Are Your Job Search Expectations Unrealistic?

The primary objective of your job search is to get a job, right? However, you have quite a few steps to take to reach that goal, and you can stumble if you don’t start with realistic expectations for the outcome.

Unrealistic Job Search Expectations

For example, if you’re currently earning $50,000/year but aiming for $150,000 in your next job, you’re probably indulging in an unrealistic expectation. That’s a somewhat extreme example, but it makes a useful point: focusing on a goal that’s a huge stretch can result in major disappointment. Your job search plan should take that into account.

What you focus on matters a lot. For instance, if you concentrate on nice perks during a job interview and not on the needs of the position and the company, you can lose out. Why? The impression you give the prospective employer suggests you’re more interested in the benefits you’ll get than you are in the opportunity itself.

To strengthen your chances for a successful job search, you really need to think in terms of mutual benefit–for you AND for the employer. Both parties have to feel satisfied with the result.

Fine-Tune Your Job Search Expectations

Assuming you aren’t starting with outrageously unrealistic expectations, are you out of the woods? Maybe…or maybe not.

Read More

Low Job Satisfaction – Time to Jump Ship?

When you look back on the year so far and think about where you are versus where you wanted to be, do you wonder if it’s time to jump ship into a new job and/or new company? Low job satisfaction can sneak up on you–be overlooked in the day-to-day press of getting things done–but it’s a situation to be taken seriously.

Why is Low Job Satisfaction Important?

You can sabotage your overall career success and risk costly consequences if you let low job satisfaction color your attitude and actions. Worst case, of course, you could find yourself suddenly reaching the boiling point and throwing your job away. Rarely is this a wise move–if it ever is.

You might be experiencing low job satisfaction consciously or unconsciously . The distinction is that you need to be aware of it, if it exists, so you can take appropriate measures to counterbalance or correct it before you recklessly conclude that anything is preferable to staying in that situation–or prompt management to make the decision for you!

Read More

Career Management Lessons from a TV Show?

Believe it or not, you can learn valuable career management lessons from television shows. The lessons come in two flavors: good and bad.

Good or Bad Career Management Lessons

Successful TV shows can go on for years and remain popular with many viewers. Other shows limp out of the starting-gate and fall on their face before they get through season 1. What can you learn from this for your career management and job search plans?

For one thing, success depends on multiple factors, some of which are highly unreliable, such as fickle public tastes. Something is received enthusiastically for a while and then dropped, or a particular theme might resonate with viewers while one that’s similar fails to strike a spark with the public.

On the other hand, the television industry isn’t always known for innovation. The opinion seems to be that if something worked well once, it should work for multiple versions of that idea. Occasionally a “franchise” will develop a successful, long-term track record, but in other cases, that doesn’t happen.

You can learn at least a couple of things from these situations:

Read More

Re-frame “Transferable Skills” as a Strong Value Proposition

The concept of transferable skills is almost as old as the hills in the employment arena, but it can still give your job search and career success a hefty boost if you do it right. First of all, you need to keep two critical principles in mind:

  1. Avoid giving a “learning curve required” impression to prospective employers.
  2. Focus emphatically on the value you can bring to employers that your competitors either can’t or won’t.

Learning Curves Scare Employers

The company that’s considering hiring you doesn’t want to know that you’re a fast learner or can turn your transferable skills into gold somewhere down the road. It needs to know you can jump in and start running NOW. Your professionalism needs to be discernible and perceived as valuable without the employer having to train you.

In other words, you need a compelling value proposition to make the employer really want you and counteract your relative lack of experience in the precise situation the employer faces.

Doesn’t seem fair, does it? How are you going to learn the specifics of the new job if you’re supposed to already have them mastered?

Read More

Career Success: Mistakes You Might Regret

We all make mistakes. When those mistakes involve our career success or lack thereof, they can cause us lasting regret or only act as a temporary speed-bump. Have you ever made a career mistake you ended up seriously regretting? If so, you’re undoubtedly in good–and plentiful–company!

Aggravating but Mild Career Mistakes

Some career-related mistakes–which I like to think of as missteps that can be easily corrected–can range from slightly annoying to more noticeably aggravating. Generally speaking, though, they aren’t going to cause you major heartburn or depression. You can learn from them and move on.

What kind of mistakes might these be? Possibly something like passing up the opportunity to apply for a promotion because you assumed it wasn’t an area that would interest you, instead of checking more thoroughly and discovering that it had more potential than you thought. Is that something that might be described as the “kiss of death” to your career? Probably not.

Unless you acted inappropriately, such as speaking offensively to someone or getting more upset about an occurrence than it warranted, you probably don’t need to view your mistake as a serious one.

Mistakes that Can Trash Your Job Search

On the other hand, you might have made–or be about to make–a career mistake that could cause serious repercussions in your job, trash your job search, or block your ongoing career success. Those are the mistakes to watch out for and take action to avoid!

Read More

Job Search “Costs” – Weighing Your Options

Most of us tend to think twice when we face the possibility of spending our valuable and often-limited resources, whether cash, time or something else. If you’re considering a job search to find your next job, you know what I’m talking about!

I’ve touched on this topic before, but it keeps coming up, so I think it’s worth revisiting.

Limited Job Search Resources – Weigh Your Options

Dollar SignAre you independently wealthy, and do you have an army of assistants to take care of various tasks for you? I didn’t think so. If this description fitted you, you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog post!

Recently I discussed having a support team to back you. This post takes a slightly different tack. You might have a wide range of resources that you could tap into for your next job search. That doesn’t mean you can realistically use all of them or even most of them. So how do you decide what to do about those limited resources to gain the biggest payoff for your job search?

You might start by considering ideas like these:

  • How easy or hard will it be for you to use a given resource? For example, is it fairly accessible to you–either electronically or in person? Are there time or distance limitations?
  • Is a specific resource renewable or will you use it up if you take advantage of it? Money comes readily to mind, but it’s not the only job search tool that isn’t unlimited and also isn’t necessarily easy to “renew” (replace).
  • Can you barter with someone else for use of a particular job search resource? If, for instance, you know someone who’s a whiz at doing videos and you want to do a cool video for use in your search, do you have something you can offer in return for the “loan” of that person’s ability?pros and cons, for and against argument concept

Of course, these don’t include all the possible options. You need to explore the situation fully to see what else makes sense. To paraphrase an old saying: Don’t leave a likely stone unturned!

Read More

How Conferences Can Increase Your Value

As I’m preparing to attend the annual conference of one of my professional associations (October 3-6), I’ve been thinking about how a well-planned and well-presented conference can increase one’s value to employers. If you haven’t considered that aspect of your career management recently, I encourage you to give it some thought now.

Why Attend Professional Conferences?

I could list several reasons you might want to attend conferences. These are just a few:

  • The best conferences give you access to leaders in your field, with the potential for finding top-quality mentors to enhance your career growth.Learn from the best advice
  • You get a chance to meet new people and expand your personal as well as professional horizons.
  • If you participate in between-session networking opportunities, you get more “bang for your buck” and can become known beyond your local geography.
  • You might learn about new job opportunities before those become widely publicized.
  • The change of scenery from your work environment can refresh you mentally and physically.

Read More

Happy or Unhappy at Work – Do You Need a New Job?

Some people believe happiness at work is either an impossible dream or the goal of lazy people who don’t want to work hard. I think it stems from the Puritan work ethic that’s part of the foundation of this country. “If it’s pleasant, it must not be work.”

So if you’re looking for happiness as part of your every-day work, are you unrealistic? Should you accept that varying degrees of unhappiness, ranging from mild dissatisfaction to outright misery, are inescapable at times?stressed or relaxed

Sometimes You Make Your Own At-Work Unhappiness

This might sound like a harsh statement, especially if you feel as if you’ve been giving the situation your best effort. However, most of us could probably admit to the possibility that we might have some mistaken impressions holding us back from feeling genuinely happy at work. People who manage to feel and express strong happiness in their work situation might have some secret you haven’t uncovered, but it’s also possible you’ve overlooked some aspect of what you’re doing or not doing that’s contributing to your unhappiness.

What might that be?

Here are just a few examples:

  • You accepted a new job that wasn’t your ideal, so now you’re trying to make it feel acceptable–and struggling with that.
  • You have a toxic boss or toxic work environment in general that’s causing you major work-related stress, but you’re fighting the idea that you might need to consider leaving your current employer.
  • You try to avoid unpleasantness or the need to deal with a colleague who’s difficult, instead of looking for potential solutions to the problem.

Read More