December 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Expand Your Network, Expand Your Opportunities

It’s not the direct connections within our networks but the 2nd and 3rd degree contacts (friends of friends) that yield the most opportunity.  

In preparing to speak at a networking event this week, I realized how true this is.  Looking back, my initial interview at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia came through my college alumni network.  The head of HR was the wife of a fellow alum.  I didn’t know her but I had worked with her husband and had built a solid reputation. 

 

I took an informal poll on Facebook and Twitter to see how others had benefitted from their networks.  Several landed jobs through introductions.  One even built a successful business with publicity solely from her network. 

 

Using online networking tools like LinkedIn.com, it's easy to see not only whom you are connected to but your 2nd and 3rd degree contacts as well.  Recently I was on Martha Stewart Living Radio with Krista Canfield of LinkedIn.com and was amazed to see that I have almost 5.5 million contacts when looking at my network this way.  To see how far your network can go, put your profile online at LinkedIn.com and start building your contacts!

 

I also recommend following these key principles for effective networking: 

  1. DEFINE: where you want to go with your career, what title or role you aspire to & what opportunity you seek.
  2. ASK: share this information with your network to see which “friends of friends” might exist to help you reach your goals.  Don't forget to include high school, college, employer and community contacts in your network. 
  3. GIVE: be someone people want to help, share your contacts and make connections for others, take a genuine interest in what others are doing and find proactive ways to help them reach their goals.  Give before you need help.

Expand your network and you will expand your opportunities!  Please share your tips and comments below on networking.  I'd love to hear the networking success stories, tips & advice that worked for you!  

  • For my fellow Villanova alums looking to expand their networks, I'll be speaking at a networking event sponsored by the Greater Philadelphia chapter this Tuesday December 1st at 6:30pm on campus.  To sign up, click here.
  • For those of you who can tune in, I'll be live on SIRIUS 112/ XM 157 on Living Today with Mario Bosquez at 1:30pm this Tuesday December 1st taking career questions at 1-866-675-6675. Click here for a free 30-day trial of SIRIUS!

 

Posted by maggie at 1:32 AM
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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Navigating Corporate Culture: Gender Stereotypes at Work

In 2009 do gender stereotypes still play a role in the modern workplace?   A recent article in the college magazine Jungle Campus, called "Watch Your Step" highlighted that although women have made "significant leaps in the business world"; they "lag behind men in pay and leadership positions." 

Are you being held back by stereotypes in your career?  Many women say yes.  The article highlights a 2004 study by Catalyst, in which 46 percent of women chose gender-based stereotyping as a top barrier to advancement compared to only five percent of men.

Weigh in on the issue and comment (below).  I did.  As part of the panel of experts quoted in the article, I agreed with some of the stereotypes and disagreed with others:

Stereotypes I Agree With:

  • Women are less aggressive - I have coached many of my female clients to aim higher when asking for a raise, promotion or more responsibility.
  • Women underplay their professional accomplishments - Many times I have had to quote author Peggy Klaus and remind my female clients that, "It's not bragging if it's true."  Unfortunately when women achieve great success they are afraid it will threaten others.  In reality, people are impressed by your achievements when presented in a factual way.  It can demonstrate confidence and self-assuredness, which only help your career!

Stereotypes I Disagree With:

  • Women are catty with each other - The women I've worked with in my corporate career have been just as helpful as the male bosses and coworkers.  It hasn't been about gender but about finding supportive mentors willing to help me succeed.
  • Women can't take criticism - I think this is a misconception because women tend to question the criticism and want specific examples.  It's good career development to understand feedback you receive.  How else are you supposed to improve?

Read the article (on page 11) and hear from other experts such as Gail Evans, former CNN executive and author of Play Like a Man Win Like a Woman and Barbara Adachi, Chief Talent Officer at Deloitte and national managing partner of their Initiative for the Retention and Advancement of Women (WIN).

I invite you to comment on your experience with gender in the workplace and if you agree or disagree with the stereotypes.  You can also call into SIRIUS 112/XM 157 at 866-675-6675 on Tuesday Dec 8th, 2009 at 3:30pm ET. I'll debate gender stereotypes with host Mario Bosquez on Living Today.  Click here for a free 30-day trial of SIRIUS radio.

Also coming up a Making a Living Holiday Special Thursday Dec 10th, 2009, 4pm ET.  I'll focus on proper business etiquette during the holidays.  Judith Bowman'll join me, author Don't Take the Last Donut.

Happy Holidays!

Posted by maggie at 1:45 AM
Sunday, December 13, 2009

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Posted by admin at 10:42 PM
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Time Saving Tips For Work and Play this Holiday Season

Time management can be a challenge during the holidays.  Work demands continue, personal to do’s pile up yet many just want to relax as the year winds down.  

 

The time crunch is being more acutely felt this year:

  • those in jobs feel overstretched (a result of the lean and mean approach by many employers looking to survive the recession) and 
  • those not in jobs feel compelled to continue job searching over the holidays (for more on Smart Career Strategies Over the Holidays, tune into my career segment on Morning Living SIRIUS 112/XM 157 Wed 12/15/09 8am ET.)

To help you get it all done this holiday season, here are some of my favorite time saving tips:

  • Get your to do’s out of your head.  This was a key insight from my interview with time management guru David Allen on Making a Living.  It takes a lot of brain space to maintain a to do list so free up your own mental productivity by capturing what’s in your head and organizing those to do’s in your calendar.   You’ll be better able to focus on the task at hand when you’re not thinking about the other 10 to do’s on your list.  Click below to learn more about David Allen’s very effective Getting Things Done approach.  
  • Start each day with a plan.  When I was working on consulting projects at Arthur Andersen I learned that you need to “go slow to go fast”.  In other words, an hour of planning is worth a week of doing.  It can feel more productive to get started but doing the task correctly the first time will lead to less rework later.  For more great time saving tips from project managers click here.  
  • Overestimate completion time.  Being an optimist, I often plan for the best outcome to my projects and activities.  However, sometimes thing take more time than I’ve allotted and the ensuing time crunch becomes yet another thing on my to do list to manage.  I’ve learned to be more conservative in my estimates and put more space into my calendar between appointments.  And on those days when things go smoothly, I enjoy the extra time by calling a friend or enjoying a quiet cup of tea.  It’s a win-win rather than a lose-lose.

 

You don’t have to stress out this holiday season.  You can make time for the most important (and fun) activities in your life and in your work.   For more time saving tips, join me this afternoon on Living Today 3:30p ET with host Mario Bosquez.  Tune in with this free trial of SIRUS and call in at 866-675-6675!

 

Happy Holidays!

 

"Find a job your like and you add five days to every week." - H. Jackson Browne

 

(Photo attribution)

 

Posted by maggie at 6:42 PM
Thursday, December 31, 2009

What We Learned in 2009...(and don't want to forget!)

For many, 2009 was a year to forget.  The economic downturn, 10% unemployment, and corporate greed shook many out of comfortable (though only somewhat satisfying) positions at companies they thought were secure. For those who kept their jobs, running lean and mean meant working extra hard to pick up the slack for laid-off coworkers.  

Still I see 2009 as a year to remember.  

Not only for those that weathered the storm but better yet (in the case of many of my clients) made a strategic change into their dream jobs. Many of my clients took the time to Soul Search, Research and Job Search their way into career happiness and I toast this New Years to them! They realized the way to happiness was to take the journey to land their ideal careers. Congratulations!

Plus, 2009 taught us all a few key lessons to take with us into the next decade of 2010: 

Managing Your Career in 2010 and Beyond:

--Change is the one constant we can count on.  With globalization and the ever-increasing pace of technological innovation, change is here to stay.  To ignore change can be ruinous to your career.  Rather, take note from my Navigating Change Successfully webinar, define the ideal outcome of change for your career and position yourself to make it happen.  This was my approach when my employer Arthur Andersen was going under with the Enron debacle.  Rather than wait and see if I'd have a job, I positioned myself for a new career in coaching by getting certification and starting my practice on the side.   Now 7 years later, I'm still looking for ways to leverage change to move my career and those of my clients forward.

--Build and maintain your network (and your skills) BEFORE you need them.  The secret to effective networking is giving help before your need it.  We often feel overstretched and too busy to focus on the needs of others so this very important aspect of networking falls away.  I coached many who "exhausted" their networks into reviving them by offering help rather than just asking for it.  In fact, one of the client success stories referred to above happened in part because my client had already been volunteering on the board of the nonprofit that eventually hired her.  Without her dedicated commitment to the organization before the job opened up, my client who did not have nonprofit experience, would not have even been considered for the job.  Because she proactively built her network, she's now in the job of her dreams!

--Sustainability is key to long-term job security: Rather than get caught up in the trendy "hot jobs" categories, look at the long-term viability of your chosen field.  In other words, does your work help make the world a better place or at least not harm it?  I'm not talking about just saving the whales; rather I'm talking about companies that produce quality content, products or services that add value to the bottom-line in a socially responsible way.  If you're not sure how sustainable your career path is, read here for the Fast Company Social Capitalist Awards for examples of individuals who see themselves and their organizations as part of the solution to our economic, environmental and social challenges for the long-term.  

As you ring in the New Year, try not to focus on what you lost this year but rather on what you gained. As Price Pritchett said, "Change always comes bearing gifts."  It is my wish for you that 2010 brings many gifts to you including a sustainable, career that makes you happy and successful beyond your wildest dreams.

Happy New Year from MMM Career Consulting! 

Posted by maggie at 11:31 PM