Saturday, January 31, 2009

Career Value

Yes, there is such a thing as career value and it varies from person to person. Your career value is the combination of several factors. The higher you rank on each factor, the higher your career value.

Now, I can't tell you where you rank because the ranking system may vary from employer to employer. I can however give you a heads up as to which factors are considered when an employer determines your career value.

Career Value Factor #1: Experience

If you are applying for a position, let's say a Nurse, the employer will look at how much experience you having in nursing. They don't care that you were a cashier, they don't care that you tried sales, they are only concerned with your experience as a nurse.

Career Value Factor #2: Consistency

So, they know you have experience, but what is that experience like? Did you try nursing for two years, leave the industry and go back five years later? How long have you been at each position? They look for patterns, both positive and negative.

Career Value Factor #3: Achievements

What have you done that puts you above the rest? Have you received any awards? Did you develop a new product? Do you own your own company? Did you develop a new design idea? What have you done that screams out "WOW!"

Career Value Factor #4: Education

This varies from employer to employer. Some employers prefer experience over education, some education over experience, some look for both. Having an education will land you on the safe side, but won't prevent you from landing a job.

Career Value Factor #5: Languages

If you are fluent in two or more languages, you are considered an asset! With companies constantly seeking ways to expand their customer base and geographical presence, your career opportunities are almost endless!

Career Value Factor #6: References

This is an important one. What do people think of you and what have their experiences with you been? If you are a hard worker and easy to work with, great! If you are stubborn and always late, good luck! Make sure the person knows they are a reference and make sure they are going to give good feedback.

Career Value Factor #7: Referrals

If you were referred to an employer, your career value just went through the roof, especially if the referrer has a good reputation with management. Being referred means when a problem came up, you were the first expert to come to mind. Good job!

Career Value Factor #8: Self Worth

How do you see yourself? Do you see yourself as an asset to any company? Confidence in your work and confidence in your ability help to motivate your success. Companies love this! If you are not confident in yourself or your abilities, what makes you think anyone else will be either?


How to Recession Proof Your Job

Economic times constantly change and organizations adapt to these changes. For you to find career success, you must be pro-active about your job. What are the career secrets of those who soar to the top in their careers no matter what the economic environment is in the world?

The following are ten career secrets you can use to "recession proof" yourself and find career success no matter what the situation is:

  1. Find Out What Your Organization Needs for Career Success

    Invest the time to investigate and understand your organization's mission, goals, and values. Your organization may be facing challenges and the person who can tune into what the organization needs to be successful and provide the solution can write his/her own career success ticket.

    Remember, to get what you want in your career, you must help your organization, your department, your manager succeed. Focus on what is important to your manager and provide the solution. If customer service is important, speak with your manager in terms of creating customer solutions. If your manager is a numbers person, quantify all your results, etc.

  2. Be a Change Agent for Career Success

    Organizational change will change the way you do your job. There is no escaping the changes that are happening around us all the time. Learn to embrace these changes so that you can learn how to take advantage of the career opportunities available from being a change agent.

    How do you do this? Be pro-active and ask questions about the change. How does it affect the organization? What challenges will there be implementing the changes? How will these changes affect the way you do your job? And the most important question, "What can you do to help implement the changes?"

    Once you receive the answers to these questions, and are able to act on the answers, you are way ahead of the "change curve" and will be looked at as someone who can "make things happen" within the organization. This will lead to countless career opportunities.

  3. Be the Master of Your Job for Career Success

    Invest the time to learn as much as there is to know about your job. Many times, employees will become complacent and master only the few tasks that they do 80% of the time. Then when a career opportunity comes up, this employee doesn't have the skill set to take advantage of a promotion or raise.

    Take the time to read trade journals, go on the Internet to job related sites, and ask questions to master the understanding of your job. With the wealth of information there is in the 21st century, there is no excuse for "not knowing."

  4. Volunteer to Make a Difference for Career Success

    Volunteer for assignments that expose your skills. Look for especially challenging projects that other people have declined.

    Also volunteer to mentor others within your organization. This will show and develop your leadership, management, and interpersonal skills. Keep management posted on your challenges and how you are working with the person you are mentoring to overcome these challenges.

    Volunteer to write a department or organizational newsletter. This is another way to benefit a large group, while showcasing your skills and ideas.

  5. Be a Solution Creator and Not a Problem Maker for Career Success

    Anybody can find problems within organizations. My experience is that you don't need to find them...they will find you. Some people have a special skill for finding problems and reporting them.

    Develop the skill of looking at these problems as "opportunities for advancement," step back and analyze the opportunity, and develop ideas for overcoming the problem. Make sure you communicate these solutions during meetings, e-mails, memos, and conversations with management. You will soon be looked upon by management as someone who can overcome obstacles and make things happen within the organization.

  6. Handle the Next Level at This Level for Career Success

    If you are a manager and want to become a vice president, then start working like a vice president. Find a vice president that is open to mentoring you for the next level. Remember, that vice president will not be promoted to the next level unless the organization sees that the vice president has developed someone to take his/her spot. It might as well be you. Plus, you can lighten the vice president's work load.

    Explain to the vice president what you want to accomplish so that everyone has a clear understanding and that this is a win-win situation for all involved.

    I hear, "I'm too busy already to do this." Well, let me ask you, "How badly do you want the promotion?" We are all busy. It's up to you to enhance your time management and delegation skills so that you can take on these tasks that will prepare you for the next job level.

    Note: Dress as if you are already at the next career level. When you dress for the next level, this makes it easier for the decision makers because they can already envision you at the next career level.

  7. Announce That You Want It!

    Many times employees miss out on promotions because the decision makers and career influencers do not know they are interested in being promoted.

    Announce that you want to go to the next career level!

  8. Network and Join Groups to Accelerate Career Success

    Join and be active in committees within your organization for career success. This shows management that you care enough to make a difference. It also allows a larger assortment of managers to experience your skill set outside of your normal duties.

    Also join professional groups and associations for career success. Professional groups and associations are a perfect way to let influencers outside your organization become aware of your skills. Remember, these influencers most likely work for other organizations and may be in positions to hire new employees. Don't just join, participant in the association's activities to show your creativity, teamwork, and other skills.

    Join and let your organization know you've joined these groups. This will show your organization that you are an employee who is taking action to stay ahead of the "career success curve" and can contribute to the organization.

  9. Tell Your Job Story for Career Success

    Let as many people within your organization and outside your organization know what you do and how well you do it. Make sure you tell your job story at meetings, company conferences, and retreats and to customers. Make sure you tell them with passion! Many people are shy about telling their career story in a group setting. Because of this fear, you may miss out on the one opportunity to let other people know what you know. One of the most important groups that you could ever join to overcome this fear is Toastmasters. This is a worldwide organization with over 175,000 members dedicated to helping members improve their public speaking, evaluation, think-on-your-feet, and leadership skills. The main reasons you should join Toastmasters are the following:

    • Toastmasters can give you the confidence to approach any opportunity with confidence.
    • Toastmasters can give you the speaking skills to stand up in front of a group and present your point in a persuasive manner, while others may shy away from this opportunity.
    • You develop your leadership skills by learning how to do effective, positive, and encouraging feedback and evaluations, while learning how to empower the receiver to do better.
    • You have the opportunity to develop your leadership skills by volunteering for positions at the club, area, state, regional, and international level. I always say if you can't get the skills at your organization, you can get it at Toastmasters.
  10. Build a Nest Egg for Career Success

    One of the biggest barriers to creating career success is not building a financial nest egg. When you are at a financial disadvantage, you are less likely to pursue job opportunities, invest in educational opportunities to increase your skills; and, most importantly, you may develop an overwhelming fear of losing your job while in your present position.

    Eliminate your debts so that you can freely pursue any career opportunities that present themselves. It's no fun knowing that you wanted a certain job but couldn't pursue it because of financial obligations.

I challenge you to apply these ten career techniques today! You will see immediate job results and go to the next career level no matter what the economic environment may be.


Top Careers to Pursue and Refrain From During a Recession

During a recession, disposable income tends to dissipate. For some people, purchasing the bare necessities can be difficult. So before you decide which career path to take, look over the following lists below.

Careers to Pursue

Health Care $50,000 +
People will always get sick creating a constant demand for Health Care. Depressions rates are often at a high creating an additional need. Examples include: Doctors, Nurses, Pediatricians, Specialists, and Therapists.

Transportation $30,000 +
Unable to afford the extreme gas prices, people opt for taking the city bus or subway. Examples include: City Bus Driver and Subway Driver.

Beauty $30,000 +
Presentation has always been and will continue to be important to an individual and required by their boss. Examples include: Hairdressers and Barbers.

Education $30,000 +
People don't pull their children out of school just because of a recession and often times, adults go back to school in hopes of pursuing a more promising a different career path. Examples include: Elementary School Teachers, Teacher's Aides, College Professors, Principals, Deans and Custodians.

International Business $60,000 +
When business isn't being done here it is being done overseas. This career will not only survive but thrive during tough times.

Bankruptcy Law $75,000 +
Unfortunately, many Americans simply can't survive when a cut-back or lay-off occurs. Bankruptcy numbers increase dramatically during a recession.

Debt Management $50,000 +
In a desperate attempt to avoid bankruptcy, debt management offices become flooded.

Grocery $30,000 +
People stop eating out and start eating in, and people need food to survive. Examples include: Butchers, Managers, Cashiers and Baggers.

Internet $25,000 +
Why go to the store when you can shop at home for less? Further, people have a lot more free time on their hands and as statistics show, a majority of that free time is spent online.

Research & Development $75,000 +
Businesses will always invest money into finding better, faster, more cost-effective ways of producing a product and providing a service, especially when business isn't that great.

Casinos $50,000 +
Regardless of how tough the times are, gambling remains an addiction. In many cases, people gamble in hopes of striking it rich during a tough time. Examples include: Owners, Hostesses, Bartenders and Security.

Pharmaceuticals $75,000 +
Doctors will continue to write prescriptions and people will continue to take them. Anti-depressants are of the top prescribed during a recession. Examples include: Pharmacists and Drug Company Representatives.

Liquor Sales $50,000 +
For many Americans, when the times are tough they turn to alcohol in hopes of drinking away their problems. Examples include: Counter-Sales and Bartenders.

Auditor $50,000 +
When you can't find any other way to save money, you do it around tax time which is why auditors are always in demand, especially during tough times.

Public Safety $50,000 +
When the times are tough, people get tough too. Crime rates experience a slight increase, creating a demand for Police Officers and Fire Fighters.

Careers to Avoid

Sales $50,000 +
While a career in sales may pay well, they only pay well when things are being sold. When money starts to get tight people refrain from spending any money they don't have to.

Real Estate $50,000 +
Most Americans can't afford to live never mind shop around for a house. Regardless of how low financing rates go, you can't take advantage of them with destroyed credit!

Mortgages $50,000 +
If people aren't buying houses they don't need to apply for a mortgage.

Retail $30,000 +
These jobs are most readily available because people are being forced to leave the industry. Most retail jobs support sales made from disposable income. Examples include: Clothing Stores Cashiers Electronic Store and Department Store Cashiers.

Automobile Sales $30,000 +
Most Americans are refraining from driving, never mind purchasing a new car. Carpooling and city transportation become a more practical alternative for most individuals.

Construction $50,000 +
People are downsizing not upsizing, and going for old not new. Whether its housing or additions, not much is being built during a recession.

Marketing $50,000 +
While it may be the most needed, the Marketing departments are usually the first to go when companies attempt to cut-costs.

Travel $30,000 +
Traveling to work is enough of a problem, never mind hopping on a plane or planning a cruise. Even if someone wanted too, taking time off from work could cost them their job. Examples include: Flight Attendant, Hostess, Travel Agent or Cruise Ship Worker.