Sunday, September 19, 2010

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Action Items to Take While Working to Make the Next Transition Easier and Faster

You may not want to hear this while you are still in a job search or once you land your new job, but your new job is not your last. The average being quoted for the number of jobs a person will have in a lifetime these days is 12 and the number of careers is 4 in a lifetime. There are steps you should take while you are employed to make the next transition easier and faster.

Once You Have an Agreement

1) Once you have an agreement and a start date celebrate! You deserve it!

2) Contact all of the people in your network so they know you have landed. Have them take your market plan off their refrigerators and let them celebrate with you. Thank them for their help regardless of what type and degree of help they gave.

3) Prepare for the new job.

Once You Start

1) Once you have your new work computer, open a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet and start recording your new accomplishments on a daily or weekly basis. Capture the quantifiable data to support these accomplishments. E-mail this list home on a monthly basis.

There are two uses for this accomplishment list. The first use comes if or when you leave the company; you have your accomplishments to use to update your resume. The second use is to give to your manager BEFORE she has had time to write your annual performance review. Clean up the list (spell check, etc.) and give a copy to your manager with humility. Say you are maintaining this list for you and want to offer it to her in case it will help in writing your review. Continue with saying that if she doesn’t need it, that is okay since you are maintaining it for you anyway.

2) Update your Linked In profile with your new company & position.

On an On-going Basis

1) Maintain your contacts. Stay in touch with people in your network including the contacts you developed during the search. Don’t let the only time you reach out to Uncle Fred be when you are out of a job. After all most of us have caller id. When Uncle Fred sees that it is you calling, he’ll realize that you must be out of a job again.

2) Develop new contacts. Harvey MacKay’s new book is titled “Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty”. The point of his book is that the same goes for your network. Develop contacts in your new department and in other departments within the company. Continue to network outside of your company as well. It is hard to carve out time to work fulltime, have a life, and attend industry networking events. Think back though to the job search and imagine how much faster you would have found a job had you had an ample network in your industry already in place.

3) Maintain your skills. If your company offers training, take it – all of it. If they don’t offer training take it anyway; invest in yourself by paying for your own training. Be sure the training you take increased your marketable skills.

4) Continue the good habits and practices you started during the search (regular devotions, exercise, eating right, staying in touch with family, etc.)

5) Jim Collins the author of “Good to Great” gave the following advice to a recent graduate: “Do not spend five years getting two years worth of experience”. If you have 2 years worth of experience in your current role, ask to take on different responsibilities that will give you new experience. If you can’t get additional experience in your current role, consider moving to another position within the same company to get new experience. If you can’t move within the company then “move your own cheese” and get a new job at another company.

This is a change from the philosophy with which Baby Boomers were raised. People who changed jobs every few years were called job hoppers and looked down upon. Now anyone who is at one company for ten plus years is at a disadvantage in the new job market because hiring managers assume they have not developed new skills during that time.

6) Maintain your marketing materials especially your accomplishment list as mentioned above. Periodically update your resume, your inventory of education (with all training you have taken including webinars, seminars, extensive self study) and list of technical skills.

7) Stay up on your industry. If your industry is about to fail, be one of the first to get out. If your industry is getting into something new (ex. a new technology) get training in it and then offer to your management to train your peers on it. Say that you don’t know everything but you want to share what you know. This could set you up at the subject matter expert.

8) Save between 8 to 12 months of salary for the next transition. Most of us can’t do that all at once. Save a little at a time starting immediately and regularly. According to consumer advocates, saving that much ready cash is a higher priority than saving for retirement.

9) Assist others. Remember the job search? There were people who would not give you the time of day. However many people were willing to meet with you, give you leads and contacts and you were grateful for the help you received. You want to be like them. Volunteer at a job networking group, make yourself available to job seekers for informational interviews, share leads and your contacts as appropriate.

Keep your job search engine running so if / when you are on the job market again, it will be an easier and faster process.

This is the final article in the series “Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job”. As you continue in your job search, it will be helpful to start reading the series over again to be sure you are still on track and haven’t veered. If you follow these steps in their entirety you will land the right job. With the grace of God, 100% of RightChanges clients who followed these steps (as a part of RightChanges’ Personal Coach Series) are now employed in jobs they wanted. You can too.

Copyright: The 6 Steps of a Job Search are copyrighted by Crossroads Career Services.

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Step 6: Select the Right Job

Congratulations! You completed steps one through five of the job search: every day you chose to have a good attitude, you inventoried your unique skills and accomplishments identifying and learning to articulate your competitive advantage. You identified your target companies, and you developed and polished your marketing materials. You successfully conducted the search and nailed the interview. They just called and made you an offer. The money is good; the commute is okay so you are ready to say “Yes, when do you want me to start?” Not so fast.

Step 6 – Select

Remember the proverbial frying pan into the fire? You want to make sure that this job and company match the criteria you identified in step 3 and is a place where the “you” that you identified in Step 2 will thrive. Don’t end up making a mistake by taking a job doing work you don’t like, for the worst boss ever, in an environment where you will not thrive.

Let’s take a look at some of the criteria you should consider and questions you should ask the hiring manager or yourself before you know this is the right job.

I’ll Take Anything at This Point

Some of you may be thinking what I have heard other job seekers say, “I’ll take any job at this point”. Don’t do that to yourself. Take a lesson from one dear friend of mine. He took the first job that came along although he saw caution flags flying. Three months later he was on the job market again and had to start over with Step 1 – Attitude. In the long run it took him longer to find the ultimate job than if he had passed the chancy job over and just kept looking.

Think back to the worst boss or the worst company you ever worked for (most of us have those). If this new job is as bad as those, then you will be miserable. There is a plan for you, one that will prosper you and not harm you, one that will give you hope and a future. Why would you settle for anything less?

Understand the Opportunity

When you receive an offer, you want to be 99.9% sure you understand the opportunity that is being offered. You understand the salary, the benefits, and of course the commute. What other things do you need to know up front?

Let’s use one example. If you will be traveling on company business, even periodically, you want to understand the policies on travel expenses. 1) Does the company require you to use your own credit card? If so, that means you have to always have enough available credit for any last minute trips your company decides you need to make. 2) Do you get a company credit card? In most cases the company issues a company credit card to travelers but the bill comes to the employee’s home to be paid. In this case you want to understand the average time it takes for the company to process expense reports and get the reimbursement check to the employee. Some companies are notorious for talking a full month or more getting the reimbursement to the employee, in essence floating a loan on the employee’s back yet companies do not reimburse late payment fees. This is one example of additional information you need to understand about the opportunity.

Be sure also to measure the opportunity against the requirements you established at the beginning of your search.

Is This Job Right For You?

In Step 2 you took an inventory of you. As part of that process you identified your personality (the way you were made). You reviewed your prior job history and identified what you liked best and least about your former companies, bosses, and the positions you held.


Let’s look at a few examples of evaluating if the opportunity is a match for your personality. The two options for the first Myers Brigg Type Indicator and Keirsey Temperament Sorter are E for Extrovert and I for Introvert. These indicators represent the source of energy for the individual, extroverts getting their energy from being around people and Introverts recharging their batteries by being alone.

If you are an extrovert, working from home could drive you crazy, like a cat in a room of rocking chairs; you can’t wait to get out and around people. If you are an introvert, it would drain you to work constantly around people with frequent interruptions and no time to yourself.

The last indicator within Myers Brigg is J or P. People with the J indicator like to have things orderly where people with a P indicator like to “wing it”. If you are a J and are asked to work in a company that has no written processes, no on-boarding orientation, and frequently changes in direction, you will feel adrift. If instead you are P and the company is buttoned up tight, you could feel stifled.

Evaluate the work environment and be sure it matches your personality.

Prior Job History

In Step 2, you evaluated your prior jobs to determine what you want in a company and in a boss so you can flourish. Leverage that information. Measure the company, the boss, and the position you are being offered against these identified qualities.


The best time to get the right salary is when you come into the company. It is harder to get equity increases once you are working there. Most hiring managers do not give their best and final offer initially; on the other hand they do not low ball the offer either. Most times there is a little room for negotiations.

There are other things besides salary to ask for in the negotiation process as well. If you want to pursue a professional certificate for instance, ask if the company will cover the costs of the preparation, exam and other fees. If you need to work from home occasionally, that ability may be up for negotiation, so can the start or end time (to avoid the rush hours or to pick a child up from daycare), extra vacation days, etc. Whatever you both decide during negotiations be sure to get the agreement in writing.

Are You at Peace About Taking the Position?

You will experience as amazing peace if this is the right position and company for you. Check your “peace-a-meter” to be sure you don’t have any negative or nagging thoughts about taking the job. If you do, you need to evaluate them and make the right thought-out decision, not a decision out of desperation.

Take the job that is meant for you, one in which you will flourish.

Last Article in the Series

You may not want to hear this the moment you land your new job, but your new job is not your last. The average being quoted for the number of jobs a person will have in a lifetime these days is 12 and the number of careers is 4 in a lifetime. In the next installment of the “Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job” series Judi Adams, Senior Job Search Coach of will cover “Action Items to Take While Working to Make the Next Transition Easier and Faster”.

Copyright: The 6 Steps of a Job Search are copyrighted by Crossroads Career Services.