10 Critical Things To Do When Changing Jobs!

Before you move on……there are 10 Critical Things You Need to Do When Changing Jobs!

moving-up-16814834Congratulations are in order! You are on your way to a new job. Your great resume and  your strong interviewing skills paid off! Exciting times ahead!!

But before you turn in your office keys, however, there are few things to take care of first:

  1.  Jot down full contact information for whomever in your company’s HR department will be processing your exit. You may need to contact them after you have left to iron out any details concerning your 401(k) plan, your COBRA coverage for a bridge until new insurance kicks in, etc.
  2. Print out your address book entries if it is on your employer’s server or in the cloud via your employer’s network. Once you leave you will no longer have access to it. If possible import it into your personal email account and then delete the ones that are not of value.
  3. Forward to your personal email account any emails in your work email account that you want to save or be able to reference in the future. If there are emails that you can add to your “Brag Book” (see my blog post) be sure to do so. While you are at it…see if there is anyone in the organization that might write a letter of recommendation for you that you can include in your Brag Book. Be sure that it includes specifics vs generalities. Don’t overlook others outside of the organization that you might have dealt with – vendors, etc.
  4. Change the details in your LinkedIn profile so that contact info is your personal email and not your work email. Same for other social media.
  5. If you have used your work email address for any credit cards, frequent flyer accounts, etc. be sure to change them. Often that process requires verifications sent to the original email…and you can’t do that if you no longer have access!! Same for phone numbers if you had a company cell phone and used that number as contact info for credit cards, etc.
  6. Know what you are entitled to with regard to un-used vacation pay. Sick pay usually isn’t paid but vacation pay is. If you have receipts to put against a Flex Plan do so…and find out where to send them after you leave to clean out the balance left behind.
  7. Pack up your stuff …but only YOUR stuff!! If you have some of your employer’s stuff at home – bring it in and be sure someone vouches for its receipt.
  8. If there will be an exit interview think it through and prepare for it. If there are areas where improvement can be made and that won’t be overly critical of the organization or specific people – mention it. Don’t, however, blast people or policies that can’t be fixed or that you are critical of but others don’t seem to be. Remember….you will need the organization’s goodwill in the future for a reference.
  9. If you have an employment agreement, get a copy of it. If it includes prohibitions against certain practices once you have left – know what they are and observe them.
  10. Finally make the rounds. Thank all you have worked with for the opportunity to do so and let them know how to reach you if you can be of assistance to them in the future.

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Moving Up the Career Ladder; How to Get that Next Job

Moving Up the Career Ladder; How to Get that Next Job

MovingUpTheLadderA job can be static – no change from day to day. A career, however,  is a progression; increased responsibility, new experiences, increased knowledge and wisdom, more money and usually a more rewarding position.

The big question is – how to make it happen after several years in the same job? You know your job inside and out… and do a good job of it. How to leverage it into your next career step?

Keep in mind that while luck plays a part in any success story, lucky people also make their own good luck! With that exception, however, your career and career path is no one’s responsibility but yours! So – how do you go about building a career path?

Like almost every endeavor – you need a plan:

1. Put together a “brag book”. It really isn’t a book and it isn’t bragging if you actually did it! Create two files – and suggest you make them both digital as well as hard copy.

  • File #1 – a series of documents you have written that detail your achievements and accomplishments. e.g. – “Chaired companywide meetings and efforts to define needs and requirements for a new phone system.” Or “Member of a small steering committee responsible for moving our offices to larger quarters including acquiring all new furniture and installing modular work stations.” These statements will end up in your resume and be talking points for future job interviews. This file includes any certificates you have received for participating in training sessions, community events, etc.
  • File #2 – includes copies of every performance review as well as letters and emails from other complimenting  you on your work. If you get a favorable  comment from a co-worker, supervisor, customer – anyone – document it in this file. Just be sure to include what it was about. “Bill told me thanks and that I was doing a great job” won’t hack it. Rather “Bill complimented me on the results we achieved for 3rd quarter – we were under budget for costs with zero errors” –  more like it!

This file will also provide material for future interviews and your resume but unlike file #1, these come from third parties and are “endorsements” if you will. When you get one – ask the person giving it to go to your LinkedIn profile and “endorse” you for that skill or area of performance. Be assured your LinkedIn profile will be reviewed by every prospective employer and you want those endorsements there!

2. Look ahead to the options available for your next job – specifically if with your current employer and generally if you need to move to a different organization to move up the employment food chain. e.g. –  if you are a staff accountant, your next job might be accounting manager, controller, A/R – A/P manager or some accounting specialty (tax, payroll). If a salesperson, perhaps sales supervisor or lead account sales.

 3. Once identified, research what you need to have in the way of experience and accomplishments to be eligible to apply for that next step. You can ask for more responsibility in your current job or the areas you seek. Offer to assist others….anything to gain the requisite experience. Identify people  who either have or have had the jobs you aspire to. Talk to them and ask them candidly to evaluate your candidacy for such a position. Talk to staffing service professionals that work in your area of expertise and ask them the same questions.

Your objective is to really understand what you need to possess on your resume in addition to the contents of the two files in your “brag book” to be qualified for the next step. Furthermore to know where your shortfalls are so you can work on them.

Also keep in mind that the process is not finite; organizations and hiring authorities have varying standards that must be met – some make sense and some may not. The only way to know for sure is to test the waters. With your current employer ask your boss, “I want to move up in the department – where do you see the opportunities are for me and what do I need to do to be qualified for them”. Register with one or two really good staffing services and go thru the  process of interviewing for a new position. Discreetly if currently employed; you don’t want to jeopardize the bird in hand!

4. Finally – exhibit positive factors critical when interviewing such as:

  • Possess and exhibit a great attitude.
  • Possess and exhibit a great work ethic.
  • Mirror the behavior, dress and communication skills of those you see as role models.
  • Understand and “talk the talk” of your current employer; exhibit pride to be working there –  be an ambassador for the organization to the outside world.

And as you go through the process – be reasonably patient. See my post of March 18 “To The Kid At The End Of The Bench – Careers and Success Doesn’t Happen Overnight”.

You don’t want to be someone who changes jobs every 2 or 3 years…unless it is with the same employer.  Changing employers frequently brands you as a “job-hopper”!

Good luck moving up the career ladder!

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How and When to Negotiate Salary and Benefits?

How and When to Negotiate Salary and Benefits?

The following is a question about negotiating salary and benefits that arose out of a recent webinar I did entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work” for Georgetown University alumni. That webinar was offered to give the participants  information about “the best way to find a new job”!

Hello Robb,

Thanks for taking the time to speak about resumes and interviewing today. I enjoyed hearing your take on the best way to prepare yourself. I do have one question you didn’t dollar signhave time to answer– What is the best time and manner in which to negotiate a salary? After getting an offer, what’s the most appropriate way to ask how much the position pays and then to start the negotiation process? I’ve never had to do this before, so I want to know what to do when the time comes… hopefully sooner rather than later!

My response follows:

Glad you found the webinar to be of value!!

 Great question! Let me give you part of the content from my book “The Ultimate Job-Seekers Guide” on this subject; the following is an excerpt from Chapter 11 – Congratulations! You Have an Offer! Now What? Evaluating Job Offers; Negotiating Salary and Benefits

Negotiating Salary and Benefits

The time to negotiate salary and benefits is after you have received a job offer. Why not earlier? Because you don’t want to negotiate against yourself. Your employer contact  knows your compensation history and knows the compensation range for the job he or she is trying to fill (and hopefully you know the range also!). This person is aware of all the answers you and other candidates have given during the interviewing process. Your employer contact has also made comparisons of whom else they have been interviewing for the job and how large the pool is of people to choose from (your competition for the job). From this base of information, a decision will be made as to whom to make the offer and at what salary. These factors will determine if the offer is at the high end of the range or not. Another factor that enters into formula is your current employment status; if employed, the offer may be higher than if you were unemployed. The benefit package is probably formula-driven for the position you are interviewing for, so little opportunity to tinker with it.

What then do you negotiate? Actually, very little. If the salary range is $45 – $50,000… and your last salary was $46,500 and the offer comes in at $47,000 or $47,500 – yes, you are disappointed it wasn’t more. Recognize, however that it is an increase and be assured that the hiring official thought it through and felt that the offer was a fair one. In almost every case, the salary detailed in the job offer has been carefully thought through; the employer wanting to pay as low an amount as is reasonable to attract and hire the talent to do the job. If you ask for an adjustment because you don’t feel it is enough you are not sending not the best of messages!

The best approach is to “pre-negotiate” the salary during the interview process. As noted in the interviewing chapter:

If the interviewer asks “What salary are you looking for?”

  • Answer carefully. Hopefully you know the salary range ahead of time. If so, you answer: “well, I know the salary range is $X – $Y. My last salary and bonus plan paid $Z on an annual basis. While I would like to be at the high end of your range, I am primarily looking for opportunity first and am prepared to be flexible about the compensation package”.
  • If you don’t know the range, then you answer: “well, my last salary and bonus plan paid $Z on an annual basis. While I would prefer to make some upward strides, I am primarily looking for opportunity first and am prepared to be flexible about the compensation package”. Never inflate your current or past compensation. It is not uncommon for an employer to ask to see a W-2…and your are sunk if it doesn’t match what you have said.
  • By these responses, you have put a salary number on the table.

If for some reason you aren’t asked this question, towards the end of the interview, say:

“We haven’t discussed compensation. What is the range? And from there offer the first response above.

What can sometimes negotiated are some minor aspects in the area of benefits – getting on the employer’s health plan sooner than the normal waiting period, clearing during the interview that you have made travel reservations for a family reunion at a distant location and therefore need more vacation leave time than might normally be available, perhaps getting paid parking, etc. Be aware, however, that your employer likes standardization of benefits within a class or group of employees; it avoids the hard feelings that arise when workers doing the same or similar jobs find out there is a difference in their benefits plans.

Keep in mind that one of the advantages of working with a staffing service  (check out my firm – NRI Staffing Resources) is that they can negotiate on your behalf without you personally interacting with the prospective employer.

Do keep in mind that what you are looking for is opportunity to learn and grow, to work for a boss who will be a mentor, and to be part of a team. Don’t get hung up on a salary if it is within your realistic range – and remember that the money will take of itself if you do a knock-out job.

Good luck!!

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12 Things to Do After Being Laid Off… (To Find A New Job!)

Today’s blog post was written by Bob McIntosh and came from his website http://thingscareerrelated.com –  a site with some great information …on things “career-related” naturally! Many thanks to Bob for letting me share this with you!

It could be sub-titled The Best Way to Find a New Job… so read on!

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12I was recently asked this question, “You just got laid off. Which is more important, start networking or spend a week writing your résumé?” I thought this was a great question but also believe jobseekers have to think of other important activities when starting their job search after a lay-off.

Below are some of the must do’s for people who are starting their job search. You’ll note that dusting off your résumé and networking are far down the list of priorities.

1. Take time to regroup. This is perhaps one of the most important things you can do when starting your job search. It’s also something people neglect to do by jumping right into the hunt the same day they’re laid off. Conversely, some people wait too long to begin the search, considering this a time to take a “vacation.”

2. Evaluate your frame of mind. Understand that unemployment can play emotional havoc on your psyche and may require seeking professional help. Many of my customers have shared with me their despondency and even depression after being laid off or let go.

3. Think about what you want to do. Now is the time to think about what you really want to do, not what you feel comfortable doing. When I was laid off, I realized that I wanted to change my career. Deciding what I wanted to do was one of my top priorities. I had direction.

4. Be dedicated to your job search. Determining your direction could take some contemplation, especially if you’re changing your career. Once you’ve decided on path you want to take, dedicate all you effort to getting there. Is it necessary to spend 40+ hours on your job search I ask my workshop attendees. I don’t think so. More like 25+ hours of smart job seeking is more like it.

5. Assess your greatest skills. This is tough for many people, especially those who have a hard time promoting themselves, so solicit the help of others with whom you worked or know in your daily life. Create a list of your strongest skills and accomplishments. These will make good fodder for your new and improved résumé.

6. Begin telling everyone you know–everyone. That’s right, everyone. You may think your sister in New York would never know of opportunities in Boston, but you never know who she may know who knows someone in Boston. Don’t focus only on the people with whom you worked; you’re limiting your reach.

7. Dust off the résumé. Ideally you should have been updating your résumé while working, but we know how work demands leave little time to do this, and when we return from a hard day of work we have little if any energy to work on our résumé.

8. Get on LinkedIn. With all the articles written about the effectiveness of LinkedIn, you should know by now that most employers–approximately 95%–are culling talent on LinkedIn. Take the time to do it right, though. Create a powerful profile and be active by updating often, joining and participating in groups, sending invites, etc.

9. Get out of the house. Your style might lean more toward attending networking groups, professional affiliations, volunteering, or using your local library’s computers (even if you have your own). Don’t forget your local One-Stop career centers that offer you resources and training and education. Get out of the house.

10. Step up your exercising or begin exercising. Nothing is better for the mind than improving your physical condition. You don’t have to join a club. Simply walk every morning or do yoga. Make sure you get up at the same time you rose from bed when you were working. Do not let your routine slip.

11. Develop your company list. You’re now in a good position to figure out what type of companies for which you’d like to work. Identifying the companies can help you with your research on them and career possibilities. Your list will also come in handy when networking with jobseeker groups and informational contacts.

12. Start knocking on companies’ doors. Use your company list to be proactive by approaching growing companies either by sending an approach letter introducing yourself to them or literally visiting your companies. Richard Bolles, What Color is Your Parachute, asserts that your chance of getting a job is 47% if you use this method alone.

The list of must do’s could be endless, but it’s important to keep in mind the important actions needed to properly start your job search. If you are having difficulty getting motivated, speak to close friends, relatives, or trained job-search professionals who can help you with this serious problem. Motivation is required in order to put our plan into action.

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Again – many thanks to Bob McIntosh for sharing. Check out his website for more job-seeking resources –  http://thingscareerrelated.com

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The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The Best Way to Find a New Job – (By) Utilizing Your Contacts

The following is a question about the best way to find a new job – by utilizing your contacts – that arose out of a recent webinar I did entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work”.

Thank you very much for yocontacts graphicur webinar on the world of work this afternoon. I’m a mid-career professional just beginning a new job search, and I found your direct and honest guidance refreshing and helpful.

If I may, I would like to ask for your thoughts on a follow up question about job hunting through one’s professional network. I planned to contact specific people in my network expressing my interest in available positions at their respective companies. I anticipate my contacts will ask for a resume, though they may not know of a specific opening. Do you have any suggestions beyond today’s talk for building a resume that isn’t position-specific? Alternately, should I demur and offer to send a resume specific to a position, if my contact learns of one, instead?

I appreciate your guidance, and I’m looking forward to putting it into practice during my job search.

Best regards,

My response was:

Glad you found the webinar to be of value!

As to your question, unless there is a specific opening I would send them a resume that broadly summarizes what you have done/accomplished in the past and your areas of expertise. The real customization of a resume occurs:

1. When you are including in your resume key words from a specific job listing or posting… to “mirror” it and have it jump off the paper as the “perfect fit” as seen by a screener or recruiter! Also very important in the event your resume is processed via a scanner.

2. When you are skewing a resume to fit a position; e.g. – applying for controller position (stress financial statement capability) vs accounting manager (stressing management experience).

When you contact people, best to ask for their overall career guidance (“I am in the process of making a change and would like to get your read on my resume and where you think I might send it”. I do not advise asking them (as a person) if they have a possible job for you – it can create a very awkward situation! You can ask if they know of any opportunities within their organization, however.

Hope this helps… let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!

Robb

P.S. Suggestion – buy my book and read Chapter 9: Job-Seeking Strategy – Uncovering the Hidden and Unpublished Job Market. – $14.95 at www.jobseekersguide.net

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Changing Careers? Some practical advice and how to find resources to help pave the way!

The following is a question asked following the webinar I did for the alumni of Georgetown University entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work” along with my response:

Dear Mr. Mulberger,

I enjoyed listening to your webinar this afternoon and thought that your presentation was very informative and interesting.

transition-3rd-blogI would like to receive your suggestions on how to go about changing careers from teaching math to working as an actuary. There are certain skills that overlap, however, there are other desired skills that do not show up on the resume. How could the cover letter and resume be enhanced to highlight qualifications? Would you recommend going back to school for an additional degree?

Thank you very much and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,

“Webinar Attendee”

Dear “Webinar Attendee”

Glad it was of value for you!!

Before you sign up for another degree suggest you find a way to talk to a few practicing actuaries and and/or those who run such a department or internal program.

A quick google search for “actuary associations” brought up: http://www.actuary.org/ with this contact information – 1850 M St NW #300, Washington, DC – (202) 974-6007

The search also brought up other entities…all fertile ground for research.

Suggest you make some phone calls…you will note that the association President slot changes annually.. so they are volunteer leaders…practicing actuaries…. the Executive Director runs the association (is a salaried employee).. Track down one or more of them and ask them the questions that will give you the answers as to what your challenges will be to make that change. http://www.actuary.org/content/messages-president

“I am very interested in making the change from teaching match to being an actuary. Can you spare a few minutes to give me some  guidance and answer a question or two?” Most will say yes!

BTW – creative google searching is a great way to find and then gain access to people… I cover it extensively in a full chapter in my book….

Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!

Robb

As a matter of note – use google searches to find trade association professionals you can talk to such as I advised this person. I have a very detailed chapter in the book – “Basic and Advanced Internet Search Techniques” –detailing the Boolean Operators and how to get the most results with the least effort.

Do a google search – just copy and paste this string into a google search window; substitute your area of  interest for “actuary” and “actuarial”. Note the this search string follows google algorithms –  google search “rules” – type it EXACTLY as it appears here if you can’t copy and paste it.

(actuary OR actuarial)  (association OR society OR “professional society”)

From there – make contact as I suggested to my “webinar attendee”!

Good luck!!

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How to Position Myself to Achieve Optimal Interest from Prospective Employers?

I received an email from a job-seeker referred to me as a result of one of my university alumni webinars.

The email asked the question “…how to position myself to achieve optimal interest from potential employers?…and asked about the value of a career coach.

My response was:

The answer lies in the fact that qualifications and experience speak for themselves when properly packaged.

For example a degreed accountant who is currently a controller will respond differently (with regard to resume, cover letter and marketing effort) when applying for another controller position vs an accounting manager position. The first will stress hands-on accounting skills and knowledge; the second will stress management, problem-solving and leadership skills and knowledge.

So first define what  it is you are specifically seeking – and it can be more than one career target. For each career target – fashion a resume, cover letter and marketing plan that speaks to what an employer would want. For example – a firm seeking a tax attorney will want to know how current the knowledge base is, how recent the relevant experience is, etc. You have a number of career paths already somewhat in place but you need different versions of your resume and cover letter to focus on them individually.

As you define career targets… think to where the opportunity lies …go after the “low-hanging fruit” (the positions and career targets that are on the upswing vs those that are not). For example any positions in print journalism are not career targets that makes sense at this time. Research the possibilities for your selected career targets.

So my advice to you is:

  1. Read my book . If you don’t think it has value – let me know and I will refund your money.
  2. Come up with several career targets based upon your personal ambitions coupled with your experience and apply a dose of reality to them based on trends and your research.
  3. Fire up your network and once you have resumes and cover letters in order – follow the advice in Chapter 9 – “Uncovering The Hidden Job Market”.
  4. If you feel a career coach might be of value – sound out the following two individuals – and see if what they offer has value for you. I recommend both  – feel free to  use my name as an introduction.

Angelo Agrafiotis – 973.283.8161 – apagrafiotis@aimlifecoaching.com – www.aimlifecoaching.com Angelo is in New Jersey.

Marshall Brown – 202.518.5811 – marshall@mbrownassociates.com – www.mbrownassociates.com

Marshall is in DC.

Good luck and let me know how it is proceeding!

Robb Mulberger

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How do I Make a Career Transition?

The following is another question asked following the webinar I did for the alumni of Georgetown University entitled “Resumes, Interviewing and the World of Work” along with my response:

Dear Mr. Mulberger,

I enjoyed listening to your webinar this afternoon and thought that your presentation was very informative and interesting.

transition-3rd-blogI would like to receive your suggestions on how to go about changing careers from teaching math to working as an actuary. There are certain skills that overlap, however, there are other desired skills that do not show up on the resume. How could the cover letter and resume be enhanced to highlight qualifications? Would you recommend going back to school for an additional degree?

Thank you very much and I look forward to your response.

My response was:

Glad it was of value for you!!

Before you sign up for another degree suggest you find a way to talk to a few practicing actuaries and and/or those who run such a department or internal program.

A quick google search for “actuary associations” brought up: http://www.actuary.org/ with this contact information – 1850 M St NW #300 Washington, DC – (202) 974-6007

The search also brought up other entities…all fertile ground for research.

Suggest you make some phone calls…you will note that the association President slot changes annually.. so they are volunteer leaders…practicing actuaries…. the Exec Dtr runs the assoc. Track down one or more of them and ask them the questions that will give you the answers as to what your challenges will be to make that change. See http://www.actuary.org/content/messages-president

You might ask “I am very interested in making the change from teaching match to being an actuary. Can you spare a few minutes to give me some guidance and answer a question or two?” Most will say yes!

Creative google searching is a great way to find and then gain access to people… I cover it extensively in a full chapter in my book….

Let me know if I can be of further assistance!

Good luck!

Robb

Check the NRI website for current open positions in metro Washington, DC…follow me on Twitter … check my LinkedIn profile!

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