Category Archives: Career Advice & Tips

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Are you doing the job & living the life you want?

This is today’s wisdom from my ‘Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff…..’ desk calendar by Richard Carlson, which I find very thoughtful and inspiring.

As a Career & Lifestyle Strategist the reality is that the client has the answers.  While my role is to facilitate the process – to ask the right questions and to clarify and support the client in taking action towards creating the career and lifestyle that is right for them. Chances are you already have some ideas about what you want to be doing and how you want to be living your life!  If you need support in the next stage, a Career & Lifestyle Strategist can assist. IMG_0786

5 Ways to Communicate More Effectively When Job Searching & Networking

02A16Y0YWhile technology is great and facilitates many amazing discussions, connections and content sharing, it also leaves many people lost when it comes to the basics of general communication. Perhaps it is because we live in an age where everything is so rapid and where we can communicate anonymously should we wish.  However, if you want to build and maintain a positive personal brand, be sure to stick to the basics – a polite introduction of your name and purpose of the communication when reaching out to others is imperative.

I cannot tell you how many people when applying for jobs leave a message on the voicemail without leaving a contact number, full name and putting some context around the call. This does not leave a professional impression and would not result in the application progressing to the next stage. The same applies if it was a networking reach out – it would not led to a meeting.

If you are preparing for a job search related ‘meeting’ of any description (be it face to face, email or over the phone) go through the following checklist before reaching out;

  1. Clarity around the purpose of the communication (your objectives & potentially theirs). Keep it concise. What are you looking to achieve from the meeting or reach out? Is it to speak with them to then potentially gain a meeting? Is it to gather specific information?
  2. Understand who the audience is and the best way to communicate with them (phone, email, twitter, face to face, text etc.)
  3. A clear timeframe for yourself and for the audience. if you want to meet, ideally looking to arrange a coffee within the next two weeks etc.
  4. Being clear about the outcome you are working towards (they don’t necessarily need to know this however you do – tying back to the purpose). Why are you reaching out – to ultimately secure a job with company x, to learn specific information about why? Etc.
  5. Leave a ‘calling card’ that is aligned with your personal brand. This includes contact information in addition to the impression you leave behind from any form of contact you have with others. What do you want this to be?

Whenever you apply for a job or conduct networking activities, please be sure to revisit these five steps. Remember to introduce yourself and consider your audience rather than just launching into what you want or need. While it all sounds simple and logical, in the haste and potential pressure attached with job seeking, we can sometimes lose sight of the obvious.

As they say “You only get one chance to make a first impression”. What do you want that lasting impression to be?

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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How A Career & Lifestyle Strategist Can Give Your Career Direction

About Me

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Kelly Magowan is a certified career coach and has built a reputation as a thought leader in the careers space. Kelly has been working in the arena of human resource management, recruitment and career and executive coaching for over 18 years. In addition she has spent over three years working at Melbourne Business School as a careers consultant assisting MBA students, alumni and senior executive MBA students in securing their next rewarding role and/or embarking on a new career. Kelly runs her own careers consultancy, specialising in working with professionals and executives both face to face and virtually.  She has successfully supported over a thousand clients to make positive changes in their worklife.

My Approach 

A  passionate Career & Lifestyle Strategist empowering professionals to:

  • Explore possibilities
  • Validate choices / options
  • Feel empowered to act
  • Work and live with purpose

Become empowered and supported to see the possibilities for your career and life, and to make choices aligned with creating the work and lifestyle you truly want to live.

As a coach I am sought out for my ability to challenge, facilitate new possibilities and to inspire, support and drive clients to act and create a work and lifestyle with purpose.

If you are someone who is wanting this, please contact me today to get started.

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The 7 Steps to Successful Salary Negotiation

business handshake in an office to seal a partnershipLet’s face it, most of us (men and women) find engaging in a salary negotiation discussion about as comfortable as presenting to a large room full of strangers. It is daunting, yet it is an essential skill to master for the sake of your confidence, career and your bank account.

To increase your comfort level and the likelihood of achieving a positive outcome from the salary discussion follow this 7 step process;

1. Prepare the meeting agenda (keep it brief).
A clear road map of what is to be discussed will keep you on track and provides a more professional edge to the discussion.

2. Research the job market for current salary data & document what you are seeking.
There is an abundance of free information available online for salary data such as pay scale, also through personal networks, HR, Industry Associations and Recruitment Firms you can find out where to pitch yourself.

3. Prepare the business case (keep it factual and concise).
It is less about your needs (i.e. tenure or having a big mortgage to pay) and more about you selling your past value and achievements and your future potential and benefits to your employer.

4. List your alternatives & what items you would be prepared to negotiate.
You must have clarity around what items you are looking to negotiate, such as base salary, flexible work hours and a car park (avoiding a shopping list of requests, instead package it up).

5. Anticipate potential objections & prepare responses.
Entering into any sort of negotiation is more likely than not to be met with objections. Ensuring you prepare for these is very important so you don’t get put off. The most common objection provided is variations around the company and/or division not having the budget or funds to provide any increases. Very rarely is this the case, as they can and will always find the funds if they believe you to be an asset to the business.

6. Book a meeting with the decision maker/s on neutral territory.
Wherever possible conduct the negotiation meeting face to face and on neutral territory. This ensures that you are is not disadvantaged.

7. Role play and practice of negotiation meeting.
The avoidance to negotiate is largely due to people not have the training or experience in negotiating. Without seeking out opportunities to practice negotiating (around anything, even a coffee) and role-playing you are unlikely to gain the confidence you need to be successful. Research suggests that if you don’t act on the decision to do something out of your normal routine within 5 seconds, chances are you won’t act. So there is only a small window of opportunity each time to convince yourself to move out of our comfort zone.

There is never a right or best time to have the salary negotiation discussion. The right time is now, be it with your current or prospective employer. Don’t wait for the next performance or pay review, or until you finish the current project you are working on, or until you achieve a certain qualification. Start the process today!

Download your complimentary salary negotiation checklist – Salary-Package-Negotiation-Preparation-Checklist

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. 

1,000 Stories Community (The Story Exchange) Inspiring Stories of Women in Business

I recently discovered 1,000 Stories, The Story Exchange where you can read stories about females business owners / entrepreneurs.  It is an inspiring site and well worth a visit if you are looking for some reminders about all the wonderful things women are doing in business across the globe.  I have been fortunate to have my story shared on The Story Exchange. 

” The Story Exchange is a nonprofit media organization dedicated to telling the personal and professional stories of women business owners. We showcase the often-overlooked entrepreneurial women around the world who are contributing to their communities and collectively making an impact on the global economy. As an independent 501(c)(3) digital initiative, we aim to provide role models to other women who are pursuing their entrepreneurial dreams.” 

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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.

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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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