6 Steps to Achieve Career Success in 2013

This post is by Ford R. Myers, career coach, speaker and author of “Get The Job You Want, Even When No One’s Hiring.”

Here’s a simple six-part “Power Plan” to help you make the most of your current career or find a new and more satisfying one in 2013.

  1. Perform an internal audit. A comprehensive internal audit combines an individual’s personal values, a list of adjectives outlining their “ideal employer,” and a “perfect job description.” Candidates should also do an honest assessment of their appearance, to ensure that they are optimizing “first impressions.”
  2. Update your job seeker’s toolkit. It’s vital to have a well-rounded “portfolio” of self-marketing tools to generate best results. Every job seeker needs written accomplishments, verbal presentations, professional biography, list of references, testimonial comments, letters of recommendation, and other items along with the resume.
  3. Start networking. Develop a networking contact list, positioning statement (where you’ve been professionally), a departure statement (what happened to your last job), list of targeted companies, and a networking meeting agenda. Follow a structured, proven methodology for generating one-on-one networking meetings, and also attend select networking events and functions consistently.
  4.  Interviewing for success. Job seekers need to provide the interviewer with accurate, relevant accomplishment stories about job performance and tangible results. The interviewer needs to share the story of their company, describe the position in question, and explain specifically how they want you to fit into this picture. When the candidate’s experiences and assets match-up with the employer’s needs and problems, that’s called a job offer!
  5. Prepare to  negotiate. Salaries are fully negotiable, even in the current economy. Perform extensive salary research and defer salary discussions until an offer seems imminent. Discuss salary only with the person who has the authority to negotiate the salary and hire you. And remember that your prior salary has nothing to do with the salary you may be offered in a new position.
  6. Practice perpetual career management. Keep all your success documents up to date. Put time aside every week for active networking. Research and be aware of the competition. Offer to help people in your network. Build and maintain a high professional profile via social media, association involvement, speaking and writing in your niche. Always be engaged in career management, regardless of what your work situation is currently. Don’t wait for a career crisis to arise before you “get yourself in gear!”

Despite the current economy, many people are moving up the corporate ladder or finding excellent new careers. Those who are achieving success know how to “play the game” and are fully prepared for every step of the career development process. Anyone can find career success in 2013 by properly executing the steps I’ve outlined above.

13 strange interview mistakes and how you can avoid them

CareerBuilder’s annual look at the strangest interview mistakes shows how frequently job seekers say and do the wrong things during interviews. Some could have been the result of nerves, and others are just so weird there’s no way to explain them.

Here are 13 outrageous and real interview mistakes that surveyed employers have experienced and how you should avoid them.

Strange interview mistake No. 1: Candidate said he had to quit a banking position because he was always tempted to steal.

Why it’s a mistake: No one wants to hire a potential thief.

What you should do: Say you wanted to explore other options or you needed a position that aligned with your career goals. Honesty is great, but an employer doesn’t want to hear that you’re possibly going to rob the company.

Strange interview mistake No. 2: Candidate denied that he had a cell phone with him even though it could be heard ringing in his briefcase.

Why it’s a mistake: A ringing phone is a simple mistake; a lie is a deal breaker.

What you should do: Say “Excuse me” and quickly turn the ringer off. A sincere apology shows you’re sorry and lets you get back to the conversation at hand.

Strange interview mistake No. 3: Candidate emptied the employer’s candy dish into her pocket.

Why it’s a mistake: It’s just weird.

What you should do: Take a single piece of candy like a normal person. Pouring the entire bowl of candy into your purse seems like you have no manners.

Strange interview mistake No. 4: Candidate said he didn’t like getting up early and didn’t like to read.

Why it’s a mistake: Separately, these statements sound like red flags warning the employer you’re not keen on working too hard. Together, these statements are worrisome.

What you should do: If early morning isn’t your preferred time to rise, you can admit that as long as you counter it by saying you have no trouble staying late. This only works if getting up early isn’t vital to the position for which you’re applying. Also, if you’re asked what books you’ve read recently, you should have at least one title to mention. If the questions continue down that path, explain that you spend most of your time outdoors or doing something else productive with your time.

Strange interview mistake No. 5: Candidate asked to be paid “under the table.”

Why it’s a mistake: Hopefully Illegal activity is frowned upon by all employers.

What you should do: Don’t ask to be paid illegally.

Strange interview mistake No. 6: Candidate reached over and placed a hand on the interviewer’s knee.

Why it’s a mistake: Aside from the handshake, you shouldn’t really touch the interviewer.

What you should do: Keep your hands folded on your lap, writing in your notebook or resting on the table. Basically, keep them anywhere that isn’t the interviewer’s body.

Strange interview mistake No. 7: Candidate commented that he would do whatever it takes to get the job done, legal or not.

Why it’s a mistake: Crossing the line from passionate to a legal liability is worrisome for a company.

What you should do: Stress your passion for the job and how eager you are to reach the company’s goals. Employers want to know you’ve got the strong will to make things happen, not that you’re breaking the law on their behalf.

Strange interview mistake No. 8: Candidate hugged the president of the company.

Why it’s a mistake: Hugging is never appropriate in an interview.

What you should do: Unless there is some very unusual exception to the rule, interviewers and job seekers shouldn’t hug. You really shouldn’t hug the president of the company, unless you’ve been asked to do so. (And if you have been asked to hug the president, you probably should find out why.)

Strange interview mistake No. 9: Candidate called his wife to see what they were having for dinner.

Why it’s a mistake: Your focus should be on the interview at hand, not to mention phone calls are never appropriate mid-interview.

What you should do: If there’s an urgent matter, such as your child is sick, explain to the interviewer that you might need to step out of the room if an emergency call comes in or that rescheduling might work better. What’s for dinner is not an emergency.

Strange interview mistake No. 10: Candidate asked to postpone the start date so she could still get holiday gifts from vendors at her current job.

Why it’s a mistake: That’s not a good excuse.

What you should do: If this or any other frivolous reason is why you want to postpone the start date, make up a better reason. Simply saying, “I have a prior engagement I can’t get out of,” is better than saying “I want gifts.”

Strange interview mistake No. 11: Candidate called in sick to her current employer during the interview, faking an illness.

Why it’s a mistake: You’re showing your potential boss that you have no trouble lying.

What you should do: Interviewing is tricky, because you usually have to lie in order to get out of the office to get to the interview. Employers know that. However, they don’t need you to tell that lie in front of them. It’s a sign that you don’t know how to be discreet and professional.

Strange interview mistake No. 12: Candidate said he didn’t want the job if he had to work a lot.

Why it’s a mistake: No one will hire a lazy person.

What you should do: Don’t admit you don’t want to work a lot. If there’s one thing you shouldn’t say in an interview, it’s that you’re looking for a job where hard work isn’t a requirement.

Strange interview mistake No. 13: Candidate wouldn’t answer a question, because he thought they would steal his idea and not hire him.

Why it’s a mistake: This answer makes you sound greedy and paranoid.

What you should do: You definitely don’t want to hand over all of your genius ideas and secrets, because a crooked company could definitely steal them. However, you should be prepared to give a sample of your ideas, because sitting in silence or refusing to answer the question doesn’t help the interviewer evaluate you.

 

By of Career builder

How non-networkers can work the room

Attending a professional networking event can be like going to a party at a stranger’s house. You scan the crowd, searching for friendly faces, hoping you know at least one other person. When you realize you have to work the event solo, you suddenly feel shy and jittery — especially if working the room doesn’t come naturally to you.

Take a deep breath and dry those sweaty palms. First, remember that other professionals at the event are feeling exactly the way you are. Then, develop an action plan. Focusing on specific goals will help you to check your nervousness at the door.

Here are some strategies to help you navigate your next professional networking event successfully:

Plan Ahead
Before the event, make a list of targets — the people you know you want to meet. Most conferences and other meet-and-greet events use the Web or social media to publish a list of attendees, which can be helpful in your preparation. Many events also use hashtags on Twitter so attendees can connect before and during the event.

Organize some brief notes on what you know about a target contact that could be relevant to your discussion with that person. For example, perhaps you read a person’s blog or viewed his or her webinar. This type of information gives you an advantage not only because you can break the ice with a new contact more easily but also because the person will realize you sincerely want to meet.

Turn your list of targets into an “event card” — a simple list in a notebook or on your smartphone — that you can use to make notes about the people you meet and what you discuss. Don’t take notes during a conversation, though. The other person may feel uncomfortable if he or she feels like you’re conducting an interview.

Help Contacts Connect With You

You need to show your targets why they should know you. This means you should rehearse your introductions and tailor them for each key person. For instance:

  • Example 1: “Hi, I’m Ann. I’m an accountant with XYZ firm. Our firm does some work for your company. I’ve seen you copied on some of our correspondence, and I wanted to introduce myself since we’ve never actually met in person.
  • Example 2: “Hi, I’m Ann. I’m an accountant at XYZ firm. I believe you know my manager, Sue Smith. I noticed you two are connected on LinkedIn. How do you know Sue?”
  • Example 3: “Hi, I’m Ann. I’m an accountant at XYZ firm. I saw you speak at last year’s annual conference. I really enjoyed your presentation. Will you be speaking at the next event?”

Remember that there’s a fine line between coming across as “all business” and being seen as a real, approachable human being. While it’s important to be prepared when you meet someone new who could be important to you professionally, don’t over-rehearse. You want conversations to flow naturally following your introduction. Just smile, be casual and talk to that person as you would if you were building a relationship with a new friend.

Don’t Wait Too Long to Follow Up
A day or two after the networking event, review your event card and the business cards you collected, and begin your follow-up. A brief email to say hello and remind a new contact about the conversation you had or a request to connect via LinkedIn should suffice. Don’t call a contact unless you were encouraged to do so, or you both hit it off so well you know a phone call would be welcome.

If you don’t hear back from a contact after two attempts, more than likely that person is not interested in keeping in touch. Don’t take it personally. Not every connection you make is going to lead to a meaningful business connection.

Focus your energy instead on those relationships you sense are going to be the most fruitful. If you approached the event strategically, you’ll no doubt have more than enough interesting new contacts to add to your professional network.

Robert Half International is the world’s first and largest specialized staffing firm with a global network of more than 350 offices worldwide. For more information about our professional services, visit www.roberthalf.com. For additional career advice, view our career bloopers video series at www.roberthalf.com/bloopers or follow us on Twitter at www.twitter.com/roberthalf.

Your 2013 Job-search Guide

Now that the holidays are over, the nonstop party hopping has ended and the New Year’s ball has dropped, it’s time to get serious about your job search. Yet the thought of job searching can be overwhelming — where do you start? How do you avoid missing any steps?

We’re here to take some of that anxiety away by breaking down the job-search actions to take throughout the year. While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to job hunting, this should serve as a guide to ensure you’re setting yourself up for a successful search.

We’ve put together a brief quarter-by-quarter overview to help frame your job-search plan for the year. Each job seeker should go at his own pace, but we think this timeline can help you stay on track.

  • Q1 (January – March): Devote the first few months of the year to getting organized — organize your thoughts, organize your application materials and organize your contacts.
  • Q2 (April – June): A few months in, you should be going full-steam ahead with your job search. Your days should be filled with applying, following up, networking and (hopefully) going to interviews. If you’re a college student, get a head start in your professional job search by tapping alumni, using your school’s career resources and making initial contact with companies of interest.
  • Q3 (July – September): At around the mid-year mark, take a step back to review what’s working and what’s not in your job search. It’s not too late to course-correct to ensure that you reach your goals during the back half of the year.
  • Q4 (October – December): During the last few months of the year, take advantage of the season. Network at holiday parties, consider seasonal job opportunities and take the time to thank those who have helped you professionally throughout the year.

Q1: Get organized

Here’s a closer look at what to get started on right now:

  • Put your goals in writing: Before diving into your job search, take a step back and organize your thoughts. Do you know what you want to do next? Have you researched the positions that fit your interests and expertise? Do you have the skills needed to get the job you want or do you need additional education? Once you’ve thought all of this through, write down your goals and how you’re going to achieve them. Doing this will help focus your search.
  • Conduct an audit on your application materials: Have your application materials gone untouched since the last time you applied for a job? Do you even have everything you need? To find out, conduct an audit: Do you have a recent résumé and cover letter? When was the last time these documents were updated? Do you a have any supporting materials that might be needed for applications, such as client work, writing samples or news clips? Also look at your online presence: Are your profiles on professional social networks up to date and do they match with the content of your application materials? Would creating a personal website to house your portfolio potentially give you an edge in your search? After you’ve determined what you have and where the holes are, get to work. Remember, you want to create personalized résumés and cover letters for each position to which you’re applying, so keep that in mind when making changes. Check out this infographic for a guide on how to refresh your résumé.
  • Reconnect with contacts made during the holidays: Did you meet potential professional contacts during your holiday party-hopping? Now that the season is over, it’s time to follow up. Don’t wait too long — as more time passes, it’s more likely that your new contacts will forget your meeting and won’t think of you for job opportunities. If you’re squeamish about cold calling semi-strangers, start by writing emails. Remind them who you are, how you met and how much you enjoyed the conversation. Ask them if they have time to speak again on the phone or in person. Once that initial connection is made, you can talk more specifically about your career goals and how they may potentially help you achieve them.

by By of CareerBuilder.com

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