Switching Up to a Career Seeking State of Mind

Alright, the economy really did a number on us as employees. Many of us have lost jobs or were in fear of losing it. We took pay cuts, benefit cuts, and worked extra hard to compensate for being under-staffed. Some of us had to take crummy jobs after crummy jobs just to make sure our mortgages were paid and there was food on the table. Some of us even wondered if we’d ever find a stable job again. I say- enough! I’ve been there before and I know it’s rough. But 2013 is a new year and with last month adding over 100,000 new jobs into the mix, we’re hoping things are looking up. With that being said, it’s time to switch gears and start getting career-minded rather than “job to get by”-minded.

Building yourself up to get ready for your career and achieving your career goals does not happen overnight. It is an ongoing process. So, what should you be focusing on to help you get where you need to be? Here are a few ideas:

  • Personal Branding: resumes are becoming redundant and often highlight what you done rather than your career path intentions. It’s time to stand out of the candidate-crowd and get people to know you for what you WANT to be known for. Get involved in activities, groups, or conferences that can help you gain skills and network. Get exposure on social media. Start TALKING about it.
  • Be about it: maybe your personal brand won’t land you the dream job right off the bat, and that’s to be expected. Your relevant skills might be a bit rusty or maybe you need to develop new ones to keep up with the way the industry had changed. Internships, projects, and volunteer work are never below you- remember that. Some people’s pride and ego get in the way from taking on these seemingly innocent projects/roles. But the truth of the matter is; these situations help you build the skills you need to be an attractive candidate.
  • Learning is continuous: so be sure to add to your talking and doing by learning. Think of it as being extremely well-rounded. Your mind needs to be sharp and up to date. Be sure to find learning opportunities, whether it is to take classes, read business books/blogs, or simply join in a discussion relevant to the career/industry you’re targeting. This can keep you fresh and be ready to contribute useful ideas/insight when you have the opportunity to shine.
  • Build your network: doing all of these steps will be pretty useless if no one knows who you are, where you’re located, or what you’re striving for. It will also be useless if you have no idea what feasible options for you are. Build your network of contacts, get to know them and let them get to know you. Simply building and maintaining these contacts can help them reach out to you if opportunity arises or they can even help guide you so you can ensure you’re taking the right steps towards your goal. Your network will be your support, your mentors, your key to opportunity, or just a good conversation.

Your career isn’t a fleeting thing. It is your future, and a long-term future at that. Take care and pride in these steps to help you reach your goal in the most ideal way possible. 2013 will be the year that you will focus in on your potential and strive to be the best version of yourself. Take action!

If you enjoy topics like this, be sure to join #Tchat on Twitter on Wednesdays at 7pm EST.

More Links:

#Tchat Recap

Storify : Lose job, keep career

5 Powerful Career Drivers for the Future of Work – Forbes article by Meghan M Biro

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Why Isn’t Your Company Retaining Employees?

Working in talent acquisition has allowed me to talk to multiple candidates, day in and day out. Some candidates are currently working and open to opportunities, while other candidates are unemployed for specific reasons (either voluntarily or not) and aggressively seeking. While talking to candidates, I like to take the time to ask them why they voluntarily move on from their current employer. I had always assumed that majority of the time it would have to deal with financial reasons, but I soon discovered that compensation was one of the least common reasons that were provided. Needless to say, I was interested in learning more.

Here are some of the most common reasons that I come across when inquiring about a candidate’s decision to voluntarily quit (in no particular order):

  • No room for growth: one of the most common things I come across is the fact that candidates feel like they have hit a ceiling in their current role. Candidates have expressed that management does not take the time to help them define their career path and, therefore, candidates feel like that the only way to professionally grow is to look for a company that offers them a position that fits what they’re looking to reach.
  • No training opportunities/lack of training: candidates have mentioned to me that their employers’ training programs are seriously lacking or non-existent. Many candidates expressed their desire to work for a company that was well known for their training, development, and continuous learning opportunities because it can not only set them up for success at their current role, but it can help pave the way for a better professional future.
  • Not challenged: sometimes candidates are given an unrealistic job preview and learn that the job actually lacks the challenges they had thought it would have. On the other hand, some candidates have excelled at the current role that they are in but have no opportunities to move up or take on more responsibility. Regardless of the situation, employees are feeling unmotivated which is affecting their happiness at their current role and often causes them to look for something else.
  • Feeling underappreciated: some candidates put in extra work, time, and effort but feel like it goes unnoticed. This had caused candidates to feel underappreciated and also feel like their talents are not being appropriately noticed, especially when it comes to incentive or promotion. In these cases, candidates expressed their desire to find a company that is known to have great management that takes notice of each employee’s contributions.
  • Cultural issues: in some situations, candidates were painted a picture of a certain organizational culture only to learn that the organization does not practice what they preach. In other situations, changes in the organization may have caused disruption in a strong culture. Either way, candidates felt that their company culture no longer matches their personal values and have been more focused on finding a company that is better aligned with this.

So, employers, sometimes it’s not about the compensation, perks, and bonuses. Your employees might be looking to move on from you for deeper reasons than your financial offerings. Take the time to talk to employees and find out the things they value and need in an employer. Truly understanding this can help you create an employer brand that not only attracts talent, but retains your current talent to the best of your abilities.

More links:

The Real Reasons Your Employees Are Leaving You

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All Hail the Chief Culture Officer!

As I’ve mentioned a million times by now, I absolutely love Twitter chats. They’re an amazing source for information and also a great way to come up with some interesting topics to write about. This passed Wednesday, #TChat had a discussion about the Chief Culture Officer (CCO). Of course, this completely grabbed my attention because I love anything involving company culture and try to find other’s that are as passionate about it as I am. This chat helped shed light more on this particular role within an organization and also provided some great take-aways.

For those who are not familiar with this particular position or role, a CCO can simply be defined as the individual that focuses on cultural trends and applies them to the organization. For many years, this was considered a major missing component in maintaining a positive environment. Culture changes rapidly within an organization, so a CCO’s role is especially important in terms of keeping the organizational environment consistent throughout all of these changes, expected or unexpected.

I’m a huge cheerleader when it comes to company culture. It is important for so many reasons. Maintaining a culture is a full-time job and a company would seriously benefit from having a CCO to focus on this. Some positive reasons why having a good culture is imperative:

  • It creates trust among employees of all levels.
  • It helps employees to share and collaborate inter-departmentally and also cross-departmentally.
  • Good culture can increase productivity.
  • Can increase employee engagement.
  • It can increase employee satisfaction.
  • It can brand a company as “Best Employer to Work For” which can attract quality talent.
  • It promotes business growth and development.
  • It can reduce absenteeism and increase employee retention.

As I so eloquently said in the chat: if your culture sucks, what quality employees do you really think will stick around? Apparently, quite a few HR professionals agreed with this and consistently retweeted this sentiment. A CCO is the cultural fabric of your organization and helps the company shift seamlessly with change. Additionally, the CCO can really open up two-way communication with employees to determine what they want out of their employer to make their working experience a better one. I’m a firm believer that if you care about and invest in your employees, you’ll receive extraordinary results from them in return. What are you doing to ensure that you are their employer of choice?

Links:

TalentCulture #TChat Recap

The Rise of the CCO

The DNA Collaboration

A Job I Want Some Day: CCO

An Awesome Mashup that Justin Mass of Adobe Created of #TChat. Tweets from #TChat are spoken by Jocelyn Aucoin of WorkSimple, JD Dillion of Kaplan Higher Education, and myself.

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If you’re interested in learning more about TalentCulture, be sure to join #TChat on Wednesday at 7PM EST