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Mystic Journey

If we were to set about to deliberately design a path that would bring us to our deepest essential self, could we do any better than the design of the soul on our lives? What does the mysterious journey of living really mean? What fierceness drives us deeper into ourselves? And what do we find there when we arrive? What persistent longing serves to write the poetry of our lives? When does the soul stand outside of us and when is it invited in? Byron Katie asks who we would be without our stories? I wonder who we would be without our codes, rules, morals, shoulds, ought-tos and have tos? It is unsettling to image a life without these guides, but are they really leading us to our deepest essence? So, the pebble has been tossed into the lake and the ripple is running outward—this show will be both the pebble and the ever extending ripple. Don’t miss it.

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A recent study reveals what interviewers find lacking; here’s how to plug those holes

In my job search advice post for Work Reimagined, I look at the Adecco Hiring Survey that shows employers preferring Boomers to Gen Y by a margin of 3:1 and what it means for job seekers:

A survey by recruiting agency, Adecco Staffing, reveals that employers are three times more likely to hire mature workers than Millennials. The surveyed employers cited professionalism and reliability as key advantages.

That’s the good news. Here’s what we need to work on. The top concerns from surveyed employers: 39% cited technology skills, 33% cited resistance to taking direction from younger management, 22% cited unknown long-term commitment, and 21% cited effectively dealing with change. Interestingly, employers cited interview skills as a main shortcoming for both groups of workers, with mature workers needing to improve their ability to sell themselves.

If you’re an experienced professional, this candid feedback provides direction on how to emphasize your perceived advantages and neutralize shortcomings:

Meet Expectations for Professionalism and Reliability Play into this expectation employers cited. Emphasize how colleagues, clients and management have depended on you. Share specifics on how you contributed to getting things done – moving projects to completion, bringing disparate stakeholders together. If you have a lot of transitions or short stints on your resume, this could be jarring to employers, so you want to develop a story for your transitions that doesn’t call into question your personal reliability.

Read more tips and strategies for improving your job search skills in my post for Work Reimagined: Improve Your Interviewing Skills 300%.

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Seven Reasons Your Career Has Stalled

This career advice post originally appears in my Work In Progress column for Forbes.com:

As a former recruiter and now executive coach, I have seen the arcs of thousands of careers. Some careers show constant forward momentum, while others languish. How do you feel about your career? If you suspect your career might be stalling, here are seven issues to explore:

 

  1. You’re doing the wrong job. I worked with a client who was a beloved manager in his professional services firm but who got passed up for a partner role. He needed to do more selling and more thought leadership. Yet, he was still very hands-on with his clients’ day-to-day needs. If you’re great at doing a job that is not the focus of what you should be doing, then you will stall in that role.
  2. You’re supporting the wrong people. This isn’t about being unsupportive or ignoring anyone. You want to be collegial and collaborative with everyone. However, you need to know who makes the career advancement decisions (about plum assignments, promotions, and raises), and make sure these people know your value. Your boss is hopefully part of this decision process, but s/he may not have enough influence or credibility. Therefore, confirm who does make these decisions, and focus your relationship-building on these decision-makers who can move your career.
  3. You’re serving the wrong goals. Market conditions change, and business strategy changes accordingly. You might have thrived when your department was in heavy growth mode and still might be proposing new ideas, repeating what had benefited you before. But maybe your group is streamlining or in cost-cutting mode, and your creative ideas are irrelevant, or worse threatening. If you haven’t recently confirmed what is on your boss’ priority list, then you might be focusing on the wrong objectives.
  4. Your salary has outpaced your value. If you have been at your employer for a while, your salary might have silently crept up above market value due to standard annual raises. Is your functional experience, institutional knowledge, and industry expertise worth your salary? Or are you just more expensive than someone with a few years’ less experience? Take an audit of the value you bring to the company, and make sure you’re not an easy target for the next restructuring.
  5. Your value has outpaced your company. On the flip side, you might be a superstar performer but trapped in a company that can never accommodate your level. I once managed an individual contributor who was so talented she could have done my job (and in fact, she now has a bigger management job elsewhere). But she would never have gotten my job for reasons unrelated to her performance: the group was small and didn’t need another person at my level. The company tried to manufacture a meatier role for her but if she wanted that executive title (and she did and she deserved it), she had to leave.
  6. You’ve stopped growing. Have you raised your hand for stretch assignments? Have you networked inside and outside your group to even hear about stretch assignments? Have you attended an industry-related event or conference in the last year? Are you up-to-date on trends, technological advances, and thought leadership in your area? Career advancement doesn’t just happen by clocking in time. You need to contribute value and increase your value over time by growing yourself and following emerging trends in your area.
  7. You’re on auto pilot destination unknown. If this article is the first time you’re thinking about whether you’re doing the right job, supporting the right people and goals, and contributing enough value, then your career is on auto pilot. What you did before, even if it served you well, may not be relevant as market conditions change and companies respond accordingly. You need to regularly look at your career and proactively manage your work habits, your focus, your network, your skills, and your expertise.

 

A stalled career isn’t just about the person who wants to move up and has not. Maybe you don’t want a promotion. But your career still might stall if you become too expensive for where you are and find yourself restructured out of a role you loved. If you don’t want to move up, you can still focus on adding enough value right where you are to justify your salary. A stalled career isn’t about hating your employer. Maybe you love your company and accept you’re topping out but hoping things will change. It’s great to be happy where you are; just recognize that you’re taking a risk if your company doesn’t change to accommodate you. Whatever your career objectives are, your career will stall if you blindly work “hard” and assume that is enough. Instead, consciously navigate your career towards the goals you proactively choose.

 

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Marketwire For Small Business On Women And Social Media

I’m thrilled to be profiled in Tannette Johnson-Elie’s piece for MarketWired on Women & Social Media:

Caroline Ceniza-Levine is among a growing number of women business owners who are leveraging social media to take their entrepreneurial ventures to the next level.

Ceniza-Levine has harnessed the power of popular social networking sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest to build her brand as a career and business coach and workplace expert, and to help promote and grow the company she co-founded – SixFigureStart.

Based in the New York area, SixFigureStart specializes in corporate training, HR consulting, executive leadership coaching and job search/outplacement coaching. The company was launched in 2008.

Ceniza-Levine is credited with helping grow the business by 600% in its first four years of existence. She attributes much of her firm’s success to aggressive marketing and effective use of social media to build a strong public profile.

Read social media tips and strategies I use and recommend in Tannette Johnson-Elie’s piece for MarketWired: Women & Social Media.

 

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Thomas Moore: A Religion of Your Own

Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul, a number one New York Times bestseller, as well as 18 other award-winning books, published in 25 languages, is coming back to the Authentic Living show to tell us how we can develop a religion of our own. We are currently in an evolutionary phase with regard to what we will do with religion. And Moore posits the theory that part of this shift is caused by a loss of identification with soul. His latest book, A Religion of One’s Own, coming out in January 2014, is going to address this issue. Only we are getting a special sneak peek today. Moore as undoubtedly been one of the world’s spiritual leaders in this age of spiritual transitions and his insights have altered the lives of many people and even many medical, hospice and hospital programs as he teaches us to care for the collective and individual soul. So during today’s show, we are going to find out how each of us can create a religion of our own. Don’t miss it.

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The Secret Language of Job Postings

In my latest job search post for Work Reimagined, I offer tips for decoding a job description:

As a former recruiter, I have a love/hate relationship with job postings. On one hand, a good one can encourage ideal candidates to apply and discourage others who are not a fit. On the other hand, many of my hiring managers didn’t want to spend the time writing the description or even give me enough information to write a good one. Oftentimes, the job description was a cut-and-paste from a previous role with minimal updating (and thus minimal accuracy).

Now as a career coach, I caution my clients not to force fit their entire application or interview preparation against the job description, because it might be misleading. Unfortunately for the job seeker, you don’t know whether the job posting is accurate. You have to prepare as if the posting correctly reflects the role, then use the interview process to confirm what you have gleaned and to dig for missing information. Here’s how to dissect a job posting:

Company and Role Overview: Most job postings open with a description of the company. The overview reflects what the company thinks is key information. The tone indicates culture – is it a very traditional opening or irreverent and funny? Of course, you want to do your own research too. But do make the case in your cover letter and interview that you fit in with the company as it is described in the posting.

Read more about decoding the Company and Role, as well as two other key sections of a job posting you need to break down in my Work Reimagined post: The Secret Language of Job Postings.

 

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The Purpose of the Past

We get a lot of double-speak when it comes to the past. Some tell us to forget about it: The past is over and done with, just don’t go there. Others tell us that the past is the key to the present. Which one is it? Or is it either? Most of us know that dwelling in the past is not very conducive to a happy life—but then we do it anyway. And most of us know that trying not to think about it is pretty useless too. So, what are we to do with the past? Does it have any useful purpose? At this point the word “lessons” begins to be thrown about, carrying with it connotations of both “punishment” and “reward” with a little karma thrown in for good measure. But really is that all there is? Today, we’re going to be talking about the past and it’s, typically buried, treasures. Don’t miss this one.

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10 Reasons Strong Personal Finances Are Critical To Your Professional Career

This career coaching post originally appears in my Work In Progress blog for Forbes.com:

It’s income tax time. For many people this is the biggest personal finance project of the year (even if you hand off the calculations to an accountant, you still need to pull together all that documentation). Don’t let this be the only time in the year that you review your personal financial situation. Strong personal finances give you a professional advantage. Here are ten benefits a strong financial foundation gives your career:

 

  1. A stronger job application as some employers run a credit check as part of the hiring process
  2. More time to search if you are in-between jobs as your savings can extend your severance
  3. More patience to wait for the ideal job as you know your savings can meet your household obligations
  4. More confidence when you negotiate for an offer (or a raise or promotion) as you know you have financial alternatives
  5. Stronger boundaries on the job as your financial alternatives enable you to walk away from a bad situation
  6. More time for your work as your budgeting savvy enables you to invest in household help and other support
  7. More focus on your work as you don’t have anxiety about your finances
  8. Deeper renewal and refreshment as you can invest in pursuing passions and self-care
  9. Longer runway for your business to take off (because career success sometimes involves a side or main entrepreneurial venture)
  10. Diverse earning potential as an investor (because there are alternatives to employment or entrepreneurship)

 

A strong personal financial foundation benefits your professional career. Make the time and effort to develop a spending plan that matches your priorities, adopt a savings plan that gives you a financial cushion, and manage your finances for peace of mind and added confidence. There are many resources if you need to improve on the basics: classes, magazines, books, websites, TV programs, there is a medium for however you like to learn. Financial knowledge improves your career prospects even if you aren’t a tax professional, accountant or banker. Don’t make tax time the only time you spend on this critical career advantage.

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Are You Ready For That Call-Back Interview

Callback interviews are different than first-round exploratory interviews. In my latest job search advice piece for Work Reimagined, I explain what these differences are and share strategies so that you can get through those late-stage interviews:

When you get called back after a first-round job interview, you are rightfully thrilled. Yes, a callback is a win, and it should increase your confidence. However, there will be more interviews — for some companies, many more interviews. Furthermore, late-stage interviews are evaluated differently. How can you ensure that you perform well in the next interview rounds? Here, the three ways late-stage job interviews differ from the first round with advice on how to nail them.

Your strengths and weaknesses are more exposed. Something you said in your first round convinced the prospective employer to pass you along. So remember what you were asked, how you responded and what seemed to resonate. Highlight these strengths going forward. At the same time, the company knows more about you now, including potential drawbacks to your candidacy. Anticipate that any weaknesses will be probed and plan your response. Don’t just promise to learn a missing skill on the job; have a comparable skill to offer and know the company and its competitive set already. A lingering negative assumption about experienced workers is that they are not as quick to learn and adapt. Don’t give a prospective employer any reason to believe you haven’t been learning and adapting to their industry.

Read additional tips in my latest piece for Work Reimagined: Are You Ready For That Call-Back Interview.

 

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Video Blog – How Do I Look For A New Job In A Different Geography

In this job search Q&A, I answer Glen’s question:  I am relocating from the Southern Plains to the Midwest. How do I look for a new job in my new geography?

Job search that involves relocation is different than your typical job search. Here are 3 strategies if you are adding relocation to your job search:

Make sure you research companies specific to your new geography. This means you have to pick specific cities or at least states — Midwest is too broad. By being specific you can tap into the Chambers of Commerce for your geographic targets, you can join the chapters of professional associations related to your role, and you can look at company lists (Inc 500, Fortune 500) with specific geographies in mind;

Budget time and money to visit your geographic targets. You can do a lot of your job search remotely but there is no substitute for meeting people live. As a former recruiter, I consented to many candidate exploratories of people who traveled to see me — it shows your commitment to the new geography;

Set a firm time period for when you’ll relocate. Employers want to see you’re committed to the new geography and not just interested contingent on getting a job.