Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Be Prepared!

Be Prepared: Annual Reviews Will Matter in '09 says Liz Ryan of Business Week. “The downsizing may have just begun, so employees are well advised to take a few steps toward ensuring a stellar performance review.” She continues:

“… in 2009, performance reviews will matter—a lot. There's no sign that the rash of corporate downsizings is slowing. As employers get smarter about forecasting their '09 business prospects and their head-count needs, they're going to get smarter about talent management too…”

“… employers who are pressed to make head-count reductions will use them to release their lowest-performing employees. Plenty of employers continue to interview and make offers as they're releasing staff.”

In a time of enormous attrition, you need to use everything in your arsenal to show your best side. The annual review this year is likely to be less about raises and promotions and more about hard looks at performance and ensuring everyone is playing a vital role in a company’s success.

Quick takeaways:
- Don’t wait until the last minute to prepare for your annual review
- Keep a running list of your accomplishments – you’ll be able to use them for your self-assessment, remind your boss of your achievements, and use the top picks to update your resume and LinkedIn profile
- Keep a file of the praise you received from your managers, coworkers, and clients
- Make sure your goals are aligned with your employer’s – things change quickly, so check in at least quarterly to ensure that your priorities are on target with the current objectives
- If your company doesn’t have annual reviews or is running late on scheduling them, ask your supervisor or peers if you can have an informal check-in

My thoughts:
Whether you work in a highly corporate environment or an informal small business, preparing for your review year round is a terrific practice.

I would add one thing here: while you track the ways you are achieving the company’s goals, make sure you are also fulfilling your OWN objectives. This isn’t selfish: while it is a good idea in this economy to continually add to your skill set, it also provides value-added to your company. So, for 2009, make sure to learn and grow – volunteer for some task forces, get involved with a new technology that you can introduce to your company, ask to be put on some special projects.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tips for Job Hoppers

EILENE ZIMMERMAN recently wrote a very useful Q&A on “How to Overcome a Job-Hopping History” (NYT), reviewing how to handle job-hopping on your resume and on your interview. When I am doing resume review, the most common mistake I see about job-hopping is either downplaying legitimate work or getting defensive about time off.

Here are some tips I’d add:

DO clearly indicate on your resume if a job is Freelance. One of the #1 resume mistakes I see is mixing fulltime and freelance/consulting work on their resume without indicating which is which. I do like a sequential resume, but if I see 3 employers in 1 year it raises my eyebrows. Are you a job-hopper or a successful consultant? Make sure your resume says this at a glance without needing to have a conversation about it.

DO add pro-bono work, volunteer work, consulting, writing articles, or creative projects. Took a year off work because you joined the Peace Corps? Put it in. You were job searching for 6 months but during that time you were in an arts colony? Ditto. I’d rather know someone was making valuable use of their time even if it isn’t 100% relevant to the current job. It may be an icebreaker with that hiring manager who always wanted to go to Yaddo.


Welcome. My name is Rebecca Levi. I’m a career coach and a recruiter--and I love my job. My goal is to help you realize a livelihood that you love, too.

10 reasons I’m doing this blog:
  1. I am passionate about career change.

  2. As a coach and recruiter, my job is all about career change – but I’d even go so far as to say it’s also my hobby. I enjoy reading about it, thinking about it, speaking about it, and yes, I guess pontificating about it. Thus, the blogosphere calls.

  3. We are in a unique time in our history where so many will be making career moves either by force or by design. I want to examine the past – those who have made unexpected changes during past recessions that brought them increased personal, professional, and/or creative success.

  4. There’s disparate information out there and I want to hand-pick and share what I think is most helpful and thought-provoking.

  5. As a native New Yorker I have a healthy degree of cynicism but overwhelmingly I’m an optimist who will walk a mile for a good aphorism, and I enjoy applying them to the quest for right livelihood.

  6. Good aphorism: “When one door closes, another one opens” – this is a key mantra in the job search process.

  7. We’ll talk about ways to “cast a wide net” to explore every avenue of the job search practice.

  8. I believe that job searching, networking, and salary negotiation are all skill sets that benefit enormously from training – and sometimes taking risks is the best way to strengthen these skills.

  9. We’ll talk about resume advice but resumes are just one tool in your job search tool kit. I see many people lean too heavily on this one tool.

  10. Career change can be scary but it can also be positive and transformational on every level. I want to help you enjoy this exploration.