JL Careers Blog

Mid Year Career Review: Is my career on track?

We’re more than half way into the year – and if you haven't already, take time to review your New Year’s career resolutions.  Is your career on track?  Are you doing work that energizes and fulfills you, or is it time to get unstuck and more of what you want in your career?

These are two steps I use with my clients that help get to the root of what’s holding them back, and access solutions to jump start their careers: 

1.   Get clear about how you are managing your career

Take this Career Quotient assessment to determine if you are truly stuck, or just need to make some minor adjustments to get your career back on track.  

2.    Ask yourself these 4 probing career questions
 

  • What do I really want in my career?  
  • What’s standing in the way?
  • Am I needing new strategies and tactics to eliminate these roadblocks?
  • Do I have a concrete Career Action Plan to keep me on track, or am I just hoping things will change?

The key to a successful career is having the courage to step back and assess:  Am I doing work I love, and if not, what do I need to do today to change that?  Then take that next big step: talk to your manager about your career aspirations; start exploring new options; update your resume; or connect with me help you build your career plan and the job search tools you need to move your career forward.  

Today is the first day of the rest of your life. Make the decision today to take that first step forward to create the career of your dreams. 

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

Seal the Deal - Interview Thank You Notes

You’ve just had an interview with the organization of your dreams.  You want this job!  Now close the deal by crafting a compelling thank you note that highlights why you are the candidate of choice. 

A thank you letter differentiates you and grabs the hiring manager’s attention.  Some persuasive evidence of the impact of thank you letters has been collected from noted resources at Forbes, TheLadders and CareerBuilder:  

“More than 75% of interviewers say receiving a thank-you note impacts their decision-making process" (source:  TheLadders)

“Failure to follow-up can be the deciding factor in rejecting a candidate who is otherwise a great fit.” (source:  Forbes)

“More than one-in-five (22 percent) hiring managers say they are less likely to hire a candidate if they don't send a thank-you note after an interview.” (source: CareerBuilder)

Within 24 hours reinforce your candidacy by emailing a thank you letter to each of your interviewers. In your letter restate your strengths related to the position and your strong interest in working for their organization.

 

Sample Thank You Letter

        ________________________________________

 
EMAIL FORMAT

To: (Interviewer’s Email)

RE: Analyst Interview

Mark, thank you for meeting with me to discuss your Financial Analyst vacancy and how my financial analysis experience within the biotech sector would be of value to your Corporate Finance division. I would like to reiterate how very interested I am in joining your team.

My six years’ experience working with Accent Biotech as well as my financial analysis and project management skills provide me with the ability to be a strong contributor to your Finance team. Additionally, my experience preparing Superior Biolab’s IPO will be of value as you explore alternative public financing and private placement funding.

Thank you again for your time and consideration of my qualifications for your Financial Analyst opportunity. I look forward to hearing from you about the possibility of joining Zionex.

Sincerely, Sue Maxwell

      ___________________________________________

So if this is the job you really want, don’t leave it to chance.  Seal the deal with a compelling thank you email.  Use this note to restate your experience related to their needs and your track record of success.  Lastly, ensure you convey you are passionately interested in joining their organization and would be a great fit to their team. Good luck!

     
Author: 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. Copyright 2016 JL Careers Inc.  All rights reserved.

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

Do You Have the Career Blues?

Bored or unsatisfied with work?  Dreading going into the office every day?   It’s time for career shake up!  

My coaching strategy when working with clients who are stuck in their careers is to start with a bit of self-reflection:

First, consider what are 6-8 words that best describe how you want to show up at work and contribute?  These words should reflect when you are doing work you enjoy and feel you are making a valued contribution.  Ie. Resourceful, client-focused, determined, professional, energetic, proactive….. The words you select naturally highlight your core strengths and these strengths need to be in place to bring job satisfaction.  

Next determine:  Are you showing up and demonstrating these strengths at work?   Take each of your core strengths and examine if it is missing or being underutilized.  Then, devise a strategy to address each issue. For example:  If you value being resourceful and providing solutions, but find you are doing the same work over and over - consider whether you need a new challenge, project or assignment, or a new job? 

Your manager, mentor or a career coach can be a valuable resource to help you objectively determine if you are in the right job and just need some minor adjustments, or if it's time for a career shift.  Also, check out the 30 Day Career Shift Challenge to get you moving forward again. 

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

If your career is at a stand-still, contact with me today for a complimentary 20-minute telephone consultation.  We’ll uncover what’s holding you back and devise solutions to move your career out of the blues.
 

Are you Dealing with Job Search Fatigue?

Looking for work is like being self-employed: unless you do the work, nothing happens.  And like a business owner, you have to motivate yourself to keep on task, focus on your goal, and every day do one thing to move your career forward.  

Here are 4 tips to energize your job hunt:
 

  • Focus on the positive – Let’s be honest, job search is hard work so it’s critical to remain positive. Find a book, person or activity that invigorates and inspires you to keep on course with your job search.  
     
  • Take a break – you can’t push a cart uphill without some downtime to recoup and re-energize. You can’t maintain job search momentum going 24/7.   
     
  • Set limits – Your partner and family can be your greatest supporters but also a distraction when it comes to your job search.  Set limits as to when and how often you speak to your family about your job hunting activities. One of my clients set a ‘cocktail hour’ to meet with his wife and debrief his day, as well as hers.  
     
  • Reward your progress - I recommend my clients to job search from Monday to Thursday, then take Friday off as a reward for their dedication and hard work.  

A focused and disciplined approach to your job search will pay off.  It’s the small steps you take today that will yield great results in your near future.  

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

 

Get your Foot in the Door with Information Interviews

Interested in a new career area but unsure if it is a good fit to your skills, interests and values?

Applying to job postings but aren’t getting interviews?

Going on interviews but not landing the job?

Information interviews provide an excellent opportunity to learn about new careers and source organizations that might be hiring. These interviews are typically 20-30 minutes in length and are focused on obtaining information about a specific career path.

Prior to setting up an information interview, know what you want to accomplish. You can use these meetings to investigate a new career area, clarify your career options, obtain advice on whether your training and experience match potential hiring managers needs (within your current organization or beyond), learn about the issues and challenges facing individuals in that career area, discover what skills are in demand, or assess if your skills and experience match that hiring manager’s future needs.

Asking for an Information Interview

Whether via email or telephone introduce yourself using your Elevator Pitch. Mention why you are calling and what you need. Follow this with a request to take the contact for coffee.

Who I am:
“My name is _______ and I am (provide your Elevator Pitch).” 

Why I am calling:
“I am researching the (provide the name of their sector) to assess if it has a need for (name your area of expertise).”

What do I need:
“I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to meet with you to get your advice as to whether my background is a match to your department/organization/industry needs.”

Ask for the coffee:
“Would you be free to meet later this week or early next week for coffee?”

Conducting the Information Interview

Before the interview:

  • Research the department/organization and individual you are meeting with. Google and LinkedIn are invaluable research tools.
     
  • Write down the questions that you want to ask.
     
  • Dress appropriately; be prepared to put your best foot forward.

During the interview:

  • Initially thank them for their time. Then, state your purpose for the information interview and how it will assist you in your career transition.
     
  • You are there to learn, so spend more time listening than talking. If you are talking most of the time, you are missing out on a great opportunity to capture the interviewee’s knowledge about the career area, and potential job openings.
     
  • Adhere to the original time request of 20-30 minutes, as scheduled.

After the interview:

  • Within 24 hours, send a thank-you note.
     
  • Consider keeping the individual informed as to your career exploration progress.
     
  • Stop and evaluate. Is this a career area of interest to you? Does it match your skills, values and interests? Ask, what is your next step if you want to pursue this area?

Suggested Questions to Ask during your Information Interview

  1. Tell me about your own career path and how you landed this opportunity.
     
  2. What are the biggest priorities for someone in this role?
     
  3. When hiring, what are the key skills and experience you are looking for?
     
  4. What are the challenges facing your division, organization and this industry/sector?
     
  5. What are the key projects or burning issues facing your division that you don’t have the resources to deal with?
     
  6. What companies are growing and perhaps hiring, and which are downsizing?
     
  7. Would you mind reviewing my resume to assess if my skills and experience align with needs in this type of role, and if I have any skill gaps that need developing?
     
  8. What would you recommend I do to transition into this career area? What skills do I need to further develop? Please suggest some strategies to develop these skills.
     
  9. Do you know of any other individuals or organizations I should be talking with?
     
  10. You have reinforced my interest in pursing this career area. Is there anyone you could recommend I talk with that might require someone with my experience?

Author: 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. Copyright 2016 JL Careers Inc.  All rights reserved.

Being overlooked by hiring managers?

Connect today for a complimentary 20-minute telephone Career Consultation to determine what’s getting in the way and devise strategies to support you reaching your career goals. I specialize in helping professionals and executives with career advancement tactics, professional resumes and cover letters, compelling LinkedIn profiles and interview practice. 

I look forward to hearing from you!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

 

What are you Focusing on Today?

If you are focusing on the negative – I won’t get the promotion, I won’t be called in for an interview, this pitch is going to bomb – you’re absolutely right.  You won’t be successful.  If your glass is half empty, don’t be surprised when you meet with rejection, roadblocks and obstacles to your career success.  

But by simply shifting your focus from negative to positive – you can change your destiny.  Noted Harvard psychologist Williams James found: “The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes of mind.”  By changing your attitude you change your altitude.  

Make the shift!  Surround yourself with positive, successful people who are living full, rich and abundant lives. Choose to spend time with those who are focused on opportunity vs despair.  By changing who you associate with, you can transform your mental game and propel your career success.  Try it today!  You’ll be surprised at just how uplifting, inspirational and impactful this can be. 

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

Need a Career Boost or New Challenge?

Don’t wait for the door to open - create your own opportunity! Gone are the days of the adage: “Keep your head down, work hard and you will be promoted”. Now it’s about capitalizing on every opportunity from the obvious job posting to the hidden career opportunities to invigorate your career.  

Start with asking for what you want. Talk to your manager and HR. Outline your experience, strengths and career aspirations. Solicit their support in exploring options for your career growth.

Then, raise your profile.  Get out there during your coffee and lunch breaks to network within your organization. Create new career options by learning about the needs within other divisions and exploring how you could be of service through a project, secondment or job opportunity.  

‘If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Take ownership of your career and start creating the results you want.  

If you get stuck, reach out for a complimentary career consultation with me today. We’ll determine what's getting in the way of your moving forward. Then we’ll determine next steps to reaching your career goals and getting more of what you want in your career.  

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

Job Hopping: Good for your career, or not?

Do I stay, or do I go?  Staying just might be the right answer to drive your career advancement.  But it’s a double edged sword: 10+ years with one company in the same role could be the kiss of career death. It could appear you are stagnating.  But frequent job hopping paints the picture of you lacking commitment, focus and loyalty.  A hiring manager sees a pattern of job discontent and wonders:  How long will you stay with me?  How much will I need to invest in this person, only to see them jump ship within the first two years? 

Fortune magazine outlines best practices for career growth in the article:  What are the Best Practices for Career Growth? One of their key recommendations:  Avoid job hopping. Instead devise a calculated career advancement plan, with key steps and career milestones to guide your career growth. Read more

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

How to Craft a Winning Elevator Pitch

Your elevator speech…career brand sound bite….elevator pitch. No matter what you call it, your ability to give people a 30-second commercial about yourself can make or break your next career move.

Simply put, an elevator pitch succinctly captures who you are, what you do and how you add-value to organizations. Without it, you’ll be left in a lurch at networking events, casual opportunities, conversations with hiring managers and encounters with the higher-ups.

Here’s a six-step guide to creating a Swiss-Army-Knife elevator pitch that will get you noticed and into your next job.
 

  1. Choose your market. As the old adage goes, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’ll never get there. If you don’t know the exact job target you want to aim for, you’ll never reach the promised land.
     
  2. Create your core message. Creating a concise, less-than-30-second script that highlights your value is no easy feat. It takes work, so get out paper and a pen and start brainstorming your skills, accomplishments and experiences that match your target role. Whittle the information down to a core message, and add a few key points highlighting your skills and accomplishments to back it up. “Your goal is to interest the listener in learning more, not to tell your whole life story. So remove extraneous details that detract from your core message.” Source: Forbes 
     
  3. Make it compelling. The best elevator pitches answer three questions: Who are you? What are you looking for? What do you do?
     
  4. Think about your audience. Your elevator pitch is not static. It should be dynamic, adjusted to the specific person to whom you’re speaking, so focus the pitch to their needs.
     
  5. Use the right language. Don’t assume the person to whom you’re speaking will understand your industry’s terminology and acronyms. “It’s your job to figure out how to translate your experience and past successes into terms that resonate with your new target audience.” Source: The Ladders  Adjust your elevator pitch so that regardless of industry, your audience will clearly understand that you have the ability to deliver results.
     
  6. Practice. Just because you’ve formalized a pitch on paper, don’t assume it’s perfect – yet. Rehearse the pitch out loud, to yourself and to a safe audience who can provide feedback. Keep in mind that when you write, you’ll tend to be more formal than you would be in a conversation. Your elevator pitch should be conversational, not rehearsed.

In less than one minute, your elevator pitch could turn a chance encounter into a viable job opportunity. Remember to select the right target, create a core message, make the pitch a good one, tailor the sound bite, get rid of industry jargon and then practice the pitch. In no time, you’ll feel just as comfortable pitching yourself to a CEO as you would your own mother.

Author: 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. Copyright 2016 JL Careers Inc.  All rights reserved.

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers

How to Avoid Being Downsized

The key to career resilience is to rethink the way you do work.  Tony Wagner, Expert in Residence at Harvard University Innovation Lab, outlines what to do to stay current and vital to your organization:  “Today, because knowledge is available on every Internet connected device, what you know matters far less than what you can do with what you know.  The capacity to innovate – the ability to solve problems creatively or bring new possibilities to life – and skills like critical thinking, communication and collaboration are far more important that academic knowledge.”

So how are you adding value to your organization?  What new ideas or solutions could you be putting forward to address critical issues facing your workplace?  By helping your organization stay ahead of the curve, you also build career resilience to help survive your next corporate restructuring.  

Wishing you much career success!

Joanne Loberg
Certified Executive Coach & Internationally Certified Career Management Professional
JL Careers
 

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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.