Services Provided by Career Solutions
To My Clients:
Whether you seek an initial career, advancement in your present field, or a career change, I can assist you in achieving your goal. Depending on your particular situation, one or more of the following services would be appropriate:
Job Search Strategies
Here are details about each of these services.
Many people begin the process of choosing a career by scanning a lengthy list of different careers. If you have ever reviewed such a list in your quest for an alternative or initial career, you may have felt overwhelmed by the challenge of sifting through the hundreds of possibilities. Enlisting the assistance of a consultant who can point you toward the relatively few occupations that represent your best options can save you considerable time and effort.
Through my background at IBM and GE, I gained extensive knowledge of the three sectors private, nonprofit and public of the economy, enabling me to recommend the most suitable careers for clients. I will learn about your abilities and interests, which aspects of your current and prior employment have given you the greatest/least satisfaction, and your compensation requirements. Keep in mind that the higher the compensation you seek, the fewer options you will have. In fact, some people -- particularly those seeking a midlife career change -- are prevented from changing careers because of their compensation needs.
There are often practical limitations or preferences that will influence the choice of a career. For example, a client may have all the skills necessary for success in a new field, but if overnight travel is required and the client cannot meet the travel demands, that option must be eliminated.
If you seek a career where you can leverage your education and experience, you have good reason to be optimistic about your prospects. Many skills critical to success in one profession such as analytical, project management, negotiating, writing and public speaking are highly valued by employers in a broad array of professions. The challenge, of course, is to know which occupations offer the best opportunities for transferring your skills and experience.
One highly transferable skill is the ability to analyze and interpret financial data, which is why people who seek a career change from finance or accounting can choose from a broad range of options. The main reason my clients in finance and accounting desire a new career is that theyve grown tired of spending as much as 80% of their time analyzing financial data. Fortunately, Im able to recommend many rewarding professions where their analytical experience will be a strong asset but where theyll spend much less time on a task theyve come to view as a chore. Positions in these fields primarily entail managing relationships with clients, co-workers, vendors, consultants or strategic partners. And, since communication is the cornerstone of effective relationships, these jobs offer an important additional benefit they are very resistant to being outsourced.
Bear in mind that even if you identify an appealing alternative career your skills may be transferable to only one segment of that profession. Case in point: Many career changers are attracted to the market research field because it calls for strong project management and writing abilities skills common to a broad range of professions. But market research firms typically specialize in either quantitative or qualitative research. With this in mind, if youre attracted to market research and can count project management and writing skills but not quantitative analysis as strengths, you should pursue a career in qualitative market research. In general, people who seek a career change from engineering would perform well in quantitative market research jobs, while those who desire a career change from human resources would be more successful in qualitatively oriented research roles.
Many other occupations similarly encompass segments that call for different skill sets, and my extensive knowledge of these differences will be an asset in guiding you toward your best career option as quickly as possible. As a result, youll minimize the cost entailed in using the services of a career advisor.
A common misconception among people seeking career alternatives is that if they've lost a job due to severe contractions in their industry, their best hope for employment lies in other industries. This is unfortunate, since such a belief can deprive them of the opportunity to maintain their compensation levels. For example, tens of thousands of banking professionals affected by layoffs have been frustrated in their attempts to compete for a dwindling number of banking jobs. Many people in this situation have felt compelled to seek employment outside of the financial services industry because of what they perceive to be a bleak outlook for all financial services jobs. But banking is only one of many segments in the financial services industry, so they should be seeking a career change from banking not from financial services. Companies in other segments of the industry have been unaffected by the problems undermining the performance of banks in fact, many of these businesses are enjoying robust growth. Moreover, expertise in underwriting, client relations, customer service, business development and operations the very positions broadly involved in bank downsizings is highly transferable to a number of non-banking financial jobs. By targeting companies where these positions exist, job seekers with experience in these bank functions should be able to convince employers that they can make an immediate contribution and, therefore, justify receiving the same compensation they previously earned. On the other hand, when banking professionals are considered for jobs outside the financial services industry, they will not be able to draw the same strong parallels between their experience and the requirements of those positions. As such, they will almost certainly have to start at a lower rung on the career ladder and, of course, accept lower compensation.
My extensive knowledge of the differences in the skills required for success in the various segments of numerous professions will ensure that you dont cross an entire profession off your list of career options based on your perception of a mismatch between your skills and only one niche within that profession.
One last point: Many people believe they must change careers when, in fact, such a drastic move is unnecessary because their dissatisfaction stems from their workplace not from the nature of the work they perform. The obvious solution for someone in this situation is to look for a new job not a new career.
SPECIAL MESSAGES FOR INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY PROFESSIONALS:Are you considering a career change from IT? If you'd like to understand what alternative career options you have beyond those in your current IT career path, you should find my book, Debugging Your Information Technology® Career, very helpful. It describes in detail 20 IT career change options that allow you to leverage the significant investment you've made in your education and experience. Learn how you can benefit from reading Debugging Your Information Technology Career. Are you seeking a management position in the IT field? My new book, Debugging Your Information Technology® Job Search: A Compass to Winning the Management Position You Really Want, will guide you in creating a resume and cover letter consistent with your level, whether first-time manager, director, CIO or CTO. Youll learn how to find and approach employers, excel in each of the ten phases of the interview process, and negotiate your best salary. Learn much more about Debugging Your Information Technology Job Search.
A strong résumé can provide you with access to jobs paying 10-25% higher compensation while a weak one can deprive you of the opportunity to even be considered for positions offering the same compensation you currently earn. Moreover, if you're unemployed, the longer you use a résumé that doesn't open the door to interviews, the greater the amount of your lost income.
Given the instrumental role your résumé plays in your financial success, choosing the most qualified professional to create it is one of the most important career decisions you will ever make. As the letters from my clients demonstrate, the résumés Ive developed for them have fully validated their decision to engage me for this most critical service.
As you evaluate résumé services, its important to understand the analogy between you, the job seeker, and a business. Just as a public relations agency is hired by a business to enhance its image with its targeted customers, a résumé professionals responsibility is to give you a finished product that will make a positive, high-impact impression on your "customers" namely, employers and recruiters.
Certainly, public relations agencies must have the writing expertise to create clear and persuasive communications, but they are first and foremost communications strategists a role that demands a more extensive portfolio of skills than merely writing ability. Indeed, any public relations agency whose sales presentation doesnt demonstrate in-depth knowledge of a prospective client's business, including its customers' buying motivations and industry trends, will quickly be eliminated from consideration. Without this knowledge, the agency will be ill equipped to devise the communication strategy to achieve the clients branding goals.
Similarly, although job seekers typically refer to résumé professionals as résumé "writers," they like public relations agencies should be qualified to serve as communications strategists, who will bring an in-depth understanding of your profession and the buying motivations of your targeted customers to your project. How can you tell whether someone youre considering hiring is capable of being your communications strategist and not merely a résumé writer? One good way is to ask these questions:
"Can you describe three or four responsibilities of someone in my position?"
"Can you describe the kinds of interactions I have with people in other departments in my organization?"
"Can you describe three or four accomplishments that would impress employers
as they evaluate candidates for the position I want?"
Comparing the responses from several professionals will give you insight into their skill in crafting a résumé that will command employers attention. Since fees for résumé services vary considerably, youll get a good sense of the value youll receive for your financial investment.
As I said, it's a mistake to view a résumé professional as a résumé writer. In fact, the writing aspect of a résumé project is only one of four steps entailed in developing a résumé. If we collaborate on your project, heres how I will approach each:
Conducting the Information-Gathering InterviewIll ask probing, open-ended questions to ensure that I understand the challenges you faced in achieving the goals of each position, how you turned around an underperforming function, and what benefits resulted from initiatives you led which, ideally, could be expressed in quantitative terms.
Because of the wide range of responsibilities among my clients, the questions I pose to each must be tailored to the unique requirements of each clients profession. Thus, the questions Ill prepare for an interview with an engineering manager will be markedly different from those Ill pose to a sales manager. Even within the engineering profession, my questions will vary, since there are significant differences among the responsibilities of, say, mechanical, industrial and manufacturing engineers. In addition, if one mechanical engineering manager oversees a design-engineering group and another directs a production-engineering team, the differences between the two functions and the kinds of achievements that would motivate an employer to interview the job seeker will necessitate a unique set of questions for each.
If youre an IT manager, you can expect questions specific to the particular function you direct whether application development, network security, operations or server support. If your goal is to generate interviews for CTO jobs, you can feel confident that I know what qualifications employers are seeking in candidates which will not be the same as the requirements theyll define when recruiting for CIO jobs.
While these are examples of technical positions where an in-depth understanding of the job seekers responsibilities is an obvious requirement its no less important when developing résumés for clients in nontechnical professions. For example, when I work with clients seeking marketing management jobs, the differences between the challenges faced by marketing executives employed in consumer packaged goods positions and those who hold B2B marketing jobs must be reflected in the line of questioning I pursue with each client.
Because each résumé project demands a set of tailored questions, having my
clients complete questionnaires or worksheets would be inadequate in yielding the information
I need to deliver a high-impact résumé. Rather, you should expect our discussion
to be more along the lines of a job interview in fact, many of my clients have commented
that my interview process greatly strengthened their ability to promote themselves in interviews
with hiring executives.
Determining Which Information Should Be Included and Equally Important ExcludedGiven the space limitations of a résumé, coupled with the few seconds it has to capture the readers interest, this is a critical decision. Each client interview produces a large volume of data, which I must whittle down to ensure that I present only those facts that will lead to an interview. Indeed, some information I acquire in these meetings will not only be useless in generating an interview it will actually undermine the image so vital for the client to project.
Selecting the Most Effective Résumé FormatThe traditional reverse chronological presentation may not be the most advantageous format for showcasing your skills. If you are unable to point to accomplishments in your current position, have had several positions with similar responsibilities, or are seeking a career change, a functional résumé is probably the better choice. A key decision I must make when creating a functional résumé is to determine which of the clients skill sets should be highlighted to appeal to the targeted audience.
Writing the RésuméThis final step in the process may seem fairly straightforward. It is not. Choosing the appropriate language to describe your experience and accomplishments is just as strategic a decision as selecting the right format or determining what information to exclude. One weakness I routinely find in résumés of clients whose fruitless job searches prompted them to consult me is the use of clichés. These ubiquitous, meaningless phrases send the message that the job seeker is not an original thinker, since its obvious that they were copied from other peoples résumés. While there are far too many clichés to list here, some of the more egregious examples are any form of "team player," "problem solver," "visionary thinker," and "change manager."
Moreover, some of these clichés will not only prevent a résumé from standing out
they can undermine the job-hunter’s ability to advance to a higher-level position. For
example, for a manager to describe himself as a self-starter is a strategic error. One
doesnt receive a promotion to a management position without having demonstrated such a
capability unless, of course, your parents own the company.
Another common weakness is the use of a word that while technically correct
creates a lower-level impression of the job seeker's qualifications. Case in point: Although
"duties" is a synonym for "responsibilities," it should only be used on the résumé
of a candidate for a junior position. And the phrase "proven
ability" on an experienced managers résumé will also foster a
lower-level impression. Yes, its true that everyone except the top
executive of an organization reports to someone at a higher level, but by the time youve
acquired a managerial title, the assumption should be that you have already proven your ability to
The job market has never been more competitive, making it all the more difficult for even the most deserving candidates to get the attention of employers and recruiters. Because I am so confident that I can give my clients the strongest possible résumé, I am pleased to offer a guarantee that provides for a full refund.
Are you disappointed with your results from answering advertisements, posting your résumé online, contacting recruiters and networking? Are you tired of wasting valuable job-hunting time and energy? Then you may be ready to tackle the challenge of generating interviews in more novel, proactive ways. In my experience, job seekers will produce far better interview rates by contacting employers without knowing whether a suitable opening exists. The key to using this strategy is to apply screening criteria that will lead you to companies more likely to have openings and I can guide you in both defining the proper criteria and pinpointing which executives to approach. While you may feel that contacting employers without knowing that they have openings is a waste of time, if youve already spent considerable amount of time using traditional search methods, consider what dividends you have to show for your investment. If youre willing to try my method, I believe youll see a significant improvement in your dividends-to-investment ratio.
An interview in todays competitive job market is a precious opportunity
from which you should be able to derive the greatest benefit. Relying on books that contain
extensive lists of interview questions and suggested responses will not foster such an outcome.
Rather, it will impose the burden of first having to wait often in vain for a question that matches one
you read, and then attempting to retrieve the right answer from the script you memorized. I enclosed right
within quotes because a response found in a book is often not the right
response for you. In addition, reciting obviously unoriginal responses will not
create an impression of a self-confident professional who can handle
unpredictable situations with ease.
Many clients have sought my advice after participating in numerous interviews for desirable
jobs with no offers resulting from those meetings. In every case, I have quickly
identified the cause of their zero offer rate. Naturally, its better to be prepared
with the knowledge and tools to excel in an interview before you have your first interview
than to risk wasting the opportunity, and the novel process Ive
developed will equip you with these resources. Youll learn how to prepare for
each of the twelve phases entailed in the interview process, including what questions to
ask as soon as you receive an interview invitation, how to address weaknesses such as
several short-term positions or the lack of an educational credential, and how to negotiate
the most favorable compensation package.
Do any of these situations sound familiar?
"I love my job but my manager is making my life miserable should I stay or leave?"
"A co-worker is supposed to maintain a database that must be current in order for me to do my job, but he is not fulfilling his responsibility. As a result, my manager has criticized my work."
"I will shortly receive a performance appraisal and a salary review. What should I do if I'm not happy with the salary increase I receive?"
"I have been passed over for promotion on three occasions despite receiving outstanding performance appraisals."
"My manager never criticized my work during the year I have been reporting to her, so I was shocked to receive an unsatisfactory performance appraisal."These are just a few of the many issues on which clients have sought my advice. After gaining an understanding of the organizational structure, personnel reporting relationships and other characteristics of the workplace, I can recommend the optimal course of action, which may be to write a letter, schedule a meeting, or develop skill in conflict-resolution techniques. Sometimes, it is evident that the situation stems from the culture created by upper management, in which case the solution is to leave the organization. In all instances, the objectivity I have brought to an analysis of these situations has helped clients view them from an intellectual rather than an emotional perspective.
I hope this overview of my services has been useful, and I invite you to call me to discuss your particular needs and goals.
© 2006-2010 JWA, LLC. All rights reserved.