Glassdoor recently came out with their list of the 25 Best Jobs in America for 2015. Their criteria for the Glassdoor Job Score is based on three factors — earning potential (average annual base salary), career opportunities rating, and number of job openings. It’s a pretty nice list, from the sales engineer at #25 to the #1 physician’s assistant. It covers a lot of career fields and your own “best job” just may be on the list.
Then again, it might not.
Filter Job Options Wisely
Picking a career based solely on how much money you will make is not a good idea because there are a lot of other factors involved. The career opportunities and probability of employment (number of job openings) are two more factors, and for a list that covers everybody in America, Glassdoor does a good job. But narrowing down the options to the best strategies for your particular career path means you need to filter out what won’t work for you.
One place to start would be in taking a good look at your current resume to see what you are qualified to do. If you don’t want to do what you are qualified for, you have a great place to start deciding what needs to change. Look at why you don’t want to do what you are qualified for, what you may be interested in, and research how to explore that potential.
Other filters to use are location, current debt load, and family obligations. Every factor you can think of should come into your planning. Your dream job might be a nightmare if you don’t consider all the factors in your own life first.
Get Sound Advice
Choosing a career mentor who is willing to help you figure out your options is one of the best things you can do with your career plans. This is a long-term networking strategy that should be mutually beneficial. Getting a lot of advice from many sources will give a big perspective, but getting advice from someone who knows you is going to help you avoid some stumbling blocks in the path of your career.
To be effective in upper-level management, you need a specific set of traits. It’s also important to exhibit these attributes through your actions, as well as the company’s executive bio and your executive profile for social media. While there are other factors affecting your abilities as a manager, displaying these traits will increase your chances of success.
1. Leadership Skills
A personal drive to lead others is a necessity for those who want to serve on the executive level. While leadership skills can be acquired traits, an innate tendency to lead will serve you better in a position of power within a company.
2. Sales Drive
Some salespeople are adept at making a pitch, while others pride themselves in their ability to close. If you want to be a successful executive, it’s best to be skilled at both making a pitch and closing the sale. As a leader within the company, you will need to sell yourself, your ideas and the business on a regular basis.
3. A Realistic Viewpoint
Having a dream and goals is important for a successful career, but a realistic viewpoint is even more critical. You need to be able to recognize what is possible and execute the required processes to achieve those goals.
Patience is a virtue every executive should have. You can’t expect all of your efforts to produce results immediately. Patiently waiting for the proper timing and the right resources will help you bring your business to the forefront.
5. A Broad Perspective
Keeping short-term goals in mind is essential for ensuring daily objectives are met for your company, but having a broader perspective can be invaluable. Seeing the bigger picture will help you make smaller decisions along the way.
When most people think of courage, they consider the risks that need to be taken to move forward. However, courage can also be defined as the strength required to stop or change direction.
7. Financial Expertise
Many businesses have a finance division to handle the day-to-day financial elements. However, many companies want an executive team that can keep the budget in mind and understand how money flow factors into the function of the business.
8. Domain Expertise
Technology has become a major component in the world of business. You should command a basic knowledge of the latest technology as it relates to your industry. Don’t forget to showcase your technical knowledge in your executive bio.
The dictionary defines honor as adhering to what is right. In the business world, displaying honor lends an authenticity to your management style. An honorable philosophy and actions allow you to readily connect with your team and your customers on an emotional level.
The business world is rapidly changing, which can make it difficult to keep up and stay on top. This is why the drive to keep going, even when things aren’t proceeding as planned, is important.
If you need help highlighting these personality traits in your executive profile,contact us. Our professional resume writing services are designed to showcase your best attributes, making you more attractive to prospective employers.
Why would an expert suggest that being less responsible at work is a good idea? But that is exactly what Dorie Clark, a marketing strategist and professional speaker who teaches at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business says in the Ideas section of Time. Why You Should Be Less Responsible at Work goes against some opinions about making yourself irreplaceable and takes a look at a larger perspective of your career path.
Get The Right Things Done
The main focus of Ms. Clark’s advice is that in order to lead, you have to learn to prioritize what your responsibilities entail. That means figuring out the 20% of your to-do list that yields the 80% of your results. It also means learning to procrastinate strategically by doing something appealing instead of the job you are stuck on — but making your procrastination activity something else on your list of things that need to get done. It also means learning to delegate.
Delegation is not just passing off your work to somebody else. Delegation is a skill that successful CEOs do all the time as they build a team of people who take pride in their contributions. At the other end of the career path, there isn’t much to delegate yet, but you can learn that sometimes saying NO to others is saying YES to yourself.
It’s far too easy to fill our agenda with tasks that look busy but don’t actually give much reward. It’s also too easy to take over all the little responsibilities that others neglect and neglect your own because you are busy doing too much. Learning how to prioritize effectively, to procrastinate strategically, and to delegate appropriately is good advice for all of us.
Reputation management is like keeping a window clean so it doesn’t hinder the view. I don’t know about you, but the windows at my house don’t get cleaned until I realize they are obstructing my ability to see outside. Ideally, those windows should be kept clean on a schedule so it never gets that bad. Holding off on doing anything about accumulating dirt isn’t really a good idea with windows or with reputation management.
Scheduled Maintenance Keeps Little Issues Small
It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your online reputation by regularly doing some searches on all variations of your name. Remember to log out of any Google accounts so your search results aren’t skewed. Set up alerts for your name so you see when something comes up. You may not be doing anything at all, but a real threat is that a hacker could do some damage before you realize it is happening.
If you are looking at your online persona regularly, you can catch an issue and deal with it before it becomes a big problem.
Proactive Measures Prevent Problems
Ideally, you have two email addresses: One for business and one for personal use.
Social media can make it hard to keep business and personal identities separate, but privacy settings and separate accounts help. The problem is that it is easy to figure out who people are if you have any search skills at all, and employers are very good at researching candidates.
When you are regularly adding positive content to your online presence, there’s a growing momentum of good stuff to find. Reputation management and your career might feel like all you do is wash the windows, but clean windows let people see who you are. The more clearly you are able to show your professional and positive contributions, the better your reputation online.
In short, reputation management is about keeping the view clear so the world can see what you actually have to offer.
One of the more important things you learn as you move up the career ladder is that it has all kinds of crazy switchbacks putting you back in contact with the people you used to work with. This is particularly true when you stay in the same industry, but it happens for all of us no matter where we move in our job path. Think of all the “old friends” you have on Facebook and you’ll see what I mean. Who knew you’d be in contact again?
Burning Bridges Usually Is A Bad Idea
It’s very tempting to tell an annoying co-worker or aggravating boss exactly what you think of them when you hand in your resignation. After all, you are quitting so you don’t have to live with the consequences, right?
These are the people who give you references, and who will be talking about you in the months ahead. Nowadays that gossip goes online in moments and is there for a potential employer to find. We all have to work on reputation management, when you think about it. So what should you do instead when you have been looking for another job and finally can move out of your old one?
Leave Your Connections Intact
You can’t make everybody like you, but you can be responsible and professional up to the end of the job. Many ask how much notice should be given when leaving a job. The standard two weeks notice is probably the best idea. One young professional had been looking for a new position with her manager’s encouragement since attempts to move up in the company continually fizzled. When offered a position in a new field, she was asked if she could start right away. This is how she told the story:
I knew that my manager would be okay with the idea of me leaving right away, but it would be leaving them in the lurch as they tried to fill my position. I told my new boss that I really thought I should give them at least two weeks notice and asked if he was okay with that. He said that he would get back to me.
When he spoke to me again, he said that the more he thought about it, the more he liked that I respected my previous employer’s need for the full two weeks and that he would hope his employees offer him the same respect. So I start in two weeks.
This young woman has the right idea. Her last two weeks at her old job will be good ones, and she hasn’t burned any bridges if someday she wants to come back.
With all kinds of action happening online these days, many job seekers decide that the local job fairs are a waste of time. But, really, attending the local job fairs is one of the most effective things you could do if you do it right. Here’s why:
A job fair is the best chance you have to meet face to face with the people who will evaluate your resume before you submit it. What’s more, you can hand that resume to them and they have a person to remember when they read it. It’s a great opportunity to connect with people who you know are looking for the right candidate to fill a position, because if they didn’t need to hire more people, they wouldn’t be at the job fair. What’s not to like about that?
But you’ll need to treat it as carefully as you would treat an interview:
- Do your homework and know something about the companies that will be at the job fair
- Dress as you would for an interview, being well-groomed and professional in appearance
- Carry a business-like tote or briefcase for all the stuff you’ll collect
- Carry a folio of resumes printed out to hand to recruiters
- Attend workshops being offered
- Be prepared to take notes at workshops and when meeting people so you remember details
- Relax and enjoy the event
Hand Out Professional Resumes
A professional resume doesn’t have to be one that’s written by a professional, but it should look like it. Using a template for your resume means your resume will look like everybody else’s and why should anybody remember which one is yours? You have more to offer than a cookie-cutter template of a resume, and it is worth the investment to do it.
You can start by looking at the category of Resume Writing on this blog. There are many other resources, too. The thing to remember is that actually handing a well-written resume to a recruiter at a job fair will impress twice–once when you hand it over in person and again when they read it.
We all know people who can talk themselves into, or out of any situation. They have a natural penchant for negotiating, and without necessarily being aware of it – they understand the psychology of negotiation. So what are these skills that some of us have? How they can be learned? And, how can we use psychology to help with negotiating a better salary? Well, read on and I will explain…
There is a trigger that will set off a lot of people’s desire to reciprocate a good deed. We have all probably experienced this from time-to-time, and maybe you are aware of the saying, ‘one good deed deserves another.’ Well, think about it. If you have not done anything noteworthy for your manager in recent memory, why do you expect anything back? Of course it should not always work like that, but it will go a long way in your favor if you have.
Being consistent fills people around you with confidence. They know they can rely on you, or turn to you if they need something. There is a psychological advantage on your side if you have been consistent in the past. While negotiating a salary increase, if you can display a consistent nature it will help your case when making claims about your future performance.
When someone in a position of authority asks for something to be done, people listen. When negotiating your salary you are dealing with a manager, or other authoritative figure. But you can also set yourself as an authority.
Knowing your job role in more depth than anyone else sets you up as a person of authority for your position. Negotiating a better salary for the position will be a lot easier if you can substantiate this.
Understanding the psychology behind negotiating salaries, and how you are coming across while negotiating will have a big impact on the outcome. Think about the points raised above, and other ways you can give yourself a psychological advantage before arranging that meeting.
Noel Griffith is a webmaster at http://www.careerswiki.com and works as a recruitment consultant and career advisor. He focuses on helping people find their ideal career, and giving ongoing advice in regard to finding a progressive career path to match their skill set. With a strong belief in communication and networking, Noel’s goal is to help connect the right people and forge strong professional relationships. To contact Noel you can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Muse is a good site for workplace advice and recently gave us 8 Communication Mistakes You Don’t Know You’re Making. It’s a compilation of suggestions from various sources and, really, it’s common sense. Here’s the quick list of these common mistakes:
- Keeping an old subject line for a new topic — start a new subject line if you change the topic in an email chain.
- Emailing when the issue is urgent — call, text, or talk directly to someone you need an immediate response from.
- Using big hand gestures when speaking — makes you seem less powerful.
- Using buzzwords & phrases — just say it in plain language.
- Only speaking to a group one way — use a variety of styles to get the point across.
- Asking questions that get a short answer — get past “yes” and “no” to the real stuff.
- Apologizing when it’s not your fault — express sympathy without taking the blame.
- Finishing other people’s sentences — it’s rude.
These mistakes are easy to make when you are busy or thinking about a project instead of the people around you. But if there are too many instances where you make these types of mistakes, you may be creating a reputation you don’t want. Reputation management and your career are intertwined. he way others in the workplace view your ability to communicate will affect everything from being on the next team project to getting a promotion. It also affects the references you are given.
It isn’t difficult to make mistakes in communication, but it also is easy to fix them. All it takes is being mindful of the ways you express yourself and aware of the way your communication efforts are being received. If you suddenly realized you do something on the list, start working to change that and see what happens in your workplace dynamics. Good things happen when communication is good.
It was interesting to see the comments on Anna Akbari’s DailyWorth post. “Don’t Dress for the Job You Want” is a statement that seems to fly in the face of the general consensus on working wardrobes. But she does make some good points to consider when dressing to express yourself instead of your position:
- demonstrate that you get it
- connect with your audience
- exude confidence
Context is Everything
Those first two points are a reminder that we work with other people. The way we dress does affect how others react to us, and it’s naive to insist it doesn’t matter. To quote Ms. Akbari, “demonstrating that you understand the unwritten dress codes and larger ethos of any given context is the first rule of successful self-presentation.”
You have to connect before you can communicate, and if everyone around you is wearing a “uniform”, it shows they are all part of the same group culture. Wearing at least part of that uniform, or wearing the uniform in an acceptably unique way, will be a signal that you belong even though you are a bit different. If you don’t care about the group, you don’t try to connect or get what they are about — and at that point, why are you working there? In an interview situation, why are you saying you want to work where you don’t get the group’s culture?
There are times when a unique status symbol is an investment tool, but it entirely depends on the group you are in. Cowboy boots communicate one thing in Dallas and a different thing in D.C., but there is more to the symbolism than identity. If those boots are high-quality and well-kept, the wearer is signalling confidence even if everyone else is in tied-up Oxfords. That confidence is important, because you need it however you dress. If wearing a unique item makes you feel more like “yourself” and gives you confidence, that’s good. But make sure you are respecting the context of your surroundings.
AARP’s website and magazine will often have very good career advice. Kerry Hannon’s slideshow about 8 Common Mistakes Older Job Seekers Make is targeted to the older worker but actually could apply to all of us. Here’s why:
- Mistake: kicking back & taking a break. The problem isn’t in taking a needed vacation, but in failing to maintain an active presence in your field. Try blogging or consulting so when you resume your job search, you have evidence you didn’t stagnate.
- Mistake: using dated email accounts. It’s an excellent idea to have a dedicated professional email account that is your name, your initials & last name, or your name + your expertise. But make sure it’s also a currently respected address. AOL & Yahoo are not going to work like Google or Outlook to enhance professional image right now, but these things change rapidly so pay attention.
- Mistake: low or missing digital presence. Privacy is not the same as invisibility, and most potential employers will look online. Social media and LinkedIn profile development are no longer optional for professionals.
- Mistake: refusing to be flexible about salary requirements. You may be offered a lower wage but can negotiate compensatory perks, for instance. Looking at the bigger salary picture can get you in the door.
- Mistake: overlooking contacts. You never know who you will run into again, who can introduce you to your next boss, or who is going to be helpful. Ideally you are being helpful to the others in your network, too, because it goes both ways and comes around again.
- Mistake: overdoing your resume. If it is bloated with outdated detail, hard to read, and over two pages, you overdid it. Time for a resume update! Do your research and make it concise. They can ask you for more detail in the interview.
- Mistake: ruling out jobs. It may not be a perfect fit, but a job that is mostly a good fit will be perfect with the right attitude.
- Mistake: waiting for the perfect job to open up. Here’s the truth: there is no perfect job. That’s okay, because people aren’t perfect anyway. The same skill set and experience can transfer beautifully into any number of possibilities so be open to them all.
These mistakes are certainly not limited to any age group. If you have been making one, fix it and you could find that next job!