Monthly Archives: August 2016

Your Job Search Plan

In a larger sense, your entire career could be viewed as made up of seasonal shifts, from your first job out of college (spring) to your retirement and possible second-act role (winter).  Your job search might not have seasonal changes that correspond closely to those you experience in terms of climate-based alterations throughout the year, but as a microcosm of the overall career evolution process, it can and often does change at least somewhat from start to finish.

Consequently, you might find it helpful to consider your job search plan from the viewpoint of seasonal changes. When you start out, you have a goal in mind and define the steps you believe are necessary to achieve that goal.  As the search progresses, though, you could well find yourself facing the need to grow and change in ways you hadn’t anticipated when you started the search.


As I’m writing this, we’re experiencing fall here in Massachusetts, and the leaves have been dropping for a while, although they’re not done yet. This tells us we’re headed for winter weather (snow, ice, etc.), probably not too many weeks in the future, and we might want to make sure our snow-blowers are in good shape!

If that’s comparable to where you are in your job search when you read this, you’ve most likely been engaged in the search for a while. In that case, now might be a good time to re-evaluate your situation and see how far you’ve come toward the goal of a new job and what you still have left to accomplish.

If you’ve been thinking that the end of the year isn’t a good time to work on your job search because “no one is hiring until after January 1,” I encourage you to reconsider. You might not be able to envision the end of your job search at this point, but even if it’s not visible on the horizon yet, you can make progress toward it and save yourself time and trouble on the other end.

Of course, the same can apply equally well regardless of which stage of the search you’re in. Starting it now instead of waiting for January 1 to join the job-seeking crowd could give you a leg-up on your competition. That’s a good thing!


Unless you want your future to be “more of the same” as the past and present have been, you need to consider building change into the pattern. For instance, if you’re well into the late summer/early fall of your career, the job search probably will look quite different from those you conducted earlier in your career. You’ll have developed a larger and hopefully stronger network, for instance, and will be tapping into that to help move your job search to a successful conclusion.

If you’re contemplating the pursuit of a higher-level management position, the time between now and the end of the year can be usefully applied to maximizing all the resources available to you, including but not limited to your professional network. You’ll definitely want to assess your strongest points from an employer’s perspective and make sure you have attention-getting stories to tell about your successes in those areas.

Tips for avoid interview mistakes

How do you answer the interview question, “What’s a major mistake you’ve made on the job?” This post is the fourth in a series of excerpts from my upcoming eBook, Get That Job! The Quick and Complete Guide to a Winning Job Interview.

How to answer the interview question, “Tell me about a major mistake you made.”

The intention here is to see whether you are open to admitting, taking responsibility for and learning from your mistakes. No one wants employees who will sweep their mistakes under the rug or blame them on others. They also want to hear that you clean up after yourself where possible, going the extra mile to make things right.

Here’s an example:

“On a software project I managed, a certain manager didn’t come to the regular meetings until the final one where everyone was supposed to sign off. There, at the last minute, he objected to a great new feature the team was excited about. Later I realized how I could have countered that objection, but at the time it caught me by surprise, I didn’t make a good case for it, and the feature was left off.

“What I learned for the future was to always make sure the key stakeholders are involved early, and that’s what I’ve done since then. Anyway, I worked hard to ensure that the new feature would be in the next release – and it was!”

Are you plan for leaving your job

I was asked the same interview prep question three times last week. They all more or less went like this:

“I have a simple question. I was let go from my job this week. The reason was because:

A) I had a conflict with my boss that came to a head.


B) I was a whistleblower on a wrong practice my department was doing and instead of fixing it they let me go.


C) My department was moved to Cincinnati and I could have gone, but I’m sick of doing this job.

What do I say for my “reason for leaving (RFL)” my job?”

A simple question. Yes. Simple to ask.

Not so simple to answer.

Can you see why?

Everyone’s situation is different.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all reason-for-leaving answer.

These are the unique points you need to consider when practicing your reason for leaving:

  • Were you there a long time or a short time?
  • Is this really the only time you had a conflict with your boss or has it been ongoing?
  • Will they give or not give you a good reference?
  • Are you looking to stay in the same field or do a career change?

It’s these answers that help us devise a RFL.

The “Reason for Leaving” answer has to make sense for your situation.

For instance, you cannot say you left because you want a career change when you’re interviewing for the same job.

Constructing a truthful, diplomatic and sensical RFL is a real thing a job seeker must do to advance in the interview process.

You can’t just wing it and expect someone like me to give you a one-sized-fits-all answer.