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December 5, 2014

Job Search Stumbling Blocks: Not Defining Your Target Job Market

Do you have the right credentials, the right work history, and the right attitude, but have no luck with the hundreds of jobs you have applied to?  

A very common issue that job seekers face is that they are not applying to the companies and positions that they are a best fit for.  

You can have the best resume in the world, but if out of desperation you are applying to hundreds of jobs that you are not qualified for, you are are not able to effectively market your skills.
A few weeks ago I shared with you the importance of getting your goals together for your job search and networking strategy.

Knowing what you want is the first step to one of THE MOST important things you MUST do whether you are actively or passively looking for work:

Become an expert at refining your target market!

Here is an article by Lisa Rangel from Career Attraction that is PURE GOLD when it comes to learning how to develop your target market. Check it out here.

I loved all of  Lisa's tips and use a majority of them to help clients get focused in their job search.  

Her first tip is to create a "wish list" of companies you want to work on.

I want to share with you some easy techniques to get your target market "wish list" started.

First, write out your list of companies that you may want to work for.  This step is important and also one of the bigger stumbling blocks in job search.  Without it you may not have the focus you need to tailor your resumes and develop a strong networking strategy.

  • "What if the company you like is never hiring" you ask?
  • While that may not necessarily be true, you do want to make sure that your "Wish List" is broad enough to provide job search opportunity.
  • You want to also include on your "Wish List" similar companies, competitors, and company vendors. If you are hired in any of these related companies you can at the very least gain experience in your desired industry. 

Once you have a satisfying list of companies, it is time to do a little more digging.

Second, consider the company culture, benefits and average salary for your profession, location and cost of living in the areas they operate in, and growth opportunities. 

  • To begin your research I suggest checking out the company corporate website.  However, you will have questions that can not be answered from what you find there.  
Third, I recommend checking out sites like glassdoor.com and indeed.com to get an idea of how current and former employees feel about the company and salary expectations.  

  • Write down answers to your questions and new questions that may come up.  
  • Then narrow your list down to your strongest prospects and get ready to start making some personal connections!

When you begin your job search with specific goals in mind (something more than just getting hired), you are able to develop plans that put you in control of the process.

Have you tried any of the tips here or on the Career Attraction Blog?  Leave your comments below to share what works for your job search with others :)

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November 14, 2014

The Beginners Guide to a Holiday Networking Plan

We all know that building relationships and networking are vital to making career moves. 

Taking time to plan your holiday strategy in the weeks leading up to those fun filled days, can help you to stay focused on those networking opportunities and preparing for the first quarter of the year hiring pushes. 

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search Advice

Particularly for job seekers looking for a way into a new field, this time of year is an opportunity to get a “Foot in the Door” with people who you may not normally get the chance to meet. 

Here are six tips that anyone can use to help network over the holidays.

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search Advice

1. Use Your Down Time

Let me ask you..... Have you ever thought about saving some leave time so that you can go to networking events, conferences, and workshops around the holiday times?

This is a prime time to get some networking in with like minds, but the opportunities will not happen if you do not make some moves.

Sign up for those crafting, self improvement , and industry related workshops. Keep your finger to the pulse of industry events and happenings via LinkedIn. You never know who you will meet.

2. Send Greeting Cards (Or Greeting Emails)

I remember watching a TV show a long time ago, I think it was Martha Stewart, where the host had a box of neatly sorted greetings cards.

One for every occasion.

 I always thought that was a great idea and aspired to have my own box.

Well, I have my box now but it takes a miracle to get that stamp on it and put it in the mail box.

Right now email greetings get the job done for me. Baby Steps ;)

However, this is one of the easiest ways to reconnect with your network and appeals to both introverted and extroverted of networkers.    

3. Accept Holiday Invitations
When it comes to networking, any event is an opportunity to create and nurture new relationships.

Whether it’s a “wild” office party or a social elite event, consider accepting all invitations.

4. Make It Your Job To Meet People
Get the guest list if you are able and do some LinkedIn connecting and research before the party.

Then have fun at the party and growing your network! 

5. Be Mindful of What You Say (Or Post) on Social Media
I think it should go without saying that watching what you say and post on social media is vital to your networking strategy.

For example:
If you see a coworker dressed wildly inappropriately at an event, snapping a pic or posting a snarky remark is absolutely not acceptable. 

You may not be networking with that person directly but you risk losing the trust of your coworker, a possible ally in your job search, and the potential of being labeled as an office bully /gossiper. 

All of which are bad for your reputation!

6. Use Your LinkedIn Account!

Using your LinkedIn account to help you network over the holidays is a piece of cake when you know what features to use. Here is an awesome article on using LinkedInapps to your advantage.

In my experience, building relationships takes time and every new person you meet is an opportunity for a connection that you can help and vise versa.  Don’t miss out on growing your network!

You never know who you will meet!


Have some tried and true holiday networking strategies you would like to share?  
Leave a comment below for others to add to their repertoire.

Have a Fabulous Day!

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October 31, 2014

My Number One Secret for Job Search Success!

Changing careers is not an easy task. 

Even the most focused individuals can get off track at points in their transition. 

But, wouldn't it be great if you had a surefire way to snap out of the fear of the unknown and self-doubt that you are making the right move? 

Well you can. 

It just takes a little self reflection and research. 

The last quarter of the year is around the time that I really push my clients to review their career progress and future goals. 

Particularly in the weeks before the holidays. 


Business hits hard in the first quarter of the year, if you are working you know that everyone is busy busy busy. 

By the end of the year, you guessed it, as people prepare for the holidays things slow down. 

You can finally breathe and schedule some serious you time for career planning before the holiday vacation rush and jumping back into the fast lane of life in January.

Refocusing on your career goals and progress in achieving them, is in my opinion the best thing you can do in active and passive job searches.  
  • It helps you determine what is working and what is not
  • Helps you keep tabs on missed opportunities (So you can be better prepared next time)
  • Helps you to capitalize on networking opportunities
  • And who wouldn't be motivated by seeing progress ;)

Here are some questions to consider when doing your 
"Year End" Career Review....

  • What are your current OVERALL and SPECIFIC career goals?  (These things change as your life situation changes so it is always good to continually reflect on this.
  • What specific ACTIONS have you accomplished so far in the year toward your overall and specific career goals?
  • Are you up to date on your desired industry news? Do you know what the industry leaders are saying and doing to advance your field? What is trending right now? (Hint* LinkedIn is a great way to stay connected with this) 
  • What lessons did you learn from October of last year - October this year?  Things that went well?  Opportunities missed? (Think back especially to last holiday season and reflect on networking opportunities)

Don't miss out on setting yourself up for a great new year!

How do you keep track of your career change and job search progress?  Leave your best tips below!

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October 17, 2014

Turn Up Those Project Management Skills!

The quality of management has a great impact on the quality of output of any project. This is the reason why every company makes sure their projects are only handled by managers with excellent project management skills.

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search Advice, Professional Development

To wrap up our series on the Top 10 Transferable Skills we are going to take a look at:

>> Skills that contribute to excellent project management
>> Ways to get better, and
>> How to demonstrate those skills on your resume.

Here are 6 Common Skills Necessary for Project Management
  1. Organization skills- There is a lot that a manager has to handle daily. This is the reason why every manager must have excellent organization skills. They must follow up the project’s status and issue day after day.
  2. Multitasking- The list of responsibilities that lie on the shoulders of a manager is extensive. There are a lot of things that a manager has to take care of, which is why multitasking comes as the second important skills required for effective project management.
  3. Effective communication- There are many human components involved in the project management cycle. Knowing how to communicate vision, delegate tasks, and provide effective feedback at different levels is imperative to getting things done right.
  4. Excellent negotiation skills- More often than not, managers have to negotiate. Sometimes with their team members about the kind of result he expects; and sometimes with the management for the kind of results that can be delivered, and so on. If a manager is shy and hesitates to negotiate, he or she will soon find themselves burdened under false expectations and insufficient results. A good project manager will negotiate the expectations of the stakeholders, and simultaneously negotiate it with his team members and get that delivered.  
  5. Giving priority to details- There is a lot that can be corrected and improved when you use a fine tooth comb to smooth things out along the way to project completion. Sometimes it is the smallest detail that can make a big difference in the quality and the quantity of results.
  6. Problem solving skills- Murphy’s law always seems to have a way of getting in the way when you are on a roll. Keen problem solving is one of a project managers most valuable skills. Barriers to the desired project results require flexible and innovative problem solving to come up with a suitable solution for those pesky problems.

If you have the aforementioned skills, pat yourself on the back.  If not, no worries. You can always work on your project management skills. 

Nothing is impossible if you are dedicated and passionate about learning. 

Developing Your Skill Set

I always recommend starting with an honest assessment of your current skill set. 

A free assessment like this one by MindTools can give you an idea of where you stand. 

After you have the results, a good deep reflection on your personal and professional priorities will help you identify which skills can be gained through current employment, volunteer efforts, self education, certifications, workshops, or formal education. 

Demonstrating Project Management Skills on your Resume
>> If you go the certification and formal education route, make sure you list your credentials in your education/certification section as well as your professional summary.
>> Make sure you back up those credentials and skill proficiency with accomplishments that demonstrate your project management skill. 
>> For example: Instead of listing your duties, summarize project outcomes into a 1-2 sentence bullet. 

“Performed multi-functional role as project team lead, management consultant, and department liaison in streamlining procedures and project marketing for the annual company food drive. Project resulted in enhanced employee civic behavior and increased contributed donations by 50%.”


What free workshops or low cost certification programs have you used to gain project management skills?  Share your insights for others below in the comments!

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September 26, 2014

Are You Looking for Promotion In Your Next Position?

 Continuing with Leadership, our #9 Top Transferable Skill,  Let's talk about seeking a promotion.  

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search

I have helped many clients with an issue that they sometimes see as a barrier to gaining a promotion and repeatedly surfaces with job seekers....

How do you prove your leadership capability when you have not had the opportunity to hold a formal leadership position?  

After all, if you are competing for a promotion, you will be up against other candidates who may have had the titles the employer is looking for.

Here are some opportunities to start looking for now at work and in volunteer positions in the community to help build your leadership repertoire for that next big position:

  • Initiate projects and organizational problem solving...If you see an issue that is not getting solved at work form a team get some brainstorming done and lead the way to better processes!

  • Get involved on committees at work and professional associations...If you are not involved in professional associations in your field yet now is always a great time to get started.  
    • You can also find LinkedIn groups specific to your field or even your current/future employer...Join the group and be a leading contributor to discussions, answering questions, and sharing content.

  • Demonstrate competencies of good leadership in team assignments.

  • Volunteer for tough assignments...When I first joined the Army as a private, my step-father was a Drill Instructor.  He told me NOT to volunteer for anything in basic training.  Looking back I am glad I followed his advice, but the same is not true when you are seeking to gain leadership experience in a new field or for a promotion.  
Go ahead...raise your hand and take on that challenge ;)

So now that you have an idea of what opportunities to look for let’s talk about how to present your alternative leadership positions. 

If your alternative leadership position was work related add it to your duty description as an accomplishment. Briefly describe the issue that you spearheaded, highlighting the role you played in organizing and solving the issue.  Don’t forget to emphasize the end result!
If it was related to your field but not work related, create a Related Accomplishments section an highlight your industry specific achievements and leadership positions.

This is a bit easier in behavioral interviews.  When preparing for an interview, be sure to rehearse common questions like these….. with the answers describing your alternate leadership experience in detail.  Make sure to also rehearse why you chose to pursue that position or problem and how it relates to the job!

In reality it is easy to read as much advice and learn as many teqniques about getting higher pay and better jobs…but it all boils down to the effort you put into your own professional development. You can’t be behind the times in your industry and think it should be easy to get ahead.

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search Advice

If seeking alternative leadership opportunities seems a bit overwhelming and out of your comfort zone, Find A Mentor!

Someone who is where you want to be or is genuinely interested in helping you grow professionally to reach your biggest goals!

Career coaches are notorious for genuinely caring about their clients and going great lengths to see them succeed **wink**

What is your take?  Do you have any tried and true methods for gaining leadership experience toward bigger goals? 
Share them with us below in the comments, you never know who you might be able to help J

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September 12, 2014

Do Bad Leaders Exist?

Are you a good leader? If yes, how did you figure that out ? Are you leading in the right direction, or are bad leadership qualities holding you back?

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search Advice

Our #9 Top Transferable Skill is Leadership. There is a strong connection between leadership and performance. A clear and better understanding will enable you to enhance performance of your team, organization significantly.

Are You a Good Leader?

In order to produce the absolute best products and services in the marketplace, all team members must treat their work and their customers with great respect and care. It follows then that good leadership requires treating followers with great respect and care — the better the respect and caring, the better the outcome.

Common characteristics of Effective Leadership Include:
  • Listening to your Followers
  • Addressing their complaints, suggestions, concerns, and personal issues
  • Coaching people when necessary to raise them to a higher standard
  • Allowing everyone to put their opinion forward
  • Trusting them to perform
  • Ensuring everyone is fully involved in how the company reaches success
  • Providing direction to ensure that everyone is on the same page
  • Communicate the vision

Every person wants to be heard and respected. Everyone has something to contribute. Listening to and responding respectfully make it worthwhile for employees to apply 100% of their creativity, innovation and productivity and making them highly motivated, committed and productive.

Are there Bad Leaders?

I personally believe bad leadership is a product of poor professional development, lack of experience, and low emotional intelligence.  

All of which can  be "fixed"  to an extent. 

You also have to factor in personality which can play a direct role in good or bad leadership (we will touch on this in a later post).

Some leadership traits and styles work best in specific situations and horrible in others.  Here are a few characteristics of bad leadership:
  • Failing to listen or only perfunctorily listening to complaints and suggestions.
  • Exhibiting the “Do as I say, not as I do” mentality
  • Providing inadequate support
  • Turning a blind eye to workplace bullying
  • Withholding information
  • Treating team as if they don’t want to do a better job (Yes, I have seen this)
  • Treating them as if they are lucky to have a job (Unfortunately, I have seen this in action too)
  • Being afraid to discipline and never disciplining anyone

Bad leadership shuts off the natural creativity, innovation, and productivity of employees and slowly but surely demoralizes them. 

How Do You Know What Kind of Leader You Are?

Self analysis and others’ feedback is the most impactful way of knowing what kind of leader you are. 

There are many online tests that can help you know what kind of leader you are, but of course, you have to decide which tool is showing authentic results.

What is your opinion?  Are there "Bad" Leaders or is it just poor leadership development? Can "Bad" Leaders be fixed? 

Leave your thoughts in the comments below! 
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September 5, 2014

Stay Competitive with Personal Knowledge Management

Despite the fact that we live in an information driven society; have you ever worked somewhere that you felt the services and information were stale?

Maybe you are working there now.

Here is a short story about knowledge management, our #8 TopTransferable Skills,  and how you can increase your value and update your organizations practices.

Kellum Career Consulting, Job Search Advice

Once upon a time.... there was an organization that was so entrenched in protocol and frontline work that they neglected to stay current in best practices.

Managers were bogged down with meetings and “firefighting” and the employees were overwhelmed due to being short staffed.....

No promotions or new positions were to be had due to budget cuts. Things looked pretty bleak, but the customers made working in these conditions worth it.

But are the customers really getting the best service there is to offer?

What is an employee to do?

In a world where immediacy and instant solutions are expected; your ability to gather, manage, and share new information and ideas toward the achievement of company goals is part of what makes you as an individual a desirable asset.

Here is how to get started making some changes!

Have Out Of the Box Decision Support Tools Available

We all live busy lives…that is how things get stale in the first place…no time.

Keeping your knowledge sources automated will save you the time it takes to seek new information. 
Collect and aggregate information in your field from blogs, new sites, and professional associations with tools like blog feed readers , twitter, industry LinkedIn Groups , and Google alerts  to keep the most up to date information at your fingertips. 

Creating video playlists on YouTube of things you find from industry leaders is a great way to share information with others. 

For example, here is a fantastic playlist of 16 Ted Talks on thinking outside the box to work smarter.  I highly recommend taking some time to view these!

Improve Your Creativity And Brainstorming Skill

You can generate a lot of ideas with your new information… if you can keep up with all of it.

Keeping up with all the information you collect is challenging without a system.  Set aside a few time frames during the day to take in what interests you (I have a habit of grabbing my phone as soon as I wake up to check the time, weather, and a few minutes skimming my knowledge sources).

Don’t worry about missing information. 

Your professional social networks will revisit hot topics and you can tune in when you have time.  You can also bookmark information using Evernote for your personal use or Delicious to share with others. 

Now that you have an idea of how to digest some of that information here are some tips on how to get some good business solutionbrainstorming started.

Innovate New Business Solutions

While developing the next “Big” idea is easier said than done, getting out of the regular habit of everyday work thinking will help you to see and take action on opportunities.  No obstacle is too great when you feel empowered by knowledge; not even red tape and difficult coworkers ;)

Broaden Your Career Opportunities

Sometimes, even when you are bringing in fresh ideas and tools to help your organization do great things, your efforts only go so far. 

However, at that point you have enough confidence in yourself and your enhanced abilities to seek out better opportunities.  You will be equipped with skills that another organization will value and where the culture will enable you to grow. 

What tools do you use on your personal knowledge management journey? Share some of your ideas below in the comments on how to gather new information and stay fresh in your field!
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