Questions and Answers with Career Expert Meg Montford
Please note: On a somewhat infrequent basis, Quintessential Careers asks noted career experts five questions related to their expertise and publishes the interview in the current issue of QuintZine, our career e-newsletter. Those interviews are archived here for your convenience.
Meg Montford is a Business and Career Coach.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||How do you define career-self-management, and why is it so important?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Career self-management is accepting responsibility for the strategic and proactive management of one’s own career. It’s no secret — many people have experienced fallout from the demise of the old entitlement relationship between employers and employees. Although there are current signs of recovery from the layoffs of the last few years, jobs are still being outsourced and shipped overseas. Many people are working in “bridge” employment at wages that are less than half of what they earned previously, still hoping that their old jobs will come back.
View your career as a work life map. There are many types of roads, towns, hills, and rest stops — some big, some small; some busy, some remote — but all part of the journey of one’s work life. You have choices throughout your career about the routes you take and the places you settle. But they are your choices, and no one else’s. Even if you choose just to wander and stop wherever you run out of gas, you’re making a choice.
Self-reliance is the key to the new employment game. Adopting a career self-management approach can help you develop a career-resilient mentality that will empower you to control your own job satisfaction. Bottom line: No one owes anyone a job. In fact, you must earn the right every day to just keep working. By deciding to manage your own career, you ensure your right to have choices.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What are the most important steps people can take to advance their own career management?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| Following are the five action steps that I share with my clients to help them advance their career self-management process:
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What do you feel is the most disturbing trend in job-hunting today?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| The most disturbing trend I see today is the passive job search. Many employees are unhappy — burned out, burned up and just plain tired — and working a lot of extra hours to pick up the slack created by those who have been laid off. They are hunkering down to keep a low profile in hope they won’t be laid off, too. They would love to have another job — one with normal hours, one they want to get up in the morning for and go to work to do — but fear discovery of their job search, which would result in losing the job they already have. Besides, shouldn’t they just feel grateful that they have any job considering the plights of their former co-workers?
So, instead of networking, they dream about a recruiter finding them. Instead of seeking training for future opportunities, they steal time at work to scan online job boards looking for a needle-in-the-haystack match that begs for their thrown-together resume. Instead of seeking career coaching for professional support and guidance, they complain to their friends and co-workers about cold-hearted bosses and being stuck in a rut.
No plan exists for their great escape to a new and better job. Instead, it all depends on luck — or chance — or desperation caused by an employer’s choice to eliminate their position. People fail to realize that a new job rarely just happens. It has to be proactively designed and pursued. People need to push past the inertia and take charge of their careers to make their lives better.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the one job-hunting secret you share with clients but that may not be widely known?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:|| We work in a “brand me” marketplace where everyone must promote unique value to capture attention and demonstrate worthwhile contribution. Two proven ways used by entrepreneurs to promote brand recognition are publication and presentation. Why can’t the same work for job seekers?
Credibility is built with visibility. I suggest to my executive clients that they publish articles on topics in their industry and make sure their brief bio is attached. I encourage them to deliver presentations to industry groups where word can spread about their expertise. Career self-marketing can elicit attention from recruiters and hiring decision-makers. It can often lead to exceptional career opportunities.
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>Q:||What’s the biggest mistake job seekers make that your advice could correct or prevent?|
|ica” color=”black” size=”+4″>A:||Most people don’t understand that how they adapt to and manage change defines their destiny. Nothing remains constant — change is the norm. However, human nature tends to resist change — it can be frightening, unsettling, and usually unwanted. In so many ways, business takes place today in a brand new world from that of only a few years ago. Educational degrees and credentials earned “back when” will not sustain most careers into the 21st century. Many people have to retool. Outdated ideas need to be rethought. Career coaching is ideal for sorting through this muddle to figure out not only how to change, but how to become a change agent.|
With 15 years of experience as a recruiter, career consultant, and business developer, Meg Montford, Business and Career Coach, founded her career coaching firm, Abilities Enhanced®, in 1999. Since then she has graduated from two coach training schools, Career Coach Institute and Corporate Coach University. She focuses her career coaching business on assisting sales and marketing professionals, and has coached almost 1,000 hours with her clients. Since 2002, she has taught marketing to Career Coach Institute students. Recently, she launched a new website, CoachBizMarketing.com, where she offers marketing training for coaches through teleclasses and mentor coaching. Meg facilitates ExecuNet executive networking events and moderates the ExecuNet Marketing Special Interest Group forum. She writes a monthly column for the Association of Coaching and Consulting Professionals on the Web. She serves locally, nationally, and internationally with the Association of Career Professionals International. Her credentials include Professional Certified Career Coach, Career Management Fellow, and Credentialed Career Master. Meg has contributed to 10 nationally published books and delivered numerous career-related presentations. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology.
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