The Brilliant Career

Any time people talk about their careers, familiar expressions like:

“My career goals”, “Career path”, “Career development”, “Career direction” etc usually come to mind. These expressions have one reasoning in common “the concept that a career is something that has an entity or existence of its own, that it’s something out there, a place or a destination or a means to reach a better place”.

If we think of a career in these terms, there are a number of hazards and influences that can throw a career off course. Career goals may conflict or be frustrated by other kinds of goals such as the demands of a busy family, academic pursuit or social life. The career path may have to wind its way through other tempting highways and byways. Career development may be stunted by a particular work environment that is hostile to its growth. A career direction may turn into a dead end if a new technology emerges.

Any one of these events can turn into a career threatening influence. And when they do, we can absolve ourselves of blame. ‘The organization didn’t support my career goals’. ‘I was poorly advised and took the wrong career path’. ‘My career development was blocked by a lack of funding for training and development’. ‘My career direction was influenced by circumstances beyond my control’. ‘The boss didn’t appreciate me, he hates me and never encouraged me to grow in my chosen career.’

If we think of our career as something out there, over there, at the end of the rainbow or whatever, there will always be something or someone else we can blame for its demise.

Here’s something for you to consider. If you must excel, “Take Control of Your Career.”

How do you do this?

o Consider that you are your career. Your career is who you are, here and now in this place. Everything about you; your competencies, your habits, your appearance, your education, your communication style, your relationships, your lifestyle, habits etc. All of these are attributes of you and comprise your career. Your career is who you are, what makes you unique as a person and as a worker.

Take a moment to reflect on this. How is your career going? Does it want to leap out of bed in the morning and rush itself off to the workplace to engage in something passionate and rewarding? Or is it somewhat self-conscious and inclined to waste of time and daydream of a safer or more interesting place along the way? How do others respond to its presence in the workplace? Do they look up to it, seek its advice and applaud its successes or do they seem a bit dissatisfied with its performance?

o Another way to look at this is to imagine your career as your brand. How would you market your brand? What are its best attributes? What can it do better than any competing brands? In what kind of environment will your brand add the most value to an organization? Do you need to enhance any features of your brand to improve its visibility and appeal in the marketplace? How do you better position your brand to attract customers? Do people around you know that the brand (you) exists? How do you price your brand? How do you distribute your brand?

Careers and Job Search – Should I Get Help?

How can you make the “right” decision about using professional assistance to enhance and accelerate your career change or job search?  This article defines the main questions you need to ask yourself, and provides clear criteria for assessing your needs. To further support your decision-making, the article offers a simple cost-benefits analysis for using a career coach to increase both the probability and the speed of a successful job search. Since this step may influence your direction and career goals, as well as the “landing time” to reach your next job, it is clearly an important decision, with both short and long-term impact on your life.

If you are in transition to a new career or a new job, for whatever reason, you may have asked yourself the question: “can I do this on my own, or might I benefit from the advice and guidance of a professional career coach and resume writer?” Even knowing that the job search is a difficult task in today’s treacherous economic environment and high unemployment with few new jobs, our sense of independence, self-confidence and the desire to conserve cash all urge us to do this on our own. But for a more reliable answer to this question, set aside your gut reaction and consider the key factors below with tough, business-like objectivity, and decide how they apply to you and your situation.

Are you equipped for this potentially difficult battle with:

  1. Clearly defined career goals and objectives?
  2. Significant experience in successfully transitioning to new careers or jobs?
  3. Good networking skills and contacts in the field of your interest?
  4. The skills to promote yourself, conveying your accomplishments effectively, but without boasting?
  5. An understanding of the recruiting process and the opportunities in your field of interest?
  6. Strong resume writing skills?
  7. Clear, concise and persuasive verbal communication skills?
  8. Several job-leads/opportunities that would meet your career goals and needs?
  9. A resume that has generated several job interviews in your current situation?
  10. Interviews that have generated at least one job offer?
  11. Family, financial and geographic flexibility, without limitations on career or job selection?

 If you can answer 8 or more of these questions with a firm “yes”, you probably have the resources and skills to drive your job search without external help.  But if you answer “no” to  4 or more questions, then you are lacking some key attributes or resources for an effective job campaign in today’s unforgiving and competitive jobs market, and should consider some professional assistance.

This is not to say you cannot be successful on your own, with a great deal of perseverance and some luck. However, a capable career coach can dramatically improve the odds of success and greatly accelerate transition to new careers or jobs by:

  1.  Helping you think through your situation and options in a caring but very objective way
  2. Guiding you to develop a personal career and marketing strategy and an action plan
  3. Helping you to fill in some of the gaps in your “arsenal”
  4. Coaching you to present yourself in the best possible and most competitive position: armed with a powerful resume and well-prepared for job interviews and negotiating job offers
  5. Helping you achieve your defined goals, based on a well-thought through strategic plan

If you decide that external help would be appropriate, then you still need to ask one more basic question: “are the benefits of professional assistance worth the cost?” To answer this, first recognize that using a career coach can often be the key to defining your career goals and strategy, and then in getting the “right job”. The great value of this to a job seeker is incalculable, because it tends to enhance initial salary, ultimate job satisfaction, promotability and long term career success. However, beyond this great but qualitative benefit, consider the following more quantitative analysis:

  • Statistical evidence summarized from several sources* indicate that 1) 33.3% of the unemployed are now out of work for 27 weeks or more – a higher level than in any recession since 1950; 2) the average unemployment duration is now about 6 months, with a range of 1 to 12 months, twice what it was a year ago; and 3) higher salary levels and older  age statistically increase “landing time” to reemployment.
  •  Anecdotal evidence from numerous articles and presentations suggest that a good strategy, a powerful resume and solid interview preparation – benefits that can come from the assistance of a career coach – can accelerate the job search and significantly reduce your personal “landing time”, though individual success cannot be guaranteed.
  • Since “hard” statistics on the benefits of career coaching is unavailable, for the purpose of a simple and very conservative cost-benefits analysis, assume that the result of career coaching is finding the right job just  one month sooner than you would otherwise. If, for the typical coaching cost of about $1,000 (for a strong resume and 5-6 hours of consulting), you find a suitable $60,000/yr job just  one month sooner, then you get a $5,000 return on a $1,000 expense – which is far better than any conventional investment performance! And at higher salary and/or shorter landing time in the job search, the return on your investment is even better! This return is so good, that even if the coaching costs were significantly higher, the benefits would still remain very attractive.

Career and Job Planning

Each individual is responsible for building his or her own career. In this ever-changing world, everyone is looking for new ways to earn living. The purpose of career and job planning is to develop strategic plan based on one’s talents, aspirations and background, leading to a happy personal and professional life. Career planning involves identifying your choices, and then forming the goals that suit your individual needs, and the realities of job world.

How to Plan Your Career and Job

Planning a career and job is an important step for anyone who is either looking for job, or is already employed. It helps to set clear goals, and map the future career path. This panning helps you determine your weaknesses and strengths, and also helps you learn about your career options in different industries. If you are yet to enter the industry, career and job planning takes the form of interviews with prospective colleges, assessment tests, networking with other students and advisors and then finalizing your plan over a period of time. This will equip you with enough skills, knowledge and tools to enter the work world.

Job and life experiences, educational backgrounds and personal goals can either minimize or maximize the potential target career and jobs. Planning for your career involves doing some deductive reasoning and research about the locality of your job search. The types of jobs that are currently in demand vary greatly depending on the location. Getting the basic knowledge of geographic location and observing the statistics can provide you good information regarding jobs that are most competitive and highest in demand.

If you are already employed, there are certain mistakes you need to avoid so that you can plan your career and job well. Do not look for employment in other field without doing intense introspection, do not enter any field just because someone else is doing well in it, do not look for hot fields unless you feel they are suitable for you, do not go back to school without doing some test-drives in the new field, do not try to make the switch alone, do not make money the only deciding factor, be very careful when seeking services of search firms or placement agencies, do not expect to make the switch overnight and do not expect the career counselor to tell you which field to enter.

The foundation of your job search or career shift is solid, good and honest curriculum vitae. It must describe all your qualifications and entire professional career in detail. An effective resume can help you get your foot in the door and lead to personal interviews.

Knowing your salary range is an important aspect of career and job planning. This helps eliminate the prospective jobs falling outside your salary range. To know your realistic salary range, you need to do some research. The first important step is to know your fixed and variable expenses so that you know how much you need to maintain your current standard of living. While determining your salary range, keep in mind that what you might think you are really worth does not matter as much as what the employer thinks the job is worth.

Another important aspect of career and job planning is to get focused. You need to make real choices based on your career aspirations, skills and background.

Once you have successfully formulated you career and job plan, you need to find the employment through your contacts, friends, recent alumni, networking, professors and so on. If you are a fresher, it is advisable that you have a mentor who can also act as a resource in your job hunt. If you are planning a career move, yellow pages, classifieds, career fairs and employment agencies can be quite helpful.

Are There Any Research Aids to Understand the Top Careers in Demand?

One of the vital steps in getting good lawyer careers is the preparation that you put in to get a career of your choice in a business enterprise that is stable and has a reasonable prospect of growth in the years to come. This is the only way that you can ensure that you have a satisfying career progression in the industry that you have chosen to make a career out of and meet your life goals with relative ease. But all this is possible only if you if you are ready to put in the effort and dedication to research the industry that you are interested in working for.

Before starting your army careers or in some other field, you would have to get through the hiring process that each business enterprise has set up for validating your skills and aptitude. Most of the organizations are acutely aware of the cost of hiring and therefore would like to factor in some scientific methods in the hiring process to ensure some degree of stability in the hiring mechanism. There are different methods by which business enterprises make sure that you are suited for the top careers in demand in the economy today. Apart from the interviews, these corporations rely on a series of screening tests to assess your capabilities. These tests make an assessment of your inter personal skills along with your understanding of the technological subject matter.

Getting through these tests without advance preparation is not advisable as the questions would not be entirely theoretical in nature. All the top careers in demand like careers in physical therapy, fastest-growing-careers and careers in public relations require a degree of interaction with the general public and with the other stakeholders. You would therefore, need to be capable of handling these interactions in consonance with the values of the organization that you are employed with. It is this aspect of your personality that would be assessed in the screening tests while you apply for a career in the organization of your choice.

You can get professional assistance to help you get through the screening process (that includes career interest test and other forms of assessment) with ease. You could visit the leading career and test preparation websites and get hold of some of the valuable advice given by career counselors to help you get through the screening tests. You could also get authentic information on the job specifications that the top careers in demand entail and find out whether you are suited for the position that you are hoping to apply for in a business enterprise.

These websites are offer and in depth repository of information and help you understand the nuances of the various jobs that are available for you to get hold of a career in the industry that you are interested in working for. You would be able to ace your screening tests and get hold of any of the top careers in demand that you had always wanted for yourself once you go through the content in the career and test preparation websites.