5 Things They Don’t Want You To Know About the Corporate Game

iStock 000008209293XSmall 5 Things They Dont Want You To Know About the Corporate GameThis past week I recorded a teleseminar to talk about 5 key points you should be consciously aware of that are misspoken quite often in the media right now.  If you’d like to hear this in audio format, you can listen here or read the article below.

Finding a job, doing well on the job, and moving into a better job are all part of “career management 101″ and they require continuous learning about the world of work, as well as an acute awareness of your own specific skills –especially during what we keep hearing is a jobless economic recovery.

Here are 5 jewels of information you need to know to manage your career in today’s work place:

1. If you are currently stuck in a job, transitioning, trying to get ahead, you will likely be in this position again one day – yes, in spite of the fact that we still have some companies asking about your loyalty.  The situation we have all been experiencing in today’s economy will likely change the entire course and character of our work structure for this and the next generations.I’m not going to spend a lot of time talking about depressing statistics.  I did read recently, however, that temp jobs increased by 21% between Oct 2009 and around May/June 2010. This could be a sign that as companies laid off workers, they made decisions to hire more temporary workers to control health care benefits costs, and flexibility of movement.  We are no longer in an age of permanent hiring, in case you have not seen the writing on the wall.  Combine this with the fast paced change of technology and you will understand the need to constantly revisit what skills are necessary and what jobs may need to be warped into something entirely different.

How have you kept up with your career skills?  Would you be ready tomorrow to interview?  If I asked you to email me a resume right now, would you be able to send me what I need, not just a standard, one size fits all documetn? Recently, I talked with a colleague who was preparing for an interview – we’ll call him Bill.  Bill was preparing for an interview for a next level position.  He had not interviewed in several years, but thought because his technical skills & track record at work were solid, that would be enough.  It wasn’t.  He did not take my advice and get current interview trends, nor did he update his inside resume to reflect all the things he thought they’d already know.  Keeping current on practical trends in interviewing and resume formatting could be a valuable hip-pocket tool for you.

They also suggest that workers are not skilled to meet the needs hiring managers have, and even that some of the more mid-skilled, mid-wage jobs are not appearing as desirable.  If you are someone who has competed for a job within the last 6 months and you knew you had the right skills but you weren’t picked because you couldn’t articulate them , this means perhaps it is time you took a solid assessment of your current personal brand (how you are perceived), your top strengths, your passion, and your ability to think like a leader – how well are you marketing what it is you can actually do?  Have you formalized your personal branding statement to clearly communicate your value as a worker and a professional?

2.  We keep hearing there are no jobs?  I have heard something different – there are jobs out there.  An article in this week’s Wall Street Journal Online talks about the fact that many employers are having trouble filling positions despite the high unemployment rate.  They reference that one challenge is that it’s tougher for qualified workers to actually move where the jobs are, knowing that their home may not sell or that their spouse may not find employment in the new location.

But they also suggest that workers are not skilled to meet the needs the hiring managers have, and finally – some of the more mid-skilled, mid-wage jobs are not appearing as desirable.  If you are someone who has competed for a job within the last 6 months and you knew you had the right skills but you weren’t picked because you couldn’t articulate them , this means you may need to sit down and take a solid assessment of your current personal brand (how you are perceived), your top strengths, your passion, and your ability to think like a leader – how well are you marketing what it is you can actually do?

3.  In spite of what you’ve heard – I’ve even misspoken this myself – the old “who you know gets you hired” still holds true. Now you’ve heard lately it’s more important now “who knows you”,  especially with the advent of social media and online networking but be very clear – who you know can determine what calls you can make when you need champion to influence a hiring or advancement decision.  How many of you are highly qualified, professional workers – great at what you do, top performers in your role, yet you keep being overlooked for the promotion or for the career selection?  What does your circle of influence look like?  How often have you reached out to build new relationships? How do you know when to weed out negative influencers in your circle?

4.  You can create wealth while working for someone else…just not relying on that company’s $$. You have heard about people starting businesses for themselves and I have to admit, I don’t buy into the theory that everyone is born with an inner entrepreneurial mind.  I believe some people require good ole’ fashioned training and help.  With the right tools, resources, mentors, and drive, you might either start a side business, learn to generate income through affiliate marketing, or create multiple passive income streams for yourself.  Ultimately, one of the keys to building wealth is creating passive income strategies and positioning yourself the right way to create financial independence.

5.  They are just as afraid as you are of the competitive state of the workforce. Employers are scrambling      around right now trying to figure out who will take the place of some of their tip-top seats.  It’s called succession management.  Have you heard the word retention thrown around in your workplace? That’s because there is a struggle to keep top performers who are still employed in their current seats.  I read an article July 2010 by Talent Management magazine that said out of 3000 individuals surveyed, 52% employees reported they were approached by other employers with a possible job offer within the past 12 months.  Employers are competing against each other for the top performers.  What was the highest factor in helping to attract & retain good performers?  “(their) research clearly shows that (career) development pays in terms of engagement and retention — both for the individual and the organization”.

Career development is key to creating an opportunity for you to survive and prosper in the work economy today. Consider ways you can enhance your skills to better manage the direction your career is heading now and into the future.

Don’t miss tremendous career management and leadership development training resources at  the upcoming Women of Color Career Success Telesummit 2010 http://womenofcolorcareersuccess.com.  This is a 3.5 day telesummit with speakers who are top notch experts in career & business presenting critical career success strategies to you, answering questions, providing resources that will help you position yourself as the ultimate career professional in whatever field you want.  Seats are limited.  Get in now!

5 Mistakes When Preparing for the Promotion Interview

You’ve been selected for the interview to get that next level job.  Now all it means is that you have to get ready to compete.  Interviewing is a prime opportunity for you to market and test that brand you’ve spent time to create and it’s a likely part of your career management plan.

It can be a pretty stressful situation for many people to cheer themselves on in this setting, but if you take the right steps in the interview, it can land you the job promotion you have been after.

Let’s look at 5 mistakes professionals make when preparing for the interview.

1.  Not rehearsing in a mock interview

It doesn’t matter how wonderful you are, or how good your results are demonstrated in your day to day job.  Interviewing is not a “natural” event that you get to rehearse every day.  Find someone to do a “mock”, or rehearsal with you and make sure your practice environment is as much like the expected setting as you can make it.  For example, I was told that my interview would be by phone so I asked a leader a few levels ahead of me to help me by conducting a mock interview by telephone.

It will give you a chance to think through the type of answers you’ll respond with, possible questions you may be up against, and you can often get great advice on improving your response from the mock interviewer.  All without jeopardizing the job.

2.  Assuming you already know what will be asked

Just because you are preparing for the interview in advance and you may have some ideas of the questions that will be asked, don’t assume you can prepare for everything.  Believe me, there will be something asked that you did not prepare for.

Some common questions you can count on (even if they sound a little different) are: a) Tell me about yourself; b) Why do you want this position?; and c) Why should we choose you over the other competitive candidates?  Otherwise, the interview is fair game.  Do your best to prepare but realize that in the end, you need to yourself, your stories, and your accomplishments more than the set of 10 questions you assume they will ask.

3.  Not doing your homework

It is critical to get as much information as you can about the job, the company, the environment you may be hired into.  Why?  Two reasons.  First, you should know these things so that you know if the position truly is right for you.  Secondly, you will generally be given an opportunity to show that you cared enough about the job to do your homework – e.g. “So, how did you prepare for this interview?”  Talk to people doing the job, research the top challenges and wins for the department/unit, find out about the personality of the interviewers, read any special reports so you know their relevant metrics.

Some of this may be difficult if you’re outside of the company, but this is especially important when you’re interviewing internally.

4.  Having a weak opening and close

The last time I interviewed, I had a great opening.  It included key highlights of my career, titles I’ve worn not listed on the resume, key strengths, and a little personal detail (e.g. “Proud mother of 2 little girls”).  But when the time came to close, I was not ready.  I was asked the question I shared with you earlier in this article: “So, why should we hire you over anyone else?” and for a few minutes I stumbled in my head over all the things I knew I could offer.  Eventually, it came out of my mouth but it was certainly not as smooth and well-packaged as I wanted it to be.

My own lesson was to be sure to rely on the personal branding statement – know it like the back of your hand so that when the time comes, you can say it with ease.

To get this right through practice, practice, practice.  If nothing else is rehearsed, know your intro because this is your chance for the first impression.  Know your close because it’s the taste of what’s to come if they hire you.

5.  Letting rumors about your competition sink your confidence

Especially in an office setting, rumors get passed around.  Just because you may have heard you’re up against some solid competition in the interview, do not let that sink your confidence in yourself.  There is a reason you were selected to compete.  Whatever that reason is, capitalize on it.  Know your strengths and how they can enhance the position. Be confident that this is the right job, and you are the right person.  It will shine through in the interview.

Good luck!

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable helps ambitious working professionals get the promotion of their dreams. To get instant access to her free special report on how to surefire steps to get promoted stop by and visit http://www.bepromotable.com/

1 Question Before You Go For That Promotion

A corporate colleague of mine asked for coaching to get ready to interview for a mid-level management position.  As we talked, we explored the gains and losses the new position might bring to him and to his lifestyle.  Losses?  he asked.  What in the world could be a loss?  This was a great opportunity to earn a higher salary, a nice big bonus, a company car, and all kinds of accessories.

Who wouldn’t want this spot?!

It was easy to talk about the great things the extra money could do for him and his family, the bills he could pay, the car he would buy.

I posed the question again – this time a little differently.  I asked instead, “when you dream about reaching that next level of your career, what is your lifestyle like?”.  I sat silently until he answered the question.  His first response was that he never thought about it, but shortly he began to talk about things like missing his son’s ball games, answering business calls at the dinner table, taking no time off for vacation.

Next, I asked him to create a list of things he could accept and things he would not compromise to reach the next level.  You see, this allowed him an opportunity to be clear on the vision he really wanted to create while staying true to his most important values – for example, spending quality time with his loved ones.

My colleague sincerely wanted the job he was going for.  Once he saw a 3-d view of what his future could look like, it gave him a chance to reframe to what he really wanted.  We could then get crystal clear about questions he would ask in the interview, time boundaries he might set once he was in the position, results he knew he wanted for both the company and himself.

I think it’s great to climb the corporate ladder.  It can be a win-win for everyone involved.  Just remember to be clear on what your answer is:

What total lifestyle do you want to create by getting the promotion of your dreams?

It might be the question that launches you forward, or makes you take a step back.  Either way, consider your answer well and make sure the values of the company/team align with your own for ultimate career satisfaction.

About the Author: Tanya Smith of Be Promotable.com helps ambitious working professionals get the promotion of their dreams. To grab a spot in her upcoming FREE teleseminar, “The Promotion Formula,” stop by and visit http://www.thepromotionformula.com/.

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