Written by Susan Lamphiear
Remember that scene from the movie Kindergarten Cop when Arnold Schwarzenegger asks the children to tell what their dads do for a living? That flashed into my mind when today’s keynote speaker described her four-year-old son’s public remarks.
Proud of her own and her husband’s careers and educational backgrounds, the speaker described her own shock when her son announced his aspirations at his preschool graduation. When asked, “What do you want to do when you grow up?” he said, “I want to kill vampires and zombies!”
Upon further reflection, after the shock wore off, our keynote speaker decided it actually might not be such a bad idea to metaphorically kill vampires and zombies like the zombies, the walking dead, in the work place, the information-hoarding, energy-sucking backstabbers.
Maybe those energy-draining employees referenced in her opening story never really got in touch with their career passions by becoming aware of their strengths. Stephanie Clergè, a certified career coach, referenced Gallup poll results suggesting what makes people great.
You’re six times more likely to be successful if you know your strengths. Respondents were also three times as likely to say they have a high quality of life if they focused on their strengths. It appears knowledge of your strengths makes you happier and reduces stress.
To demonstrate our strengths, Stephanie asked everyone to sign their names. Then she asked attendees to sign with their opposite hand and asked for feedback on how that felt. “Awkward, challenging, frustrating” were some of the responses.
“We work on our weaknesses so much of the time—maybe we never get good at it.” What if, instead, everyone spent more time working on their strengths?
But how do you know what your strengths are? Stephanie tells us it’s those things which bring us energy. Your strengths are the part of you that make you unique and special. It’s basically your “personality muscles” she says. The Gallup poll suggests that your talents are reflected not just in your outwardly visible behaviors but also in how you think and feel.
Talents are the basis for strengths but she goes a step further. Some people may have a strength in a particular area but that talent doesn’t necessarily bring them joy or energy. Energy is the key.
The DISC assessment, free to Career Connectors’ attendees, is one way to discover your strengths. Other assessments are out there, too. To find your strengths consider Ease, Energy and Excellence. Your strengths are areas where you excel but also which you do with ease and they produce energy, not drain your energy.
HIGHLIGHTS OF STEPHANIE’S ADVICE
Know your strengths
- via DISC* and other assessments
- Ease, energy, Excellence indicators
Plan Your Work
Define Your Strong Career
- The 4th E: Experience — Ask yourself, “In the past, what did I LOVE?” When did I love the job/task, the team, the manager, the culture, the industry, the learning or other things like commute, travel, benefits?
- Think Out of the Box — Look for your strengths in other parts of your life including internships, volunteer activities, side projects/businesses, clubs/organizations, and hobbies.
- Strengths in Action: Homework . . . Create One Strength Statement. Pick something that energizes you. Create a sentence with key elements of your talent contribution that you use to complete that task. Example: My best contribution is a quality mindset. I can spot areas to improve quality and provide ideas to make processes or products move from good to excellent.
Develop Your Tools
- Resume: It should be easy to read and it should be clear where you should be working next.
- LinkedIn Profile: Use a clear, concise headline (not cheesy or needy), in the summary, show a bit of your personality, list a contact email and answer InMail promptly.
- Questions: Always have questions to ask in the interview. She’s found in her experience many job candidates simply do not ask questions. Ask questions like, “What would the first 90 days on this job look like?”
- Stories: If you have a gap in between jobs, recruiters want to know why. Have your remarks planned so this does not catch you off guard. Also, be prepared to articulate your greatest accomplishments on the job. You’re very likely to be asked this question: “Tell me about a time when…” Stephanie suggests having three solid stories of your accomplishments which should ideally be recent (can be older if you are changing careers), should be work related, and should address your leadership and technology skills. In a strength statement, tie your strength to a goal. For example, if you excel in creative use of graphics, explain the creative graphics help influence customers.
Work Your Plan: Include daily steps. For example: review industry websites for job postings, follow up with a former boss for a recommendation, attend one event per week, apply to X number of jobs a week, and call my accountability partner.
The Solution IS SMART– It should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely. Remember these key words: Impact, Information, Inspiration, Strengths, Strategies, Support.
Nautilus Insurance Group
Kathleen Sandow, Senior HR Specialist
Nautilus Insurance Group provides commercial insurance (not personal insurance), specializing in excess and surplus lines of commercial property and casualty insurance coverage. Things they insure include shopping centers, exercise and health clubs, llama caddies, sea turtle watchers and doves released at weddings! Affiliated with W.R. Berkley Corporation, which is huge, Nautilus has the perks of a huge company and the autonomy of a small company. Located in Scottsdale Airpark, they employ 260 people, mostly in this location. The dress ranges from formal to summer casual.
Perks include a fitness center, covered parking, 401K, and paid vacations. The company is involved in community support including the Phoenix Rescue Mission. Current openings include Senior Claims Examiner, Data Analyst, Instructional Designer, Computer Support Specialist/Help Desk, and Senior Underwriter. For a complete list or to apply, visit their website.
Harriet Darkwa, Talent Acquisition Consultant
The Hartford provides insurance to people who are usually in crisis mode because their home was flooded or their car was wrecked. It’s a professional company who is looking to employ people who will be working with people who may not be covered and supporting customers going through life changes. Over 200 years old, the company prides itself on both stability and innovation.
Other benefits of working for The Hartford include tremendous promotional opportunities, ongoing training and development, and pay-for-performance culture. The company offers tuition reimbursement, health insurance starting day one, and 401K. Named “World’s Most Ethical Companies” for a seventh time by the Ethisphere Institute, it’s also been named one of the top 100 companies for remote work. Positions available include Associate Claim Representatives. To learn more or apply, go to their website.
Sean Beaudette, Sales Recruiter
G/O Digital helps businesses find their success through localized digital marketing. Founded in 2009, it’s a division of TEGNA Digital, employing over 400 people in downtown Phoenix. The culture is described as fun, diverse, and collaborative. The atmosphere is casual and includes free snacks, ping pong, theme days and quarterly all-company events.
With a start-up feel, your voice is heard. Inside sales (digital marketing consultants) currently shows the strongest growth, but openings also include sales development, account management, project management, PPC/Operations, Social Media, Marketing, and Finance. For more information, see them on social media or their website. To apply, visit them on their website.
Education Management Corporation (EDMC)
Mark Pierce, Talent Acquisition Manager
Education Management Corporation (EDMC), one of the largest and most diverse providers of proprietary post-secondary education in the United States, includes The Art Institutes, Argosy University, Brown Mackie College, South University, and Western State College of Law. A huge benefit to employees is free tuition for self and family at any of the schools. EDMC also prides itself on internal growth and development (96% of Admission Management team promoted from within and in five years the company has grown from 100 to over 3,000). Also the company offers 401K and 401K Roth participation, Health Benefits and more.
Dedicated to good works, the company involves itself in multiple projects such as Breast Cancer Awareness and Race for the Cure, Valley Big Brothers/Big Sisters, and Adopt-a-Family. Positions available include Admissions Representatives, Academic Counselor, and Admissions Manager. For more information or to apply, go to their website.
Zack Hiscock, VP of Training
New Horizons is a school that provides education for the workplace including computer training. Integrated learning solutions allow students to learn via several methods such as traditional, instructor-led; online LIVE learning; or online ANYTIME learning. The school also offers hands-on labs, reference materials, practice exams, learning guides, courseware, and exam preparation.
A state-of-the art training facility, programs there include Information Technology such as CompTIA Security, Linux +, MSCA Windows, and Office Management and/or Healthcare Records Management Programs like Pharmacy Technician or Microsoft office specialist. For more information or to enroll, check their website.
Jessica Pierce, Executive Director of Career Connectors, reminded everyone of the breakout sessions that follow the formal meeting. During those sessions, attendees have the opportunity to speak directly to hiring managers, obtain free professional head shots, and confer with experts in resume building and creating and managing LinkedIn profiles.
Jessica thanked volunteers and the monthly host for the event, Highlands Church, and invited everyone who qualifies to fill out the form for Highlands Hope Initiative. Through this program, the church presents gift cards based on income to job seekers and those in job transition. Some individuals may qualify for additional assistance provided by the church and are urged to apply.
Upcoming events include Wednesday, January 6, 2016, at 9:00 AM in Phoenix, featuring Michael Seaver, Developing and Living Your Personal Brand.
The next Scottsdale event will be Thursday, January 14, 2016, 9:00 AM. Topic for the event’s keynote address will be presented by Paula Shoup, Use Your internal GPS to Stay Positive & Productive in Difficult Times.
The next Gilbert event, Tuesday, January 26, 2016, 9:00 AM features Abby Kohut presenting Success for the Seasoned Search …The Benefit of Being Overqualified.
Click here for more details about locations and registration.