Mentors – Both Formal and Informal

Mentors

mentorsDo you have one or more mentors?

My one regret from early in my career was I did not seek out mentors. I regret not having someone who could guide me when there was a fork in the road. I have encountered multiple of these forks in my career, and I did not always choose the best path.

Today, I have multiple mentors. I have a business coach. I have multiple mentors that support me in different aspects of my business. I also mentor others.

Some of these relationships are formal, but most are informal.

Why would someone be willing to be one of my mentors?

I am often asked, “Why would someone be will to be one of my mentors?”

It is a compliment. When I mentor someone, I get that good feeling that I have helped them.

Think of it as a gift. By allowing someone to guide and help you reach the next level, you are giving them a gift.

Formal versus informal mentors

I have multiple informal mentor relationships. These are people in my tribe or fan club who I can go to when I need advice or a favor. We do not meet on any regular basis.

Just last week, I was in the process of moving my website to a new service provider, and I needed advice on how to proceed. I reached out to one of my mentors and I got really solid advice.

I have several informal mentors that I can go to for help with PR, sales, networking, etc.

I have formal relationships with several mentors. One is my business coach. Another is the provider of the Birkman Assessment which I use with all of my clients. I pay my business coach and my provider, but these are still mentoring relationships.

Most formal mentoring relationships will have a regular schedule that you will follow and clear goals that you are working to achieve.

Finding Mentors

You first need to determine what areas you need help in. You can then target people who might be able to help in three areas:

  • Work – Look for leaders in your workplace
  • Outside of Work – Look for leaders in the industry or discipline. They do not necessarily have to be located near you.
  • LinkedIn – You can take the same strategies that I recommend in the Targeted Job Search to find mentors.

Early in my career, I had a team leader explain to me that, when he took a new job, he sought out those who knew what they were doing AND were not jerks! It is the second part that is critical. Find those that enjoy helping others.

 

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for December 20

BoomerJobTips Update

BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

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Are You Seeking Respect and Failing in Interviews

Seeking Respect in Interviews

seeking respectAre you seeking respect and backing off your usual style when you first meet someone?

I have several new clients whose natural style is to be direct in their communication. In contrast, they have a high need for respect in their dealings with other people, as defined by their Birkman Assessment.

In other words, the way they communicate is not how they want to be treated. Hmm…an interesting combination. This is far more common than you think. Most of us communicate in a more direct fashion than we want others to communicate with us.

These clients, who are seeking respect, will often back off their usual style when they first meet someone. They will ask more questions and listen more to get the respect they desire.

Does this work in an interview situation? Not necessarily!

Have you been failing in interviews because you are not your authentic self?

Interviewing with Unfamiliar People

It is very common that you will interview with the hiring manager and potential future peers that you are unfamiliar with. What can you do? Try the following:

Probing Questions

Bring a set of probing questions with you to the interview. You want to probe for pain points. The more insightful the questions you ask, the faster you will gain the respect you want.

We are setting ourselves up to get the respect we want as fast as possible. We want to revert to our natural communications style early in the interview. We all are human, and should seek to become comfortable with the situation as quickly as possible.

Closing the Interview

Be prepared with a set of questions that will help you determine whether the job is a good fit for you. Please rehearse asking these questions so that they roll off your tongue. Practice asking these questions with others and in front of a mirror. Be as natural and direct as your usual style.

Pay Attention to You

Do you know what is your natural style of communicating? Pay attention to how you naturally communicate. Ask your friends and colleagues (who you trust) to describe your communication style.

The more you understand how you communicate, you will be able to identify when you are seeking respect in an interview and adjust accordingly.

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for December 13

BoomerJobTips Update

BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

Check BoomerJobTips Daily for the latest curated career content. Content is curated from hundreds of the leading career websites with a focus on baby boomer career issues.

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Career Planning and the Holidays

Career Planning and the Holidays

career planningThe holiday season is a great time to do some critical career planning for the following year. You will likely have some time off to reflect back on the year that is ending and make plans for the new one.

Accomplishments

Reflect back over the previous year and identify key accomplishments in both your work and personal life.

Develop a set of ARM statements (Accomplishment Results Metrics) for each work accomplishment. Weave these statements into your LinkedIn profile and resume.

Accomplishments in your personal life are critical. These are often the activities that feed your soul and make you a well rounded individual. Do any of these activities belong in your LinkedIn profile? Non-profit board position? Volunteering for a prominent cause in your community?

Your career planning process should include both work and personal accomplishments.

New Skills and Certifications

What new skills have you acquired in the past year? Did you acquire a new certification or renew one?

Update your LinkedIn profile and resume to reflect these new skills and certifications.

As part of your career planning process, you will want to access the value of your new and current skills in your local market. Use LinkedIn advanced search using your skills as keywords to find others who have similar skills to see where they work. Has anything changed in your local market?

Similarly, do the same assessment as it relates to your certification. Does your certification still hold value in your local market?

It is critical in your career planning process to assess shifts in the market for the value of your skills and certifications annually!

Target List

An essential part of the career planning process is to review your target list of prospective employers twice a year. Have any new employers entered your local market? More and more companies are setting up satellite offices or allowing their employees to work virtually. Have there been any major upturns or downturns for companies on your target list? Do you need to remove any companies from your target list?

Establish a plan for the next six months to regularly work your target list developing key relationships at these target companies. You never know when you will need to make a career pivot!

Goals

Create goals for the next six months, this should include both work and personal goals. Make a calendar entry for early July of next year and document your goals there. If you are based in the United States, use the July 4th holiday for the date of the calendar entry.

Even if you are employed, you should always be developing a plan for where you want to work next.

Make career planning and career reflection a habit that will be performed like clockwork twice a year.

I wish all of my readers a happy holiday season and a very prosperous new year!

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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The Illusion of Job Security

The Illusion of Job Security

job securityJob security was something I was raised to attain.

I was raised to be an employee to work for a father-like company that would take care of me.  After 30 or 40 years there,  I would retire and ride off into the sunset.

Job security is something that used to just happen. Now, it is something many of you pursue. The reality is that the concept of job security is just an illusion.

Let me tell you about …

I started to work with Susan a couple of years ago. The company she was working for was coming apart. The owners of the business were feuding. She had reached a point in her life that she wanted stability and some real guarantees. She wanted to work for someone who offered a pension.

Sounds like a Leave to Beaver episode from the 1960s.

She decided to pursue a position at a large state university. She followed my targeted job search strategy. After an 18 month search, she landed her dream job. I even wrote about Susan’s job search in a case study.

She landed a position that would be stable. She landed a position with a pension. She thought she finally had job security!

But it was all an illusion.

First Month

After the first month of her new job had past, Susan was really questioning whether she could do the job. The pace of work was fast, and there were job requirements that were not discussed during the interview process. Susan did not have the technical skills required.

Three Month Review

Susan received her three month review and no concerns were raised. Susan was drinking from a firehose. She assumed that she would just have to keep working hard and things would get easier.

They did not!

Six Month Review

Susan went to her boss’ office where she was informed that she was to be let go. Her boss told her that they saw that she was not able to keep up AND that the workload was going to increase. Her boss was willing to write a letter of recommendation.

Susan was the not the first, but the second, casualty from this position. The previous person they hired was let go as well.

Walking Out

As Susan walked to her car with her personal belongings, a sense of relief came over her. She had been stressed for months trying to do the job.

She also realized that the job security she thought she had was all an illusion.

From the beginning, she was set up to fail, just as the previous hire had been.

Job Security

Susan has learned an invaluable lesson. There is no job security—it is all an illusion. You always have to be prepared with a plan to move on. You should always have a Plan B.

Susan is preparing for another career pivot with a new realization that there is no job security.

Has this happened to you?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for December 6

BoomerJobTips Update

BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

Check BoomerJobTips Daily for the latest curated career content. Content is curated from hundreds of the leading career websites with a focus on baby boomer career issues.

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Career

Baby Boomer

Social Media

Job Search

Career Pivot

 

Another way to look at the same links AND MORE from BoomerJobTips.

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Are You Ready to Become a Freelancer – Infographic

Freelancer

freelancerCan you see yourself becoming a freelancer for the rest of your career? Well, can you?

If you haven’t, you probably should. There are predictions that half of the workforce will be contractors or freelancers by the start of the next decade.

Heck, the 2nd largest employer in the United States is Kelly Services, which is a temporary staffing company.

Has the pursuit of full time employment been difficult, if not impossible? Many baby boomers who have been laid off after the age of 55 may never work as a full time employee again.

There are many issues with being a freelancer, which the infographic below highlights. There are also a lot of joys!

Freelancer Positives

Some of you will dispute this, but the money can be quite good. You will not start out making the same as you are now or did before a layoff, however.

You have control over your work life balance. You can decide how much or how hard you work. We will see later that this can also be a detriment!

Being a freelancer allows you to combine multiple streams of income. You probably will not give up your day job at first. You have the choice. This can also be referred to as building a portfolio career.

Freelancer Negatives

Some of you will become freelancers out of necessity. I refer those of you as necessity entrepreneurs. This is a difficult transition, and there can be a lot of pessimism.

You have to be able to sell yourself. Many find this very difficult. What most people do not realize is that this is a skill that can be learned. It’s not about getting people who don’t need your services to buy them, but is all about helping to solve the client’s problem.

The steady paycheck is gone! You will have to realize that there will be good times and bad. You will need to plan accordingly. When I started my business, I worked out all of the finances. I knew that we would live on savings for over a year. I knew that we would still be financially secure.

Even so, I would wake up at 3 AM and cry, “I do not have a paycheck!” There is a huge emotional component that recovering engineers like myself like to discount.

I said above that you have control over work life balance. At the same time, I often tell people I work for a JERK!  (I work for myself.) I ask my boss for a day off, and the answer is usually NO! Get back to work! Having control over work life balance is not always good!

You are responsible for all benefits: healthcare, retirement, vacation, etc… What you may not realize is that, when you had a paycheck, you were paying for them anyway.

Check out this infographic from graphicdesigndegreehub.com.

Click on Infographic to enlarge!

The Pros and Cons of Being a Freelancer

Are you ready to explore becoming a freelancer?

Marc Miller Career Design Specialist

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Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

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You can also download my whitepaper “Don’t Retire Even If you Can and What to do Instead – A Baby Boomer Manifesto

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

Are Networking Events Obsolete?

Are Networking Events Obsolete?

networking eventsYou heard me right when I asked if networking events are obsolete.

I think networking events are highly inefficient. I took several years off in my career to teach high school math, and then I spent a year in the non-profit sector. During that year, I attended a lot of networking events, usually twice a week. I developed my style on how to meet people, start a conversation, and more specifically, how to find out what we have in common. I became good at it!

After each event, I would pull out my business cards and start scheduling time to meet people. Real networking occurs afterwards when you meet people one on one and develop a relationship.

Was that an effective method of networking? In general, NO!

I would meet a lot of people, but was I meeting the people I needed to meet? Most of the time, the answer was no.

It was a shotgun approach. A lot of the people I most needed to meet did not attend these events.

What is Replacing Networking Events?

In today’s world of social media, it is fairly easy for me to research a company and develop a list of individuals that I need to meet to accomplish my goals. Also in the case of managing my career, who might be able to hire me.

I can use LinkedIn Advanced Search to find companies that have staff in my city. Notice, I did not say they had an office or facility in my city. So many companies have remote employees, and they may not have an physical presence. You can locate companies using LinkedIn Advanced using the following steps:

  • Search in a radius of 50 miles from either your home zip code or where you want to work
  • Search either using a specific keyword or job title
  • Sift through the list of profiles that meet the search criteria to find current companies
  • Go to each company LinkedIn profile
  • Click on the See All link to see how you are connected
  • Enter your current city to filter the list

You now have a list of individuals who work for the target company who are also located in your city. What you will discover is that there may be a lot of employees of a business in your city that does not have an office or facility.

This can be tedious, but if you keep searching and sorting through profiles you will be amazed by what you find.

Are networking events obsolete? I do not think so.

I now attend networking events to maintain key relationships. I attend far fewer than before, and I am very strategic in the events I attend.

I attend a Metropolitan Breakfast Club every single Wednesday morning. I have a few key meetups I attend, typically once a month. All of these are to reinforce relationships, meet a a few key individuals, and get my social fix.

I now network strategically using social media and by meeting key individuals one on one. This is far more efficient!

This post is part of a weekly series on the Personal Branding Blog.

You can read the original post on the Personal Branding Blog.

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

————————————————

You can also download my latest white paperThe Multi-Generational WorkplaceMaking Generational Diversity Work

Check out the BoomerJobTips Page for the latest curated content relating to baby boomers or join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

BoomerJobTips – Curated Content for November 29

BoomerJobTips Update

BoomerJobTipsWelcome to this weeks BoomerJobTips Update the central point to get current career information for the Baby Boomer Generation!

Check BoomerJobTips Daily for the latest curated career content. Content is curated from hundreds of the leading career websites with a focus on baby boomer career issues.

Most Popular

Social Media

Career

Baby Boomer

Multi-Generational Workplace

Job Search

Career Pivot

 

Another way to look at the same links AND MORE from BoomerJobTips.

Join us on the BoomerJobTips LinkedIn Group

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Like what you just read? Share it with your friends using the buttons below?

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When you subscribe to this blog you get full access to Career Pivot’s Whitepaper Library

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Check out my book which is available on Amazon.com!

Repurpose Your Career: A Practical Guide for Baby Boomers

You can also download my personal branding white paper –  Personal Branding for Baby Boomers – What It Is, How to Manage It, and Why It’s No Longer Optional!