If you’ve been following A More Perfect Career on social media, I’ve been posting Weekly Career Tips. Here, I’ve collected them all and will continue to add more as I offer them. So, be sure to check back weekly for new career tips!

If you have an idea for future career tips, please don’t hesitate to contact me and offer a suggestion. That’s what I’m here for.

CAREER TIP #1 – Are you a Victor or a Victim?
One of the best ways to stay engaged and motivated is to remain positive, take ownership, have vision and seek excellence in everything we do. The people who do are Victors!! Victims assign blame, make excuses, are negative, live in denial and are scarce when projects come up. Employers want Victors and look to hire or promote Victors. Be a Victor, not a Victim.

CAREER TIP #2 – Have you ever heard the phrase “Perception is Reality”?
Do you perceive the place you work to be less than ideal? You can become jaded based on your attitude, which becomes your perception. Try this. Get to work a little earlier, wear something sharp, and stay off of social media. Treat workplace as a professional setting filled with professionals. You will start to see yourself as a professional and your work will become valuable and rewarding. Looking the part boosts your self-confidence, changes your perception of yourself, and the way you are perceived by others.

CAREER TIP #3 – How many LinkedIn 1st-degree connections do you have?
A 1st-degree connection should be someone you know who, if needed, could help you, maybe introduce you to someone or refer you to a hiring manager. People who are successful in their careers have a closely held group of 1st-degree connections whom they talk to, network with and refer opportunities to. Can you say that about your 1st-degree connections? If you can’t, you need to change the way you handle your 1st degree.

CAREER TIP #4 – The Law of Self Control.
You are what you think. Positive thoughts lead to positive feelings which, in turn, lead to positive actions which then lead to successful outcomes. Conversely, negative thoughts lead to negative feelings which lead to negative actions which lead to unsuccessful outcomes. Whatever stage you are in your career, push the negative away and always stay positive.

CAREER TIP #5 – The Parthenon Principle.
The Parthenon is the greatest of all Greek temples. Built over 2000 years ago, it still stands due to the strength of all its pillars. Your career and career transition are similar. A career transition plan that is built on one pillar, or strategy, is weak and doomed to collapse. You need five or six different strategies all working together, supporting and complementing each other.

CAREER TIP #6 – Too many people, too few positions.
The further you progress in your career and the higher you go in an organization, the less likely you are to find a new job in the public listings. Too many people, too few positions. Start today and make it a goal to spend one hour each week developing, nurturing and maintaining your personal network. A strong vibrant personal network is the new job board in today’s job market.

CAREER TIP #7 – Zero-Based Thinking.
Almost 95% of what we do is based on habits. Think about what you do every day. Are there habits that are holding you back? People who are successful in their careers are constantly re-evaluating where they spend their time, money and energy. Look at your life. Knowing what you know today, are there things that you would not do again? It’s never too late to start changing.

CAREER TIP #8 – What does it take to be successful in your career?
More than 100 years ago, Andrew Carnegie and Napoleon Hill interviewed over 3,000 companies and individuals about what made them successful. They found three common traits among all of them: knowledge, skills and attitude. Interestingly, skills and knowledge accounted for 15% of the total. Attitude comprised 85% of the formula for success back then and evidence shows that the same applies today. How does your attitude affect your career?

CAREER TIP #9 – What is holding you back?
Better known as Critical Constraints, there are always “things” that slow down the process or bottleneck the speed at which we achieve our goals. How does that apply to your career or search? Some research suggests that 80% of the bottlenecks are internal constraints. Ask yourself, “What is holding me back?” Then go out and remove those constraints.

CAREER TIP #10 – “I’m not sure what I want to do.”
A common theme shared by many going through career transition. Get help. Talk to people close to you. Ask them what you do well. Go to  www.onetonline.org and research careers, industries and jobs. Talk to people in the industries where you think you might like to work. Find a good coach who can use assessments and experience to help you.

CAREER TIP #11 – Mindstorming.
One of the most powerful tools for goal achievement is an exercise called Mindstorming. Think about your major goal as it relates to your career or job search. Write it out as a question. Then, on a clean sheet of paper, start writing down all the answers to the question about your career. The first 8-12 will be easy. Don’t give up. It’s the last 8-10 that will help give you clarity on what you need to do to achieve your goal or solve your problem.

CAREER TIP #12 – Key Performance Indicators.
Successful businesses have a series of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to tell them when they are doing well. You should have the same for your career. Keep a running log of your accomplishments. Your next potential employer will want to know what you accomplished, not what you were responsible for. Keeping an updated log ensures that you do not forget to include your successes when building that next resume.

CAREER TIP #13 – Problem-Solving.
Above, I asked you to start keeping a log of accomplishments. That will help you answer the question, “What Problem Do I Solve?” With that answer, you can begin building your brand and value statement. Employers want and need people who get results. Being able to communicate this in a resume and during an interview is key to distinguishing yourself from the crowd.

CAREER TIP #14 – Are you communicating for success?
DISC is a universal language that everyone speaks. There are four dialects of DISC. So, that means roughly 75% of the population speaks a different dialect than you. How does this affect your career or interviews when the people you are talking to are having a hard time understanding you? Take some time to learn DISC and how to use it proactively. Your career will thank you.

CAREER TIP #15 – Urgent vs. Important.
Start tracking everything you do each day. Group all activities into the following categories based on urgency: Urgent and Important, Not Urgent but Important, Urgent but not Important, Not Urgent not Important. Address urgent tasks first, followed by the important ones. Take “Not Urgent not Important” off of your to-do list. You will become more productive and more valuable to your employer.

CAREER TIP #16 – Networking.
This is a term that sends shivers down the spines of many. If you are familiar with my previous tips on Attitude, Critical Constraints, KPIs etc., apply those tips to networking and commit to changing your behavior and start getting social. Seek out help. It’s how 75% of us find jobs. Sit on the sideline and keep getting the same results; or change your behavior and change the results.

CAREER TIP #17 – FAB.
Features Advantages Benefits. Every product has a set of features advantages and benefits. Products are bought because of their benefits. People get hired because of their benefits. Most resumes list features and advantages. Write your resume in a way that showcases your benefits and watch how well the job market responds.

CAREER TIP #18 – Published Jobs.
Before you apply to another published job, take the job description and cross out all parts that you have not done or where you lack the qualifications. Be honest! Start with the first sentence and go to the end. You might be surprised how “unqualified” you are for the position. Employers want an exact match between the job description and the resume.

CAREER TIP #19 – Follow Instructions.
Attention to detail is critical when looking to land a job, from filling out the application accurately and completely to following up in the employer’s preferred method of communication. The percentage of candidates who are unable or unwilling to follow instructions is surprisingly very high. The entire process is a test. Those who score 100% do well in the job market!!

CAREER TIP #20 – Compensation.
“Oh, by the way, what salary are you looking for?” This is the number 1 question that eliminates people from consideration. If you get this question in the first round of interviews, reply with a question of your own: “May I ask what the range is?” In most cases, giving the interviewer an actual number with eliminate you from consideration.

CAREER TIP #20 – The Myth of the Published Job Market.
Job boards, recruiters, company web sites: these are the three main areas of what’s known as The Published Job Market. Everybody uses them, but few are successful. Often, there are over 500 resumes submitted for one opening. Unless you are very good at games of chance, you have to change the rules of engagement.

CAREER TIP #21 – The Myth of the Published Job Market.
Job boards, recruiters, company web sites: these are the three main areas of what’s known as The Published Job Market. Everybody uses them, but few are successful. Often, there are over 500 resumes submitted for one opening. Unless you are very good at games of chance, you have to change the rules of engagement.

CAREER TIP #22 – One Hour a Week.
Commit to spending one hour a week reaching out to “your network.” Those who find jobs easily tend to do this on a weekly basis. As time goes on, “your network” will grow and become healthy. Job opportunities will tend to come to you rather than you having to chase after them.

CAREER TIP #23 – Career Change.
Career change can mean different things to different people. If you have been doing “something” for an extended period and are looking to start doing “something different,” you are in career change. Seek help with what that “something different” is. The library, bookstores, internet, friends, family, professionals… there is a lot of help out there.

CAREER TIP #24 – Time Management.
You cannot add more time to the day. You can only allocate the available time differently. If you are targeting a change in jobs or career, it is critically important that you allocate that time wisely and make the best use of it. Don’t spend your available time on outdated methods and tactics. Update them to make yourself as effective as possible.

CAREER TIP #25 – The Mindset of the Interviewer.
When you go into an interview, keep in mind “the mindset” of the person conducting it. At the heart of the matter, they are trying to figure out #1 Can you do the job? #2 Will you do the Job? #3 How will you fit within the culture of the company? #4 How will it reflect on them if they recommend you to be hired? Remember this and tailor your answers to address these underlying questions.

CAREER TIP #26 – Be Professional.
Get a professional head shot taken for your LinkedIn profile. Update your profile and your overall image. Make sure your technology is up to date. Telling an employer you cannot email a document because your computer crashed is suicide. Asking if you can hand-write something and fax it will eliminate you from consideration. Make sure your voice mail greeting is professional and welcoming. Use a simplified email address (i.e., first initial, last name @gmail.com) If you have a long and confusing email address, you will miss emails due to entry errors.

CAREER TIP #27 – Your Area of Excellence.
Everyone has special talents and abilities that are better than anyone else’s. In order to take charge of your life, to achieve your goals and to build a successful career, you must discover what these special talents and abilities are, and then you must commit to honing them into a finely tuned instrument to be used to your advantage.

CAREER TIP #28 – Value.
Which person would you hire? “I led a team of six salespeople across the entire Mid-Atlantic Region. I was responsible for their sales budgets, their expense accounts, helping them formulate strategic plans and goals.” OR “I increased the revenue of the Mid-Atlantic region from $4M to $12M while lowering expenses 18% and meeting 100% of all goals, as I managed six salespeople.” Employers hire people who accomplish things, not people who do things. For a complimentary resume review click here.

CAREER TIP #29 – LinkedIn.
Yes, LinkedIn is a big job board. It is also the world’s largest networking platform. Putting you resume on LinkedIn or saying, “Looking for and Opportunity” is a turnoff. Write your LinkedIn summary as though you are at giant networking event. Would you have your resume taped to your forehead?

CAREER TIP #30 – Culture.
Every company has a different culture. Understanding the culture where you fit best can help you become more focused in your search and more productive in interviews. Think about how you work. Are you entrepreneurial or collaborative? Do you like a faster-paced always-changing environment, or do you prefer things somewhat steady and laid back? Cutting-edge or wait-’til-it’s-proven mindset? Think about it. Where will you fit best?

CAREER TIP #31 – Social Media. To some degree, we are all on social media. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your social media posts are a matter of public record. In today’s world, it is very common for employers to do a complete search of your social media posts. Your Facebook posts that indicate a political slant might hurt your chances for a job if the hiring manager does not see things your way.

CAREER TIP #32 – References.
There are many stories out there about people losing a job offer because of a bad reference. Much of the hiring process is out of your control. This is not. Prior to starting a search, you should personally vet 4-6 references. Have a conversation with them. Ask them questions and gauge their responses. If they seem hesitant, do not use them. Impress upon your references the importance of returning phone calls. An unreturned phone call from a prospective employer will negatively impact you and be viewed as a poor reference.

CAREER TIP #33 – Leadership.
Leadership is the most important factor of why businesses succeed or fail. Even if you are not interviewing for a leadership position, employers are looking for people who act and behave like leaders. Having clarity about your Vision, your Mission and your Purpose goes a long way toward effectively communicating your value as a leader to the organization.

CAREER TIP #34 – Becoming More Effective.
As we undertake a job search or contemplate career transition, we need to become very effective in what we do and how we do it. The job market is not kind to those who enter half-heartedly. There are three things we can do to become more effective and increase our productivity. First is to set clear written goals. Second is to have clear written plans of action; and third is to set priorities.

CAREER TIP #35 – Don’t Get Ahead of Yourself.
Within the interview process, there is a defined way of doing things and an order in which things progress. Getting ahead of yourself in the process can lead to you being eliminated. Relocation, benefits and per diems are all questions to be saved until AFTER you are offered the job. If it’s not offered, they do not mean anything. Don’t put the cart before the horse. Its self-serving.

CAREER TIP #36 – Your Resume.
What does your resume say about you and what is the message you are looking to convey? Well, it depends on the job. No two jobs are the same, so no two resumes should be the same. Start with a “base” resume and tweak it to match the job description and title. Your resume is like a point in time and it should evolve and change every time you send it somewhere.

CAREER TIP #37 – Double Down?
If you have spent any time at all in the job market, you know it’s a frustrating and demoralizing place to be. Maybe it’s time to take a couple of days off to clear your head. Do something to revitalize yourself. Then come back and double down on your efforts. But let’s start working smarter, not harder.

 

Remember, I’ll be adding career tips each week. So, be sure to check back regularly. Ideas for future career tips are welcome. Contact me with your ideas.

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If you’d like a professional review and feedback of your current resume, send it to me.

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