As the economy continues to sputter along, certain industries have seemingly found new life in what has otherwise been a terrible recession. Just last week, I was interviewed by FoxNews.com host Harris Faulkner about job seeking during these tough times. On her show, Morning Click, we discussed some of the new and interesting career paths that have recently emerged. As a follow-up, I’m going to write a multi-part series on my blog examining some of the potentially bright spots out there!
My team and I did some research using a variety of sources to determine the hottest sectors and jobs out there on the market today. We focused on six industries and the various “hot” career paths span everything from food scientists to fetus healers (yes, fetus healers).
Here’s a glimpse of the industries we will be looking at throughout the series:
- Social media: Now that everyone has a Facebook account and more and more people jump on Twitter, the need to reach out to customers through these mediums is crucial. Social media has become an inexpensive and powerful tool that many companies have yet to harness. There is a demand for social media expertise, and it’s not too late to get into the game.
- Government/Security: Everyone likes good benefits and a stable pension plan. And with cyber-terrorists and hackers on the loose, more and more security-related jobs are opening up both on the government and contractor side.
- Science: Technology can both eliminate jobs and create them. As progress is made with the production of high-tech products, such as robots, simulators, and satellites, a need for specialists results.
- Healthcare: The medical field has always been a sure bet, especially with careers like nursing. But with the aging population and technological advancements, many new positions have emerged. Some don’t even require a four-year degree, such as a health informatics technician.
- Green collar: “Green” issues, from recycling to eating organic, are ubiquitous. More and more consumers are looking to be green. This means more green-collar jobs. Ever thought of being a garbage consultant or working on a wind farm?
- Accounting: Baby boomers need advice on retirement, companies need to know where to safely invest, and people need statisticians to calculate risk. A range of new consulting jobs has surfaced, including positions at all the new bank branches that are opening up.
Pursuing one of these careers may require you to go back to school, acquire a certification, or get re-trained. However, for many of you, it may just be a matter of “repackaging” your current skill sets in a way that better speaks to the needs of these industries. Think about your skills in terms of your actual abilities, rather than your previous job titles—de-label yourself. How might your experience make you the perfect candidate for one of these hot jobs? How can your previous skill sets be utilized in a different field? Don’t settle; fight for a stable, thriving career so you can get yourself out of the career hot seat and back into the game!
One of the commonly missed steps in the career re-engagement process is introspection. I’m a firm believer in the power of stepping back to gain perspective on where you are presently, where you are actually going, and where you really want to go. As part of this introspective process I firmly believe you need to take stock in what you bring to the table. In other words, you have to get to know your intrinsics.
As I mentioned in my previous post, I use the word intrinsics as a catch-all to describe what you bring to the table as a unique individual. We all have our own mix of personality, experiences, training… that combine to create a unique value proposition in terms of what we are able to bring to bear in our career endeavors.
In the last post I also outlined the six elements that make-up what I refer to as your career intrinsics. I call these six elements your career PACERS: Personality, affiliations, contributions, experience, relationships, and SKAs.
In this post I’m going to focus on personality.
Although there are many influences on human behavior, I believe that personality is one of the most significant. Other influences include experience, culture, upbringing, education, religion, social norms, expectations, and trauma. The reason I believe personality is so critical is that your personality is really responsible for driving how you respond to those other influences. It shapes how you act and interact within your environment.
Personality is really about your natural inclinations. We all have natural leanings and comfort zones. Quite simply, you have certain actions and activities that you tend to be comfortable performing. Having a good sense of what these are is critical to your success. The last thing you want to do is put yourself in a position that requires you to spend most of your time operating outside of your comfort zone. When you are in your element, you are going to be at your best.
In my new book, The YOU Plan, I talk about the role of personality in my work as an executive coach:
“Whether I’m working with corporate executives or personal clients, I always begin by assessing their personality and natural strengths. I’m certainly not unique in this approach. The study of personality and its application to the world of work has enjoyed a substantial resurgence, with many theories and approaches. What’s important is this: Personality does matter.”
When it comes to assessing personality, there are literally thousands of personality assessments on the market. The unfortunate reality is that the majority of these assessments likely provide as much intellectual insight as reading your daily horoscope or taking the latest quiz in Cosmopolitan magazine. So, when looking for a good assessment, consider the source. Simple on-line assessments can sometimes do more harm then good.
One of the most well researched models of personality is the Big Five. The Big Five consists of five high-level factors that can be remembered as OCEAN: Openness to experience, Conscientiousness, Extraversion/introversion, Agreeableness, and Neuroticism or emotional stability. The model states that we all have varying levels of each factor that operate together to create our individual personalities. The model has gained such wide acceptance that even the psychologists at e-Harmony use it as part of the matching system. Thus, when looking for simple personality assessments, keep the big five in mind.
For more information on the Big Five and one of the more popular Big Five assessments chack out the NEO-FFI. Two other well-known models include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and the DISC assessment, both of which have enjoyed a tremendous amount of popularity and use in the business world.
The bottom line is that career success requires really knowing the value you bring to the table and how to leverage and communicate that value in a way that helps others want to utilize it. Really knowing your personality is a good start.
Over the next couple of weeks I will address each of the other career PACERS in more depth, so stay tuned!
To learn more, check out my new book The YOU Plan
In my previous post I wrote about the importance of introspection in the career planning process. I laid out a model for taking personal accountability (VIPER) and then focused on how starting out with your values (the “V” in VIPER) can play a role in the career choices you make. The next step in the introspective process is examining your intrinsics (the “I” in VIPER).
I use the word intrinsics as a catch-all to describe what you bring to the table as a unique individual. We all have our own mix of personality, experiences, training… that combine to create a unique value proposition in terms of what we are able to accomplish in the marketplace.
In my newly released book, The YOU Plan, I describe intrinsics in the following way:
“Think of your intrinsics as a deck of cards. All of our lives are shuffled differently, which means our cards are all spread across our life decks in very different ways. Some of your cards are close to the top and readily accessible whereas others are buried somewhere near the bottom and haven’t been played in a while.”
In other words, your intrinsics are that which you have within you that can be leveraged for value by potential customers, partners, or employers. For the sake of simplicity, I have broken intrinsics down into six factors. I believe these six factors impact the pace of your career development, thus I refer to them as your career PACERS.
- Skills, Knowledge, and Abilities (KSAs)
Career success requires really knowing the value you bring to the table and how to leverage and communicate that value in a way that helps others want to utilize it. Your intrinsics are what you arrived on this planet with and everything you have gained since.
Consider the first PACERS for example, your personality. Personality is a critical part of who you are and how you operate. Think of personality as your natural disposition or tendency to want to express yourself in a certain way. Because this is such a part of who you are, you must understand how to harness this element of your intrinsics for positive gain in the career search.
Before you can successfully get out of the career hot seat and back on the market, you must have a good handle on what you bring to the table! Knowing your intrinsics is the first step.
In the next blog I will begin to address each of the career PACERS in more depth, so stay tuned!
To find out more about my new book, check out The YOU Plan on amazon.com
As I mentioned in my first blog post, any good career plan starts with introspection. You have to know yourself, before you can effectively pick a direction, market yourself, and get back on track. As a coach trained in the field of organizational psychology, I am a big believer in introspection as a starting point. All too often, I come across transitioning professionals who have jumped out ahead of themselves only to outrun their coverage. If you want to stand out from the herd, you are going to have to be thoughtful and deliberate in your actions. This requires knowing yourself first.
When it comes to knowing yourself, you have to start with values. The values you espouse are vital to the choices you make and ultimately dictate the way you live. Values can be thought of as the principals you hold near and dear. Your values are the code you live by. They are the rules you follow and the ethics you adhere to when dealing with others.
The following is an excerpt from my upcoming book The YOU Plan:
“Who you are drives how you work, play, live, and ultimately shine. Your experiences, upbringing, and culture have acted to shape the person you have become and the values you espouse. The values you espouse ultimately influence the decisions you make and the path you choose to follow. Your values are the lens you view the world through… There is no doubt that our personal values play a critical role in the choices we make and the careers we pursue. Yet, the unfortunate reality is that most of us can’t articulate our values. Often this leads us to making bad decisions. These bad decisions tend to land us on career paths that aren’t truly fulfilling and sometimes, even toxic.”
Using Values to Reset
When resetting your career focus and re-engaging in your career journey, you have to be mindful of how your values play into your decisions. Every organization has its own unique culture driven by a set of core values. It’s up to you to understand what these values are and determine how well they match with yours. However, before you can do this you must be sure to have a good handle on your values.
So, how do you assess your values? Doing a quick web search for values checklists will provide a lot of results. For a quick values checklist you can try out the career-test on-line values assessment.
The key to using any adjective checklist effectively is taking the time to narrow down your values to your top five. This is a much tougher challenge than it seems because it requires making tough choices. Whenever I have taken groups through values exercises they always struggle with this, so take your time.
Regardless of the checklist you use, you really need to ask yourself if the values you chose are really yours. A good way to test whether or not you truly value something is to ask yourself the following questions:
- Are you willing to fight for it?
- Are you willing to sacrifice for it?
- Are you willing to pay for?
Any good career plan starts with introspection. A critical component to the introspective process is assessing values. Keep in mind, values are a major driver in decision making. We are in uncertain times and successfully navigating the New Economy will require using your values as a compass. When it comes to stepping back and creating a YOU Plan, be sure to start with assessing your values.
To learn more about my new book check it out on amazon: The YOU Plan
The Great Recession has fundamentally altered the employment landscape in this country. The rules of the game have changed and your success in The New Economy will depend on your ability to adjust to these new rules. I truly believe we are entering into an age of career entrepreneurialism, an age where careers aren’t pursued they are created.
Whether you are a battle-tested workforce veteran or graduating college senior, you are going to have to start thinking differently. The number of defined job slots available is continuing to dwindle – according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment has gone up from a year ago! This means that you are going to have to start getting more creative and ultimately more competitive.
Yes, you are going to have to start thinking like an entrepreneur. In one way, shape, or form, every entrepreneur has their own YOU Plan and so should you.
The YOU Plan
As a coach trained in the field of organizational psychology, I am firmly against the notion of one-size-fits-all. I believe in guiding people through processes as opposed to prescribing specific rules. Hence, The YOU Plan concept of self-coaching was born.
Creating a YOU Plan starts with taking stock of who you are and the assets you have at your disposal. Although this sounds simple, it’s not. Both transitioning professions and students alike tend to struggle with this. Developing a YOU Plan is about asking yourself five fundamental questions (I remember them as VIPER):
- What are my Values?
- What are my Intrinsics?
- What are my Passions
- What is my Essence or personal brand?
- What is my Roadmap for making it happen?
Know Yourself – You are a VIP
When I talk about understanding who you are and the assets you have, I am really talking about focused introspection. The first three questions really focus on looking inward and getting a sense of who you are, what you are about, and what you bring to the table. Before you can make a series push to get out there and make your next career move, you need to have a firm handle on your Values, Intrinsics, and Passions or what I like to refer to as your VIPs. Consider the fact that:
- Your Values are what drive your decision making
- Your Intrinsics are what you bring to the table
- Your Passions are what generate your energy
Essence – Who You Are and How to Project It
If you can answer these three questions you have answered the basic question of what is your Essence. Your Essence (or who you are as a job candidate) is a great thing to have a handle on, but like any great product or brand, if nobody knows about it, who cares. Turning your Essence into a brand that can be effectively marketed to potential employers and customers is a critical step in the YOU Planning process.
Draw a Roadmap
After establishing your brand, the final step is to determine your targets and lay out a Roadmap for finding them. The process of introspection and branding is all academic without a Roadmap for getting out of the career hot seat and making it happen.
In the coming weeks I will discuss each of these five questions in more depth, beginning with Values in my next blog post.
Creating a YOU plan isn’t easy and it shouldn’t be. However, it is a critical first step in creating a successful career. Keep in mind, would an NFL coach field his team on Sunday afternoon without a game plan? Would an airline pilot take off with a plane full of passengers and no flight plan? Would a general take to the battlefield without a strategy? I think not.
To learn more about my new book check out The YOU Plan on amazon.com