5 Steps to Finding the Right Career for You

5  Steps to Finding the Right Career for You

I was one of the rare lucky ones to know what I’d be doing with my life before I turned 21. Although I was never a wiz in school, I could calculate numbers in my head faster then most of my friends could help with their calculators, and no I didn’t become an accountant. But I did focus on my love of numbers and realized I could calculate down to the decimal point regarding the cost of individual processes, and then figure out a more efficient and cost-effective way to make things flow. 

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Five reasons you might want to consider a career coach.

We have all heard the latest news:  "Unemployment is down and job creation is up"

Well, tell that to the thousands who are still seeking work. Just this weekend I spoke with several individuals who speak a different truth.  One young man shared his story of finally finding a job 2000 miles away from where he lived and the excitement he felt.  However, just 6 months later the company was bought out and he is currently fearing his job will be eliminated.  Then there was a woman who told me her company was growing and she is looking to hire 2 new individuals.  Now that sounds great except she continued to share that one position received almost 400 resumes and the second one received over 60. I am not an expert on the US job market but I do know there are just few too many jobs available to meet the growing demand for employment.  And the few jobs that are becoming available barely pay a wage that covers living expenses.  

So how does a career coach change the job market? Simple answer, they don't,

But here’s what a good career coach can do.

  1. They can help you stand out above all other applicants. Within just a few sessions a career coach can evaluate the strength of your resume, conduct a mock interview, identify your strengths and your weakness and offer a strategic growth and improvement plan putting you at the head of the pack. 
  2. Assess your core values and align them with your career and potential employer. Too many times people accept a job with a company that "thinks" differently than they do resulting in frustration, stress, and dissatisfaction. The results of this mismatch can be seen in health problems, relationship struggles, emotional pain, and eventually end up in unemployed … again.  
  3. Improve job success rate. The call finally comes in from HR and you got the job.  Time to celebrate!  But wait - the real work is just beginning. The statistics show that over 40% of executive level new job hires fail in their first 12 months.  A coach can help you create a successful 30, 60, 90 day plan and equips you to hit the ground running.  A well designed plan will move you from a value consumed point (where you take up more resources than you contribute) to a break-even contribution level at a faster speed increasing your visibility to the leadership team and resulting in job security.
  4. Prepare you for the promotion. If you are one of the fortunate ones who have a great career with a great company but want to rise within the organization, a career coach can be your best advocate. You've heard the saying "You don't know what you don't know". This never rings more true than with individuals trying and trying to get the next promotion but missing the mark. It is normal to be blinded by our own assumptions and expectations.  In fact, sometimes what we see as our strengths can attack us from behind and become our biggest weakness.  When we fail to recognize this (and many of us do) we keep ourselves from being the 1st choice.  A trained career coach can help assess the things you don't know and help you turn the "don't knows" into your core competencies. 
  5. Start your own company.  If you are at the point where you no longer want to put your future in the hands of others and you desire to create your own business - I strongly advise you to seek out a qualified career coach. In this situation your career coach should have experience in start-up companies.  They can walk you through a marketable business plan from raising capital to the launch.  Some coaches can tell you "been there, done that" but before hiring one make certain they can say "been there, done that, and succeeded". 

For many of us it can be tough to admit we could use someone's help, especially if we've created our own success in the past. I recently coached an individual who spent 18 months searching for a job. He had many years of success under his belt and felt no need for a career coach.  Through the coaxing of his spouse, he reached out to me and within a month he landed a top paying executive job.  

The moral of this story is - You don't know what you don't know but don't be afraid to ask someone who may help you see what you can’t see so you can find your way to the career of your dreams.

It is worth the investment. 


3 Steps to Nail a Marathon Interview

Before, During, and After

The good news is your resume caught the attention of HR and you've just nailed the phone interview.  Now the challenging news - you are scheduled for an all-day marathon interview with the company's key departments. The day-long interview is a great opportunity for a company to get a picture of who you are, but also for you to see the many moving parts of an organization. So while these days can be exhausting, try to see them in a positive light. Just be prepared, and you'll do great.

 Step 1:  Prepare

  • Prepare both mentally and physically for a very long day.  Many corporations will offer high potential candidates the opportunity to interview with many departments and key decision makers all in one day which can prove to be one of the most stressful events in your job search. Being prepared is critical for any interview but especially critical for the multiple step interviews.
  • Know your audience. 
    • Research the company thoroughly and be prepared with a list of perceptive questions on the company itself and the specific job position you are interviewing for.
    • Request the names, title, and areas of responsibilities for each individual you will be meeting.  Research each interviewer on LinkedIn
  • Organize your portfolio the day before – Resumes, notepad, pen, along with your business card. You will need a resume for each person you will be ask to interview with - always have extras for the unexpected add-on interview. Leave a business card behind with current contact information. If you do not currently have a business card go online and create on through Word or Pages.
  • Be prepared with the three take aways you want to leave each interviewer.
  • Pack an emergency care pack in your briefcase - tooth brush, deodorant, and breath mints.
  • Eat a light meal and get a good night sleep the night before.

Step 2:  Day of Interview

  • Embrace the fact this is going to be a long day, review your notes you previously prepared.
  • Eat for energy.  All day interviews can drain even the strongest individuals. Make certain your breakfast is packed with the nutrients that will keep your brain alert and your stomach quiet.  Also, throw snacks into your briefcase, such as; nuts, fruit, even dark chocolate is good if you need a quick caffeine boost.  
  • Dress for success – an old cliche but still rings true today.  Select fabric that will still look good at the end of the day (Linen may look good first thing but by the second interview you will look like you just crawled out of bed).  Always dress professional, better to be over-dressed rather than under-dressed.  Remember it is going to be an all day event so make certain you are comfortable.  
  • Direct questions around the role of the interviewer - They want to know you are authentically interested in them as well as the different departments of the company. 
  • Take notes: This will help you when recapping your day, along with each interviewer's Thank You note.
  • Take breaks between interviews.  If they rush you into the next room simply ask for a bathroom break or a glass of water.  Take a deep breath, reflect, and refresh for the next one. 
  • Enter each interview as if it were your first one.  Yes, you may have answered the same questions five times already but remember the person interviewing you sees this as a stand-alone so start it strong and end it strong. You never know which interviewer will be the "make or break" when the team gets with HR to report.

Step 3:  The Wrap Up

  • Take a few minutes before you head home and review the day’s notes.  Make sure to follow up on any action items or request - the sooner the better. 
  • Send personalized thank you notes to each person you interviewed with and let them know you appreciated their time.  

Whew.....it is over and you did great.  Your hard prep work paid off and the company realizes you will be a great asset to their organization.  Congratulations!