JEAN'S BLOG. Best & Next Practices in: Executive Resumes, Personal Branding & Executive Job Search

Mayor Menino's Little House: Musings on Money and Career

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 10, 2014 11:34:35 AM

Image-Menino-home

Mayor Menino in front of his home in Hyde Park section of Boston

Boston and Masschusetts were honoring the life of Mayor Tom Menino last week. It is said that he had met 60% of Boston's residents and had a hand in every building project in the city over his 20-year tenure and 5 terms. He was much loved - a man of the people - who loved his city and its people. His accomplishments were many.

One item struck me as the remembrances rolled in on the radio and - though slightly off-topic from what I usually write about here - I wanted to put it out there. It was that he continued to live in his modest house in the city neighborhood he started out in. We are used to seeing big names and their big homes. What does it mean that Mayor Menino did it differently?

These are musings on money and career - on money and values - on money and freedom - on money and retirement. In no particular order, these are thoughts that are prompted, in part, from having worked with so many people over the years at different stages in their careers experiencing those twin concerns of almost everybody: how to make enough money (whatever "enough" means for the individual) and how to be happy.

1. Why is it surprising that a prominant public figure like Tom Menino never felt the need to upgrade his house to match his increasing levels of influence, power, and compensation? Is it necessary to spend and own in keeping with one's level of career advancement? What does it mean when someone steps out of this lock-step advance?

2. What can we infer about Mayor Menino's value system? We can guess that he valued his feeling of home and neighborhood and that he didn't care about house pride and wealth demonstrations.

3. What kind of freedom does owning less in terms of possessions confer upon a person or a family? Is it worth giving up the possible benefits of more comfort, beauty, space, and status in one's property for the ability to live on less and then be able to choose a lower-paying job, if it provides more life satisfaction?

4. When we see celebrities like Mayor Menino and Warrren Buffett - both top practitioners in their respective fields - decline to purchase showy properties, what does it make us feel? It makes me feel that their work is something they do because they were born to do it - they love it and it allows them to be perfectly who they are. And it is not necessary linked to a need for impressive property ownership.

5. As so many baby boomers approach or select retirement, what do the issues of spending and lifestyle during the working years have to do with retirement lifestyle? I expect we will see many creative solutions where, because financial constraints will be the norm, people will develop innovative solutions for housing as well as for how to make those years fun and meaningful. Feeling free to step out of the realm of competition in housing/possessions will become key to retirement "success" for many I would guess.

6. Here is a common pattern I see in my increasingly wealthy town, understanding that this scenario is only avalable to the top few percent. People trade up houses 2 or 3 times to get bigger. more beautiful, or high-status homes. Why did Mayor Menino do it differently?

7. A final thought: since we leave this world with nothing, what part, then, do we want things and money to play in our careers and lifesyles during our brief span of life?

Best wishes for prosperity on your terms. I'd love to hear your thoughts. And thanks, Tom Menino, for your amazing contributions and for prompting these musings!

 

 

 

 

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Topics: career management, career planning, career services, careers in retirement

Programmers & IT Support Staff: SaaS & Your Job

Posted by Jean Cummings

Apr 20, 2012 5:23:00 PM

SaaS & Your IT Job

As a follow-on to my last post on the impact of cloud computing on the IT jobs landscape, here are a list of jobs predicted to emerge as one aspect of the cloud - software-as-a-service or SaaS - becomes even more widely adopted. If you work currently as a traditional software programmer or support back-end systems under the leadership of a CIO, take note of the opportunities emerging as discussed in CIO Magazine's article on: "What SaaS Means for the Future of the IT Department."

Programmers: Less demand for software programming and more for Web 2.0 and Java skills along with knowledge of open Web standards, as the trend toward Web-mediated application delivery and mobile computing accelerates.

For the large numbers of IT support staff out there, who primarily keep ERP systems running, support the infrastructure and the back end, you may no longer be working for the company you're with. The jobs will be at the SaaS vendors: roles integrating different SaaS solutions for a customer or working in the data center.

Large-scale adoption of ERP delivered as SaaS may be slow, however, due to the complexity of the inter-relationships between applications. Single application SaaS is booming though, and here is a recommendation as mentioned in CIO Magazine's article worth serious consideration:

"The SaaS trend will force many IT professionals to rethink their skills and the value they bring to their companies, says Jeffrey Kaplan, president of THINKstrategies, a consultancy that helps companies adopt SaaS applications."

Translated, what this means is that you need to build your career brand around the skills in current demand and your unique value proposition. I never write an IT resume that doesn't showcase my client's value prop  - and you shouldn't either. For more on branding, click here.

 


 

 

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Topics: IT job search, career management, career planning, career services, cloud technology

In a Job Search, Who Gets Hired? The MBA or Certified Technologist?

Posted by Jean Cummings

Nov 18, 2011 4:48:00 PM

Image teamleadImage courtesy of jscreationszs

Let's get real. In business, the guy with the Ivy League MBA usually gets hired first, for IT management positions.  Companies want to hire a graduate of a nationally ranked Business Management program that has been awarded high praise by Business Week or The Economist. However, in today's innovation economy, the MBA has a rival for some management positions: the IT Certified Technologist. 

In terms of cost and time efficiencies, IT certifications yield fairly high value for a lower investment of time and money.  So, while MBA graduates have spent anywhere between one and three years earning their advanced degree, an IT specialist has had the chance to earn certifications in multiple, specialized fields in a more condensed period of time.  

MBA graduates, especially those who come from a top-ranked program, develop business acument through studying finance, marketing, and entrepreneurism. MBA graduates have often studied under the leading professors in their field, endured the rigors of academia, and demonstrated their business savvy through varied internships. 

An IT Certified Technologist, on the other hand, has had intense training in technologies that may give a competitive advantage to the employer. With options ranging from Global Information Assurance Certification, Cisco Certified Security Professional Certification, Certified Information Systems Auditor, and CompTIA Security Certification, IT specialists bring a lot to the table. 

Not only have IT certifications proven to be valuable indicators of field mastery, they also correlate with wage increases, promotions, and new employment opportunities. In a study of 700 network professionals, conducted by Network World and SolarWinds, over two-thirds of the respondents reported that an IT Certification had earned them a new job. Almost one-third of the Certified Technologists surveyed said that professional certifications earned them promotions and salary increases. The evidence from this study suggests that IT certifications improve the employment prospects and earning potential of IT professionals. 

Perhaps it comes down to how critical technical mastery is to increasing profits and driving sales. In the balance, does business acumen trump technical knowledge? It appears that the greater the level of authority, the more critical is the business skill set. Certified Technologists who really "get" how to leverage contemporary and emerging technology to advantage their company have a valuable role to play. If they add business management skills to the mix, they are increasingly competitive for the top jobs.   

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, interviewing, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, executive job search, Get a Job, career services, career brand, IT resumes

Drop The Ladders: There's a Better Way to Job Search!

Posted by Jean Cummings

Sep 1, 2011 10:20:00 AM

Use LinkedIn to job search

If, like most people in this brave new world of job search, you're pinning your hopes on sites like The Ladders and other job boards, it's time to shift your hopes to social media. Read Nick Corcodilos' take on The Ladders, a resource similar to a job board, in his Ask the Headhunter blog post to find out his take on that service.

Social media? You mean like Facebook?!? It's worth a shot, so is Twitter, but the big bonanza is with LinkedIn. Check out these stats from a survey by jobvite reported in CIO Magazine's blog post by Meredith Levinson:

63% of IT job referrals are shared on LinkedIn

18% are shared on Facebook

17% are shared on Twitter

63% of employers have successfully hired a candidate through social media

95% have hired someone using LinkedIn

With metrics like these, you can't afford to neglect the social media channel as an important component of your job search. Yes, networking (often leveraged by using LI's database and process) is still the boss, but, as an adjunct, do these things:

1. Put a complete profile up on LinkedIn including a professional photo - and make sure it's focused on what you want to do next and that it's on-brand.

2. Pay close attention to the keywords you use: they will determine whether a hiring manager finds your profile in a search.

2. Add some bells and whistles to your LI profile: links to other websites where you can be found online, a PowerPoint Presentation, a list of relevant LI groups you participate in, a video, etc.

3. Take advantage of LinkedIn job search tools and searches.

4. Consider whether you have the time to invest in Twitter and, if you do, follow thought leaders and contribute yourself.

5. Do the same with Facebook - remembering that your identity there has to be 100% clean.

Your online identity - what a hiring manager finds in a search of your name - is becoming increasingly critical, with 45% of employers saying they ALWAYS search someone's online profile before hiring them. Start with setting up or improving your LI profile, and good luck!

 

 

 

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Topics: job search, LinkedIn, personal branding, executive resume writing, executive resume, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, career services, LinkedIn Profiles, IT resumes, job interview

Attributes Executive Recruiters Look For

Posted by Jean Cummings

Mar 22, 2011 9:22:00 AM

Attributes Executive Recruiters Look ForThis is Part 2 of my blog posts on what executive recruiters are looking for in executive candidates. Wayne Mitchell of Cabot Consultants listed the qualities he likes to see in candidates he will present to his clients:

These adjectives and attributes top the list:

1. Driven

2. Energetic (take note people 45+)

3. Entrepreneurial (that includes executives in non-entrepreneurial companies)

4. Resourceful

5. Tenacious

6. Strong interpersonal skills

7. Collaborative

8. Flexible

9. Friendly

10. Persuasive

11. Proactive

12. Team player

13. Self-confident

14. Intelligent / bright

15. Creative

16. Decisive

17. Intuitive

18. Logical

19. Quick study

20. Pattern of ongoing learning

21. Possessing Integrity

22. Honest

23. Trustworthy

Look like a dream list that no one person could embody? In reality, internal and external recruiters can actually find the "dream" hire - because the Internet - specifically LinkedIn - provides a large top-applicant pool. So they don't "settle."

What does that mean for people growing their careers? I think it suggests that they build towards these qualities and characteristics, if they don't have them already. In my mind, they fall into these clusters:

LEADERSHIP: collaborative, team-based, decisive, proactive

ETHICS: honest, trustworthy, has integrity

BUSINESS APPROACH: entrepreneurial, flexible, creative

MENTAL CHARACTERISTICS: intelligent/bright, intuitive, logical, quick study, driven, self-confident, intent on lifelong learning, tenacious

INTERPERSONAL SKILLS: good with people, friendly, persuasive

Interestingly, there are a few ones missing from this list that can be of critical importance in corporate leaders: strategic, visionary, inspirational, out-of-the-box thinking, charismatic, able to execute.

One takeaway from this is that achievements alone are not sufficient and that the above attributes need to be demonstrated in particular success stories.

These concepts are viewed as desirable in executive leaders. Other sets of attributes may be more desirable for other jobs, such as sales, hands-on technical jobs, finance, operations, etc.

We tend to think that the above list of "soft skill" would be relatively unimportant, but it appears that they are highly valued in a new hire. This is good news, I think.

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, career management, career planning, executive recruiters, career services

What Executive Recruiters Want

Posted by Jean Cummings

Mar 21, 2011 2:15:00 PM

Image executivesearch experts
I had a chance this past week to hear a presentation by an executive recruiter at the Career Thought Leaders Conference in Baltimore. I interviewed him afterwards to learn more about what he is looking for in resumes, candidates, and careers. Here's what I found out:

  • Values are important: how someone feels about work-life balance, family, work, relocation, etc.
  • A culture match with the target company is critical.
  • He wants to know how someone goes about achieving their (quantifiable) accomplishments.
  • Putting "consulting" in to cover recent work periods is a red flag; it's usually a cover for unemployment. He'd rather see worthwhile volunteer work listed.
  • Recruiters look for candidates who are currently working in a similar role and industry - not people who are currently unemployed, underemployed, or part-time consulting.
  • A pattern of ever-increasing levels of responsibility and achievements over the course of a career is what he looks for.
  • It's harder to get a job now, because the Internet has increased competition and enabled recruiters to find ever closer matches to their ideal candidate.
  • Transitioning as a business owner/founder/CEO to a c-level role within a company's org chart is possible, but only it there is a steady record of relevant and outstanding accomplishments in the same industry.

What does he recommend that candidates do when there is no possibility of recruiter recommendation? In the case of smaller companies, he suggests approaching the CEO and members of the Board of Directors and perhaps the venture capital firm that has capital in the business.

The take-away for executive resumes, executive job search, and executive careers?

- Be very careful about your career progression, including downsizing from a large company to a startup or early-stage company.

- If you switch industries, have it be part of a long-term strategic plan for your career. You may not be able to return to your earlier one.

- Think twice about gaps in your work history. If necessary, fill the time with worthwhile volunteer work where you can use your professional skills to deliver real results.

- Don't count on executive recruiters being interested in you if your background is not fairly standard for the target position - including your having held a similar role for a competitor in the same industry.

That last point eliminates a large percentage of job seekers from using the recruiter channel to get a job. Hence, there is a high priority placed on leveraging 2.0 networking and advanced job search methods to get a job, such as I wrote about in Turbocharged Networking for $100K+ Jobs.

The new age of competition is a daunting one, but:

- the economy is picking up

- there may well be a labor shortage as the baby boomers gradually leave the workforce

- and savvy executive job seekers can learn how to get in front of a hiring authority more easily than before.

Never has it been more important to establish, build, and promote your personal brand as it evolves over a lifetime and strategically and proactively manage your career!

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, executive recruiters, Get a Job, career services, Online ID, reputation management

The New Job Security: 10 Career Management Tips

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 26, 2011 6:07:00 PM

Career management

It's not news to anyone that job security is a thing of the past. It can start to feel as though employers are holding all the cards, hiring and laying off people at will, with no loyalty involved.

But there's another way to look at the situation. Consider yourself a free agent who can move freely between various opportunities as chances to grow your personal brand present themselves. Here are some quick tips I've summarized from Kathryn Ullrich writing in TechRepublic:

1. Look out for #1: with loyalty an old-fashioned virtue, you have the right to move to a job that works better for you

2. Be strategic: plan where you want to be within a range of time frames and chart how to get there

3. Work in step with your company goals: by aligning your work with the company's strategic objectives, your contributions will be more significant

4. Be customer-centric: not only will attention to your internal and external customers result in better products and services, but you'll be better networked for future career moves

5. Collaborate: again, build your connections while improving innovation and day-to-day work product

6. Hone your communications skills: it may sound overused, but ability to listen and express yourself effectively are core skills to almost all jobs; even individual contributors like coders will be more effective with better communication skills

7. Cross over functionally: more and more companies are looking for people who have a broader functional skillset - and you'll grow your network while you're at it

8. Expand your experience: this will give you value-added skills and a broader network

9. Find a guide: a mentor can be a great guide to planning and implementing your career progression

10. Network - now: optimize your profile on LinkedIn for job search (see previous post) and continually make connections online and off for when you need them or they need you

Here are a few more I think are important:

1. Define your personal brand: your value proposition, attributes, values, and value-adds

2. Project your brand online (see previous post)

3. Keep your eye on where the business and/or company you're in is trending; shape your career in the direction where the jobs are going to be

4. Become a subject matter expert and showcase your knowledge in a blog, on LinkedIn groups, in LI Answers, on Twitter, etc.

5. Go deep in one of the trending areas

6. Choose a function to join with IT, such as finance or sales & marketing - to give you a competitive advantage in a job search

Job search is an Always On feature of life now. Go ahead, you're in the driver's seat of your career.

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Topics: job search, executive resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, career services, Online ID

Top Trends in Personal Branding: Job Seekers Take Note

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 26, 2011 8:48:00 AM

Personal Branding for Job SearchWilliam Arruda, The Personal Branding Guru, is known for "seeing around the corner." His list of the top trends in personal branding is a heads-up for job seekers who want to get out in front of their competition. Here they are, in brief:

1. Hiring Anywhere - companies are more open to hiring from other locations, and video is the way to get your message across when you're not there in person; consider creating a video to communicate your personal brand, host it on YouTube, and distribute it to interested hiring managers and recruiters

2. Homecasting - professional home offices and backgrounds become the "set" for your video communications; when you shoot your video, make your background clean and professional

3. Vidmail - William says that email is "so last decade," and that integrated text, image, and video communications will become more common; include images and/or a video in your emails

4. Professional Dress - as video becomes a more prominant vehicle for communicating personal brands, it's essential to have your dress on-brand in terms of formality and style; in video and in-person interviews, dress on the formal side of what is appropriate for your job

5. Personal Branding Infused - with the concept at least a decade old now, watch it being talked about in corporate settings with more frequency; leverage personal branding on behalf of your job search

6. Web Purity - watch for new ways to ensure that when someone googles your name, they will find you; now, several people may come up; take a look at Visibility's "Search Me" button and consider adding it to your LinkedIn profile

7. 3D PB - with blended, multimedia search becoming a reality, be sure to have different ways that people can get to know you - real-time content, images, and video; become active on Twitter, YouTube and Flickr in job-appropriate and brand-enhancing ways

8. Personal Portals - new tools are emerging that enable you to assemble in one place all the pieces of your personal brand that reside in different places on the Web; check out about.me and flavors.me

9. Revyous - establish your credibility by getting recommendations on your LinkedIn profile; watch for more sites that enable feedback on who you are professionally

Job seekers, more than anyone else, need to present themselves as relevant, valuable, and 3-dimensional, in order to capture the attention of recruiters and hiring authorities. For those of you who haven't developed your personal brand, do it now. For those who have, project your personal brand in the many ways suggested by William's list of top trends.

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, technology executive resumes, personal brand, executive resume writing, executive resume, career management, career planning, Jobs, Get a Job, career services, Job Interviews, personal brands, Online ID, LinkedIn Profiles

25 LinkedIn Tips for Your Job Search

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 14, 2011 5:51:00 PM

25 LinkedIn Tips for Job SearchThe vast majority of employers and recruiters search LinkedIn before deciding whether to interview you. If you're conducting a job search, do you know how to optimize LinkedIn to your advantage? Here are a few ideas. Please add additional ones in comments!

  1. After your title, add your industry (if that's the one you want a job in) and then pump it up with your brand if you wish: "Go-to SAP Project Manager"
  2. In your summary, nail your value proposition and competitive advantages.
  3. Use the common keywords recruiters or hiring authorities would use when searching for someone like you.
  4. Put in a comprehensive list of keywords under Specialties to attract search engine attention
  5. Under Experience, just hit your main achievements and contributions. Use numbers whenever possible.
  6. If your title isn't the one a hiring manager would use to search for someone who does what you do, put your formal, legal title in, then a slash, and then the title that you would have in most companies: "Business Continuity Analyst / Business Continuity Manager"
  7. Make your profile as complete as possible. Include links to any websites or blogs and to your Twitter and Facebook pages.
  8. List all your educational institutions, training, associations, and memberships to provide keywords that may help other users find you.
  9. Include a headshot. Make it professional even if it's taken from your digital camera.
  10. List your interests, community involvement, and extracurricular activities. They give you individuality and make you memorable. Also, studies show that skill in one area (swimming) tranfers to perceived skill in your professional area (Program Management).
  11. List your LinkedIn groups.
  12. Consider which applications you'd like to download (see bottom of your profile). 
  13. Participate in the Answers feature in your field to demonstrate subject matter expertise and thought leadership.
  14. Join one or more groups related to your field of expertise. Contribute to it regularly. This helps your reputation as a thought leader.
  15. Ask as many people as you can to write a recommendation (stick to professional contacts).
  16. Recommend others. They may return the favor.
  17. Consider embedding a video in your site - it's a real differentiator and allows you to show your enthusiasm and expertise in your field.
  18. Connect to people you know and have confidence in.
  19. Let LinkedIn mine your email addresses and give you the opportunity to invite some of them.
  20. Do research on companies you are interested in working for.
  21. Find names of people who work in those companies or who have worked there recently (all this can be done in a simple search).
  22. Send a message or an inmail if it's available to them to ask if you could speak with them for 5 minutes to learn something about the culture of the company from within.
  23. Find out any inside information you can about where the company is going that will help you tailor your message to them.
  24. Go to Settings and check the box that says you'll allow inmail and introductions.
  25. Go to Jobs and start using the largest job board on the Web!
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Topics: job search, LinkedIn, executive resumes, career management, Get a Job, career services, LinkedIn Profiles

IT Professionals: Get Career Insurance Now!

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jan 12, 2011 11:07:00 AM

US tech career planning in response to outsourcing

CIO magazine's blog post by Michael Hugos recommends 3 ways for IT professionals to secure their career going forward. He postulates that the trend towards outsourcing to countries with lower labor costs is irreversible. He goes on to say that cloud computing and SaaS mean a further reduction in IT in-house staffs.

Logically, I think what he says about the future of IT in US and Europe makes sense. I have, however, seen a flow of jobs back to the US in some cases. Customer frustration with help desk services provided by non-native English speakers and occasional dropped calls have prompted some companies to bring the function back to the US. One of the companies I am aware of has taken their systems administration away from a low-cost Indian provider and given it to a high-cost European one that is providing vastly improved service.

Still, IT professionals in India and China will only get increasingly skilled technically and better at communicating in English as time goes on. So what does the author suggest IT folks in US and Europe do to ensure they will have jobs in the future?

1. They need to focus on more than just cutting costs.

2. They need to develop expertise in another functional area on the business side of the house - marketing, finance, sales - in order to have an inside track on how they can leverage IT to MAKE MONEY.

3. They need to continually work to leverage technologies that provide greater agility to transform business to be more agile and hence more able to respond to market opportunities and challenges.

In addition to these, I think that, even though China is particular is coming on strong in tech innovation, the US and Europe must continue to lead in innovation. The individual technology professional who either pioneers or is an early adopter of an innovation that improves how business gets done will have a job that can't be outsourced.

The same is true, in my opinion, of the IT professional who adds value to the standard job description. An example of this would be my client who is such an expert on iOS and other mobile operating systems that he is an invaluable support to other Team Leads and a highly effective trainer and manager of outsourced teams.

Any other thoughts on how to ensure tech careers going forward?

 

 

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Topics: personal branding, executive resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, career services

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