Hot Career – Financial Planning

It is a misconception that there are no jobs “out there”, that people don’t have money or that businesses are going under.  I’m not painting a picture that jobs are plentiful and that people are having financial difficulties. But, the economic picture is looking up.   One career path that is worth taking a look at is in the finance and financial planning industry.  According to a report by Ceci Rodgers on BNET, financial planning services are increasing, in fact “booming”, and not on Wall Street.  She makes the following claims:

  • Independent Financial Advisors
  • Headcount through 2012: +6.8%
  • Asset growth for independent firms in 2009: +$50 billion
  • Institutional Financial Advisors
  • Heacount through 2012: -4%
  • Asset decline for Wall Street firms in 2009:  -$185 billion
  • (Source: Estimates from Cerulli Associates)

According to the statistics, confidence in large financial firms has faded, mainly due to activities of firms, such as Lehman Brothers.  It seems that those with money to invest are needing the services of financial planners but are feeling that small firms and practitioners are more trustworthy to handle their money.   A hot career path to consider is in the financial planning industry. As the Boomers age, and retire, they will be seeking out these services in large numbers.   A career in finance could be your ticket to a long-lasting and financially rewarding career.   You must like working with numbers and be knowledgeable about stocks, bonds, and investments but these call be learned.  Take the time to explore this career path, and companies that hire, to see if a career in the financial service industry is for you.

Make Your Alumni Association Part of Your Job Search Strategy

When you are looking for a job, whether you are unemployed, want to change fields, or move to a new position, you need to put your alumni association on your list job search strategies.  Alumni associations are a great resource, as they have assessment tools you can use, directories of employers, hold job fairs, and they help you network with other alums who could help you get a job.  It is also possible to find internship and mentorship opportunities that can help you to gain work experience that will help you to stand out from other job seekers.

One such university that is helping their alums is the University of South Florida, in Tampa.  They have implemented a program called, Career Quest, that is linking their alumni association and their career center to offer classes, online resources and an opportunity to meet with an alumni career coach.  University alumni and career centers also have connections in the community and networks with local businesses that can provide information about jobs available and to link with you the people who hire.

I myself belong to an alumni association and reconnected with a classmate from 10 years ago.  As we were catching up on our career paths since we graduated, he learned that I am a university professor, of which he had aspirations of becoming. Through my networks and contacts, he is teaching at a university.  This is the power of your alumni assocation; they make you a member when you graduate so take advantage of this powerful resource!

When Your Values Misalign with the Job

If you are having difficulty at your workplace and feel angry and stressed, it may not be due to the amount of work you are doing or your hours.  It may actually be the result of your personal values not aligning with your work environment.  I see it over and over again, as I work with clients who come in unhappy and wanting to leaver their jobs; at times, they are worried that they might lose their jobs and feel as if they are being targeted by their boss.  Their stories can read like a bad novel:  “I’m doing all the work and XXX can come in late when they want”; they want to have parties when we should be working”, and “my boss never talks to me but he does to my co-workers.”  These behaviors occur on a daily basis in every organization across America.

While the resulting emotional feelings are real for my clients,  they are looking for relief and a way to cope and survive until they find a new job.  They don’t have any idea about what they are looking for in their next position – they just know they want out! Upon further assessment, it appears that they don’t really dislike their job but that their personal values are keeping them in total-work mode, i.e. minding those policies & procedures, but yet it makes them seem unegaged and standoffish to their boss and their coworkers.  This high value orientation, while admirable, keeps them mired in their own values and not necessarily the values of their work team or their organization.  Theses clients don’t like to “play” politics but that is what is exactly what is needed in order to survive.  I personally do not like to play office politics but recognize that we have to;  however, there are times when we need to play the political game while keeping our integrity and our values.

If this sounds like your struggles, you need to acknowledge and accept that you have high values and morals, which are exceptional qualities to have.  Observe yourself – are your values too high that you come across as standoffish or superior? Do you act defensive with your boss or coworkers, seeming oppositional?  You can learn to work with your values by being more open and making the decision to “own” your job and be the best you can. You can learn to be more open and friendly while maintaining your integrity.  You have the choice – what will it be?

Are You Short-Changing Yourself in Your Job Search?

I see it time and time again.  Job seekers who short-change themselves on their skills and talents that prevents them from being successful in their job search.   These individuals only know what they know; they only see themselves in the job role they left; other times they don’t really feel that they have any real knowledge or skills that would be valuable to an employer.  This small-minded thinking keeps them small  in their job search, leaving them feeling lost and frustrated that they are not getting any results.

What leads to this mental block?  Several factors could be in play, such as low self-esteem, inability to see “the big picture” or not wanting to boast or brag.  How can you tell if you are short-changing yourself in your job search? Here are some questions to ask yourself:

  • Do you have difficulty listing your skills, values, or past accomplishments?
  • Is it difficult for you to link your past job experiences with a current job path?
  • Do you leave out certain skill sets or talents when asked to, either because they seem too minor to too large?
  • Can you not visualize yourself in a job or career path?

If you answered yes to these questions, then you have just shot down any chance you having of finding a job.  You must be able to answer these questions to know exactly what benefit you will bring to any employer and help you become more focused in your job search.   It is imperative that you have a very clear picture of what skills and talents you possess and then be able to convey them, both in writing and through networking, so that you create interest and desire by potential employers.  Taking the time to answer them will help you become clearer and confident and streamline your job-search efforts.

How to Recover After a Job Loss

Losing a job can take the wind out of you; it can feel like someone punched you in the stomach and  left you laying there.   Losing your job can feel like you lost your best friend, i,e. your ego.  Self-esteem suffers after a job loss, regardless if you were let go for cause or through no fault of your own, such as in a lay-off or downsizing.  How you recover will depend on: how it was handled, your personality and your ego strength.   It is important  to take some time to ‘lick your wounds’ after. It’s ok to get angry, sad, and to cry.  You will go through the grief stages, namely denial (shock and disbelief), bargaining, anger, depression and then acceptance.  Not all of these stages will be felt as strongly but it is important to not deny your feelings, particularly anger and sadness, in order to heal.  Once you move through these stages, it is now time to work on recovery and getting back to job-search mode.

If you are resilient and weather changes with a positive attitude, you will not take the job loss personally and will be able to reenergize and refocus your efforts on finding a new career path.  If you don’t have resilience or good coping skills, there are ways you can also refocus and find your inner strengths to help you bounce back:

1.  Practice good self-care – exercise, eat healthy, get enough sleep, go for walks, or other activities that relieve stress; resolve to focus on taking charge of your career path

2. Do a self-assessment – write down all of your skills, experiences, successes on the job, awards, etc.; you need to rediscover your qualities to increase your self-esteem and help you to feel positive about your job prospects

3.  Develop a job search strategy – have a specific plan for how you will spend your days, what job boards to search, who you will call to network, job fairs to attend, and what groups or associations to align with

4. Revamp your resume – develop several versions of your resume that will highlight your skills, benefits and accomplishments; develop a cover-letter template that can be used for the job you are applying for

5. Self-develop – this would be a good time to take up reading and research; there are a lot of good books and internet resources related to careers (such as on this site) and personal and emotional development; you can also join social networking sites to find information and support.

6. Seek help – if you find yourself procrastinating or grieving for an extended period of time, or feel overly frustrated with the lack of progress in your job search, seek the help of a career coach or a therapist who can help you work through the loss and find healthy coping and job-search strategies

Losing a job can be devastating, leading to not only loss of income but of friends and esteem.  By following these steps you can get refreshed and refocused, not only on your career but on yourself which can give you a new lease on life.  Losing a job does not always have to be negative as you can rediscover yourself, and your strengths, in the process.  How have you bounced back?

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