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

Tech Job Search: "Software is Eating the World" - and Your Job?

Posted by Jean Cummings

Jun 3, 2013 8:11:00 AM

Tech job search: impact of cloud computing
Quoting Teshma Sohoni (Fast Company Ap 2013), "Software is indeed eating the world as...industries are adopting SaaS/cloud faster than ever." He goes on to state that startups are targeting both niche and large industries with custom solutions.

For tech job seekers, whenever there's a disruptive trend, new types of jobs will never be far behind. These startups, in addition to established service providers, will be expanding their services and markets and in need of skilled tech workers. However, there's been a perceived downside for technology professionals in the trend to SaaS/cloud:

"What will happen to my job when my IT Dept. increasingly oursources both applications and infrastructure that have traditionally been under the control of the internal IT shop?"

Contrary to the fears that SaaS/cloud would decimate IT departments, it appears that tech jobs are still around but rapidly adapting and changing to service the new landscape. How will this trend affect you in your job search and career? Forbes addresses this question in their article, "The Great Cloud-induced Job Implosion That Never Happened," in reference to the Deloitte study published in the Wall Street Journal:

"If anything, cloud computing is increasing complexity and workloads, creating more demand for IT skills."

But the skills needed for current and future IT jobs will need to be actively cultivated in order for IT professionals to stay relevant. Oddly enough, we're not talking about mastery of new languages or technologies here as much as learning to interface effectively with internal business customers, vendor staff, and external customers.

In addition, new types of competencies are growing in importance:

"Deloitte reports that rather than diminish in-house IT departments, it is generating more “value-added” activities such as 'high-end software development, business analytics, enterprise architecture, and strategic vendor relationship management.'"

We have discussed in this space before how IT professionals are increasingly expected to be business savvy. The sought-after hires will be those who are attuned to leveraging IT to add value to the business.


Specifically, in three companies, here are examples of how certain jobs are morphing:

Programmers/coders to.....Application Developers, Technical Analysts

IT Staff to.....Business Analyst, Architects

IT Staff who maintained/fixed apps to.....Teachers/mentors/trainers supporting end-users in the use of new cloud/SaaS services

Where do you see possibilities for your career in these changes? I'd love to hear!

 

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Topics: career management, career planning, executive job search, branded executive resume, career marketing, SaaS jobs, Cloud jobs

In Stealth Job Search Mode? Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile Safely

Posted by Jean Cummings

Oct 10, 2012 7:19:00 AM

Upgrade your LinkedIn Profile without tipping off your boss

Have you been wanting to improve your LinkedIn Profile without tipping off your employer, boss or peers that you are looking? A number of people I talk to are reluctant to fully utilize the potential of LinkedIn for job search for fear of getting questioned or fired by their employer. It's a legitimate concern. Some companies do keep an eye on changes employees make to their profiles and may view them as red flags.

So what do you do? Here are some strategies:

1. Before your make any changes to your profile, go into Settings and under Privacy Controls turn OFF your activity broadcasts. Then, when you are finished, go into Privacy Controls again and turn it back on.

2. Make changes only incrementally. One week you may punch up the accomplishments under one job. And do that for each job title only once a week.

3. Let the dust settle, then tackle your Professional Headline. To optimize for job search, get your keywords in there: your target title and industry, and your value proposition - all in under 120 characters! :)

4. Then here comes the trickiest part - the Summary. Here is where employers most likely will be able to see if someone is suddenly looking for a job. So handle your profile diplomatically. There is a way to do this that does not scream, "I'm looking for a job!" Write it from the point of view of someone who is happy and contributing at their current employer. Use the name of the company right from the start: "At Neptune Associates Universal I proactively align technology with business requirements. My own passion for providing superior customer service is a good match for Neptune's commitment to overdelivering on every promise."

5. The following week complete your Skills & Expertise Section - paying close attention to including the keywords that people are likely to be searching for in your space.

6. Continuing to space your changes, build out the rest of your profile. You are aiming for 100% complete (LinkedIn will tell you when you get there.) Request new testimonials, list interests and books read, consider using available apps to show a PowerPoint presentation you created or a video of you speaking as a thought leader in your field, etc.

7. Once you have your Profile complete, start to expand your activity on LinkedIn by sending out invitations to connect with people on an ongoing basis - including with folks in your function and people at companies where you would like to work. Join groups where thought leaders, recruiters for your function and/or industry, and your target companies hang out.

8. Exercise care in sending invitations to connect with recruiters and hiring managers. Also, use caution about joining job search groups. Since people can see the groups you are in as part of your profile, stick to professional groups with a focus on increasing knowledge in your space.

9. If you tweet, join your Twitter and LinkedIn accounts - again, after an interval of time has passed.

If you follow these steps, you will be changing your LinkedIn content so gradually that, although at some point people may say to themselves "What a great LinkedIn profile!" - they will not be able to pinpoint exactly when the changes happened. What they will see is a loyal employee who has the good sense to build out his/her profile in a rich, highly professional way.

Recruiters and hiring managers will see the same things - and that will work for you too! The biggest mistake you can make is holding off on the process of optimizing your profile for job search. Your LIP is where everyone will go when considering you for a position. Good luck!

 

Have you been wanting to improve your LinkedIn Profile so employers and recruiters can find you without tipping off ? Here's how:

 

How to Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile for Job Search Under the Radar




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    Topics: executive job search, LinkedIn profile, how to write a LinkedIn Profile, confidential job search

    Is Your Executive Resume Ready for Prime Time? 2 Simple Tests

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Oct 1, 2012 1:51:00 PM

    Is your resume good enough?

    Most people approach the matter of submitting their resume with some trepidation - certainly with the sense that there is some mystery surrounding whether a recruiter or hiring authority will, in the first place, see it at all and, in the second place, act positively on it. And so much rides on whether they do! Success or failure can make the difference between getting an interview or not.

    So, what should a resume be these days? Everyone knows times have radically changed in terms of job search and recruiting. Old-fashioned networking is still a good way to get a job. But companies and job seekers alike are finding new opportunities for networking and search on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and other online networks. And the increasing use and sophistication of applicant tracking software (ATS) has put a premium on knowing the keyword rules.

    But there are a couple of tests you can run your executive resume through that will give you an idea of whether yours is ready for prime time. The first has to do with whether a human being viewing your resume will be inclined to put it in the Yes pile. The second has to do with whether your resume has a good chance of being retrieved electronically so the recruiter will actually see it.

    Test #1 HUMAN EYES

    Can the reader figure out your unique selling points in 4 seconds? Since you have ONLY 4 SECONDS to make an impression, is your resume set up to be visually accessible and with critical key content that will motivate the recruiter to contact you?

    Test #2 ELECTRONIC RETRIEVAL

    Does your resume have the keywords and formatting that will enable it to be retrieved in an electronic search by a hiring authority or recruiter for a specific job?

    If you've answered "Yes" to both #1 and #2, read no further. But if you've answered "No" to either, keep reading for 6 quick pointers on effective ways to get your resume to pass both these tests.

    HUMAN EYES - 3 POINTERS

    1.Customize your resume for each opportunity. State your career brand - your unique promise of value for that specific opportunity - right at the top under your contact information. If you don't know what yours is, look through my earlier posts or contact a Certified Personal Branding Strategist like myself for help.

    2. Use the target title (as listed in the ad) somewhere in your profile, and use the core competencies required for the particular job somewhere in your profile, preferably in text or in columns/lists if you have too many. This is important, because when a human being scans your resume, s/he will be looking for a match with their open job.

    3. Make your top accomplishments stand out visually. For instance, in the experience section below your job title, select the one stand-out contribution you made when you held that particular job title. Then bold it, box it and/or graph it. And use numbers! Then there will be just 3-5 such statements over your whole career that the eye will have to process. Take advantage of the 4 seconds you get to whet the recruiter's appetite for reading about the other accomplishments for each position in more detail!

    ELECTRONIC "EYES" - 3 Pointers

    1. Identify the keywords in the ad. They will be the required and desired titles, skills, degrees, training and technologies listed. Try to include them in the text portions of your resume as well as in lists/columns. Newer, more sophisticated ATS systems can identify keywords in context and may drop or give less value to lists.

    2. Save your resume in ASCII/text format. This is because the formatting you use in your Word version may not translate well, therefore making your resume very hard to read. To save a Word doc as a .txt file, choose Save As from your drop down menu under File and select "text only" - then clean it up and save.

    3. Keep your section headings simple and obvious in your ASCII/text version: Summary, Work Experience, Education. The ATS is geared to look for these. If it doesn't recognize a heading, it may well drop that whole section, deep-sixing your resume's chances.

    Although all of the above may sound daunting, make every attempt to render your executive resume both people- and machine-friendly. Swing the odds in your favor!

     

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    Topics: personal branding, executive resume, executive job search, ATS, recruiters

    "Transferable Skills" Fallacy: When is too late to change industries?

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Aug 29, 2012 7:53:00 AM

     

    Executive at a crossroads

    Executive at a crossroads

    Let’s call him Jesse. His story is a hypothetical example, but one that is not uncommon. Jesse has done all kinds of great things. Wonderful quantifiable achievements. And in several industries – IT, Manufacturing, Consulting. Clearly, he’s loaded with talent.

    So, he’s 45 or thereabouts. And he wants to apply at the VP level for positions that might come up in any of those fields. The trouble is, is it too late for that?

    When is he deemed to be too far along in his career (code for too old) to capture a senior management position in any of those fields?

    Talk of  “ transferable skills” is everywhere in media stories about job search. This idea is offered as a panacea for how to get a job in a different field than the one you're experienced in.

    Don’t get me wrong! I’m a believer that many people could successfully cross industries and even be more effective because they are deeply familiar with more than one sector.

    But that’s the truth from the individual’s point of view.

    The truth is the common faith in the transferable skills idea most likely isn’t going to hold any water from the perspective of the hiring authority or recruiter any more, at the executive level. And this is, in part, because the whole world of candidate selection has changed.

    Before 2009 or so, the candidate pool was pretty much limited to the recruiter’s contacts, referrals, and perhaps people who had posted their resumes on a job board or corporate website.

    But, since LinkedIn has become a premier database of professionals, recruiters now have access to profiles of both unemployed and employed executives. And I have heard recruiters in two panel discussions say that they are now able to hire candidates who possess 10 out of 10 of their requirements. The old, pre-LinkedIn number was 7 out of 10.

    What this means for Jesse is clear. If the recruiter can find someone who has 25 years of experience in one industry, and probably is even more narrowly specialized in the desired industry niche, that person is going to be selected over the executive who has 7 years in 3 different industries.

    So, if you are 35 and thinking about your next job, know that the industry where you land may well determine the industry you will reside in professionally for decades to come. It will simply be too difficult to switch industries at the more senior levels.

    This is not to say that it’s impossible. If you are able to tap exceptionally strong, well-placed personal connections or if you are a well-known superstar you may be able to make such a move at 35 or even 45.

    But I encourage my clients to commit to an industry as soon as they are able. Ideally 30, 35. If an executive is 45 and has split experience between 3 sectors, I encourage that individual to strengthen his presentation of his most recent experience and go after positions in that field. And this is the advice I would give to Jesse.

    So the word to the wise today is: play the field if you want to in your twenties, but settle down in your 30s. Don’t count on your skills transferring to get you a job. Develop the core, desired skills that recruiters will be requiring. Keep your eye on your goal a couple years down the road and manage your career accordingly.

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    Topics: executive resumes, career management, career planning, executive job search, career brand, transferable skills, switching careers

    20 Insider Job Search Tips from Recruiters: Ignore at Your Peril

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Apr 24, 2012 9:46:00 AM

    Executive recruiter tips

    Have you caught up yet? I am amazed that there are CIOs of big companies out there who don't have a built-out LinkedIn profile - just name, photo, and employers. At a recruiter round table a couple of weeks ago, sponsored by the New England Network of the Association of Career Professionals International, the new picture of recruiting emerged. Successful job seekers will proactively be where recruiters are looking for talent. Here is some of what these three recruiters said and tips for being a successful candidate:

    1. They want to find you in a Google search. Have profiles on Linkedin (LI), Twitter, Facebook, ZoomInfo, About.me, at a minimum.

    2. They will look for you on LinkedIn. Be there - both with a profile and membership in relevant industry groups.

    3. They want you to have a 100% complete LI profile. Also, get an edge by adding video, audio, PowerPoint presentations, etc. using apps available at the bottom of your profile.

    4. They will look to see who your connections are and if there are any that work for their company. Then they will go through that employee to talk to you, if interested. Expand your LI network continually.

    5. They will see what you are doing on Twitter and Facebook. Curate your content with an eye to your professional image.

    6. Many recruiters no longer pay Monster and CareerBuilder, because they can source great candidates through Google searches, LI and social networking sites. So spend your time there.

    7. They still do find some candidates on indeed.com, a job posting aggregator. So put your resume up.

    8. They try to hire from within and develop employees, if they can. Have you explored that possibility where you work?

    9. They rely on employee referrals for good candidates. So the more networked you are, the more likely it is that you will be known by someone in the company. Work towards 500 connections on LI. Expand your Twitter following.

    10. They want you to have 10 out of 10 of the skills they are looking for. Build towards those as you manage your career.

    11. One of the recruiters said she doesn't look at unemployed candidates. The other two said they certainly will. They understood that the recession was an equal-opportunity layoff machine. If you have a period out of work, fill the time with meaningful volunteer work or consulting.

    12. They want change leaders. What change have you managed, how did you do it, what were the results? Get this info into your resume, LI profile and other marketing communications.

    13. They're moving towards video interviews. Have someone go through some interview questions with you while filming you on their smart phone. What can you learn about the general impression you give, your tone of voice and body language, your manner? Try to be energetic and engaging, with short pithy messages and stories.

    14. They are using assessment centers, competency models, job simulations, 360s, and self-assessments to help determine who is the best candidate. No longer can people get hired on "a wing and a prayer." Take your career seriously and develop the critical skills your target job requires.

    15. Jobs are still hard to get. Companies are not replacing some of the employees who leave. They are expecting more work out of those who remain (the jobless recovery). Be hard to replace at the job you're in.

    16. Bright Horizons (childcare & other) hired 200 people out of 10K applicants. Get an edge in whatever way you can (see above). Also, be ready with a well-defined career/personal brand, a portfolio of marketing communications, a video, a robust online presence, and a valuable network.

    17. They are catering to people active on LI, Twitter, and Facebook. Be there.

    18. The workforce is becoming increasingly globalized. Expand your perceptions.

    19. They are relying heavily on Web analytics and ATS (Applicant Tracking System) reporting. Submit a quality ASCII/text version of your resume, along with the Word version, if requested, to avoid transmission problems.

    20. They want new employees to "hit the ground running." That means you need to demonstrate that you already have the skills required to start up fast.

    Does this list seem overwhelming? It is, but it's the future. As you can see, even top IT leaders aren't always up-to-speed. But if you take these suggestions to heart, you will have an edge in job search now and throughout your career.

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    Topics: career management, executive recruiters, executive job search, Get a Job, applicant tracking software

    Our Power Word for Job Seekers in 2012

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Jan 3, 2012 3:14:00 PM

    Image align

    Our power word for job seekers in 2011 was LEVERAGE. We used it (and still use it!) in multiple ways: "Joe leveraged his people skills to turn around morale and retention in a team demoralized by multiple layoffs." Or: "Joe leveraged the group's expertise in project management best practices to collaboratively establish the company's first formal PMO."

    We love "leverage" because it is able to say so much in just one word and because it is a "body language" word. We can feel what it's like to lift something up with the help of something else (a lever). It's also a word that teaches us about something we can do in our personal brand or our job. For instance, we can use one of our brand attributes to empower us in doing our main job. This attribute may be a strong differentiator for us as a candidate or as an employee.

    Our power word for 2012 is ALIGN. It is defined by Meriam-Webster as:

    Transitive verb

    1. to bring into line

    2. to array on the side of...

    Intransitive verb

    1. to get or fall into line

    2. to be in or come into precise adjustment or correct relative position

    For example: "The school had to align their programs with state requirements," or "She is aligning with other Senators to oppose his nomination."

    Why is "align" a useful word for job seekers? Because employers are looking for applicants...

    • who are aligned with the values of the company
    • whose actions are aligned with their own personal brand
    • who can (for example) align IT with the business objectives of the organization

    "Align" can say so much in one word. It can say that the person's personal brand is unified and internally and externally consistent or that the person's work lines up with the values and goals of the organization.

    "Align" is a "body language" word too. We can feel in our muscles what it is like to line up with or become parallel to something else.

    So here's to 2012! May you align your actions with your core values. May you align the work of your group with the overarching goals of your organization. May you become aligned with a path that will enable you to reach all your personal and professional goals.

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    Topics: personal branding, personal brand, career management, executive job search, career brand, career

    10 Ways NOT to Follow Up after Job Interviews

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Nov 28, 2011 9:12:00 AM

    job interviews, interviewing, job search

    Job interviews are like first dates. The follow-up can make or break you. Let's say you've clinched the job interview and left the employer with a firm handshake and a good impression. You don't want them to think you weren't that interested in the job, so get ready to plan your next meeting. Your getting hired may well depend on how you choose to follow up with that employer.

    When following up after an interview, you don't have to appear to be "the desperate job seeker." In fact, the real truth is that the employer needs YOU. So be prepared to show them some value that you bring to the table. You are the one with the skills, background, and expertise to help that employer solve some pain the company is having or jumpstart growth. But it's easy to make a mistake in the follow up. So, heed these tips:

    1. Don't call just to follow up. After all, how does your following up benefit your potential employer? Call with something meaningful to say. 
    2. Don't send your resume again. They already have it. Doing so will only clutter their inbox.
    3. Don't call back the same day. The interview process takes a while and they are likely to be interviewing other candidates.
    4. Don't leave long-winded voicemails inquiring about the hiring process.
    5. Don't send emails about the voicemails that you left. Overdoing it can be a turnoff to the employer
    6. Don't sound frustrated or annoyed on the phone if they are not responding in the way you would have liked.
    7. Don't go over the head of your interviewer. If your interview is with the senior program manager, don't try to contact the CIO.
    8. Don't skip the follow-up phone call altogether. This makes you appear uninterested.
    9. Don't miss their next phone call. Make time right then to speak with them or set a firm appointment for another time when you are free.
    10. Don't let them forget about you. Send a thank-you note after your interview. Then get in touch with them in some of the ways listed in my next blog post.

    So, find a happy medium between stalker and slacker when following up after an interview. The goal is to help the interviewer remember you and want to engage with you further.

     

     

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    Topics: job search, executive resumes, interviewing, executive resume, executive job search, Job Interviews, job interview

    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

    IT Job Search: How to Be Relevant in Today's Job Market

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Nov 17, 2011 10:02:00 AM

    Top IT Skills

    Photo by scottchan: Cloud Computing Technology Concept

    Matt Ferguson, the CEO of CareerBuilder.com, the largest online job board, has a uniquely broad view of the labor market. And what he sees is that, despite high unemployment, there is a major labor SHORTAGE in some niche fields, including technology, engineering, and health care.

    In his article in the Harvard Business Review, "How American Business Can Navigate the Skills Gap," Matt suggests several strategies for addressing what he views as a critical skills gap that, if not addressed by business and government, could cause "a long range structural problem."

    One of those strategies is retraining. For example, if you are an IT professional and can't find work, consider retraining in one of the IT niches that are in demand right now. Cloud developers is one such area. 

    ComputerWorld lists 11 skills that are hot right now. They include:

    1. Programming and application development (Java, for instance)
    2. Project management
    3. Help desk / technical support
    4. Networking (& virtualization)
    5. Security
    6. Data center
    7. Web 2.0
    8. Telecommunications
    9. Business intelligence
    10. Collaboration architecture
    11. Business acument and communication
    Read this list carefully, though, and do your own market research to be sure that the skill you would retrain for is hot in your area - and what specific aspect of the general skill is in demand.
    If you've watched the TOP HOT SKILLS lists over the last decade, you'll have noticed that they are a moving target. What do you do if you retrain for the skill that is hot now and in three years is not? Keep your eye on emerging trends, extend your capabilities while on the job into the newer skill areas, and know that you will continually be learning and building throughout your career. To remain relevant, know and follow the trends!
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    Topics: job search, personal branding, executive resume writing, technology resumes, career management, career planning, executive job search, Get a Job, IT resumes

    On-the-job Praise Leads to Cheating?? Job Search Hints

    Posted by Jean Cummings

    Nov 10, 2011 9:29:00 AM

    Image focus2510j9cb5zn8jt

    (Beautiful image by Federico Stevanin)

    What?? Here we've always been told that giving positive feedback is important. And we've always felt it helps improve behavior (of our co-workers, direct reports, spouse, kids!) So what does the new study on the subject suggest for job seekers in particular?

    A Harvard Business Review blog post by David Rock, Praise Leads to Cheating, suggests some provocative conclusions. A Carol Dweck study presented at the NeuroLeadership Summit in 2011 finds that praising someone's talent, intelligence, or some other quality viewed to be "inborn" makes the person more inclined to lie about their performance (3x more likely) and less likely to take risks.

    Those whose work is praised are more likely to take learning risks and be truthful about their performance. The critical distinction here is between praising someone for a static trait s/he is born with and for a work product that is the result of effort. Dweck is quoted as saying:  "trusting in the value of hard work and effort is not just a stronger predictor of success, but a much more powerful motivator."

    She contrasts the "fixed" mindset of people in the "inborn quality" camp and the dynamic, willing-to-take risks-and-learn-new-things attitude of those who believe that their hard work will produce results - she calls it a belief in the neutroplasticity of the brain.

    What does this mean for job seekers? Job search involves large elements of learning new behaviors and information and taking significant risks. If you can prime yourself with the belief that you can, by hard work and trying new things, be successful at getting a job, you will be much more likely to acheve your goals.

    Let go of any ideas such as "more talented people than I are getting the jobs," or "you have to be really smart to do that," or "I'm not as good as the rest" or any other belief in the fixed quality of your traits. 

    Focus instead on your ability to make something great happen for yourself through dint of hard work and taking risks. Risks would include networking boldly and actively and directly approaching hiring managers. They would also include becoming more active in online conversations (LinkedIn, Twitter). It's within YOUR power!

     

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    Topics: job search, executive resumes, CIO resumes, career management, career planning, executive job search

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