JL Careers Blog

Searching While Employed: Play It Safe

By John O'Connor, contributor to The Ladders, (an online job bank for $100K+ candidates).

Making a job switch requires balancing ambition and savvy. Follow these five steps to keep your reputation intact and your income secure.

Ideally, senior executives have gotten where they are because of a combination of qualities: Personal drive and ambition coexist with the ability to analyze, plan and execute creative tactics with integrity.

And when they've decided they're ready to move to new work and opportunities, they exercise the same skills to conduct a confidential job search with decorum and etiquette toward their current employer.

What can happen if you're indiscreet about your job search? The rumor mill can start generating reports about your desire to leave, and your current company may start making plans for your departure without letting you know.

There are plenty of clues that can start this cycle of speculation. Supervisors, peers and those who report to you notice more than you might think. Distributing your resume carelessly; changing your workplace behavior; even new, aggressive networking habits on sites like LinkedIn can alert those who recruit for your company that "something is up." And nowadays, online search tools make it even likelier that these indiscretions will be noticed. If you don't combine confidentiality with consideration during your job search, the consequences at your current job can be awkward or worse. Moreover, it can tarnish your reputation with future employers.

How do people view the relationship between their job search and their current work? Over many years in career coaching and career services, I've become familiar with the thinking of people in transition. The way they think and behave on the job search can do some funny things to their personal brands. Who are you in transition? Look at the examples below and ask yourself if you are demonstrating the behaviors of a Savvy or Careless, Selfish job seeker:

The Selfish, Careless Seeker: "I don't know about how it should be done, but I deserve to make a change, so I am going to cut out time during the day to search when I should be working for my employer. I'll do what I need to, both online and offline. I really don't know if my employer checks online search engines - and frankly, I don't care much anymore. It's gotten to the point where I just need to get the word out and make a move."

The Savvy Seeker: "My current position is still a priority. Since my integrity is on the line, I will continue to give my current company everything it expects and deserves - but I will develop a job-search methodology that lets me be productive but without shortchanging my current employer."

Here are five ways to endanger your current position and compromise your reputation, along with alternatives to reach the same goals with integrity:

1. Use company e-mail to interact with recruiters or potential employers without your company's knowledge.

Savvy alternative: Use your own e-mail address and network to conduct your search and reach out to prospective employers.

2. Use your company phone to communicate with potential employers and recruiters.

Savvy alternative: Stick to your home and cell phones for your job search, and only make work-hours calls when you are on a break or at lunch. When you're on the clock, dedicate your efforts to your current company.

3. Let your work performance drift and start underperforming while you focus on your search.

Savvy alternative: Keep striving for top results and maintain your performance at work. The top job seekers I have ever coached used the last weeks or months of current employment to "finish strong" and looked at their top performance as a "fiduciary duty." This attitude fueled a more powerful, productive search.

4. Be aggressive and cavalier in communicating your intentions to friends, colleagues and recruiters.

Savvy alternative: Know that not everyone has your best interests in mind or will treat your communications as confidential. A senior executive I know once talked to some neighbors and acquaintances in his home about his interest in several area companies. Weeks later a friend who hadn't been at the party asked him, "I heard you were looking - what's up?" That shocked my executive contact, who said to me, "I didn't think I had to watch myself." You do.

5. Launch digital posting or fishing expeditions without thinking about the trail you leave behind. More executives than you might believe throw out some "bait" on the Web. Most recruiters can hazard strong guesses where you work, including the ones at your current company.

Savvy alternative: Recognize that everything you do may be noticed online. Yes, you need to distribute a powerful resume to open leads, but you should thoroughly research each and every opportunity before you apply.

You may have heard that it is easier to get a job when you have a job. That may be true, but only if you have developed a clear plan for your search, a powerful resume and sound practices for conducting your search on- and offline.

If you keep control of your current job and plan your search not out of desperation but with a clear-cut career goal and focus, searching while employed can be empowering. But new journeys remain rife with danger. If you want to be perceived as the best, execute your job search with savvy and integrity.

Author:  John M. O'Connor, MFA, - President of Career Pro of NC, Inc.

Landing Interviews but not Job Offers? Conduct an Interview Audit.

You’ve been on a number of interviews. Congratulations; your resume is definitely getting you in the door.  But, if you’re not landing offers - it’s time to do an Interview Audit.

An interview audit is the first step in resolving your interview challenges.  Do it today, and after each interview to help you refine and strengthen your interview skills.

Begin by reviewing the interview questions that were asked during your last interview.  Then evaluate your answers.  

Ask yourself:

  • Was I passionate about the role and joining their organization?  Did I differentiate myself through presenting a compelling case as to why I was interested in their opportunity?
  • Did I present a powerful reason for them to hire me?  Did I provide concrete examples of my skills and accomplishments related to the hiring manager’s needs?
  • Did I demonstrate I have the experience required to resolve critical issues related to the position I was targeting?   For example: improving top-line revenue growth, increasing productivity, reducing costs, improving efficiencies, etc.
  • Did I quantify my results to illustrate my expertise?  For example: “I improved my division’s safety record and reduced accidents from 2 per month to 6 per year”; or “I achieved a 20% reduction in labour costs through implementing kaizen methodologies.”

Do a thorough review. Then, in preparation for upcoming interviews, revise your answers and practice out loud.  In your head your answers may appear to be rock solid, but when you verbalize them you may find you are rambling, not providing information of value to the hiring manager, nor addressing their needs.  You might consider videotaping yourself or audio taping yourself using a smartphone for a more thorough review.

Lastly, consider any non-verbal communication issues which could be impacting your ability to leave a great first impression. 


  • Did I project likeability and confidence, or arrogance and reservedness?  Likeability is a key hiring variable – even at the senior leadership level.  To enhance your likeability - Smile!
  • What was my body language saying?  Was I fussing with a pen, moving my hands around too much, crossing my arms, or not giving enough eye contact?  Awareness is the first step in resolving many of these non-verbal communication issues.

If nerves are throwing your interview off, or you find yourself grasping for answers, drawing a blank, or talking too much during the interview, consider engaging in a practice interview with a Career Coach to minimize these nervous habits, start acing the interview and landing great job offers!

Wishing you much career success,


Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology Conference 2013

Creating Connections: Working Together to Transform Our World

On May 10 & 11, 2013 Key Note Speakers: Dr. Roberta Bondar - Canada's First Female Astronaut, Amiee Chan - CEO, Norsat, and Anna Tudela - VP Regulatory Affairs/Corporate Secretary, Goldcorp will kick off this science, engineering, and technology conference.

At the conference, Joanne Loberg - Career Consultant/Executive Coach, JL Careers will be speaking on:

Ignite Your Career!  Getting Unstuck and Getting More of What You Want in Your Career

Is your career on track?  Are you doing work that energizes and fulfills you?

Do you need a career jump-start?  Join us for an inspiring and interative session where you will:

  • Clarify what you really want
  • Explore what's standing in the way
  • Develop strategies to eliminate roadblocks to your success
  • Build a Career Action Plan - to keep you on track!

Visit the Westcoast Women in Engineering, Science and Technology Conference website for more information.

15 Tips from Keith Ferrazzi: Conference Commando

Author: Keith Ferrazzi
Copyright 2005, Keith Ferrazzi

A conference is a huge opportunity to build relationships with extraordinary people, people who might have significant impact on your professional or personal success.  To make sure that you maximize the return on your (and your organization's) investment of time and money to attend, you can't afford to be a conference commoner.  You have to be a Conference Commando.

Here are 15 tips to help you do just that .....

#1  Remember the 7 P's.

Proper Prior Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance.  Military strategists know that most battles are won before the first shot is fired.  The side that determines where, when, and how an engagement is fought usually gains an insurmountable advantage.  So get focused.  Take time weeks before the conference to think through and write down why you are attending.  What do you want to achieve?  Who do you want to meet?  The more clearly you articulate what you want and need from the conference, the more likely you can plan and execute your mission.

#2  Know your targets.

Get the list of conference attendees somehow - call the conference organizers, ask your friends who are going if they know of other attendees, or whatever it takes.  Then go through the list and note those you want to meet.  Keep that list with you at all times during the conference (including social events) so you know whom you've met and whom you still need to meet.

#3  Gather intelligence.

If you want to get to know someone, the first thing you should do is figure out how you can help them.  Google them.  Of course, their business interests will be most obvious, but do some deeper research to learn about their human sides.  Then find your currency for them - your experience, knowledge, contacts, or resources that can make them more successful.  And get this: the best part of doing your homework is that it doesn't have to be a secret.  When you meet your target contact, say, "I always make a special effort to inquire about the people I'd like to meet."  Inevitably, people are flattered.  Wouldn't you be?

#4  Strike early.

Don't wait for the conference to start your networking.  A week or two beforehand, pick up the phone and call at least the top three people you want to be SURE to meet.  (And no whiny excuses about not being able to find their coordinates.  This is the information age!)  Begin your conversations now and/or arrange a time for when you arrive at the conference.  Can't get past their gatekeepers?  Surprise them with a fax or a voice message when they arrive at the conference and save them from spending the night alone in their rooms - most likely in the very hotel where you're staying!  Say, "I'll be downstairs at 8 with a few people for drinks and dinner.  Would you like to join us?"

#5  Never attend a conference.

Well, never just attend a conference.  You should be sure to speak, too, even if your name isn't on the program.  While keynote speakers are basically given hour-long infomercials for their brands, you can acquire a 30 second commercial for yours just by asking a thoughtful question during Q&A.  Stand tall, say your name and what you do, and then ask a great question.  Then enjoy your temporary celebrity status after the session.  People will be eager to approach you once you've been introduced in a public forum.

#6  Slight the speakers.

Don't waste time standing in line to meet a speaker after his or her song and dance.  There will be so many other brilliant people at the conference; go meet them!  If you must meet the speakers, please approach them before their talks, before they have captivated the crowd's attention and adoration.

#7  Get a wingman.

Just as people lose weight more effectively if they have a workout partner, you start more of the relationships you want if you team up.  You and your buddy can provide each other motivation, guidance, and assistance if you'll share with each other your real reasons for attending the conference, whether it's to look for a new job, to fill your sales pipeline, or maybe even to seek a romantic relationship.  Wouldn't it be great to show up to the conference with somebody who's actually on your side, who's got your back, who's working with you?

#8  Draft off a big kahuna.

Get to know some of the most well-known folks at the conference or the conference organizers themselves and hang with them.  The important people will rotate by them sooner or later.  If you're there, you'll meet everyone who matters.  And if you need to reach out to someone who doesn't happen to swing by, ask your new friend - a big kahuna - for an introduction.

#9  Be an info-hub.

Get really familiar with the conference program.  Then pick the brains of conference staff and anyone else willing to share the ins and outs of what's happening in and around the big meeting.  If you're in the loop on the private parties and after-hours special events, everyone will come to you for the goods.

#10  Work hard on break.

Don't run off to stuff your face or check e-mail between sessions.  You should attend to your bagel and BlackBerry while boring speakers like me are blabbing on and on, so when break time comes, you can get out there and do what you really came to the conference to do - meet people!

#11  Hijack a dinner.

True commandos aren't constrained by the agendas they receive at registration.  Arrange a dinner at a special place out on the town you're visiting with people who care about a particular topic that matters to you, or modify a conference meal that's already paid for by inviting specific people to join your table as you meet them during the day.  There's usually no assigned seating.  And if there is, just tell a conference organizer that you prefer to reassign yourself.  They exist to make the conference better for you.

#12  Let your guard down.

When you engage a target contact, don't you dare talk about the weather!  It makes no impact at all.  Skip the small talk and dive into the stuff that really matters to you and them: interests, passions, struggles, and greatest needs.  You'll have to push yourself to be human and open up enough to get your acquaintance to start sharing.  Then listen, listen, listen with warmth and sincerity.  And if you are able to help them, do so.  Intimacy and Giving are the two keys to making quick connections that jumpstart lasting relationships.

#13  Master the Deep Bump.

Once you've successfully taken your conversation with a new acquaintance down deep, past the shallow small talk, secure an invitation to reconnect later.  Then bump!  Move on and meet more people.  Don't be like the co-dependent ankle hugger who thinks the first person he meets is his best friend forever.  You've invested too much time and money in this conference not to take the opportunity to meet many different people.  You have a lifetime to build relationships with people at the conference, but only a few days to meet them.

#14  Take names (and notes).

Before you conclude the Deep Bump, and move on after making a new acquaintance, be sure to get a business card.  Of course, you should quickly scan the card and say the person's name aloud to help commit it to memory.  Furthermore, flip over the card and jot down a few words to remind yourself of what you two discussed, any relevant personal details you wish to remember, and, of course, when and why you're going to follow up later.

#15  Follow up or fail.

Don't wait until you return home from the conference to ping people whose cards you collect.  Shoot out follow-up e-mails each night of the event or write them during your flight home.  That is, unless you want that same rubber-banded stack of cards on your desk a year from now, which is probably the result of last year's conference if you went as a commoner and not a commando.  Either way, best of luck next time!  And you'll need it if you don't remember the 7 P's!

Be a Conference Commando.
More importantly, don't be these people.

THE WALLFLOWER:  The limp handshake, the position in the far corner of the room, the unassuming demeanor - all signs that this person thinks he or she is there to watch the speakers.

THE ANKLE HUGGER:  The ankle hugger is a total codependent and thinks that the first person they meet is their BFF (best friend forever).  Out of fear, they shadow their BFF the entire conference.  You've spent too much money not to leverage the opportunity to meet many different people.  So bump!  You have a lifetime to build relationships with these people.  Collect as many follow-ups as you can.

THE CELEBRITY HOUND:  This type of person funnels every bit of their energy into trying to meet the most important person at the event.  The problem is, if the person they want to meet truly is the most important person at the conference, that person will be on their guard.  And maybe even guarded, literally.  A young friend of mine went to see the King of Jordan speak recently and came back ecstatic.  He had waited an hour or more, along with 500 other people, for a chance to shake the King's hand.  I asked him, "How, exactly, did you benefit from that encounter?"  "I can say I met him," he sheepishly replied.  I told him that there were probably at least a handful of dignitaries and members of the King's cabinet in that room whom no one knew or wanted to know.  Wouldn't it have been better for my young friend to actually have had a conversation with one of them, instead of a handshake with someone who will not remember him beyond the handshake?  Maybe he could have struck up a relationship.  Instead, he got a photo and a handshake.

THE SMARMY EYE DARTER:  Nothing will give you a bad rap in less time.  Be Bill Clinton instead.  If you spend only thirty seconds with someone, make it thirty seconds of warmth and sincerity.  Nothing will give you a good rap in less time.

THE CARD DISPENSER/AMASSER:  This guy passes his card out like it had the cure for cancer written on its back.  Frankly, cards are overrated.  If you perform the bump successfully, and extract a promise for a future meeting, a piece of paper is irrelevant.  This person gloats over the number of "contacts" he's made.  In reality, he's created nothing more valuable than a phone book with people's names and numbers to cold-call.

About the Author

Frequently called one of the world's most "connected" people, KEITH FERRAZZI's national-bestselling book is NEVER EAT ALONE: And Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time.  His consulting and professional development firm is Ferrazzi Greenlight.

Buy Never Eat Alone at http://keithferrazzi.com/products/never-eat-alone

Subscribe to Keith's tips by e-mail at http://keithferrazzi.com

Copyright 2005, Keith Ferrazzi





Getting More of What You Want in Your Career

Where is your career right now? Are you on or off-course? Are you leveraging your strengths to build a rewarding career, or feeling a bit trapped and doing work that doesn't energize you? If you are feeling siloed and underutilizing your talents, this article will provide you with strategies to unleash your talent.

First - Identify Your Strengths:  What do you naturally excel at? What are your talents?

Get started by identifying your strengths - your talents, things you are naturally good at, and skills you truly enjoy using. This is the first step in rebranding yourself and creating more of the work you love. People that build rewarding careers, readily and often communicate their strengths so they can get work tasks more aligned to their talents.

  • Consider your current and previous jobs, as well as your volunteer work: What activities are energizing and engaging?
  • Identify your key accomplishments: Review projects and tasks that you readily excel at.
  • Do an informal 360: Ask your manager, mentors, colleagues, staff and clients for feedback. Ask: "How do I add the most value to your work or our team? What do you perceive are some of my strengths that I bring to our organization?"

Recommended reading to help you discover your strengths: Marcus Buckingham's: Now, Discover Your Strengths.

Get Clear:  What do you really want?

When we engage in work aligned with our strengths, time flies by. In Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes this work state as: "the suspension of time, the freedom of complete absorption in activity". One emerges from this state renewed and reenergized from doing work aligned to their strengths.

Take a moment to analyze what percentage of your day are you engaged in 'flow' activities. Weigh this against the amount of time engaged in tasks that drain you. Then, ask yourself: "Am I using enough of my strengths in my current work, or is more of my time spent in tasks that deplete me?" Now, make a choice: Do you want to continue as such, or are you stepping up to develop a more fulfilling career?

Leverage your Strengths:  Strategies to Free Yourself Up

Strengths-based work alignment is a strategy many high performance organizations, including Best Buy/Future Shop, use to align employee strengths with key business objectives and related work tasks. But, if you aren't in a strengths-based organization, you can still leverage your strengths to line up work that is more energizing.

To get more of what you want, identify opportunities within your organization to use your strengths. Look for upcoming projects and committees which need your strengths, or new business processes or programs that you can introduce to your business group.

Next, request a meeting with your manager to discuss your strengths. Outline that you have been working on assessing your strengths, and have identified key areas where you add the most
value to the organization. During this meeting discuss your strengths and provide examples of your results. To help you get started I recommend reading Marcus Buckingham's: Go Put Your Strengths to Work.

After outlining your strengths, request the opportunity to focus more of your time on tasks related to your strengths, as this is where you contribute most to the organization's objectives. Most managers will want to support you, but their concern will be: "What about the other job tasks that you are responsible for?"
Address this question by suggesting that selected work tasks which are not in your zone of strength (i.e. your weaknesses) are transitioned to someone on your team that naturally excels in this area. Explain that by doing this the business unit is able to accelerate its overall performance.

Ok, I know you are saying this is could be a CLM (career limiting move)! Maybe yes; maybe no. But more importantly, weigh: What is the cost to you if you don't ask; if things don't change?

Most managers want to support your career growth, but they often lack the time to align tasks and projects to optimize your strengths. They need your help. Offer your manager strategies to remedy the situation so they can partner with you to help you get more of what you want in your career.

Good luck with your conversations!

Joanne - JL Careers


Measure your Career Quotient

Adapted with permission from “What’s Your CQ?” by E. Fleeham, Chemical Engineering Progress, Copyrights 1999 AIChE

Is your career on-track or off-track? Your Career Quotient measures how well you are managing your career.  Circle your answer for each question, then use the scoring guide below to evaluate your CQ. 

  1. Career Satisfaction:  Currently, I am  (a) on track with my career,  (b) a bit bored and coasting   (c)  disengaged and needing a new career direction or challenge.
  2. I wrote a formal Career Plan, (a) in the last 12 months,  (b) more than a year ago,  (c) never.
  3. I completed a formal survey of my professional Skills and personal Values  (a) during the last year, (b) more than a year ago,  (c) never. 
  4. My Resume is  (a) 3 months old,  (b) 12 months old,  (c) more than
    1 year old.
  5. I keep an up-to-date Professional Portfolio of my performance – accomplishments, achievements, and special projects.  (a) Yes,  (b) No.
  6. (a) I have a strong network where I work,  (b) I don’t have an internal network.
  7. I make  (a) about 2 Networking Contacts weekly,  (b) about 1 networking contact weekly,  (c) networking contacts only when there’s a need,  (d) I don’t have time for networking.
  8. To keep my career on track, I ask for new projects and tasks, 
    (a) every 3-6 months,  (b) yearly,  (c) never.  
  9. Professional Development:  Last year, I led a technical or professional organizational committee, attended 2+ technical meetings, attended a workshop or conference. 
    (a)  2 or more,  (b) 1 of these,  (c)  none of these. 
  10. Mentoring and Championing:  My boss is aware of my career aspirations,  I have a mentor,  I have champions within my organization who support my career development:   (a) all of these,  (b) 2 of these,  (c)  1 of these,  (d) none of these.


1.   a = 2    b = 1     c = 0                  2.   a = 2  b = 1  c = 0

3.   a = 2    b = 1     c = 0                  4.   a = 2  b = 1  c = 0   

5.   a = 1    b = 0                                6.   a = 1  b = 0

7.   a = 2    b = 1    c = 0   d = -1      8.   a = 2    b = 1    c = 0

9.   a = 2  b = 1  c = 0                       10. a = 3    b = 2    c = 1    d = 0 

How did you rate?

If you scored:

19 or more:
Very strong CQ!  Congratulations; you are effectively managing your career.

13 to 18:
Above average.  You only need minor adjustments to increase your CQ.

7 to 12:
Average. Are you coasting in your current job or frustrated that you’re not advancing?  Focus on developing 1 or 2 of the above CQ areas.

Below 7:
Your career is off-track, or is heading that way. Consider devoting more energy and effort to managing and shaping your career.  Identify 1 thing you can do this week to re-ignite your           career.

   Increase your CQ and Career Success:

A Career Coach will help you get unstuck and start getting more of what you want in your career.  Email me today for for a complimentary 20-minute Career Consultation:  info@jlcareers.com    

Joanne Loberg
JL Careers Inc.
Certified Executive Coach /
Internationally Certified Career Management Professional



Strategies for Career Success: Ready for your next career move?

Author: Joanne Loberg – JL Careers. This article was written for the CGAs of BC and published in CGA-BC’s Outlook magazine

Joanne Loberg of JL Careers interviews leading industry recruiters from Robert Half, Aplin Professional, and Horizon Recruitment and captures key tactics to building a successful and highly rewarding career:

Ready for your next career move?  Building a successful career in financial leadership involves more than great work experience; it involves a tailored career plan, marketing tools and strategically leveraging your career to enhance your profile within and beyond your organization.


The old adage “Keep your head down and work hard” doesn’t necessarily help you build a career as a financial leader. Instead, Recruitment Team Lead Jim Huynh of Horizon Recruitment (formerly WPCG Finance & Professional Recruitment) advises you to “develop a plan and know where you want to get in 5 to 15 years.”


Do your job well and consistently outperform your performance objectives. Not sure if your performance is on track? Don’t wait for your annual performance review, ask your manager for feedback and suggestions now to help you develop your expertise.


Increase your profile by speaking up in team and organization-wide meetings. Suggest strategies to tackle old problems and improve processes. Volunteer to take on projects − the more complex and challenging, the better.


Read what your leaders are reading. Notice the reading material on your senior leaders’ desks. Commit yourself to keeping abreast of the broader issues impacting organizations and fine-tune your technical expertise accordingly. Consider the CGA-BC Certificate in Executive Leadership to strengthen your strategic planning, communication, project and team management, and critical decision-making skills.


Success rarely happens in isolation. Jim Huynh works with successful financial leaders and advises emerging leaders to leverage their careers by focusing on “building a sphere of influence while fostering connections and growing their reputation beyond their work groups.”


The Corporate Leadership Council surveyed CEOs of Fortune 500 organizations and discovered that one of the top reasons CEOs believed they were successful was having a mentor. Mentors guide and direct you, and provide critical strategies to navigate and advance your career.


Individuals who rise to the top typically have rich networks. Network with other business units to find out about their financial reporting needs and how your division can better serve them. Outside your organization, use the professional networking site LinkedIn to build your network. As an extra bonus, LinkedIn is actively used by recruiters to source top talent. Lastly, join a Board (www.boardmatch.org) so that you can expand your network and build your leadership skills.


In conversations within your business unit and with key decision makers, keep others apprised of key projects you have taken on, as well as your successes.  Next time you’re in the elevator and a senior leader asks how you are doing, talk about key projects or initiatives you are involved with. For example, “Things are going well. I’ve just begun implementing new financial reporting software that will greatly improve our tracking of financial performance within our branch offices.”


Advance your people management skills: ask your manager for the opportunity to manage larger teams. Look for opportunities to turn around team performance, coach and develop employees, conduct performance conversations and terminations (when necessary), and drive teams to successfully tackle key projects. Develop a reputation for building high-performance work teams and engaged employees.


Patricia Hazelwood, Division Director of Robert Half Finance & Accounting, specifically looks for candidates with well-honed listening skills, since “listening is important to management as you must listen to your team” in order to influence change. She is also looking for candidates who are decisive, articulate communicators without being arrogant or pushy. In her words, it’s all about “relationship management.”  Top candidates have a track record of building strong relationships throughout the organization, which enable them to influence and drive change.


Critical to career success in today’s highly competitive market is a well-crafted, accomplishment-based resumé. Set yourself apart by highlighting your results, such as managing large or complex projects, implementing IT systems and suggesting strategies to improve financial reporting and increase efficiency. Where possible, quantify your results.


Diane Kerley, National Practice Leader of Accounting & Finance at Aplin Professional, states it is imperative that you consistently put your best foot forward. She looks for a “great attitude, enthusiasm and good communication skills.” If nerves get the best of you, engage in interview coaching with a career coach. If you lack confidence and clarity when communicating, she recommends attending a Toastmasters group.

Kerley also advises you to know your resumé inside and out, as well as your key accomplishments. Successful interview candidates are able to readily discuss their successes and sprinkle these throughout their interviews. During interviews, present examples of your accomplishments related to process improvement, project management, team leadership and other contributions to the top- and bottom-line performance of the organization.

All three recruiters advise that you be prepared for these commonly asked questions (which typically are poorly answered):

“Tell me about yourself.” (Ensure your answer is relevant to the role you are applying for.)

“Why do you want to work for us?”

“What do you know about us?”

“Walk us through your resumé.” (Talk about your key accomplishments within each role.)

Create a well-defined career plan, establish a track record of solid performance, take on new projects, develop your sphere of influence and ensure your key accomplishments are captured in your resumé and presented during your interviews. Lastly, Jim Huynh says “don’t be afraid of change” in order to leverage your career and reach your goals. 

Wishing you much career success!


Joanne Loberg of JL Careers Inc. is a Certified Executive Coach and Internationally Certified Career Management Professional. She specializes in working with professional and executive clients to provide job search strategies and tools including career testing, professional resumes, LinkedIn profiles, targeted cover letters, and interview strategies and practice.

Building a Career Development Roadmap for Your Organization

Author: Joanne Loberg, BA. CMP, CEC JL Careers

Following up from my Career Planning – What Savvy Employers are doing to Attract, Retain and Engage Employees presentation at the BC Human Resource Management Association - North Shore Roundtable, here is a guideline to assist you in determining next steps should you wish to build a Career Development Roadmap for Your Organization:

Progressive organizations including Microsoft, Boeing, Deloitte and many multinational firms are addressing succession planning, employee engagement and talent retention issues through the use of Career Development Programs.

PROFIT Magazine identified that high performance firms (min 10% net profit, 15% annual growth) have developed comprehensive Career Development Programs, which encompass:

Employee Engagement and Talent Development:

  • Managers have engaged in career conversations with their employees, and career action plans are developed
  • Training and development opportunities are provided to support employee career growth

Succession Planning:

  • High performers are identified; their career goals are discussed and supported with development activities.

If you are interested in creating a Career Development Program within your organization, consider the following:

1. Do an HR Audit

Firstly, consider the issues impacting your organization:

Workforce Shrinkage due to Retirement:

  • What percentage of your workforce is eligible for retirement in the next 3-5 years?
  • As part of your succession planning, have you identified your emerging leaders for these future vacancies?

Your High Performers – Minimizing Flight Risks:

  • To mitigate employee turnover have your high performers as well as your high potential employees engaged in career conversations with their managers, including a discussion of their career aspirations and development needs?
  • Have these goals been captured in career action plans which are reviewed by both management and Human Resources?

Employee Engagement and Your OES Results:

  • Are your employees committed to your organization, satisfied with their careers and engaged in their work?
  • The Corporate Leadership Council studied Fortune 500 organizations and found 11% of employees are committed to the organization; 27% are leaning towards commitment; 29% are neutral; 20% are leaning towards non-commitment, and 13% are non-committed to the organization and their job.
  • Do your managers regularly conduct career conversations as a means to engaging their employees?

Job Satisfaction and Health Benefit Claims:

  • Health benefits providers are now reporting a correlation between job satisfaction and disability claims. What percentage of your claims are related to 'job dissatisfaction'?

2. Identify Career Resources and Tools

You have done the critical research and assessed your organizational needs. Now map out what resources and tools you will need to implement a Career Development Program. Resources include:

  • Career Resources for your managers and employees. Resources include: job descriptions, career paths, GAP analysis, leadership competencies, information interviews, mentoring, training calendars, acting assignments, projects, volunteering, career assessments, HR Career Coaching, an employee career portal, and a corporate career library.
  • Career Development Workshops including interviewing skills, resume and cover letter writing, and career exploration workshops.
  • Conducting Career Development Conversations – Managers TrainingWorkshops. Training should include strategies for dealing with the career development issues of your long-term employees, emerging leaders, career changers as well as issues related to job dissatisfaction and entitlement.

3. Championing from your Executive team – The Executive Briefing

A sustainable Career Development Program must be recognized as part of the strategic Human Resources mandate for the organization's short and long-term success.

Use your HR Audit to provide an Executive Briefing outlining the costs incurred in your organization related to employee engagement and job satisfaction, staff turnover and leadership gaps. Then propose how a Career Development Program can mitigate these risks.


All the best with your audit and development, and please keep in mind that JL Careers is here to help you. We provide leading-edge career development resources, models and the Manager’s Guide to Conducting Career Development Conversations workshop, in addition to career and leadership coaching.


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JL Careers provides Career and Leadership Coaching, Career Development Workshops, and Career Transition Services which support organizational succession planning, leadership development and employee engagement strategies.