Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Think Big, Go Small

You've heard the expression "Think globally, Act locally," right? It's a good one.
I've got another one for you:
Think big, Go small.
The "big" part is to set your goals and your aspirations high. Take your best shot. Why not? Why shoot low?
The "small" part refers to the little things that can make a big difference, if you do them consistently. Like habits.
Here are five that I have been thinking about recently. Perhaps you have other ones. Leave them in your comment below.
S = Say "thank you" with genuine sincerity.
M = Make your bed each day with mindfulness of the meaning embodied in such a mundane thing.
A = Ask a lot of questions, ones that show real interest in the other person, their work, their business.
L = Local library is there for you, like a huge treasure trove of information and support. And it's free!
L = Listen to others and learn from what they have to offer you.
There's a saying "Start small, Think big" that I learned years ago in my career development as an organizational change facilitator.
A consultant asked us once: How do you eat an elephant? The answer: One little bite at a time.
Sometimes, as we face a big challenge, we know we are going to have to "eat" the whole thing, but no way do we have the capacity to do so. So we "think big" and set our goal for the entire elephant.
But we need our tactical plan to focus on the many "bites" or small steps that we will take to get there. 
Terrence Seamon is a coach who helps his clients to "think big and go small." Follow him on twitter @tseamon

Thursday, December 22, 2016

SMART Moves for 2017

In my previous post, called "Time to RECAP the Year," I mentioned that I would next publish a SMART approach to approaching the new year.
Here it is, five practices that will make you a SMART job hunter.
S = Strategy: Do you have a strategy for your job search in 2017? What is a strategy, you wonder? Essentially, if you have a strategy, you have a battle plan.
The word strategy comes from "strategos" and means the art of the General. An effective commander knows what she is after. The Objective is clear. The Plan for achieving the objective is laid out as a roadmap. The Obstacles have been identified and the Resources will be marshaled against them.
M = Market: How do you find potential employers? Like a Big Game Hunter tracks and snares his prey. With clear intent and unrelenting pursuit. You know what you want. You know your market. Because you know your Product. And the product is You. Remember: when you are in transition, you are in Sales & Marketing.
A = Acquisition: How do you rise above the rest of the job hunters out there? They want a job. But you are looking to acquire opportunities. Opportunities to connect and expand your network. Opportunities to learn and enrich your knowledge. Opportunities to help lift others up who may also be in transition.
Sure, you want a job too. But think about it for a few minutes from the point of view of the recruiter who is beating the bushes to find and attract some good candidates. Great recruiters are also seeking new contacts, new information, and new ways to help others. You are doing the same thing from the other side of the equation. So get into acquisition mode.
R = Research: How do you wow the employer? By demonstrating how much you know about him or her. You did your research, using your network, LinkedIn, and other resources on the internet. You prepared a list of questions to ask. You know so much about the employer that you may actually stun the interviewer.
T = Target Companies & Tools: The smart job hunter doesn't hunt jobs. Rather she hunts companies. What companies are "in your sights?" Where do you want to work? How will you penetrate them and raise your visibility with them?
The well-equipped job hunter always carries his most trusty tools, especially business cards, a pen, a fully charged cell phone, and a box of "Thank You" note cards.
But the Swiss Army Knife of all job search tools is one's network, the people you know, the people you can count on, the people who are looking out for you.
One last thing: An important component of your strategy is your Story. What is your story? Your Story is your Brand. Telling your Story is the way you sell the prospect.
Why would an employer hire you? Because you told the best story. The story of Who You Are. And the value that you can bring to the employer's organization.
Be smart, baby. Be smart.
Terrence Seamon helps career transitioners to reach their goals. Follow him on twitter @tseamon, and connect on LinkedIn.

Monday, December 19, 2016

Time to RECAP the Year

As the end of another year draws closer, our thoughts often turn to parties and presents.
You also have an opportunity. The Year's End is a good time for reflection.
At this time of year, when things get somewhat quieter, you have the opportunity to look back over the year and take stock of what has gone on. What did you hope to accomplish vs what actually panned out.
To help guide this process, here are five steps to take to RECAP the year.
Review the results you obtained this year. Did you reach your goals? Did you come close? Or were you blown off course by winds of change?
Examine your effort and note the effect. What did you do that worked? What didn't seem to work?
Connect for conversations you want to have with key people in your network. One of the best ways to reload your thinking is by communicating with others.
Address the actions you need to take. What could you start doing in 2017 that would bring you different results?
Plan for progress next year. What targets will you set for 2017? In the next blog post, I will present the SMART way to set goals for success in the coming year.
Make time during this holiday season to look back over 2016. It will be a helpful way to get ready for 2017.
Terrence Seamon helps his clients to make the most out of Life. Follow him on twitter @tseamon, and connect on LinkedIn.

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Got a tuxedo? You're hired!

My son David, a rising young actor, musician, and teacher, told us an interesting true story the other day. He was contacted by a casting agent for the TV show "Blacklist." The caller said, "We understand you own a tuxedo." Apparently, the casting agent was looking for extras to populate a scene where people in fine dress would be mingling at an upscale party.
We asked our son, "How did they know you own a tuxedo?"
Dave explained that some time ago, at another acting gig, he had filled out a form about his background as an actor. One of the questions asked if he owned a tuxedo. Since he had purchased a tuxedo for a wedding, the answer was "Yes."
Somehow that questionnaire made its way to the "Blacklist" casting agent. And my son scored an acting gig on TV.
So the career questions for You and me are: What are we known for? And: Who knows about it?
Let's look at both.
What are we known for?
Each of us has skills and capabilities. Each of us has experiences and accomplishments. If we have taken the time to think about it, we know what these are.
But how about others? What do they know about us? Do others know that we "have a tuxedo?" In other words, that we have desirable skills and qualities needed in our respective fields?
How do we get the word out to others? Have you completely filled out your LinkedIn profile? Have you carefully planted the keywords that are relevant in your line of work? Are you an active user of LinkedIn, posting weekly updates on your activities to those in your network, and actively participating in group discussions?
Who knows about it?
Who are the "casting agents" in your case? Who are the people in your field who need to know what your capabilities are?
One of the elements in today's challenging career management process is "visibility." How do you raise your visibility to people who may be on the lookout for skills such as yours?
The strategy for visibility is to "put yourself out there." Way out there. Much further than you might ever have previously considered.
For example, are you active in your professional association? Have you ever thought about giving a presentation to a group in your field? Have you ever thought about writing an article about some specific facet of your expertise?
Have you ever thought about picking up the phone and calling a Decision Maker to introduce yourself and discuss with him or her how you can help improve their organization?
Terrence Seamon is a career coach who helps his clients figure out what they want to do and how to achieve it. Follow him on twitter @tseamon, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

On Being "In Transition"

Nowadays, we have all-too-easily adopted euphemisms (such as "collateral damage") that keep us at a safe distance from uncomfortable realities.

One such reality is job loss.
The phrase "in transition" is commonly used these days to refer to those who have lost a job and are now in search of another. Or to those who have decided to leave a career path in search of a new one.
A colleague of mine here in New Jersey, who is dedicated to helping professionals in Finance who are "in transition," is fond of saying "We are all in transition."
Now that is a true statement we would do well to ponder.
As a "career transition consultant" who provides one-on-one coaching support to clients who are "in" career  "transitions," I find it a helpful metaphor. It is about change. Sometimes it is even about transformation.
Just as our organizational clients struggle with change, individuals who are "in transition" may struggle. Sometimes for years.

Terrence Seamon helps individuals and companies in their struggle with change. His company is Facilitation Solutions. Follow him on twitter @tseamon, and connect with him on LinkedIn.

Friday, November 18, 2016

The 3 Types of Questions in Interviews

There are three types of questions in interviews:

1. the questions they will ask you

2. the questions you ought to ask them

3. and the questions you should ask yourself

Let's look at each type.

Much is written and said about Type 1 Questions. This is as it should be. A key part of preparation for an interview is to think in advance of the questions the employer is likely to ask you.

One of the goals of the employer is to determine if you can do the job. So they will ask a variety of questions about your skills, experiences, and accomplishments. Be ready to tell your CAR stories as a way to convey your capabilities and value.

It is also vital to anticipate the "tough" questions they may ask, such as 'Why did you leave your last position?' Another tough question deals with gaps in your work history.

Since there are many excellent resources for this type of question, we will leave it there.

As for Type 2 Questions, these are ones that the savvy job candidate asks. They come from the homework she has done on the company, including online (and library) research as well as tapping her network for information. She has studied the job description and annotated it with comments and questions about the role and what appears to be expected.

Such pre-work is a must! The more you have delved into the Job and the Company, the more you will feel ready to engage in a conversation with the employer. And it will provide a basis for preparing a list of questions to ask the interviewer.

What sorts of questions? Questions about the job and the role, about the business, and about the culture.

Why are Type 2 Questions so important? There are several reasons. They show you have done your homework. They demonstrate your interest in the company. And they help You to gather vital information that will help you decide if this company is right for you.

Which brings us to Type 3 Questions, the ones you must ask yourself. Questions such as...

Am I ready for this interview?

Have I prepared my CAR stories?

Do I know my value?

Do I want this job?

And after the interview...

How did that interview go?

Do I still want this job?

Do I want to work for this company?

What must I do next?

Terrence Seamon helps career transitioners to achieve their goals. Follow him on twitter @tseamon and on LinkedIn.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Five Hacks for Risk-Taking Transitioners

Some job hunters are impetuous. Understandably so.

They want to get back to work so fiercely that they are willing to take project work as a "hired gun" to assist a company that is desperate for some help.

Typically, these job hunters are highly experienced and accomplished. They may have attained a high level in their career progress. Or they may be a deep expert in a particular field.

Highly motivated, they tear into the search so aggressively that they generate opportunities quickly.

In the past year, I have had several such clients. When they reached out to their connections, they were presented with appealing (and financially attractive) short-term consulting opportunities. So, needing the work, they took the plunge. Now several weeks/months into the consulting assignments, they see that "the end is near" on the work, and they are no closer to their next job. 

So I reached out to some of my network contacts to "crowd source" some hacks for this dilemma:  

How can a job hunter, who is consulting, keep their job searches active when they are very busy and don't have much energy left for the search at the end of the day/week? 

Terry, good morning!

Consulting can be a challenge in its own right, as can running a job search. So here are a few hacks that come to mind:
  • Make the time over the weekend to update the resume with the experience and skills gained/used in the consulting assignment
  • Schedule time in the middle of the day to review possible opportunities and engage recruiters or other parties presenting attractive options
  • Network with everyone possible on the assignment and keep the eyes open for opportunity
  • At the midway point of the gig, evaluate the likelihood of the assignment being extended and increase the mid-day window where possible
I hope these are helpful.

Terry-Thanks for reaching out about this.  I tell my clients that they need to stay engaged with their network by sending them a “newsletter” every 6 weeks or so about what they are doing and what new skills they are learning, etc.  I also encourage them to stay active on social media with their connections.

Hi Terrence,

What I have is a question. Was the job seeker not keeping up with the job search because they were tired as you stated or did something else get in the way?   Is a lack of energy the result of being overworked, down in the dumps or was the consulting engagement time-line left too open?   

I tell job seekers to keep the future in mind, understanding what they have is a consulting engagement with a beginning and end date perhaps.   Keeping up on the social media side might prove energizing and engaging for the job seeker and help overcome the lack of energy. 

What the “experts” are currently saying is by the year 2020, 40% of the workforce will be contractual, temporary, contingent, etc.  Where does that leave everyone?  It’s a concept that requires a mindset and planning change.

To sum up this wisdom, here are five hacks to use if you decide to take on a contract assignment:

1 Make time to update your resume (and LinkedIn profile) to reflect what you are currently doing.

2 Stay engaged with recruiters and other sources of opportunity such as job search groups.

3 At the mid-way point in the gig, evaluate your options. Can the gig be extended?

4 Keep engaged with your network. Send out a periodic "newsletter" via email to let them know what you are doing. Stay "visible" so that you will be "top of mind" for people who are looking out for you.

5 Keep the future in mind. Be ready for contingent work to become the New Normal.

Lastly, don't let the contract work drain all your energy so that you have no bandwidth for your longer-term objectives.

Terrence Seamon helps career transitioners to achieve their goals Follow him on twitter @tseamon and connect on LinkedIn.