Manage Change or It Will Manage You

As we head into the fall of the year, one thing is certain: Change is coming. Winter inevitably follows on the heels of fall–only the precise timing and extent remain unpredictable.  The same applies in many respects to your career success.

What does this mean? For starters, you need to consider the possibility of change when planning career moves, including job searches. Whether you call it contingency planning or something else, you must do it.

Why Manage Change?

If you don’t, it will happen anyway and not by your choice. Your career success might not depend solely on change management, but change can and often does affect your career plans.Manage Change-Take Control

Despite the fact that change can occur without your choice, you’ll find you can influence at least some potential changes. For example, you can often select the time-frame for planning and launching a job search. If you’re not facing something like a layoff, you might delay the job search until change would be more manageable. That puts you in the driver’s seat instead of making you a passenger who’s being moved along willy-nilly.

How to Manage Change & Support Career Success

Ignoring change achieves nothing positive. What’s more, the image of an ostrich sticking its head in the sand  is both incorrect and ineffective. However, you do have options that offer a reasonable alternative.

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Career Growth: Does Your Boss Value & Support You?

Job well done - your performance hit the bullseye

Are you considering a job search? If so, a boss who dismisses your contributions or takes credit for your work might have prompted your decision. Career growth under those conditions challenges many people and turns them into job seekers.

“Me-First” Boss Can Block Your Career Growth

Insecure bosses often suspect good employees will try to take their job. This attitude can block your professional growth.

How does that happen? The boss could downplay the value you’ve contributed. Alternatively, he or she might keep you in the background instead of bringing you to the company’s attention as a valuable employee.

Worse still, you might experience frustration over a boss who constantly takes credit for your work. Also, you will struggle for internal career advancement if your boss stands squarely in your path.

Find a Good Boss!

Are you stuck with a bad (unsupportive, career-sabotaging) boss? Consider conducting a stealth search for a better boss. Keep your eyes open for one who will value the work you do and support your career development. You need a boss who lets you know when you’ve done a good job and, most importantly, lets others know it, too.

Start by surveying the situation within your company. Can you identify managers who treat employees well? For example, do they praise their employees for good work and have people eager to join their team? If so, look for opportunities to transition to their group.

When no clear inside opportunity exists, conduct a careful “boss search.” Don’t just look for a promising job opportunity. Instead, look for hiring managers known for team building and staff development. Talk with people who work at target companies and investigate what it’s like to work for managers there. If you don’t perform your due diligence, you’ll regret it later.

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Labor Day & “Update Your Resume Month” – Is There a Link?

As we prepare to celebrate the Labor Day holiday, I was thinking about what could link that holiday with the career-focused event, “Update Your Resume Month” (initiated and sponsored by Career Directors International). At first glance, you might think there’s NO connection, but hold on. I think I can make a case for this.

Labor Day’s Meaning and Relationship to Your Job Search

According to the U.S. dot.gov website, “Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country.”

Whether or not you engage in manual labor, you have probably contributed “social and economic achievements”–benefiting your employer, of course, but also possibly reaching a wider spectrum of society.

So you could say Labor Day relates to your contributions as well as those from others.

Labor Day and “Update Your Resume Month (UYRM)”

In the context of a job search, labor=work=what you do in your work that makes a positive difference. When you target a new position, it’s important to thoroughly review the requirements and your special qualifications so you can focus employer attention effectively on them–skills, education, new responsibilities, expanded experience, and more.

Does the resume review-and-refresh activity need to be done at specific intervals or times of the year? Not necessarily. However, you do need to ensure that your resume remains up to date in terms of content, value to employers, and emphasis on relevance. For one thing, you might have added skills and qualifications. As another example, if you’ve changed positions or responsibilities recently, the focus of your resume might also benefit from a change.

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Your Job Search – The Vanishing Role of HR

You’ve seen the advice about not dealing with the human resources department at companies you’re targeting in your job search, and there were good reasons for the advice. Now the situation has worsened, according to Ask The Headhunter’s Nick Corcodillos. He never pulls his punches; however, his latest blog post, “The campaign to kill HR,” really hammers companies for the way they are (not) using HR.

If you’re planning a job search, this subject is one you need to pay attention to. Failure to take it into account could make your job search path harder. When companies say they want well-qualified candidates, do they put their money where their mouth is?

Why HR is Bad for Your Job Search

I could give several reasons. First, I want to share a taste of Corcodillos’ post:

“ZipRecruiter, Indeed, LinkedIn and a league of database companies have succeeded in killing HR’s recruiting role — and the initiative of hiring managers.

“Stripped of the function that once gave HR bragging rights for a company’s most competitive advantage — hiring great workers — HR now serves as little more than the fire hose that overwhelms companies with millions of inappropriate incoming job applications, and as the spigot that pours billions of corporate dollars into the pockets of database jockeys who know nothing about matching real people to real jobs.”

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Your Career Path – Is It a Roller Coaster Ride?

Ideally, you might hope to have a career path that runs smoothly forward and has at most a gentle hill or two on the way to lasting career success. Just don’t count too heavily on that happening.

Unless you’re very fortunate or savvy–or both–your journey to career success might more closely resemble a roller coaster ride than a smooth path.

Why is that? For starters, life is seldom simple and straightforward, so it’s understandable that your career path might not be either, at least overall.

What Causes a “Roller Coaster” Career Pattern?

Actually, a number of factors can go into making your path to career success an up, down, and sideways route. For example:

  • You take a long time to make up your mind what direction you really want to go.
  • You change your mind multiple times during the journey, leaping randomly from one choice to the next.
  • You encounter unexpected obstacles that throw you off-course in pursuit of your career goal.
  • You reach a point in your career where you become deeply dissatisfied and decide a change is essential, although you know it will be difficult.
  • You find that your chosen career destination is no longer available to you or is becoming noncompetitive (made obsolete, etc.).

In each of these cases, you have to reexamine your choices and determine where to head next. It doesn’t always–or even often–follow a smooth, straight line.

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Career Disaster Preparation & Recovery Plan – Do You Have One?

If the company you work for were to experience a disaster, would you be prepared to handle the potential effect on your job and career? As I write this, I’m seeing reports about the terrible wildfire in northern California, including loss of life, homes, businesses, and animals. In such situations, it’s hard for us to fully understand what such a huge tragedy feels like , but we can at least make a good stab at imagining it and–if it’s within our power–do something concrete to help.

One problem is that you can’t fully anticipate and prepare for many of the major disasters that could devastate your personal and professional life. Often, you can only take limited precautions to prepare for the possibility, and you certainly can’t prevent it.

If, for example, your company location were wiped out by a fire, earthquake, tornado, or other natural disaster (not to mention man-made ones), you wouldn’t be in a position to stop that. If the disaster also destroyed the home you live in, you’d have a double-barreled disaster staring you in the face.

Job and Career Disaster – What It Means

I’m not talking about a mistake such as making a poor judgment call at work and putting your career success at risk. That’s a potential disaster, but not one you’d expect to be life-threatening or totally out of your control.

What I’m referring to is an actual physical disaster that hits when and where you least expect it. I think most of us don’t give much thought to that possibility or we somehow think it can’t happen to us. For instance, I’m naturally an optimist, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to decide I shouldn’t take basic precautions to protect my family, my home, and the business that supports us. So I carry insurance, as you probably also do.

However, insurance doesn’t take care of all the potential problems, so even if you have it, don’t think everything is under control!

What can you do to prepare for and recover from a disaster that jeopardizes your current job and future career success?

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Vanishing Job Offers – No Guarantees

Have you ever quit a job after receiving a written offer of a new job–only to have the job offer snatched away at the last minute? If not, congratulations. You might have dodged that bullet.

On the other hand, what if your turn is coming?

Vanishing Job Offers–How Do They Happen?

You might think you’ve taken enough precautions by not giving notice to your current employer until you have a signed offer letter and have accepted it. Not so fast!

As American statesman Benjamin Franklin once said, “…nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Job search has been compared to navigating a minefield. One of the mines lying in wait for you could be a job offer that vanishes. How can that happen?

The prospective employer might have said, “Yes, we really want you, and here’s the proof [offer letter].” Then maybe they had a change of heart or plans that were in flux finally came together but left you out.

Or it could be that the hiring decision-makers were unethical, if not illegal, in how they treated you.

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Career Seekers Summit–An Excellent Resource

This is a different type of post from what you will normally see from me. I’m departing from my usual format because I want to alert you to an upcoming, online summit that offers a wide range of career-related expertise. In looking at the list of topics and speakers, I think there’s really something for everyone in this event–whether you’re currently engaged in a job search, planning a future job search, or simply determined to arm yourself with as much valuable job search information as you can lay your hands on!

Career Seekers Summit–What It Is

This multi-day online event takes place July 16-20. It has been designed to provide job seekers with expert information on just about anything they might want or need to know about job searching. The speaker interviews last approximately 30 minutes each, and I think there will be around 4 or 5 of them each day. I’m very pleased to have been invited to participate–as of now, it looks as if my interview might take place on day two of the summit.

What the Summit Covers

Below is a sample list of the topics you can expect to find in the summit:

  • Making Yourself “The Perfect Fit” on Your Resume
  • Building an Awesome LinkedIn Profile
  • How to Get Results with a Recruiter
  • Rock Your Interview and Your Degree
  • Get Love from the Applicant Tracking System
  • How to Negotiate Your Salary

Registrants can sample the summit contents for 24 hours FREE.

What’s the “Catch”?

If you’re thinking there’s no such thing as a free lunch, you’re only partly correct. Once you’ve taken advantage of your 24-hour free review of the summit program, you might want to dive in much more deeply to some or all of the segments.

That deeper immersion, of course, will NOT be free. The summit organizers are offering a couple of options that require different levels of financial investment. However, you can sign up for and use the free pass without having to choose a paid offering. Hopefully you can gain enough value from the free level to make you glad you gave it a shot.

Easy Access to the Free Preview

In case you want to at least take advantage of the free offering, you can sign up here: CareerSeekersSummit.