5 Ways To Accelerate Your Career And Advance To The Executive Ranks

Back in the day, when I was a college junior being pressed to choose a major, I didn’t have a clue about what type of job I wanted to do for the rest of my life. (Times were different back then kids. We thought we had to work at the same place until we died.)

After very little research, I pronounced to my friends, family and university advisor that I wanted to work in Human Resources.

Why? Because I thought that working in HR would provide me with an opportunity to work with all employees in the company, and I could be the boss of as many people as possible. See? I was a Millennial before being a Millennial was cool!

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I was recently quoted in a MONEY magazine article written by Daniel Bortz on the topic: 5 Best Career Moves to Make in Your 30s.

Advice in the article includes bolstering leadership skills, fostering peer relationships, keeping ex-bosses in your corner, managing your public image, and upgrading your industry visibility.

Check out the article for some great advice on managing your career at any age!

Date: January 5, 2016
Appearance: 5 Best Career Moves to Make in Your 30s [MONEY]
Outlet: MONEY Magazine
Format: Magazine

Exploring Career Opportunities Without Jeopardizing Your Current Job #AskJennifer

Are you happily (or contently) employed, but at the same time wonder if there are better career opportunities out there?

(Email subscribers click here to view the video)

If that’s the case, you may wonder how you can position yourself for career growth – either inside or outside your current company – without making your employer nervous – or even worse – risking being blackballed or fired because they consider you a flight risk.

I’m diving into this topic on this week’s edition of Ask Jennifer – a new video series where I’ll be answering your questions – in five minutes or less.

Except this week’s episode is slightly longer. Oops.

Let’s chalk it up to inaugural excitement about the new format. 🙂

In Episode 1 of Ask Jennifer, I’ll answer the following question for “Valerie”, a woman who recently attended a workshop I led on “Defining and Communicating Your Personal Brand for Career Growth”.

Valerie has been with her current company for almost 20 years. She’s not unhappy. But she would like to explore career opportunities to understand how marketable her skills are – and if the grass really is greener somewhere else. But she also doesn’t want to send any red flags to her current employer that she may be looking. (Smart!)

Want to know what advice I have for Valerie?

Take a few moments to watch the quick video to learn more about the 3 steps I recommend to Valerie (and others) who want to get noticed for opportunities without causing any drama.

  1. Update/fully complete your LinkedIn Profile.
  2. Talk to/offer to help Recruiters that reach out to you.
  3. Attend and get involved with your local professional networking association.

Have a question related to growing your career, your leadership or your skills as a speaker or presenter?

Send it my way!

I’d love to hear from you, and maybe your question will be featured in an upcoming episode of Ask Jennifer!

 

 

My Fascination Advantage® Is The Veiled Strength – What’s Yours? [free assessment]

Do you know what makes you fascinating? What draws people to you and differentiates you from others in your profession or industry?

How To Fascinate Graphic

[Want to know how you “fascinate” the world? Read to the bottom of this post and get your code to take a free assessment!]

As a self-proclaimed “Assessment Junkie”, I love the idea of answering a few questions, and within just a few minutes, being presented with a multi-page report that gives me all of the answers I’ve ever wanted to know about myself.

Well, not exactly.

But I do enjoy taking assessments to find new and different ways to understand how I best communicate with the world and where I can add the most value.

That’s why I was intrigued when I first heard Sally Hogshead talk about her new book and the research behind How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination on a recent podcast with Brian Kelly called What The Speak.

Since I’m currently doing some work to clarify my brand and product/service offerings, I bought Sally’s book and read it over the July 4th holiday weekend. I also took the related Fascination Advantage® Assessment, which is billed as the first personality assessment developed based upon the science of branding, rather than psychology. Unlike traditional tests (Meyers-Briggs or StrengthsFinder) this assessment doesn’t measure how you see the world, it measures how the world sees you.

Interesting.

So I took the assessment and was intrigued by the results. I like the detail in the 16-page report, the information shared about all 49 Archetypes, and the explanatory videos that were included as part of the assessment results.

By the way, my Archetype is called “The Veiled Strength” and below is a snapshot of my primary, secondary and dormant advantages, as well as 3 words that others might use to describe me.

Pretty interesting stuff.

At A Glance Fascination Advantage

 

Want to understand more about how others see you and how you can discover your highest value?

Great!

I’ve got a free code for the 5-minute assessment (normally $37) for the first 100 (update: now 500) people that use it. Just go to HowToFascinate.com/YOU and enter [BL-jmcclure] minus the brackets in the Book Code box.

After you’ve had a chance to review your report and take it all in, please take a moment to briefly share your Archetype and what you think about your results with me in the Comments section. I’d love to hear from at least one person for each Archetype!

If you’re interested in learning more about the Fascination Advantage® and how you can create your own Anthem using the information, share it with your clients and colleagues and even use it to improve the work of your team, be sure to get Sally Hogshead’s new book How the World Sees You: Discover Your Highest Value Through the Science of Fascination.

I really enjoyed it, and I think you will too!

Creating a Value-Based Positioning Statement

As a speaker, consultant or business owner, have you struggled with how to position yourself in the marketplace in order to create demand and eliminate the need to compete based upon price?

To solve these common problems, you have to begin by answering some fundamental questions.

Last week, the National Speakers Association (NSA) held its annual convention in San Diego, California, and although I was unable to attend in person, they did provide some of the sessions via live stream, which was a great opportunity to learn from some of the industry’s best speakers, authors and consultants.

One of my favorite sessions was from Hall of Fame Speaker and The Million Dollar Consultant® – Alan Weiss. I’ve long been a Fan of Mr. Weiss’ advice and approach. His Million Dollar Speaking: The Professional’s Guide to Building Your Platform book was one of the first that I read after starting my business in 2010. It’s full of great advice, examples and tips not only related to the business of speaking, but how to become an in-demand expert through effective positioning in the marketplace.

In his 75-minute talk at #NSA14 – “Million Dollar Positioning: How to Position Yourself as the Expert” – Mr. Weiss shared the basics of creating a Positioning Statement/Value Statement to convey expertise, value delivery and ultimately price in a crowded and noisy marketplace.

Figure out what you love – and what you’re best at. Take everything else away.

When you’re working at your best and highest value, you’re creating a great piece of art. And to create the great work of your life, you have to find what you love to do – and what you’re great at – and then carve away everything else.

It’s rumored that when asked how he carved out the amazingly beautiful and intricate David from a big square block of marble, Michelangelo replied, “I just took away everything that wasn’t David.”

Creating an effective and artful Positioning Statement is no different. Cull away things that aren’t really you or that you aren’t enthusiastic about so you can create your masterpiece.

Tell people how they’ll be better off after working with you.

Your Positioning Statement needs to answer these questions for your potential buyer:

How will you improve them?

What is the real value that you bring?

Ideally, you’re approach will be a bit edgy and provocative, and show that you think a bit differently. That way, your audience will want more – and because what you offer is unique, they’ll be willing to pay more to get it.

Position yourself as an Expert – not as a Speaker, Author, Consultant

There are hundreds and thousands of speakers, authors, consultants, etc. in the world, which means there is plenty of choice.

Buyers don’t want to hire just anyone, they want to hire experts. And if you’re not considered “The Expert”, you’re just a commodity – and you’ll always be treated as such in terms of price and opportunity.

Don’t just be a “delivery alternative” in your industry or profession. Be The Expert – which means you’ll need to create new and unique ideas, products and services that separate you from the rest.

Tip: Once you determine your area of expertise, you can then determine how to deliver it, but don’t mix in methodology in your Positioning Statement.

For example, don’t say: “Through coaching and consulting I create change that impacts strategic objectives.”

That kind of statement isn’t unique or compelling, and it doesn’t answer the most important question: “After I walk away from you, how will I be better off because I met you?”

Effective Position Statements: Examples

“I help small business owners accelerate their business and lead a fabulous life.”

“I help you to reduce stress so you can make rational and powerful decisions about your life.”

—–

Always opinionated and full of great one-liners, Mr. Weiss (@BentleyGTCSpeed on Twitter) also reeled off some great quotes during his presentation – and all of which just happened to be less than 140 characters. (Check them out below, and if you like one or more, just click the link to tweet it out!)

“Wealth isn’t money. Wealth is discretionary time. You can always make another dollar, but you cannot make another minute.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“The greatest damage to excellence is from the pursuit of perfection.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“Self-esteem is an action that creates self-confidence. You have to work on it everyday. Tell yourself what you do well.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

“Confidence is the belief you can help other people. Arrogance is the belief that you have nothing to learn yourself.” @BentleyGTCSpeed

I really enjoyed the session and took plenty of notes to take action and implement in my own expertise branding journey. And I appreciate the National Speakers Association for making this session available. I’d love to attend the event in-person next year!

Question: What’s your Value Statement? Share it with me in the Comments section. I’d love to learn from you and help others find your expertise!

Interested In Career Growth? Let’s Chat! #VZWHRChat

Do you currently have a job – or a career? Chances are, you have some version of both, or you’re aspiring to claim them.

#VZWHRChat

Unfortunately, most of us only think about our careers when we’re looking for a J-O-B, but the smart ones (that’s you) know that nurturing a career is an ongoing activity.

One aspect of managing your career is maintaining an attitude of continuous learning. Reading articles, blogs and news related to your industry and your profession will always be helpful – and so is networking and connecting with business leaders, industry experts, and fellow career navigators to learn from and help each other.

I’m excited about co-hosting one such learning and networking opportunity next week on April 22, 2014 from 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET, and I’d like to invite you to join me!

I’ll be partnering with several HR and Recruiting leaders, job seekers and seasoned career professionals for #VZWHRChat on Twitter.

This Twitter chat is the first in a #VZWHRchat series, where the team from Verizon will be partnering with HR experts across the Midwest to host various Twitter chats related to finding a job that’s more than a job – it’s a career.

Why is the team at Verizon coordinating these Twitter chats?

Because they’re convinced that by sharing information and helping professionals to grow in their careers, a few sharp-minded, solution-oriented folks might be interested in joining their team. They’re growing – and growth fuels careers.

However, you don’t have to be interested in a career with any specific company to receive value from joining in. During the hour-long Twitter chat, we’ll be discussing the following:

  1. During an interview, what should you ask to determine growth opportunities at the company?
  2. Once you start the job, what critical steps should you take to advance your career?
  3. What are examples of career development programs/training that prepare employees for individual success?
  4. You’ve been in the same position for years and haven’t been promoted. What should you do?
  5. What should you avoid doing that could hinder your ability to grow with your company?
  6. What lessons have you learned working for (or with, on the HR side) companies that both provide/don’t provide opportunities to advance?

So drop in on April 22, 2014 and chat with us from 12:00pm – 1:00pm ET!

Answer questions, ask questions, share your experiences – and help others. It’s an open event, so please invite anyone that you think may benefit or have something to add to the discussion. (If you’re new to Twitter chats, there are useful tools like TweetChat.com that can make following live chats easier.)

I hope to see you on April 22nd! I’d love to hear from you!

Be sure to visit the Verizon Job Center to learn more about career opportunities with Verizon your area.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have received compensation from Verizon to partner with them on this initiative. Regardless, I only recommend products or services that I believe will add value to my readers. For real. 

Is Stinkin’ Thinkin’ Keeping You From Getting What You Want?

While flipping through radio channels on a road trip recently, I came across a call-in show where the topic of the day was How to Attract Your Ideal Man.

The host of the show was an author of one of the many books on “Law of Attraction” and although I’m not much of a believer in that stuff, I decided to listen in anyway. (Not at all because I’m single – I prefer to call it research.)

The first caller to the show – a single mom in her late 30’s – explained how she’d given up on finding a “good man”, as she had a history of attracting only Losers. To help her out, the host asked the caller to describe exactly what she was looking for in her ideal man. She rattled off a few things, such as:

  • I don’t want someone who can’t appreciate what it takes to be a single parent.
  • I don’t want someone who isn’t kind and considerate.
  • I don’t want someone who does not want to be in a committed relationship.

After a few minutes, the host stopped the caller and asked if she recognized that she was creating a list of everything she did not want versus what she did want in an ideal mate. Surprisingly, she hadn’t noticed.

He explained his theory that her negative thinking was a huge part of the reason why she hasn’t been successful in finding the “right” man.

The host then suggested that she take some time to write down all of the things that she doesn’t want, then go back and change the wording in each sentence to instead reflect what she does want. By doing this, she would be changing her negative thinking to positive, which would allow her to actually attract her ideal man – who would ride up on a white horse and take her away to live in a castle far, far away where they would live happily ever after. (Ok, so I may have embellished a wee bit with the last part…)

According to the Law of Attraction, thinking about what you don’t want applies energy and focus in that direction and actually brings those things into your life, while applying positive thinking and intentionally focusing on what you do want sends “positive vibrations” out to the universe and attracts those things to you.

I don’t buy the universal positive vibrations mumbo-jumbo, but I do notice when people position things negatively in terms of their businesses and careers and recognize how often that limits their thinking (and mine) to potential possibilities and opportunities.

Ask a client to describe an ideal candidate for a position and they might say “We won’t consider someone who has worked in a very large company – they don’t fit with our entrepreneurial culture”.

Ask a candidate to describe their ideal opportunity and you might hear “I don’t want to be micro-managed or work in a company where there is a lot of bureaucracy”.

With each of these statements, I have to guard against going into a negative frame of mind, where I start subtracting from a mental list instead of adding to it. I’m also curious to find out more about the bad experience(s) in their past that are likely associated with their concerns, and as a result, we end up spending a lot of time focusing on what won’t or hasn’t worked instead of exploring what can.

Take a moment to consider how you’re describing to others what you’re looking for in terms of your career, your job search or your business. Ask yourself what your ideal opportunity looks like and then write down your thoughts without self-editing (just do a brain dump).

Or, go ahead and make a list of all of the things that you don’t want in your ideal opportunity, because those things may be more clear to you than what you do want at the moment. Once you’ve created your list, go back through it and change any negative words and statements into positive ones.

By doing this, when you’re asked about your ideal opportunity in the future, you’ll not only be prepared to positively describe it, you can also create an action plan to make it happen! You’ll find it much easier to create an action plan around what you want to accomplish versus what you don’t.

Do you have some examples of how focusing on the negative or what is not desired has affected you or others? Was there a change in thinking at some point followed by positive results? It’s definitely possible to get in your own way by being a Debbie Downer in terms of your business or career (or love life).

I don’t want that for you.

Scratch that. I want much better things for you!