FIT Happens!
July 7, 2008
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Bob Maher, CMF
Bob Maher, CMF
Career Management Consultant, Maher Associates
Creating an action plan, your Personal Market Plan, during career transition, will reap rewards during your implementation campaign. Success in career management confers rewards not unlike those in the workplace:

• A sense of accomplishment;
• Pushing oneself beyond expectation, often acquiring new skills or knowledge;
• Identifying developmental goals to assure continued career success;
• Gaining the respect of those around you, colleagues and customers;
• Being requested for future challenging opportunities!

In the marketing metaphor, these five methods would be your "distribution channels." The alternative of using a "shotgun approach," or papering the world with your resume will simply scatter your time and energy. Rather, learn to focus your networking efforts to increase your productivity... take the randomness out of the equation by:

1. Networking through personal contacts
2. Conducting face-to-face informational meetings
3. Creatively contacting companies directly
4. The Internet, representing published openings
5. Third-party recruitment firms and individuals

The Nature of Career FITness

The old "round peg in a round role" theory of career planning is dysfunctional. In the typical professional environment today, job descriptions are changing faster than ever before to keep up with the challenges of an economy in transition.

Seize control of such challenges. Understand the nature of FIT. You understand that managing your own career involves three key ingredients:

1. Competency with job-changing skills;
2. Continuous research and networking leading to awareness of potential next steps;
3. Confidence in knowing that your career is on the right path and moving forward.

So, now it's time for a change...you have identified multiple opportunities...which one should you seize? Take the one with the best Career "FIT"!

To achieve a good "fit" between you and any future opportunity, you have to ask yourself some basic questions about yourself and your prospective employers. The fit depends on how well the jobs meets your needs and how well your skills and abilities meet the employer’s needs. The employer will make a decision and extend an offer to you: now it is time for you to make your decision.

Write out the factors that are important to you in a job...actually write out your list. During your career transition, you learn the value of setting your offer criteria.

1. Creates an objective target for your efforts ahead;
2. Gives you a meaningful set of questions to ask during research and networking;
3. Provides an objective way to analyze and react to offers as they occur.

To manage your career wisely has you extending the same concept. Keep your “offer criteria” in that dynamic state of change that allows you to adapt to market conditions.

If your current goal is to find a new position, then you should prepare your search as a "business model", manage it accordingly, be flexible, and be ready for the unexpected. Here are some tips to get you started:

1. Have a "business-as-usual" attitude...Manage your search as you would your business or job and you will earn success faster.

2. Have reasonable expectations...List your abilities, marketability, compensation, work environment and relocation, then validate these expectations with peers, other job hunters, and/or recruiters. This can be accomplished during your initial PERSONAL CONTACT NETWORKING. "Getting the word out" is a much more productive first step in developing your network.

3. Determine your career objective…Know what your next right work is. This will help focus your actual search. With clarity in your positioning goals, you can write a great resume to convey your story.

4. "WORDCRAFT" your resume...Create a forward looking "story" of what YOU CAN DO. Target your accomplishments, such as increased sales and profits, reductions in costs, etc. Focus on achievements that support your qualifications for your job goal.

5. Have a Personal Market Plan...including identification of key professional resources online. Look for specific titles, target industries and companies. This focus will expand your possibilities, not limit them.

Remember, while rejection is part of the active job search process, you'll want to avoid pre-mature rejection of your interest...CREATE VISIBILITY first. The merging of your target organization networking and the development of your personal contact network is an effective way to identify the appropriate job leads and secure necessary interviews.

6. Develop confidence in your ability to answer anticipated questions throughout the process…Prepare as you would for a business presentation; don't try to wing it. If there are any "issues" in your career history, develop a positive spin before you are asked about it. Prepare for basic questions and tough issues in advance and study them.

7. Modify and improve your Personal Market Plan’s implementation model as needed..."Listen" to the marketplace, learning from it and adjusting your Personal Market Plan accordingly. As you move through your search, make adjustments as you would a business model. Ask for input from people you respect.

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