Retiring Early: Planning Out Your Exit Strategy

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“I was ready! In my early 40s, I started thinking about retiring early. I sat through my organization’s mid-career retirement classes and had gotten several retirement estimates (i.e., different retirement years). I had kept myself marketable by continuing to take advantage of career opportunities and obtaining additional education in my professional field. Some co-workers mocked me because they said any scholarly education would not advance my career.

Yet, I felt that professional growth and a continual learning mindset would only increase my value in the market. I had developed an exit strategy. Working with my friend (Dr. Gary Roberts), I had mapped out a future purpose in academia. I could fully utilize my professional experience while at the same time applying my other skill sets. However, things did not work out as planned. The time and opportunities did not align with my plans. In fact, it took 9 years and more than 200 job applications for the exit strategy to work. Because I was patient and adaptable, God opened up a door, which was much better than my initial plan. Having an exit strategy was invaluable!” 

Are you happy with your current job? In general, US employees are satisfied with their work life. According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, about half (49%) of American workers say they are very satisfied with their current job. Yet, 30% of them are somewhat satisfied, and the remainder says they are slightly dissatisfied (9%) or very dissatisfied (6%). Continue reading

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Good Content in a Digital World

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With this quick pace of technology and increasing access to information, the world is a land of opportunities for those who have the knowledge. An individual in the 21st century has the opportunities to influence millions of people across the globe. Unfortunately, many do not know how to do it. With the rapid fire of social media interaction and engagement, businesses need to know how to write great content in order to sustain success. The internet has made it necessary for online platforms to keep fresh content or customers will eventually dismiss them from relevancy. You don’t think content matters? Below are some digital statistics to observe:

• 92% of online consumers don’t intend to buy during a first visit
• Nearly half of consumers won’t spend time with branded content if it’s not relevant to their interests
• 46% of marketers say photography is critical to their current marketing and storytelling strategies
• 88% of consumers say that, personally, relevant content improves how they feel about a brand
• 60% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading their custom content

With that said, customers will not come to your website or your social platforms if your content (i.e., articles, videos, or podcasts) aren’t any good. Therefore, individuals need to be strategic about their content.

Businesses need to write good content that matters to their constituency. With that said, organizations should think in the best interest of its target audience. When I wrote my first book My Cup Runneth Over: Setting Goals for Single Parents and Working Couples, my goal was to assist working families with the issues of how to balance work and family. I had a lot of experience with this subject being a working parent.

I wrote lots of content on this subject and got plenty of attention from the media. People were amazed at my publishing accomplishments. It changed my life. I was asked to speak at events. Co-workers wanted my advice. The audience wanted to listen to my messages. Since that time, I have given insights to thousands of people.

This new market success was due primarily because my content was focused on a critical problem that appealed to a specific group of people. In fact, becoming an author is one of the quickest ways to be recognized as an expert in a field or industry. Sadly, many businesses undervalue a well-written piece.

Content marketing allows businesses to develop content relevant to their audience. Content marketing can be defined as “a form of non-traditional marketing communications whereby a brand produces or designs contents in various forms (e.g., text, images, video, audio) and disseminates that content to targeted audiences or customers.”

Today’s marketers understand that good content is essential for their brand awareness and market sustainability. In fact, marketers like to utilize content marketing in social media platforms for the following reasons: (a) High level of control over content design; (b) Low cost of content dissemination; (c) Increased opportunities for audience interactivity and engagement; and (d) Increased opportunities for real-time feedback.

Jeff Larson and Stuart Draper, authors of Digital Marketing Essentials, argue that customers do take notice of content on organizations’ websites. They explain, “For good or ill, consumers are talking online about companies’ brands. Online review sites, directories, social media sites, Wikipedia, blogs, and forums all allow users to express their opinions about a brand… This content can appear in so many places online that it is impossible to monitor this conversation by visiting each site and sifting through the billions of comments left by web users.”

Given the high risk of failure, businesses should not be careless in creating content for their customers. If individuals do not have the talent nor the foresight for developing content, they should consider to just contract this talent out. Even when businesses have the necessary skill set, they must make sure their content is effective and efficient.

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In the book Digital Minds: 12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing, the authors stress the importance of good content: “Customers are online and looking for products, services, and solutions to their problems. It’s up to you to grab customers first (and make no mistake – the competition from other companies trying to do just that is huge.” The authors offer the following steps to create great content for customers:

• Focus on your specific target audience.
• Solve the problems that your customers care about.
• Become a trusted source to address their problems.
• Write fresh content.
• Make it easy for them to shop with you.

With the high stakes for today’s businesses, organizations can stand out in the crowd with good content on all of their social media platforms. Adding content marketing into a seller’s arsenal of marketing tools can provide relevant, useful content to customers. This article demonstrated that good content is essential in a digital world.

Today’s marketers are constantly developing content to meet the needs of their constituents. If companies do not take the development of good content seriously, they will not be able to compete with a more demanding and engaged customer base. Pray that it is not too late.

© 2018 by D. D. Green

Activate An Effective Personal Brand

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Ben was stuck in his dead-end job as a waiter at the local restaurant in town. By day, he was known as the nicest, more courteous server in the area. By night, Ben attended a local college with the ambition of starting his own social media serves. Ben understood stereotypes and bias. People had the tenacity to put individuals in pigeon holes with their biases. Therefore, Ben started building his online personality with writing insightful articles about social media and running a video blog. He wrote an e-book about social media that received Internet acclaim.

He quietly started a radio talk show. With his persistence, Ben started seeing his effort pay. The restaurant was packed with a bus of college students headed to a convention. Ben was helping out the servers with the big crowd. Suddenly, there was a big commotion in the crowd that involved Ben. Another server came to get the owner about this situation. The owner was afraid that Ben had done something wrong. He didn’t. These college students from out of town were overwhelmed with excitement in meeting the online celebrity “Ben the eWriter.” His online presence had repositioned his personal brand. 

With the impact of the Internet and social media platforms, like Facebook, working professionals can reenergize or rebrand themselves in a matter of minutes. In fact, individuals can actually reposition themselves into new careers with the right strategies.  In today’s job market, people need to understand the concepts of personal branding and how to develop their own personal strategy for employment.  In this discussion, we will examine the concept of personal branding. Individuals will learn how to reenergize yourself and make gain more influence in the process. 

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Know Your Worth: Compensation Negotiation

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As I contemplated my next career move, I knew it was important to know my worth in the market. In a sense, the concept was foreign to me since I had worked 27 years in engineering for the public sector. In securing that job, the only thing that was negotiated was the time of employment.

My desire to have a second career outside of engineering into academia drove me to get meaningful experience as an adjunct professor. Of course, I felt my core competencies were strong as a professor. I had about ten years in academics working part-time. Yet, I also knew that obtaining a full-time tenure track would be highly competitive due to the limited amount of these treasured positions and the number of applicants. 

I personally knew of qualified business professors who could not obtain a full-time faculty position. To increase my marketability, I continued to secure new skill sets and to follow market trends. One of the biggest trends working for me was that many institutions were looking for new faculty who had demonstrated working experience.

Yet, in order to determine my worth, I had to actively apply for academic positions and go through the interview process. With every interview, each prospective employer provided me with a missing piece of my market worth. However, I got this insight by being assertive by asking meaningful questions like “what part of my application package attracted you to me as a candidate.”  

This transparency was contagious. One dean even told me my prospective rank (i.e. salary) in his organization. All of these pieces were critical in helping me negotiate my final position as a full-time faculty because I understood my worth in the marketplace.

In today’s competitive environment, working professionals need to know their worth so that they can be compensated appropriately and they can market themselves toward better jobs. In fact, professionals need to know how to market themselves and promote their personal brand in order to maintain their market worth. Downsizing and layoffs are a way of life for most U.S. businesses.

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Connecting The Dots Between Personal Competencies & Personal Branding

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With fierce competition for limited jobs, many college students wonder if they will be able to land a good job. Sadly, the economic situation feels like a bad dream. With a weak job growth, many U.S. jobs will continue to be outsourced globally or automated through technology. Yet, there are opportunities for those students who are prepared for the future.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, total employment in 2024 will reach 160.3 million, an increase from 2014 of almost 9.8 million jobs. The health care and social assistance sector will account for over a third of the nation’s projected job growth from 2014 to 2024. This article focuses on how building the right competencies will help individuals brand their personal brand and increase their opportunities for job opportunities.

As a result, today’s unemployed workers are unsure about their future. Many students struggle to pursue the right major in college. Others follow the latest trend on reality TV for selecting their ideal major. Finding the ideal job is a combination of personal interest/passion, values, and skills/abilities.

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2017 Job Strategies for Recent Graduates

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When the graduation celebrations have ended, many recent graduates must consider what they are going to do with their lives. Boy, how things have changed! When I was in college (the 1980s), it was an unspoken rule for college seniors to have a few job offers and have a good concept of what they would be doing. In fact, the question, “where do you see yourself in five years” is a standard question of college recruiters on campus. Answer this question timidly or with revocation, and you were assured not to get a follow-interview. Go home to live with parents was not on my radar or any of my close friends.’

Yet, when I started talking with my students and other graduates from other institutions, the clarity of what they were going to do after college life was murky at best. Surprisingly, the majority of the graduating seniors did not have any idea of what they were going to do. Perhaps, it is generational because Millenniums have a different outlook than Baby Boomers or Generation Xers. However, this mentality is nothing new to me. Working for the federal government for over 25 years, I found this mindset while visiting university campuses across the country.

The situation caused me to research this matter and write my book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence. I attempted to assist frustrated parents, anxious students, bewildered educators, and others who are deeply concerned about the welfare of recent college graduates and their employability.

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With my co-author, William Bailey, we discovered a huge disconnect between what organizations desired from potential employees, and what today’s job seekers expect of employers. In this discussion, we will examine 2017 job strategies to assist recent college graduates, their parents, or other supporters in how to increase their success in employment.

The economic picture should give recent college graduates some hope. According to the Blackrock Investment Institute’s 2017 quarterly market report, economic opportunities continue to increase. Global growth expectations are on the rise. While the United States provided most of the economic growth in 2016, non-U.S. entities created the global stimulus for economic growth in 2017. In fact, earnings upsurge was particularly strong in Japan and emerging markets despite terrorism abroad, government stability, and uncertainty in the EU countries.

Focusing more closely on the United States, individuals should feel positive about employment prospects for recent college graduates. According to a recent National Association of Colleges and Employers, the top bachelor’s degree, which would be in the highest demand, was business administration and management. Of the 169 surveyed employers, 86 stated they intended to hire graduates with this degree.

In another college employment study by CareerBuilder.com, 74% of employers planned to hire more recent college graduates this year (up from 67% from 2016). Half of these employers planned to offer recent college graduates higher pay than last year; 39% of these surveyed employers would start recent graduates with $50,000 or more (compared to 27% in 2017).

The most sought after majors for these employers were: Business (30%), Engineering (26%), Computer and Information Sciences (23%), Engineering (16%), Communications Technologies (13%), Mathematics/Statistics (11%), Construction Trades (11%), and Health Professionals/Related Clinical Sciences (10%). With this positive job outlook, college graduates cannot afford to relax because of the continual changes in the job market.

Recent college graduates must enhance their job strategies. In today’s competitive environment, getting a job in one’s major is not easy. In fact, more experienced and older workers are now competing for entry-level jobs. Companies are more demanding due to the surplus of seasoned and young talent before them.

With globalization causing more U.S. companies to compete, many businesses are turning to technology (i.e. automation) and foreign-born talent to offset any workforce shortages. Thus, employers are very picky about prospective employees. For example, some graduates who were excellent students with high GPAs without any experience might find themselves on the outside if they compete against work experience.

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According to the Economic Policy Institute, one in eight colleges graduating class of 2016 were under-employed. Underemployed relates to those individuals in the college-educated workforce that are doing jobs that don’t require a college degree or not in their intended major. With that said, those unemployed individuals would prefer to be working in their major full-time. In the Office of the New York City Comptroller’s 2016, the study found that, by 2014, Millennials were making about 20 percent less in real terms than what older generations made during their first years in the labor force. Thus, recent graduates cannot afford to misunderstand the job market.

Peter Cappelli, the author of Why Good People Can’t Get Jobs, notes that the impersonal nature of the current employment process: “Like a replacement part, job requirements have very precise specifications. Job candidates must fit them perfectly, or the job won’t be filled, and the business can’t operate.” In a surplus market with numerous potential candidates, employees can be picky.

When a list of prospective applicants does not meet the requirements, many times, these positions are left unfilled. Sadly, most job seekers have not figured this reality out. Yet, loaded with the right attitude and good job strategies, recent graduates can ensure themselves of better success in this job market. The following are the 2017 job strategies for more employability:

  1. Possess a good character that makes you an attractive person.
  2. Connect your ideal job with your interest, skills/abilities, and value/belief system.
  3. Build an effective personal brand, including an online personality connected to Linkedin.com and critical online networks.
  4. Pursue additional education and certifications (i.e. Google digital marketing certifications) that separate you from the competition.
  5. Use daily positive self-affirmations about your skills and abilities to keep your energy level positive.
  6. Build an incredible professional network for identifying job opportunities.
  7. Learn how to seek out critical advice and mentorship, but develop the capacity to use it.
  8. Develop a questioning attitude about life to promote problem solving.
  9. Network with subject matter experts, industry leaders, and highly successful people to increase your job opportunities.
  10. Target desired positions and apply periodically (daily, weekly, etc.) so that you are actively engaged in new employment.

In today’s difficult economy, college graduates must be more assertive despite the positive forecast for employment. Getting a job isn’t easy. This article describes 2017 job strategies to assist recent college graduates to become successful in today’s employment landscape.

Unlike when their parents were starting their careers, many Millennials will face future employers that have a variety of job options to fill a job vacancy. Individuals who understand the new mindset of current employers will have a better chance of successfully navigating the employment landmines.

Yet, a savvy job seeker understands these employment changes and makes the necessary corrections to make his/her personal brand attractive to potential employers. If individuals want to be more effective in their job hunt for 2017, they can use these job strategies to navigate future career challenges. Pray that it is not too late.

© 2017 by Daryl D. Green

 

LinkedIn – What It Is and Why College Students Should Care – Guest Blogger

College is a beginning. It is a time and place to begin to learn who you are, what you want and what is possible. College is also a place that the institution can teach you a lot, but what you learn yourself is even more important.

College taught me how to take tests about things I can’t for the life of me remember now in classes I couldn’t possibly see as relevant to my degree.

Yet what my college did not directly teach me, that I learned on my own, was balance. I had a full load, was on the dance team, participated in the theatre and worked a part time job. I had to learn how to balance all those things in eventually earning that degree.

It is also a place that, for many, will serve as the last step before entering the “real world” – after graduation getting that “real” job.

Although many universities and colleges have career centers to help you with that task – and they are wonderful, take them up on all the help offered, there is also something you need to learn in order to help yourself: marketing.

Before you graduate you need to begin to market yourself because once you are out in the ‘real world’ you are going to be thrust into sales. You are the product and the company. You have to learn to sell yourself to potential employers and pretty much anyone in a business sense that you meet in order to secure a position. That last part is called networking. Continue reading

Building A LinkedIn Profile for More Job Opportunities

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Today’s college students face a landscape of great opportunities as employers look to this Millennium generation to infuse bright ideas and energy into their organizations. In recruiting young engineers and scientists at the Department of Energy, I soon discussed a major disconnect between what employers desire from potential employees (i.e. college students), and today’s job seekers’ expectations of employers.

I often spoke on this matter and wrote these discoveries in several formats including articles, books, and lectures. With that said, I believe marketing these concepts are also vital on Bison Hill too. In this discussion, we will examine how an effective LinkedIn.com profile can be utilized to showcase students’ potentials to future employers and increase their personal brand.

Having an online presence is vital for today’s employment opportunities. According to Business2community.com, 427,000 resumes are posted each week on Monster.com, an online job board; 8 million job applicants said they found their job on Twitter.com.  Eighty-nine percent of employment recruiters have hired through LinkedIn.com.

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Do You Know What the Future Holds? 2017 & Beyond

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We have reason to worry and be anxious about 2017. The United States citizens have just gone through one of the most bitter presidential elections of modern times. In fact, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump had the highest unfavorable ratings in history. Most people were not discussing the candidate with the best vision, but ‘choosing the lesser of two evils.’

With Donald Trump taking the office of president as a Republican and both a Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives, there is still much uncertainty due to Trump’s fuzzy economic strategy and the will of elected officials to get things accomplished despite partisan politics.[1] The world is filled with risk and danger. Terrorism continues to ‘shock and awe’ at the destruction aimed at human life. Globalization combines countries together against their will.

Russian hackers attempt to influence our presidential elections. The dollar hits a 14-year high against 16 major trading partners; a sharp increase in the dollar has long-term consequences globally. For example, China fears that a rising dollar will destabilize their currency. Other countries worry about their own economic feat in 2017. Do you know what the future holds in 2017 for you? Are you now dreading the upcoming year with more demands on your own personal dreams and ambitions?

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Job Strategies for Professionals

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Are you fearful about your career future? Good people can’t find jobs. College graduates are losing Hope. Our world is filled with uncertainty. My co-author William Bailey and I wrote our latest book, Job Strategies for the 21st Century: How to Assist Today’s College Students during Economic Turbulence.  Through our research, we found that there is a huge disconnect between what organizations are looking for in potential employees, and what today’s job seeker are providing. I will share some of the key insights from our undertaking. Continue reading