Career Leap of Faith–Can You Do It?

Can you make a career leap of faith if you have to? What if you don’t have to but feel somehow impelled? You make choices and decisions often throughout your professional and personal life. In some ways, you might think you should be used to the process. You’ve done it so many times! On the other hand, some of those choices or decisions could stir a kind of fear in you. How can you handle that?

Why Make a Career Leap?

Career Leap of Faith

If your professional life moves well along a set path, you don’t need to make a career leap unless you choose to. After all, why rock the boat? As we all know, a leap can turn out badly–of course, you’d like to avoid that if you can! No career leap comes with an ironclad guarantee of a good landing.

So you can sit tight and stick with the path you’re on, if it has been working well for you. Unless that path becomes unsatisfying for some reason, you’re fine.

However, what if you don’t have a choice? Whether a global health crisis pulls employment security right out from under you or your employer does it for some other  reason, you find yourself out the door, unemployed.

Suddenly you face an urgent need to take action–to make a career leap in one way or another.

Brave in Life Challenge

Career Leaps Take Courage

“Every great move forward in your life begins with a leap of faith, a step into the unknown.” (Brian Tracy, Canadian-American motivational public speaker and self-development author)

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Top 6 Career Advancement Tips for Executives

You can increase your career success odds by following these Top 6 Career Advancement Tips for Executives:Career Advancement Tips for Executives

#1: Make Conscious Choices and Decisions

One of the top career advancement tips involves thinking about your professional goals and what you want to achieve; then deciding what you need to do to reach it. When you are trying to establish a professional goal, you should have a sense of purpose, as well as explore ideas. This can help you decide where you want to focus.

You might look at more than one goal to begin with, but eventually you need to focus on a preferred direction. In that way, the development of your career path comes together based on your chosen direction.

#2: Create a Flexible Plan

Nothing stays the same forever, and certainly that’s true of our professional lives. I advise executives to start with a plan that includes built-in flexibility when thinking about how they will gain experience to reach their professional career advancement goals. Be aware that you cannot anticipate everything that could happen in your professional life. Frequently events occur that are beyond your control.

If your plan is changeable, you can look at what’s happening and regroup. Perhaps you will stay on the same path or maybe you will choose to alter it somewhat. Your goals might change a bit or your career development might change, based on conditions you face that you didn’t expect. Flexibility is important. Otherwise you can get thrown for a loss because you don’t know what to do when things change.

#3: Do Ongoing Networking

Global NetworkingWhen you consider ongoing networking, I encourage you to think about role models. Having a role model forms a big piece of my career advancement tips for executives. Find a sponsor who can advise you and show the way to professional advancement. I always recommend cultivating a network of professional resources and identifying possible role models. Look for people whose achievements you admire. Adapt each person’s actions to your own style, preferences, and goals.

Be willing to reach out to people respectfully, build your network, maintain it, keep in touch with it. If you have someone who’s willing to be a sponsor, maintain a closer relationship with that person. Actively participate in your network in order to keep it thriving. When you do this, you will uncover more opportunities as you go along. Your professional advancement then becomes more doable.

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Cover Letter Tip #2

What do you need to know about cover letters? As a follow-up to my last post, this post provides cover letter tip #2. It’s the second in a planned short series. (Look at cover letter tip #1 to see what you’ve missed!)

What are Some of the Worst Mistakes You can Make with a Cover Letter?

Avoid MistakesYou can go wrong in many ways. For instance, in the worst-case scenario, you could end up with a cover letter NO ONE WANTS TO READ if you commit one or more of these mistakes:

  1. Generic or I-centered opening
  2. Boilerplate effect
  3. Wordy, rambling content
  4. Resume repetition/redundancy
  5. Generic closing
  6. No call to action or statement of intent

Why Does a Bad Cover Letter Happen?Too Much Information

I believe there are at least two common causes of a “bad” cover letter: (1) providing too much information and (2) failure to focus on “why you should talk to me.”

When you take too long to get to the point or overwhelm employers with details, you put yourself at a big disadvantage. You must catch their attention quickly and compellingly, or you might not catch it at all.

How Can You Avoid Creating a Bad Cover Letter? Here’s cover letter tip #2:

Remember that your target reader is a busy hiring manager or executive who might have the attention span of a two-year-old child!

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Cover Letter Tip #1

I can’t give you any hot stock-market tips, but I can offer useful tips for cover letters. This post provides cover letter tip #1. It’s the first in a planned short series.

Here are a few questions you might ask about submitting a cover letter with your professional resume:question marks

  1. Do I need a cover letter?
  2. Do employers read cover letters?
  3. What makes a good cover letter?

Do I need a cover letter?

Maybe. If the job strongly attracts you, I’d say yes, you do need one. It can’t hurt (if you do it well), and it gives you a possible second chance to connect with the employer.

The key point in this answer is “do it well.” A poorly written cover letter could hurt your chances of being considered by an employer.

Do employers read cover letters?

cover letter tip #1Again, the answer is, maybe. It’s possible quite a few of them don’t. However, we know that some do. So, if you don’t want to risk losing out, create a good cover letter for each job opportunity you’re seriously interested in pursuing.

Only a few employers read the cover letter first, then the resume. On the other hand, if they read it at all, they will probably look at the resume first. What matters most? You want employers to be attracted to your letter by giving it some “meat” they can relate to. Then they might, indeed, read it.

What makes a good cover letter? Here’s cover letter tip #1:value proposition

Opinions differ on this subject. My take:

Your cover letter should present your value to the targeted employer  both concisely and compellingly. It must make you stand out to that employer as a potential asset well worth checking out. What’s more, it should not read as if it went to hundreds of employers in a mass (uncustomized) mailing. Finally, your letter (and resume) must be error-free!

Proofread your letter or have someone else do that before you send your submission to an employer. Then recheck to make sure your value proposition comes across clearly. That can help you open doors!

P.S. Cover Letter Tips #2 and #3 (or more) will appear in future blog posts. In the meantime, if you need help, call (508-263-9454) or email me (careermaster@asuccessfulcareer.com)!

Senior Manager Job Search Strategy—Ignorance is Not Bliss!

It can be tough to spot and prepare for all your job search issues. As a senior-level job seeker, you know you need a focused job search strategy to target desired open positions. However, you could feel daunted by creating and executing a senior manager job search strategy.  Those closest to you might also face concerns about it.

These issues can often arise in an executive job search: confidentiality, ageism, and job seekers’ personal views versus reality.

Confidentiality and Senior Manager Job Search Strategy

senior manager job search strategy

If you’re a senior manager who is employed but looking, you probably worry about protecting your current job. You want to leave on your terms, not your employer’s.

That means you don’t want to signal your job search plans. You might need to find clever ways to conduct your confidential search in stealth mode. For instance, if you reach out to your professional network, use caution about how and with whom. Word can get around!

Ageism Requires Boldness, Resilience and Confidence

Because of your position, you might encounter ageism when you launch your job search. After all, most senior managers and executives don’t reach that level by their 30s. A professional resume writer will likely advise taking some steps to minimize age in your resume. For example, you can omit jobs from 20+ years ago. However, that’s only the first stage.

boldness keychainWhat’s more, you can do everything “right” and still face ageism hurdles. If you interview with younger managers, you could sense age discrimination. Act promptly and decisively to counter the impression they might be getting and convince them you’re too valuable to pass up.

Personal Views vs. Reality

If you haven’t launched a job search in years, you might wonder what to expect. Prepare to adjust “on the fly” and avoid being thrown off by things you didn’t plan for. Don’t focus on issues you imagine will block your success.

In the end, job search strategy for senior managers involves presenting yourself as a worthy candidate. Share with confidence the value you offer potential employers!

I often suggest senior managers think of their job search strategy like a major project at their company. They make a plan and maximize the existing resources.  In other words, you should carefully plan and implement your job search, keep track of critical actions, and watch for roadblocks.

Five steps you can take as a senior manager to plan your job search strategy and conduct a successful executive job search:

  1. Beef up your network before searching.
  2. List possible obstacles and create a contingency plan.
  3. Share with involved partners, such as family.
  4. Value your contribution realistically.
  5. Remember the end goal.

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3 Ways to Build a Successful New Year as a Business Professional

Did you have a great outcome in your job or career this year? If so, congratulate yourself! On the other hand, if the year fell short of your expectations, what could you have done differently? What’s more, how can you build a successful new year as a business professional in the coming year?

These are just a few of the questions you could be asking yourself.successful new year chapter one

A Successful New Year Starts with You!

Most often, we fail to consider that we have primary responsibility for our own career success.  We can’t offload that responsibility onto someone else–even if we would really like to!

On the other hand, the fact that success starts with you and not elsewhere allows you to envision unlimited possibilities. Then come back “down to earth” and figure out what you need to do to turn that vision into reality. It’s your “book,” and you have the opportunity to write the opening chapter!

On that note, I’d like to share a short quote from Fred Rogers: “It’s really easy to fall into the trap of believing that what we do is more important than what we are. Of course, it’s the opposite that’s true: What we are ultimately determines what we do!”

I view that as meaning your “Chapter One” should reflect who you are, not just what you do for a living.

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Job Search Plan–Who Needs One? (You Probably Do!)

Before I go into any of the essentials regarding a job search plan, I want to share this:

P: Prepare–it works much better than being caught short. Persist–avoid letting yourself get distracted from the goal.

L: Leave no stone unturned–consider all the key aspects of your job search plan. Learn what you need to take into account to tilt the odds in your favor.

A: Anticipate possible roadblocks and get a jump on them. Ask for help when you need it–pride does not help your job search.job search plan-ducks in row

N: Negotiate support from others with a vested interest in your career success. Never assume you’re ready for your job search or have done all you can until you confirm you have all your “ducks in a row.”

Job Search Plan or “No Plan”

I love using quotes in my writing when I can. My favorite websites for topical quotes include the Quotations Page and Goodreads. I took the quotes below from Goodreads.

“Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” ― Abraham Lincoln

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Achieve Career Success–It Can be Done

How can you achieve career success? It can be done–many people have succeeded in reaching their career goals, which proves it’s possible. That doesn’t mean you’ll find it easy. More than likely, you’ll discover it takes major, sustained effort.Stronger than you think

Doubt from others about your chances can throw up roadblocks to your success. On the other hand, self-doubt might prove to be your biggest “enemy.” In any case, you need to give yourself credit–you might have more ability than you or others think you do.

How You Achieve Career Success Depends on What It Means to You

Of course, you first need to decide what career success looks like to you. After all, not everyone holds the same view of it. For example, you might view success as moving up through the senior management ranks to a C-level position. Someone else could see it as earning enough money to buy a home, take care of family, or go on a restful vacation every year.

You won’t know whether you’ve achieved success until you know what it is. You can’t hit a target you can’t see!

Believe You Can Achieve It

Start by believing you can achieve career success, and you’ve won half the battle. Not all of it, but a good chunk. Whether you have supporters who will back you up or have to do it alone, work to convince yourself the prize is within reach.

You can achieve career successHow can you do that? Start by reviewing past, smaller successes and take time to celebrate them a bit. View them as building-blocks to reach your end-goal. Just as “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” career success takes time and effort. However, it’s worth doing.

Next, look at actions and results you took in your career path that did not turn out the way you’d hoped. You might find clues to what went wrong and use that knowledge to make better choices in the future.

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