The Career Doctor: Career Advice for All
A Career College and Job-Search Advice Column
Dr. Randall Hansen a nationally recognized career expert is the Career Doctor. Discover more about Dr. Hansen read about the purpose of this column and find previous issues of this column at the home of The Career Doctor.
If you have any college career or job-related questions or comments that Dr. Hansen could provide valuable assistance with please feel free to email him at: email@example.com. Dr. Hansen writes this column on a biweekly basis.
Note: Readers can find other columns from this year in Current Year Archives of The Career Doctor Q&A.
In This Issue (01/14/05):
- Setting career goals for the new year
- Obtaining list of top financial services recruiters
- Inspecting the future of careers in home inspection
- Finding references for confidential job search
|Q:|| Jenny writes: I’m trying to set some goals for myself in the new year — in terms of my career.
What advice can you give me to reach my goals in 2005?
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Well unfortunately I don’t know what your career goals are so my advice is going to have to be a bit general — but ideally useful for everyone reading the column.
I think there are six things you should examine contemplate and act on to help you achieve your career goals.
First review your accomplishments from last year. Make a list of them on a piece of paper. Are you satisfied with what you accomplished? If not make some plans for accomplishing more this year.
Second make some career goals for the year. Where do you want to be at the end of the year? Do you want a new career? A promotion or raise? Work-life balance? Career-change?
Third take action. All the planning in the world is not going to help you achieve your goals. You need to make action steps — and then take them! Sometimes a big change does not seem so unmanageable when you break it down into smaller steps.
Fourth make time for professional development this year. Join a professional organization attend a conference/workshop/seminar get more training read trade journals/books. Rejuvenate your skills and interests in your career.
Fifth build your network of contacts. Networking is not just for when you are looking for a new job. Find innovative ways to add people to your list of contacts. Build those relationships.
Sixth work on those job-search materials — your cover letter and resume — even if you are not contemplating a job change. You should always be prepared for opportunities.
These six things are a lot to work on — but all of us need to find the time to work on our career and professional development. Not only will we be better prepared for new opportunities the process will also keep us focused on where we see ourselves going next.
And if you are looking for a concentrated approach to your job-search read my latest article: One-Week Job-Search: How to Lay the Foundation for a New Job in Just Seven Days.
|Q:||Ken writes: Could you please send me a list of the top financial services recruiters?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: There are a number of sources for finding the information you seek. The best online source is Oya’s Recruiter Directory which allows you to search for recruiters by location or specialty. If you are more of a print person the best source is The Directory Of Executive Recruiters published by Kennedy Information a leading source of executive recruiting information.
But before you jump into the world of working with recruiters — also referred to as headhunters executive recruiters executive search consultants — let me offer some advice.
First it always works better for you if you have been contacted by a headhunter rather than the other way around. Headhunters work for the companies that hire them to find and screen the candidates they seek so a headhunter may not be as interested in you if they do not have a particular slot they are trying to fill that matches your qualifications.
Second never pay for any kind of services. Some folks mistake employment agencies with recruiters. Recruiters are always paid by the employer; job-seekers never should have to pay any company a fee for helping them find a job.
Third you need to adjust some of your job-search materials to the format that recruiters want. Your resume must be a standard chronological format. You should have a specific job-search goal in mind. And you should have a detailed list of your specific –and ideally quantified — accomplishments.
Recruiters and headhunters can be a valuable asset to you in your job-search. They are connected to positions that may never be publicly known — the so-called hidden job market. And if you have the skills and accomplishments that match the types of jobs they fill it can be an extremely beneficial relationship.
But remember you should always strive for a balanced job-search — using multiple sources of job leads.
Learn more about using and finding headhunters in this section of Quintessential Careers: Recruiter/Headhunter Resources Directories & Associations.
|Q:||Dave writes: How does the future look for home inspectors in terms of career and salary?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Home inspectors conduct inspections of newly built or previously owned homes.
According to the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) ‘Ever since home inspection first came on the real estate scene in the mid-1970s consumer demand for the service has been growing rapidly. Home inspection is a young and growing professional consulting service aimed at helping homebuyers make the biggest financial decision of their lives.’
And the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Outlook Handbook states ‘Home inspection is becoming a standard practice in the home purchasing process creating more opportunities for home inspectors.’
Home inspectors need extensive knowledge in many areas of residential construction such as: soils and foundations wood and construction roofing plumbing electricity heating and ventilation air conditioning and heat pumps appliances swimming pools and spas termites and wood-destroying insects and environmental considerations.
According to a 2002 edition of the American Society of Home Inspector’s Home Inspection Business Operations Study full time home inspectors’ annual income ranges from $35000 to $150000. The median salary for a typical building inspector in the U.S. is about $45000 according to Salary.com.
Home inspectors need training and certification. Once you’ve accomplished these you have a couple of employment options. You can join an existing company or start your own home inspection business.
Here are the main professional organizations where you can find more information tools and resources:
|Q:||Amy writes: I have been working for the same company for over 5 years and am currently starting an active job search because of a downturn in business. I cannot give anyone in my current company as a reference because of the need to keep the job search completely confidential and the company I worked at previously is a key client of my current company so giving a reference from there is not possible either. Neither company has had turnover to the point I could use someone as a reference that is now at another company. The place I worked at (for 9 years) prior to my last two employers was sold and I do not have contact information for previous co-workers or managers there. I am interviewing with a state agency that requires that I provide three references that they will contact. How should I approach the reference situation in this circumstance?|
|A:|| The Career Doctor responds: Your situation allows me to get on my soapbox about a couple of issues — and while I’m up here I hope to also provide you with some good advice.
The situation you find yourself is more common than you think and I do not understand why.
First let me assure you — or deflate you — that you can only in the very rarest of situations ever keep a job-search completely confidential. Job-hunting is a people business and people talk. So you kind of need to get over this hurdle. You can do your best to make people promise to not divulge the information but the world is smaller than you think — and word often gets out.
But word getting out that you are job-hunting is not always such a bad thing. In many cases you become almost instantly a more attractive worker. In a sense job-hunting is a test of your value in the marketplace. Will some bosses be offended? Of course but others may see you in a new light — and especially if your work helps them look better.
Back to my soapbox’ yours is another example of the importance of networking — building relationships — throughout your life not just when you are job-searching. People in your inner network should respect and support you enough to serve as a reference for you even if they work in the same company — all the while keeping your job-search confidential. On the other hand a casual acquaintance may also serve as a reference but has fewer reasons for keeping your job-search confidential.
Finally remember to keep up relations with at least a handful of people from previous jobs — people who knew your work — and make them active members of your network.
Read some general strategies for using references in my article References: The Keys to Choosing and Using the Best Job References in Your Job Search published on Quintessential Careers.