Category Archives: Career Strategy & Planning

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How To Identify The Blockers That Are Stopping You Achieving Your Dreams

Most of us are afraid when it comes to embarking on a new career path, setting up a new venture or following our creative side – whether for pure pleasure or financial gain.  We all have blockers, with some version of fear underlying them all. (see activity below)

In this 30 minute video with Elizabeth Gilbert and Marie Forleo you will find great stories and tips to give you confidence and inspiration to sit more comfortably with your fear and pursue your dreams regardless.

My greatest take-away from the video (there are many) is that finishing something, even if it is just OK is always better than not finishing anything!

What Elizabeth Gilbert Wants You To Know About Big Magic

Download blockers Activity Here Career-Change-Blockers_KellyMagowan

Why ‘Employer Rating Sites’ are a must to research your next employer!

03D05724Gone are the days of joining a new employer blindly so to speak. In the past you joined an employer on good faith that were going to be a great and fair place to work. That they would deliver on all those ‘verbal promises’ sold at the interview.

Employer rating sites offer a great source of information about how the marketplace views employers – which for some organisations can be an amazing endorsement that confirms that all the hard work they have put into offering a great workplace is working. Whilst for others it can be a bit of a wake up call. Employer rating sites are terrific for job seekers as they provide you with a current marketplace barometer of how employees really view working at that organisation. You will find a lot of the bigger companies,  however you may not find as many small to medium-sized businesses.

Now in addition to doing your usual Google search and asking about your networks, there  are a number of good employer rating sites you should be using before you start your next job, such as;

Glassdoor 

It is one of the original employer rating sites and has some terrific data on the organisation, key staff and even salary data.

Rate My Employer 

Rate My Employer is a similar site to the above for the European market.

CareerBliss 

This site has reviews of most listed companies. You can use the research salary data feature to find employee salary information. A hub of great data.

I encourage you to spend some time doing your due-diligence on these sites when you are going through the job search process.  They offer a wealth of information about what the employer is really like (however you may need to read between the lines with some) and it provides some terrific salary data to leverage at the the salary negotiation stage.

About the author

Kelly Magowan is a certified Career Coach with her own Career & Executive Coaching Practice. She has built a reputation as a thought leader in the careers space and has published a book on Amazon,‘The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation’. 

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Great Career & Lifestyle Books to Get You Inspired in 2016

booksI love reading, and in particular I enjoy reading books related to how we live and work.  This year I managed to get through a sizeable stack of books (I even managed to write my own, The Busy Women’s Guide to… Salary Negotiation). Below I have a brief overview of those that I found to be most relevant for people looking to make career and/or lifestyle changes. I find that the two generally coincide.

 

 

Enjoyable Books That Made an Impact in 2015  

Mean Girls by Meredith Fuller, is a great book that helps understand the dynamics of working with female colleagues – namely those who maybe causing you some grief. The good news is that you are not alone. At various stages in our careers we all encounter ‘mean girls’. It is nothing you are doing wrong – generally it is all about them!  This great book offers some good strategies to deal with the various types of ‘mean girls’ that inhabit our workplaces.

Sell Your Thoughts by Matt Church, is a book which title goes on to state ‘How to earn a million dollars a year as a Thought Leader’. The book is a part of a program that the author offers. Whether or not you are interested in doing the program and/or becoming a thought leader, what the book does is offer a great formula for guiding you through how to capture your personal brand. It offers the reader some thought provoking career related questions around who are, what you want to be known for, how you want to make your mark and so on. If you are considering self-employment or looking to remain an employee the book is a valuable resource.

Life in Half a Second by Matthew Michalewicz is an inspiring book, based on his life experiences. Matthew is a migrant who is a self-made successful business person and the book is his formula for experiencing success in your life be it business, career and/or personal.  The book is confronting in a great way, forcing the reader to reflect on how they want to live their lives. Given we all have only a finite time on this planet, what do we really want to be doing with this precious commodity called time!

How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krnaric is a book I picked up in December from The School of Life in Melbourne.  As a career strategist the title caught my eye!  The book is an easy read that is peppered with career related exercises which is where the fun and challenging part kicks in. To get the value from the book you have to do the homework! While I agree with most of what is written I feel that the author is too dismissive of any personality profiling – namely Myers Briggs (MBTI).  From his description I suspect his knowledge of how the tool is actually used is limited. Any profiling tool offers a different perspective on who we are. They are not there to typecast or pigeonhole us which the author seems to suggest. We are more than our MBTI type!  He also seems to have an outdated view of careers coaches which was disappointing. In reading his book, I would suggest that what he is proposing when it comes to finding fulfilling work is what most contemporary career coaches advocate. For those contemplating a career change, it is a nice little book to get you started.

What I Am Looking Forward to Reading in 2016

My brothers kindly gave me the following book selection below (at my request) for Christmas. So this wonderful pile of books are sitting patiently on my bedside table waiting to be read. Each book sounded intriguing based on the reviews by the various people who made the recommendations. These were people who were ‘Thought Leaders’ in everything from career coaching, through to leadership development and general business.

  • A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger
  • The Definitive Book of Body Language by Allan & Barbara Pease
  • The Workplace Within by Larry Hirschhorn
  • Ego & Soul by John Carroll
  • To Sell Is Human by Daniel Pink

If you have read any of the books from either list please feel free to share your thoughts. Also further book recommendations are always welcomed.

How to Adopt an Agile Approach to Your Career

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The world of work is no longer predictable. We live in a time that has been termed VUCA (Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexity & Ambiguity).  For a lot of professions, the way that we once managed our careers is no longer applicable. The traditional ‘ladder style’  career management model may work for some, such as those who join accounting or legal firms and look to follow the partnership path.  However, for a lot of us, we need to adopt a more agile approach to how we manage our careers if we want to experience a personally and financially fulfilling career.  Our professions may be in flux, evolving and new streams emerging, or we may look to adopt a portfolio or flexible approach to how we manage our careers – all of which require an agile approach.

Realistically we can expect to change jobs every 3-4 years, which may involve a job or career change through choice or redundancy.  I use the analogy of a game of snakes and ladders to represent the agile career management model.  It is certainly a positive model as it represents fun, opportunities and choices.  We may be climbing one ladder to find that we have reached the top and look to take on a new challenge in a different field. We may lose our job and slide down a snake, however there are lots of ladders (opportunities) around us that we can jump on board.  The key theme around an agile model is to ensure that your values are being met and that you are experiencing a sense of purpose in the work that you do.  It requires a letting go of the old ideas about how a career should look!  Your career should look just as you want it to. There are no right or wrong careers, there are only people who are engaged and satisfied in their work and those who are not!

Working in today’s market requires a degree of self-awareness, understanding where you can add value and having a more opportunistic and strategic approach to your career. The ability to re-invent ourselves as the need arises and ensuring that we have a positive and accurate personal brand in the marketplace. It is about working in your job and also making time each week to be working on your career.

What style of career management will work best for you?

Career Triage – Does Your Job Make You Feel Unwell?

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A question I sometimes ask clients when they are presenting with a high level of dissatisfaction in their roles is, “Out of 10 how engaged and happy are you in your job?” 10 being they are engaged and very happy, while a 1 being they are very miserable and struggling to get through each day.   No doubt you have encountered a similar approach when you entered an emergency room of a hospital. The medical staff will assess the level of pain you are in to allocate the appropriate wait time and medical staff to assist you.

It is not uncommon for me to encounter clients who report a response of 2, 3, 4, or 5 out of 10. If you think about it, when someone says 5 they are just OK. They are going through the motions and that is about all. It is fine!  Anything below they are really struggling and often they report that they are not sure how long they can keep it up.  While it is easy for some to dismiss it and brush it off with a fly away comment such as “No one likes their job – get over it” or “Its a first world problem” the reality is for some, it is not that easy and it has negative impacts on all areas of their life.   It is near on impossible to split who we are at work and home – we are the one being. 

If you think about the saying “How we spend our days, is how we live our lives” when someone is so unhappy and disengaged in their work, it is taking a lot of energy  – emotional and physical to get through each day, As a consequence, sadly a lot of their life is not being spent living at their optimum.

If it were a friend or family member I am sure you would not like to see them experience such negativity and pain day in day out. The same rings true for yourself. If you are reporting a 5 or below when it comes to job satisfaction it may be time to consider making some changes.

To help get started review some of the great career resources on my site. 

The Most Important Questions to Consider Before a Career or Job Change

Business people walking outside a congress centerSo you are thinking about making a job or career change – which is fantastic.   Chances are you have been thinking about this for a while and that you have lots of thoughts and idea’s running about your head.  Before taking the step to engage a career coach or engage professional support, spend time considering the below questions. Even if you are not ready to put pen to paper just focusing your thinking a little may help provide you with some clarity and confidence to take the next step towards action!

The Position

  • What salary do I want?
  • What benefits am I seeking?
  • What hours do I want to work? I.e. days, evenings, part-time, etc.
  • Do I want to manage staff? If yes, what type of people?
  • Do I want to work autonomously or in a team or both? If both, what will the percentage be?
  • Do I want my role to involve travel? If yes, where? International? National?
  • Do I want one role or to have a few roles?
  • Do I want to work for myself or someone else?
  • How much flexibility would I have in my role?
  • What skills would I be using?
  • What challenges would I be encountering?
  • What types of people would I be working with?
  • How do I feel about these people?
  • How do I want to feel about the work I do?
  • What work life balance looks like for me?
  • Would I be learning?
  • If I was learning, what types of things would I be learning?
  • What are the pros and cons of the roles I have had in the past?

The Physical Work Environment

  • What does the office I work in look like? I.e. the style of building, levels, décor etc.
  • What is the location of the office?
  • Do I want to drive to work and will there be parking?
  • What space will I be working in? A cubicle, office, open floor, etc?
  • Do I want natural light?
  • Will there be music and a lot of noise and activity?
  • Do I want tranquility and peace?
  • Do I want to work in a high rise office tower?
  • What are the immediate surrounds of the organisation? I.e. parks, shops, gym etc.
  • What are the pros and cons of the work environments I have had in the past?

The Organization

  • What is the people size of the organization?
  • What is organisation’s culture?
  • What is the leadership of the organization like?
  • How will they manage their staff?
  • What are the organisation’s vision / goals / motto?
  • How is the organisation viewed by the community?
  • What are the values of the organisation?
  • Are they a prestigious organisation (well known to everyone) or an unknown entity?
  • If I want to create my own organisation, what will it look like?
  • What are the pros and cons of the organisations I have worked for in the past?

The Industry

  • What is the industry I am working in?
  • Is it a new industry for me?
  • Is it a growth industry?
  • Am I working across multiple industries?
  • What appeals to me about the industry/s?
  • How is the industry perceived by the general community?

The People

  • What will my co-workers be like?
  • What will the management of the organisation be like?
  • What will my boss be like?
  • What type of boss will I be?
  • What will my customers and clients be like?
  • What types of people do I work best with and why?
  • What are the pros and cons of the colleagues and managers I have had in the past?

My Personal Needs

  • What are my key interests – work and personally?
  • What do I enjoy doing most?
  • What am I great at?
  • What do others say I am great at?
  • When have I felt the greatest about what I was doing?
  • If I could change the world, what three things would I like to see?
  • What would I have to do to bring these into my work?
  • What are my own personal values that I live by?
  • What values do I expect a business that I work for to uphold?
  • What will I and won’t I tolerate at work and in life in general?

Actions

  • Write in a book or on paper your answers to some / all of these questions.
  • Go through your resume in chronological order and look at all the roles you have had to see if there are any patterns. Think about what you enjoyed doing and why?
  • Using job sites print out jobs that appeal. What are the things that appeal? Why?
  • Talk to people who work in roles and industries you are interested in working in.
  • Research courses that relate to roles and industries you are interested in.
  • After you have spent some time thinking about these questions do your research – are there any patterns or themes?
  • Talk to friends or family about your discoveries.
  • If you still feel unsure about where to go from here, contact a Career Coach or Career Counsellor to assist you with gaining some direction.

Dowload PDF_ TheMostImportantCareerChangeQuestions

Professional Careers Support

If you are looking to engage a Career Strategist to assist with your career change, I invite you to contact me to find out more about how I can assist you. I have successfully supported hundreds of professionals and executives in securing terrific new roles and in making life changing career transitions.

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The Reality of Job Seeking & How to Remain Resilient

03B64721As a job seeker, one of the key challenges is to remain motivated particularly given how challenging the job search process can be. More and more employers and recruiters seem to have dropped the ball when it comes to providing a professional and respectful service to job seekers. For all the talk of employer branding over the last few years – one of the key areas that seems to be ignored is the experience prospective employees receive when they connect with an employer brand.

If employer branding is as important as companies say, you would expect employers to acknowledge applications and/or indicate if an application is unsuccessful. It is not uncommon to have an interview and never hear back. It can be disappointing for job seekers. However, it is also a good way to rule out organisations as prospective employers as it could be indicative of their approach to people in general!

Unfortunately the recruitment process is becoming increasingly automated with the onus on the job seeker to spend more time applying, thus saving the person hiring time and money engaging with prospective talent. This is evidence by all the online application processes and the growing trend to use video recording interview software in the early stages of interviews.

This week an online service site I use has merged with another company and has been renamed. A real person emailed me to provide a phone and email address if I needed any help. Wow I thought!  When job seeking, you rarely get the phone number or email of an actual person to call regarding a job ad. You simply send your application into the ether or spend hours filling out useless online application forms that a system screens for key word searches and then it has only slim chance of being seen by a human. How little regard is shown to prospective employees’. Crazy stuff really.  Yet an online service can provide such an amazing level of service and make me feel like a valued client.

Given the impersonal nature of job seeking, it can be tough to remain positive and focused. My recommendation however is to always take a professional approach – even if you are not experiencing one at the other end. By having a well written, relevant resume and cover letter and by applying for jobs that are within your scope, you are doing all the right things. You will likely not hear back from many of the people and companies you apply to but some will engage with you – the right ones!

Know that you are not alone. Job seekers at all levels, from graduates to the C suite are all experiencing this poor service and it is not helping their confidence or motivation levels. Again, revisit your career goals and strategy and stay focussed. Ideally you should not rely too heavily on job sites. Find recruiters through referrals who are professional in their approach. Where possible, network, which can appear as a more time-consuming approach but ultimately will be more effective.

If you are inclined to follow-up on applications sent (which I recommend where possible), I encourage you to read the article ‘5 Follow-up Emails That Scare Hiring Managers (and What to Write Instead)’ 

While job seeking can seem a challenging process, and one that can easily get people down, it can also be an empowering process if you approach it with the right mindset. Remind yourself of the realities of how the job search process works, which can hopefully keep it all in perspective.

Desiderata – Keep Interested In Your Own Career…..

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The wonderful poem Disiderata by Max Ehrmann written in 1927 includes so many beautiful profound  and inspiring lines about the realities of life. However give the work I do in careers the line that resonates most strongly with me is below.

“Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.” 

If you have not encountered this inspiring poem I would encourage you to read Desiderata (desired things).

Is Part-Time Work Killing Your Career?

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Over half the Australian workforce believe part time work hinders career progression but, done right, reduced hours doesn’t have to mean less success.

Part time = part-timer = bludger, right? Traditionally part time jobs have long been associated with low pay, low status and a lack of commitment. But that hasn’t stopped more Australians opting to work fewer hours, whether through choice or circumstance and, despite the stigma, 1.1 million of us want to switch to part time work before we retire. So, does dropping the number of hours you work mean the end of your career? Absolutely not – you just have to put in some full time effort to get full time rewards.

BE AWARE

“You can’t change someone’s mindset if they resent your part time role,” says career strategist Kelly Magowan, also a part time career coach (kellymagowan.com). “But be mindful you’re not impacting on their workload.” Plan your time so you don’t have to rely on co-workers to complete tasks and offer them support when you have any down time.

BE VISIBLE

“Promote your achievements at work, attend meetings and contribute in them, email interesting industry information to your colleagues,” says author Karen Miles (karenmiles.com.au). “This all maintains your visibility and your continuity with work and clients.”

GO THE EXTRA MILE

“Volunteer to take on a project, such as a weekly newsletter, that might involve an hour or two at home,” says Magowan. “And stay in contact with colleagues. It might take 60 seconds to call after a meeting you missed on a day off, but the pay back will be far greater.” Miles agrees. “It’s a simple thing, but check your email regularly and respond. It’s helpful and reassuring to your team to know you’re available even when you’re not there every day.

To read the full article visit Marie Claire 

The Power of Career Visioning: A How To Video & Steps

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Is your career lacking direction? Do you have some ideas about potential careers however feel there may be other paths you just don’t know about? Or perhaps you know that what you are doing is not right, however you are not sure what other career paths to follow.

If you are up for spending a small amount of time reflecting and doing a visioning exercise you may just find some new and exciting career paths begin to form.

Before undertaking the visioning exercise below, you may like to spend a few minutes viewing my video on vimeo  about visioning and how to get started.

How to do a visioning exercise?

  • Find somewhere quiet where you will not be distracted for the next 10 minutes.
  • Close your eyes and take a 5 short breaths. Let go of everything else that is going on in and around you.

Picture yourself in future – this could be 5 or 10 years from now.

Focus on what you want in relation to your worklife. Think big, dream. See the success of your dream in full. Do not include practicalities around the visioning – it is dreaming only.

Move all those self-limiting thoughts to the side. Simply visualise what you want for your worklife in the future. See it in your mind. Feel it. Resist focusing on the solution about how you will achieve it. Focus only on the desired outcome of your dream. Allow the details to take care of themselves.

Visualize what it is like to experience the success of your dream. Use all of your five senses to imagine yourself x years from now or when your dream has become a reality.

Draw upon all of your senses to visualize your new worklife.

  • What do you see?
  • What do you smell?
  • What sounds do you notice?
  • What tastes are you experiencing?
  • What sensations are you experiencing?

Pay attention to how it feels to achieve your worklife dream. Have all the parts of your past come together to bring you this success. What does it feel like?

Open your eyes and come back with 5 short breaths.

Journaling: Find a quiet place and take 15 minutes to write in your journal what you saw in your vision. Describe what it felt like, sounded like and tasted like. Write down all the details as you saw them.

Video: click to watch my how to career visioning video on vimeo

Reference: http://leadershiplearning.org/system/files/VisioningTemplate_DonellaMeadows.pdf