to be built-to-last because it is you and your long-life career. The essence of your success is your attitude andcommunication in terms of benefits: let people know what you can do for them, and how your service can benefit them,instead of telling them what they can do for you. The other steps follow.Invest in your "Me Inc"Develop yourself and your career to ensure career security as opposed to job security. Invest in the annual "What ColorIs Your Parachute" by Bolles. You will learn from this practical manual for job-hunters and career changers what careermanagement is about. The higher you go in business, the more your technical skills are taken as given. Hard skills and sheer professional competence do not assure you recognition and rewards. It is all the rest that turns out to be the difference that makes the difference. If professional skills are taken for granted, what really makes the difference is the range of soft skills - communication, influencing, self-management and the ability to motivate others.
Consider taking on a personal coach to provide structure and encouragement for your personal development. Coaching is action and results oriented and a personal coach will work with you so you can help yourself to develop and progress in a direction of your choice. Search the Web to find more about career/life management coaching. Keep up to date with the developments in your field. Join professional associations and other bodies which might provide a platform for your career development. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) principles are also worth learning and applying. NLP is a psychology of excellence. It provides tools to program your mind to become competent and excel in anything you truly want to achieve. Invest in a little book written by OConnor, J., and I. McDermott "Principles of NLP" and decide whether it is for you or not.NetworkingLet people know what you are doing, how you see your career and what your plans are. Identify all key people youshould have contact with. Include anyone whose opinion of you and your performance could be expected to have abearing on your future (in your organisation, in professional associations, business and communities groups, etc). Talk toyour key people, exchange e-mails, ask for advice and information, and share information. Make sure that people you need to influence are aware of you and that their awareness of you is positive and well founded. Create opportunities to demonstrate how you can add value for each of the key people and for your potential employers. Your purpose is not necessarily to have them employ you. It is rather to make them comfortable with the idea of referring you to someone who might employ you.You are the "Me Inc" brand ,p>Think of yourself as a brand. Market yourself. Ensure that you have real brandrecognition and brand awareness among your key people, so that they know who you are and what you are good atwithout asking for your resume.You are the "Me Inc" offerThink of yourself as an offer (product and service simultaneously). You are an offer on the employment market and youmust know whether the offer matches the markets needs. Find out where you can make a difference. How do people see you at present? What are the gaps between the offer and the market expectation from the offer? The offer is you, so create unexpected benefits to make a reassessment of you. Where are you in your own offer life-cycle? If you think that you are in the decline stage of your current career, it may be time to invent a new offer. Reinvent yourself. Moving up from junior jobs by Joyce Lain KennedyQuestion: Dear Joyce: After two years on the job, how can I get a promotion from my lowly position in abank handling customer complaints to a more responsible one in consumer analysis?I have a bachelors degree in consumer science and a minor in finance, high scores and hefty book-learning; this bank is peopled with average thinkers and self-made managers.-- A.J.Answer: You, A.J., should use this robust job market to start over at higher pay with a new employer.Your description sounds as though youre a fish out of water in your current environment.To all readers: When you want to move up to the next level of responsibility, spend time with yourselfmustering courage and self-confidence. Follow these steps to freedom from the entry-level rut: 1. Record your achievements. Prepare two advancement-value files to record your qualifications that merit advancement. Use the first one to store documentation of newly acquired skills,
knowledge and experience. Stumped? Stimulate recognition by glancing over listings of skills found in many career-advancement books. Create a second advancement-value file of your accomplishments and positive performance reviews or verbal compliments from peers, customers and supervisors. These files document your ability to do the quality of work required in a higher-level position. 2. Make a comparison. Working from job descriptions and interviews with people who do the job you want, create a document that compares the content of your two advancement-value files with the requirements of the position you want. Anticipate how you will plug any gaps you discover with training or self-study. 3. Get some feedback. Find a friend who is willing to suffer through your negotiating practice sessions using your advancement comparison document and give you feedback. If management wont let you do the job you want immediately, be able, at least, to "talk the job" so your name will pop to mind when a vacancy occurs. 4. Find some role models. The next step in your pursuit of promotion is to identify role models in your company who have been moved up to the level of the position you want. Observe and ask questions. Pay attention to how they... get attention network involve themselves in decision-making forward ideas and suggestions showcase skills handle stress reflect company goals dress, speak, and behave implement a work ethic show a good attitude communicate and listenBack off a few degrees from copycatting, but it makes sense to pattern yourself in the winning directions. Now youre the boss Make a graceful exit from your old position. This means wrapping up projects, leaving clean files with current updates, and paving a smooth path for your successor. Create good relationships early on. Make a pointed effort to meet your new colleagues and all the staff wholl be working for you. Learn what their responsibilities are. Speak the language of inclusion. Rather than using "I" sentences at staff meetings, consider using "we" and "our" sentences. This will foster a sense of collaboration. Show trust in your staff. Theyll put more pride in their work and appreciate your faith in them. Utilise your new employees strengths. Appeal to the experience and knowledge of staff members who are older than you. Find out what motivates your younger employees, and then set goals for them. Lead by example, and your staff will follow. Management training can help you learn many techniques for handling people in a business environment. Dont get bogged down in details. Now you need to focus on getting results from others. You should spend time on broader issues and delegate responsibility to your direct reports. Be sensitive to corporate culture. Resist the temptation to change standard operating procedures too quickly, before you fully understand the environment. Develop a style of management that is fair and consistent. Supervise employees equally, even if you are managing old friends or people you dont particularly like. Seek out a new set of professional peers and mentors. Your fellow managers can provide excellent advice, feedback, politics and history related to your job.
OUTBOUND. Research to get a clue about your host countrys culture and business ethics. Youre there to expand your skills, enlarge your network and boost your expertise. If youre a woman, make sure youre heading into female-friendly terrain, unless youre an investment banker bringing money. INBOUND. Never leave home without finding out what to expect from your company when your overseas posting is completed. Get your companys promise in writing to return you to a comparable or better job than the one youre leaving. Stay close to at least two company players and replace them if they leave. Send short notes to the company newsletter about your accomplishments and newly developed skills. Ace your case on the company Web site. Visibility, visibility, visibility. MONEY. Make sure your employer pays all the costs, including hidden ones. Examples: housing and cost-of-living differentials, tax equalisation, leased appliances if yours wont work overseas, calling-home telephone allowance. Arrange with your bank the automatic payment of your bills, to avoid plummeting credit ratings.Whens the best time to work abroad? "Go when youre young, when you can build networks that staywith you for the rest of your life," says Harvard business school professor Christopher Bartlett, author ofManaging Across Borders.When you return, Bartlett suggests you measure success with these questions: Have I added skills to my portfolio? Have I built new relationships? Have I increased my credibility within the company?"These are the critical things you need to get out of any foreign assignment." Lateral moves checklist by Nancy MercurioA lateral move provides the best of both worlds in terms of changing jobs. You preserve your benefits,work environment and relationships with coworkers without the stress of a job search. The most open-minded companies encourage their employees to explore other options in-house before leaving foranother company, possibly a competitor.As with any change in your career, you need to do some research first. So while you are considering alateral move, you need some measurable objectives in order to determine if the move is in your bestinterest. Here are some questions you can ask yourself:10 Questions to Ask When Considering a Lateral MoveOption 1: With No Pay Increase 1. Are you excited about the new position? 2. Is it a promotion in some way, or is it just a different job? 3. If it is a promotion, will it lead to where you want to be? 4. How long would it take to master the new tasks? 5. How long did it take to master your existing job?
6. When did you start getting bored? 7. Are the new duties/tasks more appealing than your current duties/tasks? 8. How do you feel about colleagues in your current position and in the new one? 9. Will you miss the duties of your current position? 10. If the job werent available, how long would you be willing to continue in your current position?Option 2: With No Pay Increase The second time around - A new trend in rehiring employeesFrank Sinatra has long crooned that love is better the second time around, but now employers are joiningthe chorus and extolling the advantages of rehiring former employees.Until now, experts would discourage both employer and employee from getting back together. After all,according to the common wisdom, excuses like "leaving for greener pastures" are pretty hard to forgetmuch less forgive. But in todays swift-paced business climate of lean and mean organisations, employersare realising that a former employee who already knows the company can make a real contribution soonerthan a fresh recruit.From the former employees standpoint, the picture on returning may be even better. What appeared toWendy Zaas as a great opportunity at a competitive public relations firm did not pan out. In fact, shesays: "I now know what the grass looks like on the other side. Its a little like crabgrass." She returned toher former employer, and was promoted six months later to vice president. There are drawbacks to thisstrategy, however. Morale among those who stay and dont advance may be hurt, and they may learn thelesson that quitting increases their chances of a promotion.For those who are contemplating a return, do so with a positive outlook and give consideration to thefollowing: 1. Why did you leave originally? Has anything changed? 2. Mend all fences that need mending. Where are your former friends and former critics? Who might have been hurt when you left? Take time to personally re-establish your relationships with key people. 3. Does the future of the company really look good for the long term? 4. Find others who have returned and talk to them about their experiences. 5. Make sure you get current with all that has happened since you left. 6. Remember that this is your last shot at this company. You cannot boomerang again.First published in Passages, Johnson Smith Knisely,(1998 All rights reserved.) When should you make a career move? by Barbara WoodwardThere is no correct or incorrect answer to this question. Timing your career move will depend on yourpreparedness and this will not eventuate unless you have a career movement plan. A plan that is reviewedannually and adjusted quarterly. Most of us will spend more planning time on holidays and personalentertainment, than we do on proactively aligning our overall life needs, with the work infrastructurerequired to achieve our needs. It is not unusual for most to make a career move when under pressure atwork. Restructuring, anxiety, project crisis, personality conflicts, insourcing, outsourcing rationalisationand boredom can trigger a career path move. But sometimes these moves are made when we are at ourlowest career clarity and energy.
Plan to make a career move when you are at your best. Being well planned and with a clear, stable mindwill enhance the move you make. Making a move during a crisis situation may result in earlydissatisfaction in the new role. Additionally the costs to the new organisation that appoints you can besizeable. It may be faced with having to replace you after a short time and this may bring considerableconsequences. You may not only disrupt your own career, but add unnecessary demands and costs toyour new employer. This may even impact on others roles and their job stability.The timing of a career move can be based on the thought that you only ever lease a job, role orworkplace. Just like any commercial lease there are restrictions, limitations and benefits when occupying arole and moving from it.Once the job market place considered 2-3 years as an appropriate time to serve in a role. There are norules as to how long you should occupy a role or give an employer now. But role hopping as opposed tocareer surfing may only position you as one who is viewed as inconsistent, fearful of delivery, or even aflighty mover and shaker, with little substance or quantifiable experience.Carefully consider the move you are about to make. Ensure that any move is part of how you havedefined what it is you want to achieve. Guard against reactionary moves when you are: Tired Worn down Needing a holiday During restructuring and budget cuts Caught in organisational grapevine influences Overrun with work In an unstable personal relationship Dissatisfied with management leadership Feeling that organisational support is lackingInstead weigh up your opportunities. Research your next move by viewing your career as a lifetimepurchase. You may only lease your role but you do own your career. It is yours to keep and it will pay youdividends, if you purchase each step - that is each new role is part of your overall career purchase plan.Career movements are challenging and require a certain amount of logistical preparation. I can nevercover off here in this article, on how to approach a move fully. But let me give you one redefinitionthought - "you are responsible for your next career move. It is yours to keep and own and stand up to becountered for. Your next role may only be a leased situation for a year or two, but it contributes to yourultimate career profile, career success and career ownership."From this point may I wish you good redefinitions of your career. How to write your resignation letterYouve heard the old adage, "Dont burn any bridges." This is the most important idea to keep in mindwhen resigning from a job. Whether you love your current job and are leaving for a better opportunity, oryou hate your present position and are fleeing to save you sanity, be sure to be polite, discreet, andmature when tendering your resignation. Your current employer will appear on your resume for years tocome, and you never know when you may need a recommendation or a favour from a former boss.Remember, you build a professional reputation through your actions and behaviour.Theres no need to write a dissertation. Simply construct a brief, concise note that covers all the bases.Here are a few suggestions: Get right to the point. Start off the letter by stating your intention to resign and by mentioning your acceptance of another offer or other reason for leaving, such as moving cities.
Be sure to say when your last day of employment will be. It is common courtesy to give two weeks notice before ceasing employment. You may wish to mention that the offer you have accepted is for a position that fits better with your personal preferences or career goals. You should also thank your employer for the opportunity to work for his/her organisation.After you start your new job, you may wish to send a letter to your former boss and coworkers with yournew contact information, so that they can keep in touch and remain a part of your network. Interviewing after a job loss by Sylvia HoSo, your last job didnt exactly pan out. Maybe your boss or your coworkers were jerks, or you were laidoff -- or even fired. Now, you are looking forward to your first job interview.What is your biggest hurdle?Is it job references, or your spotty resume, or even your former boss? No, its probably your attitude andpreparation. A positive, forward-looking attitude impresses employers, while a negative attitude can be aturn-off. A candidate who is prepared -- who has researched the company s/he is interviewing with andthe position and knows what s/he can bring to the job -- appears professional and mature, worthy ofbeing considered. An unprepared candidate gives the appearance of being disorganised and unprofessionaland only reinforces any impression that might be given in a bad reference. Here are some "Dos andDonts" to improve your attitude and preparation before your big interview: 1. Dont worry.Worrying is only natural, but most people, at one time or another, had a job that didnt work out. Chances are that your interviewer may have even been let go from a job. Worrying saps your energy and leaves you powerless. Instead, take some active steps before the interview to practice responding to any possible objections that you believe an employer would have to hiring you. 2. Counter a poor reference with many other good ones. Prepare ahead if you think your former boss may give you a bad reference. Call other former employers who thought well of you and would give you a good reference, and obtain a letter of recommendation. The more letters of recommendation you are able to provide, the less significant a bad reference will appear. Ultimately, a decision-maker will weigh all the evidence and may weigh references in your favour. 3. Prepare to answer hard questions professionally. Hard questions are part of any interview, but they can seem even harder when your last job did not work out. Prepare possible hard questions and the answers you would give to them if asked. Have your friends or relatives listen to your answers and give you their opinions on how the answers sound. There is no shame in having left a job if you can articulate why the job didnt work out for you and what you learned from the experience. 4. Know your accomplishments and your value. Believe that you do bring value and skills to a prospective employer. Spend some time thinking about what you accomplished at your previous jobs. What skills do you bring to the table? Are these skills in demand? Make a list and review it again and again. This will improve your attitude and self-confidence and will help you at your interview. 5. Dont blame other people for your previous work problems. Responsible employees are in demand. Interviewers do not like candidates who make excuses. Discuss your accomplishments instead of the negative aspects of your previous job. If you have to talk about why the job did not work out, discuss what you learned from the experience that will make you a better employee in the future. 6. Keep searching and dont get discouraged. The reason you did not get a job may have absolutely nothing to do with you. If you did not get the job, do write and then call the interviewer to find out why you were not hired. Make it clear that you are not trying to change their decision, only to get information that will help you in your job search. Learn from each interview and continue searching. Dont get discouraged!
Leaving a job gracefully by Sylvia HoQuestion: I have always wondered what the correct procedure is for resigning with a company. Also,what should be in the body of your resignation notice and is there a basic outline for this?Answer: Not really. But there are a couple of basic rules about how to conduct yourself and what to sayor not say at your exit interview. 1. Dont burn your bridges with the company. You might need them for references, or you might want to come back later on. Or the people that you leave here might end up at your next job or a job down the road. 2. If youre leaving because you are being treated unfairly and might want to sue, dont let on. Quietly gather your evidence and look for a lawyer. Keep smiling, or the element of surprise will be lost. 3. Study the employee handbook and all of your benefits literature to make sure that you know exactly what you are entitled to be paid after resigning -- unused vacation time, etc. 4. Calendar your deadlines so that you can get back to the company on issues such as COBRA benefits. If you are resigning in the face of termination, go to the unemployment comp office. 5. Get yourself an agreement from someone in the company to be your reference later on. Most company HR offices will just give out your name and dates of employment. 6. MOST IMPORTANT: Keep in touch with your business contacts and mentors, not just your friends. Start a little black book of contacts who might be fond of you and will help you later on in your career. This is usually overlooked by most people, but its something top executives always do. (And you wonder why they make the big bucks!)As for the resignation letter, you might just want to send a two-liner stating that "It is with regret that Imust resign my position at this time," and leave it at that.Good luck at your new job The secret of reinvention How to make a career change by Pat BoerMost people do not welcome career change. Even those wanting to reinvent themselves find it costly andstressful.Career ChangesCareer shifts vary. They can be prompted by graduation, divorce, the death of a spouse, the birth of achild, the relocation of a company, the closing of a plant, or any number of events, planned andunplanned.Examples in my own community include a third grade teacher who is now a TV anchor, an attorney-turned-professional-clown, a basketball star whos become a youth leader, a retail sales clerk in lawschool, a medical doctor-turned-architect, and a military pilot teaching high-school maths.The Process of Career Shifts:Hows it done? There are numerous books written on the subject, yet nearly everyone seems to follow asimilar path. Theres no magic. Each career change appears to begin with...DISRUPTING EVENTS: Downsizing, relocation, graduation, company buyouts, confusion, lack ofdirection, divorce, death of a loved one - career change starts with the events that disrupt your routine.DEALING WITH FEELINGS: Along with disruptions come powerful feelings: hurt, resentment,disappointment, anger, fear, and self-doubt. Dealing with feelings means learning from them how to findnew direction, meaning, or purpose. For example, deep hurt teaches us what is truly important or whathas been taken for granted. Resentment and anger often indicate things left unsaid or opportunities