Happy Thanksgiving

We at Franklin Paterson Company Inc. are thankful for so much this Thanksgiving.
We are incredibly grateful for your support, good counsel, excellent comments on our posts, and continued friendship. We appreciate you. Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving day, and all the best for the upcoming holidays.

Don’t try to change everything when embarking on your job search.

Most folks seek to change everything when embarking on a job search process. Many believe they will be more satisfied in a different work environment, company, industry, or even a different location. We seek a significant definable change as we embark on our job search, all the time hoping our change everything approach will fix what is wrong in our current work situation!

We also tend to dwell on the negative things that affect us and overlook good things. If you are anxious about a change in your career, here are a few things to consider before leaving your current position.

We often fail to go granular in our research of why the current job or the company is no longer a fit. For example, we do not consider the employment conditions currently working for or against us.

1.      Is it our discontent with the team politics or undercurrents of general team dissatisfaction? Or is it workload stress, undelivered promotions, low wages, unaligned vision/goals, or work-life balance? Is the lack of management support, training, or the increasing cost of benefits causing your unhappiness in your current role?  

 2.      It is a good idea to look at all these factors to ascertain the root of your frustration. Use what you learn in looking at these factors as benchmarks as you review and interview for new positions.

 We often forget to do a self-evaluation. Are you a top performer? If not, seek feedback from your supervisor or trusted teammates regarding your competencies. Then brush up your skills with the needed training or classes to beef up the skills that could be key for securing your next position.

 Here are a few other areas to consider.

 1.      Investigate the option of job searching within your current company. Job searching within your company makes good sense—research job opportunities within your company, its branches, or sister companies. There might be an opportunity at another local branch in other cities or states. Could this be the case for your organization?

 2.      Consider going forward in your career by going backward. How about job searching within one of your former companies? Is there support from former colleagues for your new adventure? This is vital, as many seek their next job through secure networking with former colleagues.

 3.      Plan out your internal and external job search; both can run in parallel. Develop and write down your goals, actions, and feedback steps. Track and evaluate your progress in these areas, and make reasonable adjustments to the “got to get out of here” timeline.

 4.      The job search process is often overwhelming, time-consuming, and sometimes devoid of favorable feedback. Breaking your job search into steps will help you identify and evaluate your progress or possible stumbling blocks.

 5.      Do a bi-weekly assessment of your outcomes, and commit to a bi-weekly review of your job search status. Give your job search quality time, and remember to nurture the other parts of your life, family, volunteer work, and hobbies.

Now may also be the time for an attitude adjustment. It is crucial to assess and monitor your attitude. Be methodical and deliberate in your job search and fight the temptation to grab the first reasonable offer because you are anxious to leave and are concerned about missing your completion deadline. And although difficult to admit, you may need to accept that while you are ready to make the job or career change, the emotional investment of your nearest and dearest may be bordering on ambivalent, disinterested interest.

Finally, be prepared to discover that job searching and career exploration can be a lonely business, so be kind, supportive and nuturing towards yourself as you hit unexpected bumps. As Neil Barringham, Mental Health Expert and Manager of A Place to Belong, once said: “The grass is greener where you water it.” 

The Stay Where You Are, Job Search.

So things are not going well at your current job. You have outgrown your current role. And besides, every day, a new happenstance threatens to add to your six grey hairs (yes, you counted them last weekend, and you are now up from five). Should you indulge yourself and just quit or continue to work at this dreadful place as your job search?

No easy remedy exists for hapless employees who quit their current company before they have lined up a superior replacement job. When it comes to job leaving, you had better have a plan and an exit strategy, or there will be no meaningful sympathy for the rash move job-quitter. So, before handing in your notice, consider if there is any unexplored potential in your current job; that could make it worth your while to stay. Well, at least until you have formulated a proper leaving plan! 

 Here are a few other things to consider. Start with arranging a career status chat with your boss. Hiring is costly in terms of energy, time, and money, so companies are keen to keep their existing teams intact. Your manager will likely be receptive to meeting with you to work out remedies to help re-fashion your job in a new way that reflects your career interests. Talk to your boss about the possibilities for enriching your role and adding to your experience.

  Very few people use all of their skills in their current job. Consider what under-utilized skills or potential you have that could be of benefit to your current employer. Talk to your boss about the possibilities for augmenting your current role, and remember to ask a lot of diagnostic questions to ascertain whether your manager is in support of your goal.

The company will benefit from using more of your talents. You can build experience in the specialty areas that interest you, which you can use as leverage when applying for a new role later. Consider a lateral move to a different department. An internal move will enable you to leverage your existing knowledge of the business, its processes, and its culture. Besides a new learning opportunity, an internal move can create another vertical advancement ladder. 

 Try to ensure a smooth transition and minimize the disruption to your current team. You can do a range of things to accommodate the handover professionally. That includes completing ongoing projects, working out the project priorities with your manager, leaving clear documentation, or training your successor in processes or software.

If your only avenue for career advancement option appears to be the exit door, after considerable thought. I would recommend that you seek the help of a Career Strategy Coach. To be clear, Career Strategy is not the same as Interview Preparation or Interview Coaching, job search coaching processes that focus on answering fact-based interview questions precisely. The downside is that these performance-directed coaching processes often turn anxious, goal-oriented candidates into boring talking heads and often obfuscate the candidate’s personality.

A Career Strategy Coach can advise you on your relevant referential and replicable skills that will enhance the possibility of success in your job search. And help you fine-tune your interviewing tactics to ensure that you convey the complexity of your experience and your determined long-term goals to interviewers. Your coach can also help you to clarify and adjust your career decision-making criteria so you do not give answers at the interview that may succeed in getting you the job but do not convey your career goals.

Your Career Strategy Consultant can help you help change your interviewing approach from a spirited tennis match to a thoughtful, strategic, and goal-oriented chess match!

Why a Career Review Just Makes Sense

It is apparent to many that the longer you have been in a job, the harder making the break is likely to be. In addition, the longer you take to decide to make the change, the more aggravated and frustrated you will become.

This state of flux can impact your life, and it is most challenging for our nearest and dearest! Some of us will change our jobs ten times or more in our careers.

Many people will change their industry focus and skill specialties at least three times in their working lives. It is now accepted that people will change jobs every few years. Times have changed.

What is the starting point if you are in a career funk?
Do a conscientious review of where you are in your career to identify your reasons for wanting the change, what needs to change, and why.

1.   Is it simply the company’s business approach, hiring practices, or culture no longer in sync with your values or your way of thinking or working?

2.   Is it the job itself? Are you unhappy with the work and lack of challenge? Or are you no longer getting the buzz or job satisfaction you used to?

3.   Do you believe you are being taken advantage of or not getting the recognition you deserve?

4.   Are you seeking to step up the career ladder but can’t see the way forward since your growth ladder has stopped mid-air? Or the company leadership has been in their spot on the ladder forever.

5.   Maybe it’s money? But since you started at your position so very long ago, even with regular annual raises, you are significantly behind industry recommendations for your industry.

CHECK OUT YOUR OPTIONS

1.   Figure out what is holding you back from making the change. Are you unable to maximize your full potential since you have gained all the experience possible at your current company?

2.   Ramp up your networking. It can pay dividends if you are a recognized expert or an up-and-coming professional in your field. What have you got to lose?

3.   Are your career goals at odds with your values? Because to change, you must change yourself. A career change often involves a life change!

4.   Decide whether it should be a company or an industry specialty change. Or is starting your own company an option?

5.   Engage with a Career Strategy Consultant for direct and personalized help or attend webinars that discuss the topic to ascertain your options.

Have you had a significant shift in your value set, triggered by events in your life and your attitude to life? Do something about it!  

Dealing with Irascible Managers or Co-Workers

I have worked with and for quite a few problematic characters throughout my long career. Some are still friends and confidants, and a few continue to be valued as mentors.

Many of these irascible managers or co-workers lack social grace and a sense of control, so they cannot communicate well under stress. They also appear to forget that a timely apology can be a fallback position.

You see them coming from a mile, so the choice becomes whether you rise to and meet the verbal challenge or obfuscate. But, since nobody wins in these confrontations, you seldom try to deal with it.

They are unaware of how their behavior impacts others because they need to elevate themselves above others in a group situation. They do not hesitate to exploit their leadership role by insulting others because they are often insecure and quick to attack to assert their leadership.  

So they seek to maintain their position in the hierarchy through criticism, humiliation, and camouflaged insults, in a kind of unconscious narcissistic way.

The second group of tough characters are those with narrow interests and vapid sympathies. These folks say and do the same cruel things regularly as if on cue. I worked for one manager who lobbed the same petty insults at every group meeting but never in one-to-one meetings.

The worse part is that you feel bad for the manager. And deliberately avoid connecting with the “Oh No, Not Again” apologetic looks directed your way by the other team members. You think, “well, somebody has got to pull up the weeds.” Feeling all the while like the embarrassed parent of a preschooler misbehaving in public!

There is a stunning lack of creativity when someone overuses the same petty insult. If you must be regularly petty, try to be creative and offer variety. Unable to rise to the occasion, then stop it, the exercise of watching a manager or colleague try to diminish a coworker publicly is tiresome and embarrassing for everybody!

The Unexpected Reference Call.

Have you received an unexpected request or a call for a reference for a friend or former colleague? You knew your friend was thinking about job searching, but you wonder, how could they put you in such an awkward situation? You do a credible job, but you believe your responses lacked actual content.

This reference checking incident jolts you into thinking – how are YOU sorted for current and relevant references to validate your qualification and suitability for your dream job should your dream interview arise?

Most employers will request references when the company is seriously interested in you as a potential hire. So we should all be prepared to provide a list of employment references who are knowledgeable regarding your expertise in the qualification and skills required for the job you are seeking.

Remember to get your references in order before you need them. It will save time scrambling to put together a list at the last minute. Quickly forwarding your references upon request to a potential employer can help you secure the job offer.

Once you start the interview process, be mindful of informing your references, and unless you have their permission, do not use someone as a reference.

1) Asking for a Reference: Update the potential reference giver about the type of positions you are applying for, so they can tailor their recommendation to fit your circumstances.

2) Whom to Ask for a Reference: Former bosses, co-workers, customers, vendors, colleagues, and college professors are good references. Recent graduates may use a personal connection.

3) Company Reference Policy: Some employers will not provide skills verification references. They may only provide a job title, dates of employment, and salary history. So find alternative references.

4) Create a reference list of three to four people, containing their name, title, and email in addition to the telephone number. When emailing the reference list, paste the list into the email rather than sending it as an attachment.

5) Request a Reference Letter from soon-to-be former colleagues: Create a file of recommendations from people you may not necessarily be able to track down later.

6) Keep Your References Up-to-Date: Let your references know where your job search stands and update them on who might be calling for a reference.

A prospective employer should ask your permission before contacting your references. And, it is perfectly acceptable to say that you are not at ease with the company contacting your current employer, and offering a list of alternative references available.

Is it time for a Career Self-Assessment?

The reality has set in. You are getting career restless. You are not bored, but Mondays are tough! By Wednesday, you are back in the groove; But for some reason, “thank God it’s Friday” is now the week’s longest, most challenging day. How do you restart your job love-engine?

Don’t start by simply updating your resume. If you do, you will end up with an autobiography masquerading as a resume. Try doing a career self-assessment to help you identify your critical talents, career interests, goals, and needs.

A self-assessment will help you gather valuable content for your new resume and is an excellent prepping tool for interviews. The process will help you uncover expertise and work patterns that illustrate your capabilities.

It will enable you to gauge your employability at this time relative to what is available. Self-assessments highlight and lay bare gaps in your expertise and suggest repair resolutions. It will also prepare you to run an effective job search campaign. How do you go about conducting a career self-assessment?

1.      Review your skills
Do the fun stuff first. What aspects of your current job do you do well, which ones do you like doing, which fall into the “not so much ” category, and which ones do you do poorly. Think about the skills required to do your job effectively. Now think of two or three examples where you excelled in each skill. You may also identify several related skills you utilized to enhance the skills you already accepted are your strengths.

2.      Are you an expert? What do you know?
If you have worked at a company for an extended period, you may underestimate your product knowledge, technical know-how, service sector, or customer type. Did you come up with a deficit during this exercise? Then make this an immediate correction item.

3. Did you add real value?
Did you help your organization generate quantifiable income, reduce costs, solve unique customer problems or improve the quality of its service? Your contribution may have been as an individual or as part of a team. Include it all.   

4.      What do you truly want?
Your wants may include an improved salary, but what else is important to you? How do you want your next job to differ from your current role? Are there things you would like to keep the same? These items will be your decision criteria for future opportunities.

Finally, benchmark your skills and value by reviewing job postings that interest you to see what employers define as needed skills and attributes.

#jobs #franklinpatersoncompany #  #resume #forbeswomen #jobsearch #resumewriting #DWEN #job #career

Why You May Not Be Invited To Interviews

Look, there are many possible reasons why you are not getting interviews. And, you are beginning to sense that your career search journey, while not entirely derailed, is turning out to be very bumpy and indeterminate. Plus, you are not enjoying the ride, one bit!

As you try for a correction, it turns out there is one area you may have overlooked – your social media footprint. Question – do you know what your social footprint looks like to an employer who looked you up on social media or googled your name? Was your response to the search results: Yikes?

What you publish about yourself or the personal info you allow unfettered access to by everyone on social media; has the power to enhance, neuter, or severely hinder your chances of obtaining the job interviews. Consequently, you must plan out and curate your existing social media collateral to improve your chances of success in your career improvement project.

So, beyond publishing your skills and experience to the public domain and networking online with professionals from various employment sectors, here are some things you should do immediately.

1. Resolve to keep your personal intrigues, fallouts and updates, and professional updates on separate social media accounts.

2. Ensure that your LinkedIn URL and the name you generally know in the business are in simpatico.

3. Widen your reach; build your network, and engage in professional dialogue with a broader audience across multiple social channels.

4. Interact with recruiters, former colleagues, and prospective employer representatives by liking and commenting on their posts across all channels in real-time.

5. Resist the urge to be disagreeable and pedantic in your comments and responses to the posts of others. Alternative views are encouraged, but razing someone on a social media post, does nothing to further your career improvement project.

Are you ready to take the lead in your job search? Then it is time for a social redo or upgrade of your social footprint?

Interviewing Tips for the Mature Jobseeker

As a career strategy coach, I can offer that mature job seekers often get themselves into trouble at interviews by over-communicating and overselling their value and experience.

The mature job seeker needs to accept that they are at the interview because the hiring managers believe they have the skills and the experience to perform well in the new position based on their resume. Nobody interviews an unqualified candidate.

These interviews are often more about the fit, and the jobseekers’ ability to understand why the company is seeking to hire someone in the role they are interviewing for and what needs to be accomplished in the new position.

This interview is a different type of interview. It requires being a good listener and asking thoughtful exploratory questions so you can identify the problem to be solved and speak to that solution.

Success at this type of interview requires a practiced approach, a bit of restraint, and some retraining. As a mature professional and career strategy coach, I know how easy it is to oversell.

As Janis Ransom at Franklin Paterson Company Inc., shared on LinkedIn: I was asked the age question recently at a meeting to discuss a potential project. Can I ask, the hapless manager said, how old you are?
Her reply: “Will there be mountain climbing or other vigorous sport involved in the project? Because I generally do not accept projects that require extreme athletic skills.”

The response was absolute silence. A long silence. Followed by profuse apologies. Sometimes you get the opportunity to teach AND have a bit of fun.

Problems with 1st Interview Feedback?

So, no one called you back after your first interview. You were told they would get back to you in two days, and it has been two weeks! Plus, you’ve called three times for a status. Imagine getting no credit for your restraint!

By the end of week two, it is slowly beginning to dawn on you that you have crossed into the high-maintenance job seeker category. So even if you performed well at the interview, you might have blown it with your overanxious, aggressive interview follow-up.

Are you a high-maintenance jobseeker? The high maintenance jobseeker views interviewing and job search as a proactive, highly competitive exercise. The HMJ candidate believes that they should take control of the interview and the interview feedback process and may make some mistakes to get an edge over other jobseekers.

Have you committed one or many of these mistakes while job searching? Here are the most often abused missteps.

1)     Once contacted for an interview, the HMJ candidate bombards the recruiter or manager with a series of “before I set up the interview, I would like to share” emails.

2)     When asked for additional or supporting documents, the candidate sends each item in a separate email. As a result, the recruiters or managers are so overwhelmed that they never open any documents.

3)     During the interview, HMJ struggles to allow the manager to ask complete questions or constantly interrupts to present supporting documents, forgetting that there is no prize given for being a “quick-draw” with the responses. It is important to remember that some people ramble before coming to the point, so answering the question too soon can hurt you.

4)     Post-interviewed HMJ often calls to find out the state of their candidacy or will email show-and-tell items to highlight their projects, reference letters, reviews, etc.

5)     HMJ forgets to write down the Key Manager’s name and addresses their Thank You note “To whom it may concern” – the answer to which is “Nobody.”

Many job seekers inadvertently commit one or more of these interview mistakes to stand out from other candidates.

If you were not invited to a second interview or did not hear back after your first interview, check the items above. Did you commit any of these blunders – are you an HMJ- a high maintenance jobseeker?

Job Search Rejection Emails


What to do about those rejection emails? You know the emails I am referring to. The thank you for applying, now go away and bother someone else, interview rejection email.

One of my clients received one of those three-line rejection emails after the first interview he attended last Thursday. The candidate was not surprised as he knew he had made a big technical qualification mistake in the interview.

We discussed whether pursuing the job was worth the fight, concluded that the job was worth fighting for, and proceeded to investigate a remedy and execute a recovery game plan.

Our decision, send an email to the hiring manager acknowledging the mistake. Let the manager know that you have done some reading on the topic, and there is a class from the vendor that could have you up to speed on the current version of the product within weeks.

The good news is that the candidate got an email back from the manager yesterday, suggesting that they meet this Thursday afternoon to discuss the position further. The manager liked the candidate’s proactive problem-solving approach appreciated his willingness to outline a recovery plan and do the work to achieve a goal.

Look, I am not suggesting that you respond to every rejection email with a recovery plan and a promise to do extra work.

But there are times when just before the bell sounds at the interview that is going well, you walk into the unexpected straight right-hand of interviewing incompetence, leaving you surprised, wobbly, and nearly kissing the canvas.

Success favors the brave, especially the courageous who are supported by an experienced team in their corner. The plan, retreat to your corner and huddle with your interview coach, career strategy consultant, or supportive teammates to plan your next move.

A stinging blow to the chin does not necessarily mean all is lost. Well, unless you find yourself flat out cold on the canvas, looking up at the ring lights!

Close your interview with a process question.

Closing your interview with a process question instead of a project related question, is a winning interview strategy. Asking an organizational or process question at the end of an interview can help you gauge whether the position is a good career fit for you at this point in your life and career.

These questions should replace the project, technical or industry related questions as you may have already discussed those topics with the interviewer. A good sample question: “What are the challenges someone hired into this role can expect to face?”

The Manager’s response to the question will show:

1.   Whether there are departmental or interdepartmental politics that you will have to battle against? And, are there technical issues that may make it initially challenging to perform your role effectively?

2.   The Manager’s answer may provide clues as to whether the Manager is aware and in-tune with what it takes to be a success in this role?

3.   Does the manager offer suggestions on how they will work with you to ensure your success? Does the manager speak about the good technical or process culture among the team?

4.   Does the manager’s response discuss how they generally mitigate friction among their talented team members? Because, while friction can generate new ideas, it can massacre the implementation of the new or unique ideas.

5.   Are there actions in place to correct some of these deficiencies, and how someone like you can add value in that effort?

This and other similar open-ended questions, is the manager’s opportunity to sell the role, their organization, and their management style. It is also an opportunity to tell you a bit about what kind of training the company provides its employees.

The manager’s failure to grasp the importance of this question and the opportunity to sell their management style, will also help you gauge the Manager’s interest in your candidacy for the position, and the potential for career growth that the position will provide.

Asking thoughtful process questions shows that you are interested and committed to success in the role could set you apart from the other candidate.

Are you Desperate to Change Jobs, or is it Simply Something you Want to do?

To fulfill a need is to satisfy a desire that may improve your quality of life. Suppose your need is related to your job satisfaction. One must distinguish a want from a need, even a long-standing want. A want is a choice, a desire a person must accept they may or may not get. A need is often necessary for a person’s survival.

Are you desperate to change jobs, or is it simply something you want to do? Is it the nature and quality of the work itself, or simply the people that make your work situation intolerable? Do these circumstances create a desire, a want, or a desperate need to change your job? You may find survival extremely difficult if a sincere need goes unmet. But the conundrum has to be faced down and scrutinized.

Your career wants can be individual and may arise from an actual situation, your perspective on how things should be, or what kind of change is possible at this time. The stable among us realizes that life will continue, and one is likely to survive intact if one does not get what one wants. While it may be difficult to accept not getting what you want, one thing is sure: you will survive, and the catharsis may even improve you.

So is your need to leave your present position a survival move? Do you believe your career advancement and talents will diminish or even be obliterated if you stay with your current employer? Are you so stressed and bedraggled about the dire situation at work and the creative quality of the work you are producing? Or is the disinterested funk starting to affect your home or social life?

Here are some things to think about:

  1. To be clear, you like the industry you work in, but the job itself needs to address your need for growth. So you feel unsettled? As a result, are you perusing the jobs section daily? Since you think this is an excellent company, at least three times a week.
  2.  Have you grown tired of the similarity in the recent projects you are assigned? Or could it be the types of feedback, your interactions with the person you report to, the team you work with, the level of corporate indecision, or even the goals of the department or company?
  3. Are you being taken advantage of? Have you become “Ms. 2%” since you have been getting the same 2% raise for years? Does the culture or company ethos no longer match your way of thinking or working? Is your work-life balance all wrong?
  4. The dilemma with a capricious need is that once you satisfy that need, miscellaneous “just because” wants may arise, becoming a cycle of short-lived impulsive want-needs. And, take this giant leap with me – a couple of years into it, you find that you are leapfrogging from short-term to even shorter-term assignments.

Temporary but cyclical unhappiness can wreak havoc on your job satisfaction, which may be the thing leading you to think that your NEED to leave your job. So this all comes back to the original question: Do you need to leave this job, or is your sudden flurry of job searching just a caprice? 

Is it dawning on you that your new boss may dislike you, or is beginning to regret hiring you?

So, lucky you, your dream job has materialized. You have just snagged a promotion, transferred to your dream job at your current firm, or started an exciting new job at another firm.

But it is dawning on you that your new boss may dislike you or now has second thoughts about hiring you?

Does your new boss call on other team members but pretend not to notice or hear your contribution? Or worse, your boss dismisses your responses? Do you worry that everyone is catching on that every interaction with you brings out the worst in your new boss? Are you baffled since your boss appears to interrelate well with everyone else on the team but you?

Fixing this problem requires courage and self-evaluation. Here are a few things to consider before setting up a meeting with your boss:

1.      Are you a transfer from another team or a new hire? Then re-read the job description, especially the soft skills required. Were you previously paired with talented teammates? Your new boss may think that you consider the new team a downgrade.

2.      Are your well-thought-out questions at group meetings viewed as an attempt to overshadow the team? Do you interrupt or correct team members at meetings? Does your boss make no eye contact with you at meetings? That is a reliable sign that they do not trust or feel connected to you.

3.      Does your new boss believe your last few projects were lightweight or used dated technology, so they are unwilling to discuss your ideas or input in a group setting?

4.      Set up a one-one meeting with your manager. Ask future-focused questions to show that you are not complaining but attempting to improve your working relationship. When a legitimate misalliance is mentioned, acknowledge it with a sentence starting with, “From now on, I will do X.”

5.      Address competency questions, and engage your manager regarding the areas you can improve and the type of communication they prefer.

6.      Try not to interrupt. Active listening will signal that you believe the conversation is safe and interested in change. Your boss will naturally begin to feel more comfortable with you.

Be calm and matter-of-fact in your explanation of your concern. Consider borrowing credibility by associating with others who already have your boss’s trust at the meetings, and forgo starting arguments.

As you work on your relationship with your boss and invest in your relationships with your teammates, your boss will likely notice your effort. And above all, remember that great working relationships materialize over time, so be prepared to put in some work and give it time.