Planning your Career

Limited skills and/knowledge can put your career in a corner.

Are you putting all of your eggs in one nest—no back up—all of your valuables in one location or category? Certainly not; it’s far too risky to put all your eggs in one basket. And yet, you’d be surprised how many people (manage their careers) with a limited skills approach. Many invest their talents in a narrow field of interest and never reach out to learn a new skill.

You could argue this approach with some jobs at certain times in our history. But times have changed, and so have business strategies. While it’s still true that a solid career is built on a knowledge foundation of position-specific expertise, it’s become increasingly important to maintain a balanced portfolio. Be more than a subject-matter expert in one category and add new tools to your tool-box.

business man writing business strategy

When employers look for talent, they typically focus on people with the proficiency to perform certain tasks very well. But what they really want—especially in today’s hyper-competitive business- market—is an adaptable growing source of knowledge, whose broad-based set of skills crosses over into a variety of disciplines.

Want an example of how things really are?

Listen in on any meeting in which star performers are present. You’re likely to hear a functional business manager having a dialog with their technical colleague on the latest technology; or an engineer reviewing a budget and discussing profit and loss with a controller; or a CFO pondering the benefits of a product marketing opportunity.

In other words, as organizations flatten, more is expected from each individual contributor. Which means that versatility is not only fashionable, it’s become a key ingredient in modern-day career progression.

Now, no one is suggesting you spread yourself so thin as to master nothing at all. If you want to reach top-percentile status in today’s complicated job market, you’ll need an (expanded arsenal of skills) to compete. To round out your resume, look for areas of weakness and try to develop them into strengths. Know your competition and review other on-line resumes in your career path and make yourself aware of what others are bringing to the job market.

By gaining knowledge in areas that were formerly considered the domain of “somebody else,” you’ll increase your overall market value. The more knowledge and abilities in your tool-box you can offer the greater the chance to compete for a desired opportunity.

Limited skills and/knowledge can put your career in a corner.

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13 ways your resume can say ‘I’m unprofessional’

Lisa Vaas

 

Hiring pros share the faux-pas they find in real resumes, including wacky e-mail addresses, defunct phone numbers and cookie-cutter templates.

No offense, thebigcheese@domain.com, but if nobody has told you yet, we’re telling you now: That e-mail address is not making you look particularly professional.

Unprofessional e-mail addresses are just one way of sending hiring managers the wrong message. If you want to be taken seriously when you apply for jobs, you need to put some polish on your resume, your cover letter and everything contained therein. Hiring professionals repeatedly run across these red flags that scream “unprofessional.” A number of recruiters and HR managers shared with TheLadders common errors from their own professional experiences.

1. Random/cute/shared e-mail accounts

E-mail accounts are free. There’s no reason not to sign up for your own. Yet many mid-career professionals share an e-mail account with a significant other or the entire family, generating addresses such as dickandjane@domain.com or thesmiths@domain.com..

Also stay away from cutesy addresses.

After all, butterfliesaremyfriend2010@domain.com, you can always share your admiration of Lepidoptera with colleagues after you’ve been hired.

Ditto for offensive, flirtatious or sexual e-mail addresses.

Think we’re exaggerating? These are actual e-mail accounts cited by Jillian Zavitz, who’s responsible for hiring as the programs manager for TalktoCanada.com, an online English language-training course based in Canada. (We’ve changed the domain names to protect the innocent.)

Instead, adopt an address that incorporates the name you use professionally on your resume and cover letter.

 

7. Everything but the kitchen sink

“I don’t care, nor have time, to read about your life story,” Zavitz said. “If you can’t whittle your resume down to a page or two at max, I will not read it. If it’s not related [to the job or your work history], don’t include it.”

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12 Ways to Get a Job Interview and One Way Not To

Lou Adler

Nowadays, most of the work I do involves helping recruiters and hiring managers find and hire perfect people for imperfect jobs. In the manual I give them I also provide a bunch of countermeasures for candidates to use whenever they meet interviewers who don’t follow the steps I recommend. Some of these are highlighted below.

Job Hunting Tip #1: don’t apply directly to any job posting. The only exception to this rule is if you’re a perfect fit based on the skills, experiences and titles listed on the job description. If you’re not a perfect, you shouldn’t spend more than 20% of your time applying to jobs. However, if you think you can do the job, even if you’re not a perfect match on the requirements listed, there are many things you can do to get an interview. Here are my favorites:

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21 Secrets to Nailing a Job Interview

Interviewing for a new job is always difficult, regardless of how you have fared in past interviews. Every company and every interviewer is unique.

No matter how much you prepare, there is almost always at least one question in every interview that catches you completely off guard, and it can be remarkably challenging to think on your feet when you feel like you’re being examined under a microscope.

The most you can do is rock the things that you can control.

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