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Archive for June, 2013

How to attract work to you — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

June 28th, 2013 Comments off

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The current form of career development/management is flawed.  First, you discover what work you might like to do and are qualified to do and then you go in search of someone offering a job/needing someone with your skills. Once you settle on a particular line of work, you make the rounds, resume (if not hat) in hand, begging someone to give you a job. It has been this way for centuries, but I think that is exactly the argument for why it shouldn’t be done that way anymore.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  
 

The power dynamics of the job search need to find a more level playing field. Instead of playing the same old game, workers need to take control and start developing ways of attracting work to them instead of searching for work only when thrown off by unexpected layoffs. By attracting work, you develop the career you want and deserve and help to smooth out the sometimes rocky road of career development. Instead of bouncing from job to job, it can help to ensure that you have a selection of opportunities to choose from and are not forced to take a job simply because it’s the only one you quickly find. You should never feel forced into a job, but that is exactly what happens if you are not developing your own options on a regular basis.

Attracting work to you is a lifelong process and begins the minute you start thinking of a career. For most of us, I would say that probably begins in high school. If we start then, and keep at the process throughout your career, you can have a very successful career no matter where your expertise lies. Attracting work should become an integral part of your life, and not something you only do when forced. While this constant focus on your career may seem more difficult at the start, once established, it makes your life infinitely easier. It will simply become one of those innate actions, like brushing your teeth or paying the bills, that, when done correctly, make life a bit better and easier.

The most important aspect of attracting work to you is this — share your work, your products, your ideas, and your opinions with your friends family online and in person. Your goal for the foreseeable future is to “tell people what you do and how well you do it.” It is a simple fact that you miss out on many opportunities, every day, because those around you have no, clear, idea what knowledge and skills you hold. This isn’t about arrogance or “tooting your own horn” either. It is about informing, in the most basic way, those around you so that when they have a need, it is known that you might be able to help them.

Attracting work to you is possible, no matter where you are in your career. As you work, you will build things, learn things and have feelings about your work and how it might be made better. It is only natural. The next step, though, is sharing that information. Work is an large part of your life so it shouldn’t be a black hole that your friends and family know nothing about. Share what you are doing at work, what you’re accomplishing and what might make it better.

You share this for a number of reasons. First, people can’t know what you don’t tell them. Sometimes, we like to think that the sheer brilliance of our work will speak for itself. It doesn’t always happen that way. Unless we take an active role in promoting our work, most will never hear of us, even if we accomplish important things. By sharing your work, regularly, you place a “bookmark” in people’s minds that they can recall in the future. Perhaps they don’t need an accountant right now, but when they need one in the future, you want your name and your skills, to jump to mind. If you have shared your skills and knowledge, you are improving the odds that that will happen. Place enough of these bookmarks in the minds of enough people and you’re developing a huge resource to call upon in the future. You have prepared that ground so that when you’re ready for that next step in your career, you have already planted the seeds for your next great job.

Placing these bookmarks in people’s minds should become part of your life and daily activities. For me, one of the best ways to accomplish this is through my blogging and associated social media sharing. If you solve a problem in your work, don’t keep it to yourself. Make this knowledge work for you and share it with others. When you share something useful and help someone else, they’re going to remember that. You’ve now made an impression on them, even at a distance. Of course, this also works with in-person relationships. Help out a friend, a family member, or a friend of a friend and you’re making connections that can help you in the future.

Of course, you never know how these connections might help you in the future, but that is what makes these connections even more important. The next big leap in your career could just as easily come from a stranger at your local coffee bar as from a close personal friend. You have no idea who might be helpful so you must develop the most connections you can, both face-to-face and online. In doing so, you are moving the odds in your favor. The more people you know and help, the more likely you will find opportunities with them.

Finally, another great reason for making these connections/placing these bookmarks in people’s minds is because many others are not doing it. They are still stuck in the traditional methods of career building — searching for work instead of attracting it to them. When you spend your time “telling people what you do and how well you do it,“ you are raising yourself above a large amount of the competition. You are going above and beyond their typical methods and, in the best cases, while they are frantically looking for a new job, you will, hopefully, be deciding among many opportunities.

***

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Archive: Get your next job by referral — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

June 24th, 2013 Comments off

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If you have been interviewed for even a few jobs, you have realized that the process is biased against you in many ways. Everything is designed to make the process easier and more successful for your future employer rather than for you. Despite your needs as an employee, the process is designed to grind through the list of candidates and spit out a, hopefully, qualified employee. If you want to survive this process and find the job, and the career, you deserve, you need to move beyond the traditional strategies of cover letter and resume. You need to find ways to circumvent the process and develop an advantage over the other candidates.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  

Let me be clear, though. When I talk about circumventing the process I am not talking about having your resume delivered via FedEx, or worse still, in a pizza box. It isn’t about sending email to every person at the company. Not only will these tactics not work, they are likely to prevent you from ever getting a job at that particular company and perhaps others.

Instead of simply submitting your resume into the great maw that is most HR departments, you need to start, today, building an on-going job search that doesn’t depend on want ads and resumes. You need to start making connections and relationships that allow you to walk into the company of your choice with a head start.

The Perfect Situation

Your first step to a better job is to get a referral to a particular company or for a particular position. As any good salesman knows, cold calls are the least effective method of selling. Any introduction, even the most tenuous can give you a large “step up” in the process. Since getting a job is one of the most important sales you will ever make, it only makes sense to apply some of the same rules.

How do you gain these referrals? First, you have to do great work, regardless of your current environment, co-workers or management. Even in the worst jobs, you can still shine and people around you, both management and peers will recognize that. In today’s highly charged job market, workers move around much more frequently. You never know where your co-workers might be 1, 2, 3 years in the future. Doing your best work means that someone might just come looking for you when they need a new employee or co-worker. Even if they are never in the position to hire you, they might be able to refer you to someone who can, something they are more likely to do if they had a good work experience with you, even in a bad work environment.

Next, expose yourself to as many people as possible. Too often, we cloister ourselves within our family, close friends and co-workers to such an extent that we never have the opportunity to build more extensive relationships. Join a user group, a professional society, Toastmasters, whatever organization strikes your interest. If you don’t know which one to join, try out several. Visit a meeting and see if you enjoy the environment.

Whatever the organization you choose, the next step is to get involved. Don’t sit on the sidelines. Take on a small task to start and do it well. Now you have increased those that know your work, and its quality — and you are having fun, too. Talk with your fellow members. Find out what is happening in their companies. Do they have any job openings where you meet the requirements? You need not be mercenary, constantly looking for openings, but you should be aware of your newly discovered possibilities.

Of course, you can’t do this overnight, nor should you try. Just like preparing for your retirement from the minute you start your career, you should always be preparing for new jobs, new careers and new possibilities. The sooner you begin, the more success you will have, but even seasoned workers, like myself, can benefit, as we re-dedicate ourselves to exploring new opportunities, new groups and new friends. For my part, I have become quite involved in two user groups and make a point to attend meetings, dinners and simply get involved.

Finally, don’t be afraid to ask for a referral if someone can help. A good referral reflects well on you and even more on the person who referred you. No one wants to refer a bad candidate for a job, but if you have done your work well, they will not hesitate to pass along your name.

In today’s job market, it is those who move beyond the resume that will benefit most. Don’t let your next job search be a string of unproductive cold calls. Seek out the referrals that can bring your resume to the top of stack.

***

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Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – June 23, 2013

June 23rd, 2013 Comments off

Jobs offered

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – June 23, 2013

  • UTAF Non-Profit Listings for 06-13-2013
  • UTA Listings for 06-17-2013
  • Inside Wholesale Mortgage Account Executive, Clear Vision Funding (Orange County)
  • Clinical Data Manager- Long term contract (San Fransisco Bay Area)
  • Assistant to Talent Manager
  • Assistant to Managing Director–ICM Partner’s Digital Strategy Division
  • Assistant to Co-President of Dreamworks TV
  • Bookkeeper (Brentwood/LA)

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions and past listings

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – June 23, 2013

June 23rd, 2013 Comments off

Jobs offered

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – June 23, 2013

  • UTAF Non-Profit Listings for 06-13-2013
  • UTA Listings for 06-17-2013
  • Inside Wholesale Mortgage Account Executive, Clear Vision Funding (Orange County)
  • Clinical Data Manager- Long term contract (San Fransisco Bay Area)
  • Assistant to Talent Manager
  • Assistant to Managing Director–ICM Partner’s Digital Strategy Division
  • Assistant to Co-President of Dreamworks TV
  • Bookkeeper (Brentwood/LA)

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions and past listings

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

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What you need: A Freedom Cache — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

June 22nd, 2013 Comments off

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One of the most important aspects of any career is the freedom to make the best decisions for yourself and your family. Allowing circumstance to push you from one job to another without any sort of plan ensures that someone else will always be in charge of your career. You either make your career happen or your career happens to you. If you truly want to build the career you deserve, you have to insure that you also build the stability and the cash reserves that allow you make career decisions on your own terms instead of making decisions because you have no other choice.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  
 

As difficult as it might sound, one, main, underlying goal from the moment you begin you career should be developing a “Freedom Cache” (or Cash) if you prefer. This is a reserve of otherwise untouchable cash that can see you through tough times, job changes, and career missteps. This money is one of the resources that allows you to leave a bad job when needed. It is the freedom to choose one job over another. It is the stability and comfort that allows you to make the best decisions for yourself and your career, even if it means leaving behind the stability and income of your current job. Some people call this “forget you” money, to use a family friendly form of the phrase. In some cases, this might be exactly what it is…a chance to confidently leave a bad situation when you need to.

Why is a freedom cache so important? It allows you to focus on the job or career issues at hand without adding in worries over associated issues that might be triggered should you make a particular decision. It is stressful enough when you decide to leave a job, look for another job, or start your own business. When your career decisions are also clouded by fears about health care, rent, food and clothing, that will impact your ability to make the best career decision possible. These basic needs will always take precedence over more abstract thoughts about what you want and need in your career. Simply put, if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, you can’t even contemplate quitting your current job — even if it could lead to much greater success in your future career.

When your basic needs are not being met you are trapped in a number of ways. You are trapped in your life because you can’t improve your career without dangerously effecting your precarious standard of living. All decisions you make will come from sheer self-preservation, with little thought towards possible future benefits. You’ll feel that you can’t risk everything (or anything) for some unknown, possibly achievable rewards in the future. Of course, this also then means you are trapped within your career. You can’t even contemplate quitting the job that is keeping you afloat, no matter how demanding or demeaning it might be. You will put up with abuse, mental and even physical, because you feel you have no other choice. When you feel you are trapped in your life, you truly are. By believing you are trapped, you make that trap real.

A freedom cache can help to break you out of this trap. Even more, once established, it can help move from one career success to another as your stability and resources grow over time. Like many parts of life and career, it is a cycle. Once you build your stability, you are willing to take more risks, which results in more rewards, which results in more stability, which allows you to take more and bigger risks which results in more and bigger rewards. In successful careers, this cycle repeats over and over with greater and greater effect. Like a snowball rolling downhill it creates its own momentum and builds its own size as it goes.

So what do you need in your freedom cache? At the start, it is mainly about the cash. From the moment you start earning money, you need to be saving as much as you can. This doesn’t mean starving yourself or living in a hovel, but it does mean making a conscious effort to put something aside, no matter how small. Every penny you put away is one more piece of stability you are adding to your life — one more small place to firmly stand even when the storm is raging around you.

How big a freedom cache?

My basic guideline for a freedom cache is enough money to cover 3-4 months of your current expenses, should you need. Of course, in order to know this amount, you must track your monthly expenses — something that everyone should be doing as a matter of habit. Yes, you can probably live on less if you need, but knowing that you have a 3-4 month buffer in your life, without effecting your current standard of living can be liberating. It can remove a lot of the day to day worries that can sometimes overwhelm us.

You don’t — and probably can’t — collect this money all at once, but knowing your monthly expenses gives you a milestone to work towards. I want to reinforce that anything you can put towards this fund is useful, no matter how small. You aren’t trying to deprive yourself, but rather work towards a long term goal in whatever way you can. That said, this goal shouldn’t be — and I believe can’t be — ignored. If you do, you are allowing life to happen to you instead of moving your life in the directions you most desire.

Education and Skills

Along with work towards tracking your monthly expenses, consider the state of your education and skills. Just as you might bank cash for your future, you need to bank new knowledge and skills for the future. In some ways, this can be easier than building up your cash funds, as you can build your education through many free or cheap resources. Your local library is often the first place to start, closely followed by the huge collection of Internet resources. You can learn almost anything by reading or watching videos and you should always be seeking out those topics that interest you most. Sure, many won’t turn into a career –and they don’t have to — but I find that knowledge learned in one area often has a way of being useful in many other areas, too. This education will provide the ability to move from job to job and career to career with a ready set of skills that can be applied wherever and whenever you need them. Fill your education bank accounts on a daily basis and consider that a worthy addition to your freedom cache.

People

Finally, the last and probably most important part of your freedom cache is a collection of great people. This doesn’t mean just powerful people who can help you in your career, but rather great people in all aspects. Surround yourself with the best friends possible as you make your way through life and avoid those people that exhibit the worst parts of human nature. You reinforce your own best qualities when you surround yourself with others who do the same. When new people join our circle of friends, they often comment on how “nice” our friends are. This isn’t something that happens by accident. We cultivate those people who exhibit qualities we would most like to see in ourselves. We don’t bother with those who are petty, jealous, grasping, coveting, angry or envious. Time is too short to spend in their company. Cultivate your own, best, collection of friends just as you collect money and knowledge. They are equally important parts of the whole.

Money, knowledge and friends are the biggest parts of your freedom cache. You should hold them in your mind always and seek to develop them in every way possible as you make your way through your life and career. Together, as part of your freedom cache, they hold the secret of a happy, and productive life and also the career that you deserve.

***

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Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – June 16, 2013

June 16th, 2013 Comments off

Jobs offered

Job Openings from Tuesdays with Transitioners

Jennifer Oliver O’Connell, organizer of Tuesdays with Transitioners posted these job listings recently. Join Tuesdays with Transitioners Meetup group to receive these job listings directly via Meetup.com and email.

Job Listings from Tuesdays with Transitioners – June 16, 2013

  • District Sales Manager (Los Angeles)
  • Java Developer, Contract (San Diego)
  • Executive Assistant to Director
  • USC Credit Union is Seeking Marketing Coordinator
  • USC Credit Union is Seeking an Indirect Auto Lending Manager
  • Sr. Accountant- Large High Tech based Company (Orange County, CA)
  • Senior Accountant (Newport Beach, CA)
  • Part-time Market Research Manager role
  • Curriculum Development -Christian Institute on Disability
  • Accounts Payable Specialist, Joni and Friends
  • Part-time Fundraiser Position

Link to Tuesdays with Transitioners for details on all these positions and past listings

** Find more jobs on the Career Opportunities Job Board from SimplyHired.com

Archive: Tell it like it is — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

June 15th, 2013 Comments off

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When you are addressing problems in your work and your career, I usually recommend taking a soft approach. No matter how severe the problem, a few gentle words can often smooth the waters and get people back on track. That said, there will come a time in your career when you simply have to tell it like it is. While it does call for a certain amount of tact, this isn’t a time for sugar-coating the message. If you have tried resolving the problem with more subtle methods, then it might be time to sit down with the person and deliver a bit of unvarnished truth.


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  

While you might think it necessary to have these tough conversations only with those who work for you, you will often need to have them with your peers. These conversations can be more difficult, due to the different nature of your relationship, but they are just as important. If you cannot resolve a situation with a co-worker by talking it out, you may need to get your manager involved. This may have consequences far outside your control, though. It is better for both of you to work out your differences alone, rather than risk the annoyance of your boss.

The first rule of engagement in a situation like this is tact and decorum. Even though you are delivering bad news, you don’t need to be obnoxious about it. Bullying, threatening behavior will only further charge the atmosphere and usually results in dramatic scenes that do almost nothing to solve the problem. No matter how angry the other person may get, or how abusive, you need to remain as calm and respectful as possible. You job is to communicate the nature of the problem and what needs to be done to correct it, not belittle the person.

That said, the time for “beating around the bush” is over. You need to come to your point quickly and directly. You need to lay out real world examples of the problem that clearly illustrate what you mean. State them quickly and directly and then ask the person if they understand the issues you have presented. Some defensiveness is to be expected, but sometimes, feeling trapped, people can lash out at you, the company and everyone around them. It is up to you to keep the conversation on track, though. Don’t allow yourself to be pulled into discussions that aren’t directly involved in the problem at hand. Remember, your goal is to make this the last conversation you need have about this problem. Stay focused and see it through.

In the past, I might have recommended you use language such as, “I feel…” when presenting your issues. Since subtler methods have failed to address this problem in the past, though, I would caution against it here. They give the other person the opportunity to dismiss your concerns as personal, rather than professional. They will see you as the problem, not the situation you are trying to correct.

In some cases, your own actions might have played a part in the creation of the problem. If so, clearly admit that. If you don’t bring it up, the other person surely will. That said, don’t take the entire burden on yourself. Perhaps your directions for a particular project were not clear in the beginning, then this was a failure on your part. If the other person continued to not perform their duties, though, even after multiple clarifications then the failure also lies with them.

The final, and most important, point to remember is that you cannot ignore problems, simply hoping they will go away. That is probably what brought you to have a discussion in the first place. When you ignore problems, they fester and grow until you are forced to deal with them in a supercharged environment of anger and spite. No matter how difficult it might be to address a problem now, I can guarantee you that it will only be more difficult should you wait.

From today forward, make a commitment to yourself and others to address problems and issues earlier and more directly. I can only imagine the amount of hours, dollars and tears that might be saved if we only took that commitment to heart. Today, not tomorrow, is always the best time to tell it like it is.

***

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Jobs Available – Listings of all types at Jobs.WelchWrite.com – Search by keyword and location

June 12th, 2013 Comments off

Looking for a job? There are a host of job listings available on Jobs.WelchWrite.com every day.

Enter the keywords you are searching for and your location to get fresh and focused listings.

Career jobs

Jobs.WelchWrite.com

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Transitioning out of consulting can feel like quitting 100 Jobs — from the Career Opportunities Podcast

June 12th, 2013 Comments off

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It never occurred to me that leaving my computer consulting business would be such a dramatic change. Sure, I have quit jobs in the past, but closing your consulting business or transitioning it into a new business as I am, is unlike quitting any single job. You find yourself quitting each and every client individually which is like quitting 100 or more jobs, one after the other in a process that can take months, or even, years. There is no easy way to do it. 


Books by Douglas E. Welch
  
 

Throughout this process, you will experience many emotions. You may be fearful about your new direction, but your clients will also be fearful and maybe even angry that you will no longer be available. Some will have come to rely deeply on you and your skills and will be unsure if some other consultant can provide them the level of service they expect and desire. No one really likes change and being forced to change can cause a lot of stress. This stress can cause them to lash out. Be aware of this and be ready to help your clients through the process. That said, don’t postpone or stop your transition. Once you have decided to move forward in your career, it is very important that you continue with the process. You have to do what you think best for yourself and your career.

Breaking the bonds

Much like stopping smoking or trying to diet, going “cold turkey” is often the only way to move forward with large changes. Sure you’ll have to finish projects for some clients and start referring clients to someone new, but breaking from your existing business is a slow and arduous process. As I said earlier, it is not like you can hand in your resignation and be done. You have to “resign” from all your clients, both large and small. On some days, it might feel like the process may never end, but I can assure it does. It just takes some time.

For both your benefit, and the benefit of your clients, establish a schedule that allows you to transition out of your consulting role in several clearly defined steps. First, announce your transition to existing clients. Lay out your timeline for transition and provide any referrals that you can. Referrals are important, as many clients will quickly transition to that person or business, freeing up time to focus on your transition. More importantly, explain that — starting immediately — you will no longer be taking on any new clients. It is better to stop that flow immediately.

Next, give your clients a firm date when you will no longer be available to them. Your clients need to clearly understand that they need to find a new consultant, or in-house staffer, sooner instead of later. You need to be focusing on your new role, not servicing your original clients. As mentioned above, some clients will transition immediately, wish you the best in your new career and move on. Others will drag their feet and continue to call on your for support. This is probably inevitable, but in the worst cases, there will come a time when you will have to stop returning their calls. Do everything you can to move on.

Just stop

Finally, when the time comes, you need to stop. It can be tempting to keep working for some clients. You may want the extra money or you might simply want to help those clients who haven’t made the transition yet. All these can be worthwhile reasons, It can also slow your transition to your new role – taking your time and attention from where it is needed most. Don’t fall into this trap. If necessary, think of these consulting clients like past jobs. You wouldn’t continue working for your old employer in a typical job situation, so you shouldn’t continue working for old clients.

Hopefully, your transition will be easy, but in some cases it can be immensely difficult. People may be angry at you for “leaving them in the lurch” and feel abandoned by you. You may be fearful over your own transition and the challenge of finding new clients, learning new skills, building your cash flow and more. Still, as with any life change, you must do what you consider best for you. If you truly believe that you’re doing what is most important for you, then you’ll need to ignore the recriminations of others. Those who want to see you be successful in life will understand and support your decisions. Those that don’t understand your need to to change jobs often won’t be dissuaded. No amount of argument or discussion will convince them of the importance of your change. The best you can do, after preparing them as much as you can, is walk away from these clients and onto the next step in your career.

***

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Event: Douglas speaks on “Social Media and Your Career” at Tuesdays with Transitioners – June 18, 2013 at Noon

June 11th, 2013 Comments off

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Join me next week for a discussion on Social Media and Your Career.

Back by popular demand, Douglas will continue with his “Year of Self-Preservation” theme by focusing on “Social Media Self Preservation” — how to take advantage of social media without losing your mind!

There is a way to make the best use of social media without falling into the traps of lost privacy, burnout, or feeling as though all your time is taken up with it.

Douglas will discuss how to use it to your advantage, what are the best networks, how you can best “be found”, reserving your name, and who to include in your community, among others.

Balance in your social media sharing is the key to longevity and optimizing it so that you are promoting yourself to the fullest. Douglas will point the way!

Douglas will also talk about how you can get involved with CareerCamp SCV, Saturday, July 13, 2013 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at College of the Canyons, Santa Clarita.

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