The Benefits Of Good Career Management

Today we have a guest post from Mary Hope who is, like me, a Careers Coach.  She has over 30 years of experience in business, teaching, HR, headhunting and coaching.  She believes passionately that people need to understand their own drivers and needs to find fulfilling careers.

The Benefits Of Good  Career Management

Careers advice is what you get at school or university  after someone has given you a questionnaire test, chatted to you and then they tell you what job you should do. Or something similar.

But career management? What is that? In this rapidly changing world with organisations and sectors making huge changes and adjustments.. how can you manage a career? And  why should you bother?

I work in the field of career management and coaching so obviously I do believe that people can manage their careers but sadly not enough people do that. They drift, they hop, they jump in what they perceive to be an upwards direction. Sometimes they are pulled by the attractiveness of a new opportunity, sometimes they are pushed by unhappiness in the role or organisation they are in. Few people plan strategically.

Career management is a process by which individuals develop, implement and monitor career goals and strategies. It may be art or it may be a science;  in my book it needs to be a bit of both. Whichever, it delivers huge benefits.  Research shows

  • Having career goals means people outperform those  who do not have goals or who only have a weak commitment to their goals.
  • Those with goals are more optimistic, they are more resilient,
  • Those with goals are more focused , they work harder at job search, are engaged and are more successful at finding new roles.
  • People who engage in career management generate more job interviews and more offers.
  • They obtain higher salary offers and are more realistic about their job expectations.
  • They are more effective in job interviews.

In other words their careers are more successful.

The cornerstone of good career management  is research: research about yourself and research about the world of work. That’s the science part. It is making the decision once you have got the information that leads into the world of art and metaphysics.

Career management is not a one-off activity; it is on going throughout life. It is an adaptive process. But it is particularly important to engage in active carer management when you are at a career crossroads, when facing the decision on whether to move from a technical to general management role, when your family circumstances change, if you are facing job loss, when you face a set back in your career, when you are offered a dramatic job move, when you feel the dissatisfaction of boredom or frustration with a difficult boss. These are critical times to make the right decision rather than jumping into something because of the expectations of others, the opportunity is there or because  you feel  you have no choice.

What does it take to be good at career management?

There a six key elements of this iterative, messy process:

  • Know thyself
  • Understand the environment
  • Develop realistic goals
  • Adopt strategies that can deliver your goals
  • Be prepared to adjust those strategies when new information comes to light
  • Learn the skills of finding opportunities and of succeeding in selection exercises

Are you doing all you need to in order to manage your career well?

For a reality check on your approach to career management visit (

Mary Hope supports people to manage their careers more effectively and get paid more, promoted faster and feel more satisfied. She has over 30 years of experience in business, teaching, HR, headhunting and coaching. She believes passionately that people need to understand their own drivers and needs to find fulfilling careers.

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General McCrystal – A military perspective on leadership after 9/11!

A military perspective on leadership after 9/11

“I came to believe that a leader isn’t good because they’re right; they’re good because they’re willing to learn and to trust.”

For various reasons that I won’t go into now,  I’m studying military leadership in the 21st Century.  I came across this Ted talk from General Stanley McCrystal, the former commander of US and International Forces In Afghanistan.

This is a painful listen and very honest.  If you are serious about being a good leader, you should listen.

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Entrepreneurs Growing Forward

Today our guest blogger Lindsey Harper Mac writes about the choices  small companies may have to make to survive the economic winter.  Lindsey is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Entrepreneurs Growing Forward

When a business has been in existence for a few years, has solid cash flow and all is running smoothly, the life of the business owner can look easy to outsiders. But chances are, getting the company to that point required the owner and founder long hours of hard work and great financial and lifestyle sacrifices.

Independent small business owners often start their businesses by investing their life savings, taking out small business loans and even maxing out their credit cards to get the company started until funds from client billings start coming in. Many don’t even give themselves a paycheck for the first year or longer. This is a huge risk and sacrifice they and their families make. Even if the business succeeds, it means that numerous purchases, vacations and any spending that is not absolutely essential must be put on hold until the business gets on solid financial ground.

Likewise, the new business owner must often work long hours to get the business running smoothly and to get enough client billings in the pipeline so there is sufficient cash flow. This can take several months and sometimes years, creating an unbalanced lifestyle that is essentially all work and no play. Not everyone is willing to make these sacrifices. They aren’t willing to work that hard, that long or do without the things they want to make it happen.

But, if they don’t, and the business should fail, all the money they borrowed to invest in it is gone and must still be paid back.

Additionally, even owners of established companies must make hard decisions when the economy takes a downturn, or when a major client decides to cut costs and do in-house what they had been outsourcing to your small company.

One small company, Quality Environmental Professionals, Inc., or QEPI, headquartered in Indianapolis, had tough decisions to make late in 2008 and early 2009 when the economy took a downturn.

QEPI owner, Deb Peters, cut her company’s reliance on color copying, which was costing $9,000 every quarter, and implemented sharing files electronically, and using black and white copies when paper was necessary. Another change she made was in the employee break room, where she stopped buying employees’ coffee in individual packets and began purchasing large cans of coffee from Sam’s Club. By making these and other cuts, Peters was able to keep all of her 34 employees instead of making cuts by layoffs.

Other small businesses cut back on hiring cleaning and lawn care help and asked their employees to help with those tasks to prevent in-house layoffs. A survey of 100 human resource executives conducted by consulting firm Challenger, Gray and Christmas found that more than 66.7 percent of these companies cut travel expenses, and more than 6 percent began letting their employees telecommute to cut office space expenses. Work instead could be done through online conference calls and other technology, such as instant messaging, to communicate with their customers, materials suppliers, vendors and with company employees in satellite offices. In some cases, the satellite offices were dispensed with altogether, resulting in even more savings, and employees in those offices now work from home.

Working together to get through lean times usually strengthens a business overall and positions it for growth during the next economic boom.

About the author: Lindsey Harper Mac is a professional writer living in the Indianapolis area. She specializes in writing guest posts on social media and education. Currently, Lindsey is completing work on her master’s degree.

Also by Lindsey Harper Mac

Why “be the best” when you could be the one making the rules? | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.

The Makings of a Great Leader | WiseWolf Talking – the WiseWolf Coaching Blog.


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Thursday Quotes – What Makes A Good Boss

Amy Poehler and Tina Fey at the premiere of Ba...

Thursday Quotes – What Makes A Good Boss

A good boss makes people realize they have more ability than they think they have so that they consistently do better work than they thought they could. Charles Erwin Wilson

One of the great things we do is recognize people. Those things are greatly appreciated by family and friends and colleagues. It’s so hard to define every certain instance. We have to use our own good judgement. Carl Persis

A good boss is a person who can tolerate my complaints and still manage to say hello to me every day. Byron Pusifer

My boss… always stands by me if I get in trouble. He always stands by my decisions. He is very polite and intelligent. Kristina Smulkstyte

She encourages her staff to participate in decisions that affect the workplace and come up with ideas to make things run more efficiently – and then turns those ideas into practice. She has an almost magical ability to get people to “go beyond” and do more than the job requires. Anon

He makes others feel valued and appreciated. He enjoys helping others become better people and better employees. He does not jump to conclusions; he gets all the facts and lets it simmer before taking any action. He listens to everybody’s input on the company and reminds us it’s our company too. Anon

I really want to know what they need from me …. not all employees need the same things from their manager. Susan M. Heathfield

Keep your own office door open most of the time, but respect your employees’ need for privacy when busy or with clients. Anon

Developing and sustaining self-awareness ought to be at the top of the list for every boss. Anon

In most cases being a good boss means hiring talented people and then getting out of their way. Tina Fey

If want to be an outstanding manager, I would like to help you. Email me now to arrange a free half hour coaching session by Skype. 

Wendy Mason is a career coach working mainly with professional women who want to make that jump to senior level while maintaining a good work/life balance. Before working as a coach, Wendy had a long career in both the public and private sectors in general management and consultancy as well as spells in HR.  She now divides her time between face to face coaching, and coaching and blogging on-line. You can contact Wendy at and find out more at

Coming shortly – the WiseWolf Career and Personal Development Programme – if you would like to know more email wendymason@wisewolfcoaching

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The Right Company and Job Search

The Right Company and Job Search! Today we have a guest post from Lauren Bailey.  Lauren researches and writes information on the best online colleges and degrees for modern students. She is also a freelance blogger and loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. She welcomes comments and questions via email at

The Most Important Part of a Job Search is Finding the Right Company

I suppose this title is a bit subjective, since the “most important part” of anything depends on who you ask. However, there is one part of looking and interviewing for a job that so many people ignore, or at least don’t pay enough attention to, but that is vital to a successful job search; researching a company or business before applying for a job.

There are so many different types of businesses and organizations in today’s market. At times, you may come across a business that is about something totally The Right Company different than its title would lead you to believe. Job seekers often search for open positions online, where the job title is posted first and the name of the company second. This leads people to believe that the job title is what is most important (and it is key), but the company you choose to work for lays the foundation for a successful career.

A job really is about more than just the task at hand. Your personal values and goals should match the company you work for; otherwise, you may end up sacrificing your contentment and ethics for a paycheck. This is why it is vital to do your research on a company before applying for a job.

Thanks to the internet, this type of research is easier than ever. Most businesses have their own websites (especially if they are posting jobs online), and these sites often contain pages that cover company history, location(s), business operations, management organization and more. Some companies even share information on what they offer their employees, in terms of benefits and career opportunities.

If the job post doesn’t provide you with the company’s official web address, simply enter the company’s name in an internet search engine (like Google) to find its website. If the site doesn’t provide you with all of the information you want, don’t hesitate to call the business to get the answers you are looking for. Calling also gives you the opportunity to connect with someone who already works for the company, giving you a leg up on an interview, should you decide to apply.

If you do apply and get called for an interview, you will also already be prepared for any questions the interviewer might have about your knowledge of the company. In addition, you will have had more time to contemplate any additional questions you want to ask during the interview about the business.

Good luck with your search!

Lauren Bailey researches and writes information on the best online colleges and degrees for modern students. She is also a freelance blogger and loves writing about education, new technology, lifestyle and health. She welcomes comments and questions via email at

  • Job Search Part 2:Where are you looking for work?
  • Job Search Part 4: Writing That Winning CV
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