After more than two decades in the Executive Search
business, I have learned a lot about what goes into a
successful hire. I try to impart my knowledge to both hiring
managers and candidates. Nevertheless, at many job
interviews I find myself listening to questions that make me
cringe and answers that make me want to cry.
Now it's my turn to talk.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

From Revelry to Reality: Happy New Year 2013

It’s a brand new year.  The holidays are over. You have successfully depleted your savings accounts on gifts for all those you love and some you don’t particularly like. Possibly you have embarrassed yourself at a holiday office party. You have wrapped and unwrapped, had drinks and hangovers…and started saving for next year’s gifts.  And now you must turn your focus from reindeer to career.

Or you can wait until after the National Championship Game like I am.

Meanwhile, just a few New Year’s resolutions generously written by a headhunter for you.  Consider them a late Christmas gift.

1.     Take a test.  The dreary, sports-starved months of winter (for those of who live in the frozen north half of the U.S.) are a great time to evaluate your career yet again.  Have you experienced any upward mobility over the past year?  Has a position that you regarded as a brief stop become a long term residence?  How did your company fare financially in 2012? How did you fare financially in 2012? Are you happy where you are?  What would make you happier? Take time to do an honest assessment of your status and your level of contentment vs. your goals.

2.     Make a plan.  If Question 1 indicates some adjustment is needed, figure out how to go about making that change.  Note: A plan is not a fantasy. Make your plan real.  Include actual, do-able steps you can take to accomplish your plan.

3.     Compose a resume.  Even if you are as happy as a witch in a broom factory (thank you, Geico), you might become aware of a position that offers you more money, more responsibility, or more satisfaction than your current role.  After you check the battery on your smoke alarm, work on a resume. 

4.     Network, network, network – within you company, within your industry, outside your industry, among family, friends, and colleagues.  If you haven’t been an active networker up to this point, 2013 is the time. A large personal network can serve as a springboard to better opportunities within or outside of your company; and can help to soften the impact of an unforeseen layoff, demotion, or other career disaster.

5.     Learn to read…the handwriting on the wall, that is. If you sense something is just “not right” where you work; if you are routinely idle; if you are aware that new regulations will begin to negatively affect your company; if your boss seems to have taken an active dislike to you; take active steps to correct the situation or find a new situation.  Don’t wait for the writing to move from the wall to a pink slip.

6.     Bet on yourself.  Do not let lethargy or pessimism or lack of confidence keep you from pursuing a new path.

7.     Bet on the Irish next week.

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