July 25, 2016

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Think Like an Owner for a Career Change

March 13th, 2014

Your actions are all initiated by you. Many career professionals will agree that YOU must take the initiative to change your current career. Owners and entrepreneurs don’t wait; they initiate. They use stress, fear and other emotions to propel their businesses into action.

Owners and entrepreneurs believe in an ability to build and direct their own destiny. This mindset puts you in the driver’s seat. You permit yourself to have the power. You don’t hold off until others give you permission and allow you to achieve. Owners understand they must take charge of growing and adapting their business, just as we need to do in our career.

You DO NOT have to be fearless to run your career as an owner. Just as owners may have some prudent fear in running their business, you may have fear of failure and of wasting money, time, and energy. Fortunately, you can succeed with fear. So, if your fear of not trying slightly outweighs the other factors, then that’s all you need to forge ahead. However, owners operating in a volatile economy must have a game plan that embraces change and promotes the development of survival skills to sustain their organization.

When thinking like an owner, be sure to consider:

  • Taking Initiative

Owners are aware that things could fall apart at any time, even when things seem to be going well. They understand they must consistently take initiative to make changes in their business if and when a new direction is needed. Complacency and extended delays in business are simply unsustainable. The same is true for careers. Staying stuck in a career that is no longer working has a way of taking hold if we remain stagnant. The longer we are in limbo, the more mental or financial pain we endure from not moving forward. Sometimes we need a jolt to get unstuck. The main point is take action when it’s time to seek a new career.

  •  Tolerating Risk

Change, and therefore progress, always involves risk. Not crazy risk, but reasonable levels of risk. The people who are by nature risk-averse will feel uncomfortable with that. But experience tells us that perhaps the only way to offset the fear of the unknown is to understand the greatest risk comes from sticking with business as usual. If people can be convinced that a career at a standstill could mean soon being unemployed, they may suddenly develop an appetite for trying something new. In this new work era, risky is the new safe. Give it a chance, try something you normally wouldn’t do. Start small, read news from unusual sources, check in with an old colleague, or sign up for an online learning program in a completely new field. See how that feels, then take it up a notch.

  • Moving After a Disappointment

Don’t fixate when things go wrong. Successful owners do not avoid mistakes and failures; they learn from missteps and move on. When attempting something new, if it doesn’t work somewhere along the way, or you don’t get the position you want simply try again with a different strategy. Disappointments are a normal and expected part of the career-rebuilding process. Don’t become preoccupied with the negative. When reinventing your career, if you have a letdown, embrace the lessons and keep going. It’s important to pull the lever and move on.

At the end of the day, only you can take charge of your career. Find the drive and ambition required to pursue the job you wish to have. With the right mentality anything is possible. Live it, own it, change it!

By Sunny Klein Lurie, Excerpt from her new book, “Jolt Your Career From Here to There: 8 Strategies for Career -Change Success”



8 Simple Steps for a Great Interview

February 6th, 2014

You landed the interview. Awesome! Now make it work.

Easily three-fourths of candidates make basic interviewing mistakes for jobs ranging from entry-level to executive.  Here are eight practical ways to shine:

1. Be likable. Obvious? And critical. Making a great first impression and establishing a real connection is everything. Smile, make eye contact, be enthusiastic, sit forward in your chair, use the interviewer’s name…. Be yourself, but be the best version of yourself you possibly can. We all want to work with people we like and who like us. Use that basic fact to your advantage. Few candidates do.

2. Never start the interview by saying you want the job
. Why? Because you don’t know yet. False commitment is, well, false. Instead…

3. Ask questions about what really matters to you.
(Here are five questions great job candidates ask.) Focus on making sure the job is a good fit: Who you will work with, who you will report to, the scope of responsibilities, etc. Interviews should always be two-way, and interviewers respond positively to people as eager as they are to find the right fit. Plus there’s really no other way to know you want the job. And don’t be afraid to ask several questions. As long as you don’t take completely take over, the interviewer will enjoy and remember a nice change of pace.

4. Set a hook. A sad truth of interviewing is that later we often don’t remember a tremendous amount about you — especially if we’ve interviewed a number of candidates for the same position. Later we might refer to you as, “The guy with the alligator briefcase,” or, “The lady who did a Tough Mudder,” or, “The guy who grew up in Panama.” Sometimes you may be identified by hooks, so use that to your advantage. Your hook could be clothing (within reason), or an outside interest, or an unusual fact about your upbringing or career. Hooks make you memorable and create an anchor for interviewers to remember you by — and being memorable is everything.

5. Know what you can offer immediately.
Researching the company is a given; go a step farther and find a way you can hit the ground running or contribute to a critical area. If you have a specific technical skill, show how it can be leveraged immediately. But don’t say, for example, “I would love to be in charge of revamping your social media marketing.” One, that’s fairly presumptuous, and two, someone may already be in charge. Instead, share details regarding your skills and say you would love to work with that team. If there is no team, great — you may be put in charge. If there is a team you haven’t stepped on any toes or come across as pushy. Just think about what makes you special and show the benefits to the company. The interviewer will be smart enough to recognize how the project you bring can be used.

6. Don’t create negative sound bites.
Interviewers will only remember a few sound bites, especially negative ones. If you’ve never been in charge of training, don’t say, “I’ve never been in charge of training.” Say, “I did not fill that specific role, but I have trained dozens of new hires and created several training guides.” Basically, never say, “I can’t,” or “I haven’t,” or “I don’t.” Share applicable experience and find the positives in what you have done. No matter what the subject, be positive: Even your worst mistake can be your best learning experience.

7. Ask for the job based on facts.
By the end of the interview you should have a good sense of whether you want the job. If you need more information, say so. Otherwise use your sales skills and ask for the job. (Don’t worry; we like when you ask.) Focus on specific aspects of the job: Explain you work best with teams, or thrive in unsupervised roles, or get energized by frequent travel…. Ask for the job and use facts to prove you want it — and deserve it.

8. Reinforce a connection with your follow-up.
Email follow-ups are fine; handwritten notes are better; following up based on something you learned during the interview is best: An email including additional information you were asked to provide, or a link to a subject you discussed (whether business or personal.) The better the interview — and more closely you listened — the easier it will be to think of ways you can make following up seem natural and unforced.

Posted by Sunny Klein Lurie, Fast Focus Careers

Written By J. Haden



Top 5 LinkedIn Mistakes

December 8th, 2013

The Top 5 LinkedIn Mistakes People Make

LinkedIn can be a very powerful tool in developing and enhancing your career or helping you build your business. There are, however, common LinkedIn mistakes that even the most competent professionals make – and then they wonder why LinkedIn isn’t working for them.

Here are common LinkedIn mistakes you need to watch out for.

1) Not using keywords properly

This is perhaps the most prominent LinkedIn mistake people make when crafting their profiles. They focus so much on polishing their profile’s looks that they totally forget to to put keywords in their profile headline and summary.

If you do not enrich your LinkedIn profile with keywords, you will never appear on the site’s list of results when a prospective client or employer types in their needs. For example, if you are a marketing consultant, then the phrase “marketing consultant” needs to be placed in your headline and profile summary in order for people searching for that phrase to find you on LinkedIn.

2) Joining groups but not participating

Another very common type of LinkedIn mistake is to join a myriad of professional groups but never taking the time to join in the discussions.

Groups are one of the most powerful tools available in the LinkedIn networks. They allow professionals to share their ideas and opinions about things, and users are empowered to display their professional competence in these discussions. Join a group and take the time to share your own professional thoughts on the topics at hand.

3) Trying to sell yourself on group discussions

LinkedIn is NOT the place to explicitly advertise your products and services, although you can do so in a subtle and unobtrusive manner.

People bluntly promoting their wares are not welcome in LinkedIn. Advice and professional feedback are the topics of discussion, and these are your primary tools for marketing your products and services. Help out potential employers or give some advice to prospective clients and you are already marketing yourself.

4) Emailing people you don’t know

Some of the more common LinkedIn mistakes involve emailing people out of the blue. This can quickly get you kicked off LinkedIn if people report “I don’t know this person.”

Emails are closely guarded on LinkedIn, and are meant to be used by close contacts and professional associates. If you want to contact someone you don’t know on LinkedIn look for connections on the network who might be able to introduce you.

5) Not using a custom URL

LinkedIn allows its users to create a customized URL in place of the default URL, and this feature is often ignored by newer users.

Not taking advantage of this tool greatly reduces the chances of prospective clients and employers finding your account. You can change your URL where it says “Public Profile/edit.” Use your name, if it is available, as this will greatly increase your profile’s uniqueness and visibility in the network.

By Carol White
Posted by Sunny Lurie, Fast Focus Careers

What if I Don’t Have a Passion?

October 20th, 2013

National Public Radio story: I know I’m supposed to follow my passion. But what if I don’t know my passion? LISTEN to the answer to the questions below…

As a fairly recent graduate of an Ivy League institution (with a bachelor’s degree), most of my classmates seemed to have some idea that career and life path choice should be driven by a “passion” such that the right choice is self-evident to the chooser. What does this belief mean to you as a social scientist? …

You may sense where this is going …

Assume I have no such passion. Furthermore, I am a fairly well-qualified young generalist.* What paths should most appeal to me if my goal is to maximize doing “interesting” work? Doing meaningful work? Achieving social status? (Which of these goals should be primary?) Need I try to develop a passion before selecting a life path/career, and if so, how do I do it?

All the best, Max

*Two years out with a BA from an Ivy League school. Top 10 percent of the class but not an academic rock star. A record of primarily reading/writing-intensive courses, as well as basic to intermediate economics, calculus, statistics, a proofs course. Time spent abroad in study and travel, though no foreign language fluency. Two years in the private sector with a decent amount of analytic and management experience, but without a big name behind it.

– Max Kornblith sent the question above to Tyler Cowen, an economist.

Posted by Sunny Klein Lurie, Fast Focus Careers

Find a Better Career

February 14th, 2013

Tough times can shake people’s faith in their ability to make a career change to something better. In the midst of a sluggish economy many people are staying in unsatisfying jobs where they are unhappy and under-employed. To pull free of the wrong job fit or find a rewarding career after a job loss, it’s time to rethink your approach. Here is one important step to take to begin the process of finding a better career.

Discover YOU: your strengths and passions.

Often individuals who thrive consistently have high self-awareness about their strengths and passions. Many successful people including Oprah and Richard Branson, Virgin Air have said a condition for great achievement is passion. When your strengths and passions are applied in your work, your potential and enthusiasm are limitless. People who use their strengths and talents are more than three times as likely to report an overall excellent quality of life.

Once you clarify your authentic strengths and interests, you’ll be a powerful force when interviewing and striving toward your career goals. Do not look for a new job before you identify your strengths because you are likely to become underemployed and mismatched in the wrong position.

So how do you determine strengths to select a path that is right for you? Begin by brainstorming what triggers your enthusiasm and what motivates you. Sit down in a quiet place to list 20 things you like to do. Then look for patterns. Do you prefer working with data, people, things or ideas. You may discover, for example it’s more important than you realized to be physically active and your work should not be behind a desk all day. Or you want to be around busy and loud environments, which might rule out a secluded one-person office. You’ll know a particular career is right when you are curious and enthusiastic about getting started.

Get clear about yourself by answering the following questions:

– What is one skill or strength you do well that you would like to use in your work?

– Which of your previous work results are you proud ofand what were you doing?

– What tasks and topics get your heart racing?

– If you could do one thing in your professional life that would have the most positive impact, what would it be?

After completing the questions, it helps to talk through your answers with someone. Talking about yourself with a peer helps to uncover patterns and shines a brighter light on your skills and interests. It is critical not to isolate during a career move; it’s the kiss of death. Sometimes what you need most is a person who believes in you. It’s interesting that other people often can see for us what we may not see for ourselves. Other people can push us through walls that block us, sometimes just by having a new set of eyes on the problem. Often creative ideas are born during discussions with a different perspective. Many times, all it takes is an encouraging word or new idea from a friend to move forward. But a career change is not easy and next time we will cover the next step to help you handle change.

by Sunny Lurie, Fast Focus Careers

Thinking About a New Career

January 13th, 2013

2178788631_4554876975-1A low risk way to test a new career is try it on the side. Many people want to experiment before leaving their full time job. Even if you are busy, “side launching” is a viable and effective way to begin your new career or business. These ideas can help you get going:

1. Be disciplined and consistent about the hours you choose to work on your idea. Is it from 5 to 7am before your family life or other commitments begin — or are late evening hours better? Are you carving out time on the weekends? Be honest and clear with yourself about where to find pockets of time and make it a part of your routine; your road to success will be faster.

2. Decide whether and when to tell friends, colleagues and your boss. You may be surprised by their enthusiasm and support. When I knew I was leaving Key Bank to begin my own company, I told my manager several months ahead and they were supportive.

3. Determine benchmarks for yourself that indicate when you would consider making your side work a full time venture. What would you be willing to sacrifice for a time if it meant being able to devote more energy to your new career? Be realistic but also be willing to go for it! Thanks to Ladies Who Launch for these ideas.

-Sunny K. Lurie, Ph.D.

10 Interview Tips from a Headhunter

July 17th, 2012

Whether you’re being interviewed to be an intern or a CEO, you’re going to run into a few notoriously tricky questions–here’s a road map of what you’ll be asked, and how to craft impressive answers to even the toughest questions. No two situations are ever exactly the same, but as a general guide, these are the types of questions that could come up in a typical interview.

1. Why don’t you tell me about yourself?

This question, often the interview opener, has a crucial objective: to see how you handle yourself in unstructured situations. The recruiter wants to see how articulate you are, how confident you are, and generally what type of impression you would make on the people with whom you come into contact on the job. The recruiter also wants to learn about the trajectory of your career and to get a sense of what you think is important and what has caused you to perform well.

Most candidates find this question a difficult one to answer. However, the upside is that this question offers an opportunity to describe yourself positively and focus the interview on your strengths. Be prepared to deal with it. There are many ways to respond to this question correctly and just one wrong way: by asking, What do you want to know? You need to develop a good answer to this question, practice it, and be able to deliver it with poise and confidence. The right response is twofold: focus on what interests the interviewer, and highlight your most important accomplishments.

Focus on what interests the interviewer

Do not dwell on your personal history–that is not why you are there. Start with your most recent employment and explain why you are well qualified for the position. The key to all successful interviewing is to match your qualifications to what the interviewer is looking for. You want to be selling what the buyer is buying.

Highlight Important Accomplishments

Have a story ready that illustrates your best professional qualities. For example, if you tell an interviewer that people describe you as creative, provide a brief story that shows how you have been creative in achieving your goals. Stories are powerful and are what people remember most. A good interviewee will memorize a 60-second commercial that clearly demonstrates why he or she is the best person for the job.

2. How long have you been with your current (or former) employer?

This is a hot-button question if your resume rejects considerable job-hopping. Excellent performers tend to stay in their jobs at least three to five years. They implement course corrections, bring in new resources, and, in general, learn how to survive–that’s why they are valued by prospective employers. If your resume rejects jobs with companies that were acquired, moved, closed, or downsized, it is still viewed as a job-hopper’s history. Volunteer and go to events where hiring authorities may be found. Ratchet up your networking to include anything that exposes you to hiring authorities who can get past your tenure issue because now they know you. Your networking efforts have never been so important.

3. What is your greatest weakness?

An impressive and confident response shows that the candidate has prepared for the question, has done serious self-rejection, and can admit responsibility and accept constructive criticism. Sincerely give an honest answer (but not a long one), be confident in the fact that this weakness does not make you any less of a great candidate, and show that you are working on this weakness and tell the recruiter how.

4. Tell me about a situation where you did not get along with a superior.

The wrong answer to this hot-button question is, I’ve been very fortunate and have never worked for someone I didn’t get along with.

Everyone has had situations where he or she disagreed with a boss, and saying that you haven’t forces the recruiter to question your integrity. Also, it can send out a signal that the candidate is not seasoned enough or hasn’t been in situations that require him or her to develop a tough skin or deal with confrontation. It’s natural for people to have differing opinions. When this has occurred in the past, you could explain that you presented your reasons and openly listened to other opinions as well.

5. Describe a situation where you were part of a failed project.

If you can’t discuss a failure or mistake, the recruiter might conclude that you don’t possess the depth of experience necessary to do the job. The recruiter is not looking for perfection. He or she is trying better to understand your level of responsibility, your decision-making process, and your ability to recover from a mistake, as well as what you learned from the experience and if you can take responsibility for your mistakes. Respond that you’d like to think that you have learned something valuable from every mistake you have made. Then have a brief story ready with a specific illustration. It should conclude on a positive note, with a concrete statement about what you learned and how it benefited the company.

6. What are your strengths?

Describe two or three skills you have that are relevant to the job. Avoid clichés or generalities; offer specific evidence. Describe new ways these skills could be put to use in the position you are being considered for.

7. How do you explain your job success?

Be candid without sounding arrogant. Mention observations other people have made about your work strengths or talents.

8. What do you do when you are not working?

The more senior the position, the more important it is to know about the candidate’s qualities that will impact his or her leadership style: is the person well adjusted and happy, or is he or she a company zealot? Discuss hobbies or pursuits that interest you, such as sports, clubs, cultural activities, and favorite things to read.  Avoid dwelling on any political or religious activities that may create conflict with those of the interviewer.

9. Why did you leave your last position?

At high levels, issues that relate to personality and temperament become more important than they might otherwise. The recruiter wants to know if you will fit in with the client company. The recruiter may also be fishing for signs of conflict that indicate a potential personality problem. Be honest and straightforward, but do not dwell on any conflict that may have occurred. Highlight positive developments that resulted from your departure, whether it was that you accepted a more challenging position or learned an important lesson that helped you to be happier in your next job.

10. Why do you want to work in this industry?

Think of a story to tell about how you first became interested in this type of work. Point out any similarities between the job you’re interviewing for and your current job. Provide proof that you aren’t simply shopping in this interview. Make your passion for your work a theme that you allude to continually throughout the interview.

by Russell S. Reynolds, Jr., with Carol E. Curtis, authors of Heads

Posted by Sunny K. Lurie, Fast Focus Careers

Key words interviewing, career change, career counseling, job search



Tips for a Career Journey

June 1st, 2012

Dear Class of 2012:

As you head into the post-academic world, you have an opportunity to focus on your own career destiny and I encourage you to tap the power you have within you. You earned your degree with a tremendous amount of effort, time, and, more than likely, a big financial investment that may also translate into significant student loan debt. As you begin your career journey, I share this wisdom to help you find your way in the world-of-work.

Your First Job Won’t Be Your Last: Studies show that adults change careers five to seven times throughout their working lives. So, test drive jobs and see if they are career worthy and don’t settle for roles that don’t play to your strengths. Your first job out of the gate is a single step on a lifelong career path and you have the right to change your mind as often as you like.

Networking 90/10 Rule: You know how important it is to build your professional community and connect with people to tap the hidden job market. Plan to spend 90 percent of your time being seen and heard so others can consider you for opportunities. Social media is a great way to network but only spend 10 percent of your time behind your computer so you maximize in-person connections that will distinguish you beyond the competition.

The Zig Zaggers: Since career changing is expected, understand the power and the liability of Zig Zagging when changing jobs often. You will be perceived as a flight risk if you don’t stay in a job long enough to earn your worth but you can also be a wealth of new ideas for an organization that needs your skills and experiences. Consider your movement wisely and understand the career world is small — never burn a bridge and maintain professional connections especially when you move away from a job.

Empower your Network: In addition to the graduation well wishers, your friends and family are probably asking how they can help. Accept their gracious offers and tell them what you do well so they know how to connect you with their circles of influence. If you have specific organizations you want to work for, ask your network to check their Rolodexes and LinkedIn connections to see if they can make a personal referral. Share your strengths story so your network has an easy to remember conversation to share with others that illustrates what makes you unique and employable.

Be a Skills Agent: It’s OK if you still don’t know exactly what you want to do career wise. This is the time for informational interviews and test driving. But, you must have a clear picture of your professional strengths and competencies so recruiters and employers can help you fit into a role in their organization. Don’t focus on job titles but rather focus on concrete skills examples that illustrate what you do well.

Are You LinkedIn?: With 150 million members (that number grows daily) LinkedIn is the number one professional networking resource out there. Recruiters and headhunters troll this site regularly searching for new talent. Fill out your profile in total, use a professional photo, and seek out recommendations to endorse you for specific skills and accomplishments. Join Groups, participate in discussions, and use this tool often and to your best advantage. A dormant LinkedIn account will do you no good.

Be Your Own Best PR Agent: You should be packing your resume, personal business cards, and your professional portfolio with you everywhere you go. Seriously, you need to become your best self advocate and be ready to discuss how you bring value to an organization at all times. You are responsible to market yourself and in this ultra competitive market, there is no such thing as top of the class entitlement. I don’t care where you minted your degree or how high your GPA is — you must be able to showcase what you do well in an articulate conversation and demonstrate your emotional intelligence and your strengths.

Take a Risk: So perhaps your dream job does not materialize right off the bat but another opportunity does surface. Take a risk, try something new, and expand your comfort zone. You may just find something you love and an accidental career you would have never considered otherwise. The greatest risk is not taking one at all. You are also more employable when already employed.

Be a Solution Provider: It’s easy to go into the job search focusing on what you want. While that is important you must also be a solution provider. In our current economy you may land contract or temporary work that leads to full-time permanent work so be industrious and lead with I Believe I Can Help You…and provide a solution to an issue or concern.

Be Resilient:One of the most sought after competencies by employers is the ability to deal with adversity and change. It’s tough out there in the real world and it doesn’t get any easier once you land a job. Showcase your resilience and be ready to discuss how you have overcome challenges, including how you are dealing with a tough job market. Proving you are resilient may land you an opportunity.

The Class of 2012 is the succession plan for the future. You have the opportunity to identify your passion, carve out a niche for yourself, and thrive in a career knowing that you can always change direction. Create relationships with influencers and connectors and be ready to talk about what makes you unique.

Celebrate the successes you have earned — I am cheering you on all the way. Now the tougher journey has begun but I have confidence that you will succeed if you assume the responsibility and take the power you have and use it wisely.

by C. Dowd Higgins, Huffington Post

Posted by Sunny K. Lurie, PhD.
CEO, Fast Focus Careers
Key words: Career management, career counseling, career planning, career change

Projects are the New Job Interviews

May 29th, 2012

Resumes are dead. Interviews are largely ineffectual. Linked-In works. Portfolios are useful.

But projects are the real future of hiring, especially knowledge working hiring. No matter how wonderful your references or how well you do on those too-clever-by-half Google brainteasers serious firms will increasingly ask serious candidates to do serious work in order to get a serious job offer.

Call them “projeclications” or “applijects.” World-class talent will engage in bespoke real-world projects testing their abilities to deliver real value on their own and with others. Forget the “What’s Your Greatest Weakness?” interrogatory genre; the real question will be how well candidates can rise to the “appliject” challenge and help redesign a social media campaign, document a tricky bit of software, edit a Keynote presentation, produce a webinar or peer review a CAD layout for a contract Chinese manufacturer.

Exploitive? Perhaps. But most organizations have learned the hard way that no amount of interviewing, reference checking and/or psychological testing is a substitute for actually working with a candidate on a real project. I know advertising agencies that have an iron-clad, inviolable rule that they will only hire creatives who have successfully done freelance work with an account team. Similarly, a fast-growing Web 2.0 “software as a service” company doesn’t waste its time asking coding candidates trick questions during job interviews; they have potential hires participate in at least two “code reviews” to see what kinds of contributors, collaborators and critics they might be.

Sometimes these sessions effectively pit a couple or three candidates against each other. But there’s nothing fake or artificial about the value they’re expected to offer. These organizations treat hiring as part of their on-boarding process. Hiring becomes more holistic rather than “over the wall.” More importantly, everyone in the enterprise now “gets” that people only get hired if and only if they deliver something above and beyond a decent track record and social graph.

Ethically, the most interesting behavior I’ve observed is that firms exploring “projeclication” hires aren’t asking for free labor. They’re paying below-market rates for their candidate’s insights and efforts. If I were a 20-something coder or a forty-something marketer, I’d undeniably have mixed feelings about giving my best efforts for discount compensation. That said, it’s worth something to know what it’s like to really work with one’s colleagues on a real project as opposed to the all-too-misleading charade of iterative interviews. To my mind, this approach is an order of magnitude more ethical than the “free” and unpaid internship infrastructure that has gotten so out of control in so many industries.

But just as many organizations have grown more skillful conducting Skyped interviews and using web-based quizzes and questionnaires as qualifying screens for candidates, my bet is we’ll soon see new genres of project-based hiring shape enterprise human capital portfolios. Facebook and Linked-In are obvious venues for “app-sourced” — that’s “app” as in applicant, not application— business project design. Increasingly, project leaders will design milestones and metrics that make incorporating job candidates into the process more seamless and natural. College graduates, MBAs and older job candidates will learn how to sniff out which “applijects” are genuine invitations to success and which ones are sleazy bids for cheap labor. In the same way job candidates learn how to interview well, they’ll get the skills to “appliject” well because they understand how to optimize their influence and impact within the constraints of the project design.

Ultimately, the reason why I’m confident that “projects are the new job interviews” is not simply because I’m observing a nascent trend but because this appears to be a more efficient and effective mechanism for companies and candidates to gain the true measure of each other. Designing great applijects and projeclications will be a craft and art. The most successful utilizers will quickly be copied. Why? Because the brightest and most talented people typically like having real-world opportunities to shine and succeed.

Should your next hire come from a great set of interviews and references? Or from knocking your socks off on a project?

by M. Schrage, research fellow at MIT, Sloan School
Posted by Sunny K. Lurie, PhD.
CEO, Fast Focus Careers
Key words: Career management, career counseling, career planning, interview, career change

Harvard Bus. Review, Work Today

April 23rd, 2012

Recently published, The Corporate Lattice, Harvard Business Review Press; August, 2010 defines an emerging model more suitable for today’s workforce. At the heart of the lattice organization is a customized workplace that provides agility and options for both employees and employers. Individuals have more than one way to get ahead — and even more than one way to define what get ahead means. For employers, these options create strategic flexibility and drive greater employee engagement, resulting in superior performance.  The book’s three key components or “lattice ways” involve:

  1. How careers are built. Depicting career paths as multi directional with moves up and down, as well as diagonally and across. Success is defined and achieved in a multiplicity of ways.
  2. How work gets done. Shifting from nine-to-five, in-the-office to results-driven work through a hybrid of remote and physical locations and communication methods.
  3. How participation is fostered. Moving from top down to “all in,” as technology enables relationships, teamwork and collaboration that can no longer be constrained (or controlled) by the traditional rules of hierarchy.

The pace of change is faster. Organizational structures are flatter. Companies are much easier to see into. Careers zig and zag. Work is done whenever and wherever. Information flows in every which way. And performance and productivity are more dependent upon a highly educated workforce– much more diverse in every respect than ever before.

Together, these changes are forever altering the traditional assumptions on which the prevailing corporate ladder and the command-and-control, top-down management style that defines it were built. In the new book, Deloitte, Vice Chairman and Chief Talent Officer C. Benko and Deloitte Services, Director of Talent M. Anderson make a compelling case that it’s time to dismantle the metaphorical ladder.

The authors show that organizations are indeed making lattice investments — Web 2.0 technologies, career pathways, remote and virtual work sites, social networking, workplace flexibility, inclusion programs, etc.–but through the lens of corporate ladder thinking. These companies are responding with ad hoc, siloed and reactive efforts that fall short of the desired results by failing to also address the underlying “ladder” mindset and structures. By providing a framework to integrate these efforts, companies and individuals alike can visualize the shift and have greater clarity about the changes underway, thereby making both existing and future investments more productive. – PR Newswire.   Added to Fast Focus Careers Blog by Sunny Lurie

Dr. Sunny Lurie photos by Perkoski