Friday, September 21, 2018

I am Secure with My Job but Not Fulfilled. Now What?

Job Security is defined as the chance that a person with a job will become unemployed.  Potential job security can be influenced by the economy, political environment and the type of profession.  According to an article published in US News in July, 2017, the jobs that have the MOST job security are:  Database Administrator, Dentist, Sonographer, Mathematician, Actuary, Nurse Practitioner, Midwife, just to name few.  Just with these 7 occupations, you can see why these jobs have high Job Security.  They are tied to healthcare, crunching numbers and managing data.  Key elements that are needed to make our world function.    

Job Fulfillment is defined as the happiness you experience when you use or develop your abilities  on a job (as defined on Many individuals have different interactions that make them feel happy, energized and motivated when they do their work.  For some it could be a pay checks, helping others, recognition or a sense of achievement. 
So the BIG question:  Do you have both?  
If you're lacking in job stability, there is an easy fix by studying outlook data, career ladders and understanding your transferrable skills.  Once you do this quick work, you can develop a career plan that will get you to a more stable career.    
If you're lacking job fulfillment lets dive deeper.  
Quick Questions ( Take your 7 min ME BREAK):  
What makes you happy when you are doing work?  Keep in mind, this can change.  Over the years, what initially made us happy changes.  To become aware of your job fulfillment ask yourself the following 3 questions:

1.       If your salary was decreased by 30% would you immediately begin looking for another job?  

2.       Can you see yourself doing what you are doing 5 years from today?

3.       Do you have enough TIME to engage on the job in ways that bring you joy?

If you answered NO to 2 or more of these questions, then you may be challenged with lack of job fulfillment.  

Here are the follow up questions for you to answer in your 7 minute ME BREAK:

1.      In response to quick question #1, what job would you look for if your money was decreased?

2.        In response to quick question #2, you had more TIME at work to engage in more meaningful work what tasks/functions would you do? 

Do you feel you have both job security and job fulfillment?  If so, let's celebrate!!!!

 If not, perhaps it is time to explore how to increase your job satisfaction, by completing a detailed assessment or working with a career coach. These steps can help you develop a Career Plan that will include both.  

If you feel you need a Career Coach to get better results, Smart Moms can help.  Complete the Interest Form and we will be in touch.  


Monday, July 30, 2018

If Apple Comes To RTP: What Job Could You Land?

There is a lot of talk that Apple may come to the RTP area. The reasons are numerous but the biggest ones include:
  1. Apple Has Created Support Infrastructure In NC - An Apple Data Center already exist in Maiden, NC since 2010.  It is about 2.5 hours from Durham and located near Hickory, NC.  This data center is providing Apple with a major East Coast infrastructure hub to support its iTune music store and iPhone app store.  Apple has already invested close to $4 billion to Catawba county and provided state level tax breaks to set up shop in Catawba county.  They have also built 3 large solar farms in Maiden, Conover and Claremount to power the data center.  The 200-acres photovoltaic solar panels supplement power from Duke Energy and Bloom Energy.  In summary, Apple has already made significant financial and construction investments in the State of North Carolina. 
  1. Apple Leadership Has Roots In NC - Tim Cook is the CEO of Apple and prior COO.  He has an MBA from Duke University and recently spoke at the Commencement Address for the Duke Class of 2018.  Eddy Cue is Apple’s senior Vice President of Internet Software and Services and has a Bachelors in Computer Science and Economics from Duke University.  Jeff Williams, COO holds a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from North Carolina State University and an MBA from Duke University.
  1. Raleigh-Durham Has the Business, Research and Academic Environment to support Apple's growth goal - Our community is rich in Environment Technology & and had 5+ surrounding IT/High Tech colleges to provide people and strategies for success.   In addition, our RTP community houses more than 250 companies where Apple can leverage ideas, workers and resources.  
Should Apple decide to launch in NC, this would be their 2nd Headquarters with their main headquarters located on the West Coast. Their growth goals include a national pledge to create 5k - 20,000 jobs within the next 5 years somewhere within the US.     

Top Positions that could come to RTP are:
  1. Research Positions (Machine Learning, Natural Language Processing, Robotics, Big Data Tools)
  2. Technical Support Staff
  3. Operations (Program Mgmt, PMI, PMP, Agile Tech, Business & IT/CS degrees)
  4. Software Developers/Engineers (PHP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL, SCRUM, Objective-C, or C++)
  5. Customer Support/HelpLine (CCENT, CCNA, Python, Go, Pearl, HR)
If these positions come to RTP,  those with required certifications and relevant experience should have a strong chance of landing.  Visit the Apple job listing page  and research the requirements for jobs occupations posted in other regions to prepare and understand Apple's requirements.    

In addition, CEO Cook, also alluded to his "top- down" requirements in a 60 Minutes Overtime interview in 2015 when seeking ideal candidates.  In essence they are NOT looking for "YES" men and women.  They are looking for individuals that are able to defend their point of view and  still possess a "passion" to change the world. Apple seeks individuals that are  "Wicked smart people who have a point of view, and want to debate that point of view, and people that want to change something," Cook said.   Expect to be interviewed by many people before landing the job and the ability to show your work.  

Machine Learning and AI experts are of deep value to Apple.  

Need help preparing for interviewing or recognizing your strengths through an Employer's eyes?  Smart Moms can help! Submit an a career coach interest form and we will be in touch.


The content in my blog post was compiled from the following articles and websites.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Why Understanding your Company’s (or Client's) Objectives are Critical!

Somewhere in our lives, we all experience a need to make career goals and plans for ourselves.  Perhaps they are spurred by the need to fund a dream career, make more money to fuel retirement or to help pay for a child’s college education.    The action could be promoted by the need for a more fulfilling job or one that has more career growth.  The list can go on about our reasons for setting career goals and making moves. 

Even when you are not focused on making career moves for yourself, if we are working for someone (and we all are working for someone in some fashion), we must stay abreast of our company’s (or client’s) goals and objectives.  Being left in the dark and “out of the loop” is a very scary feeling.  Decisions that can drastically effect you are being made at a level where you may not have visibility.  Outcomes and resulting actions are not going to filter to you until initiatives are being implemented.  Stay informed.  

Scenarios to Ponder: 

Consider that your company’s objective is to be bought out by the end of 2018.  You may never know this objective because it was not relayed to you personally.   Yes, being bought out might be a good thing for the company and maybe for you (stock options, retention bonus, etc) .  But it could also mean that the company will experience a layoff, or there may be a duplication of responsibility and some positions will have to be eliminated.  

Perhaps you learn your company is spending a fair amount of research dollars and efforts to develop a new line of products.  You are not in the area where company’s revenue is being invested.  There is a chance you could become obsolete or devalued as the company's focus changes?   Many industries and services have been obsoleted.  Consider the film developing industry – Gone! Phone books, dictionaries and encyclopedias – Gone!  All within the last decade. 

How Do I Understand My Company Objectives:

To stay abreast requires being proactive.  Schedule the time to read, research and engage with others.  Here is my list of suggested actions:

  1. Read/Listen to news articles (Reference USA, Hoovers, The Motley Fool, local online newspapers, HBR Ideacast)
  2. Read press releases and annual reports.  Look for what is not being said or addressed.  Consult with people in your network to fill in the information gaps.  
  3. Flag and read all emails coming from your company’s communication department, marketing teams, president/CEO’s office.  Set a reading time i.e. Saturdays 9 am over coffee in your favorite coffee shop/reading room.
  4.  Attend staff meetings, functions involving higher level staff, gatherings involving partners and suppliers. Meet someone and have a meaningful connection at each gathering.  Do your best to stay in contact with each person periodically.    
  5.  Stay abreast of what other departments are working on.  Note which technology, techniques, processes and staff have been obsoleted.  
  6.  Note who has retired and/or left the company.  Are you noticing any departure trends? Can you explain their departure?  Is it tied to any company objective/goal?

Understand Their Objectives & Goals - Now What?

Are the company’s objectives inline with your goals or some of your goals?    

YES -  Identify the skills, networking efforts, attitude adjustments that you need to continuously work on to be a part of the companies’ objectives. 

How do you give yourself the training, experiences and knowledge to be of value when your company makes a major shift.

NO – Identify your strongest skills and reflect on your level of interest in using them.  If your interest is high, then determine the companies in your area or outside that value this skill set. Use your networking and begin to strategize on how to move.  No company options, consider an entrepreneur/consulting launch.  

Need help exploring your career goals?  Smart Moms can help.  Please submit and interest form and we will be in touch.  

Friday, March 23, 2018

Networking Made Simple

My previous business partner, Michelle Yanik taught me foundational networking strategies back in 2003. I remember asking her what the purpose of networking was, and she answered me with, “networking is the act of helping others”. Since then, networking has saved my business and career countless times.

The key to effective networking is not to expect things from others but to think of it as an act of selflessness.

I compare it to tossing a stone into a pond. When you offer your skills and resources to others, (or in this case, toss a stone into the pond of a network) the energy is returned to you in the form of ripples. If you can establish good relationships with the people in your circles, you can also gain rapport with the people in theirs and good things always come back around!

Here’s an example: As a job seeker, my network has helped me develop my impact as an altruistic and effective recruiter. Recently, a seasoned connection that I had forged with the manager of a local nonprofit introduced me to another dedicated career coach. We’ll call her Clarissa. At our very first meeting, I was enamored by Clarissa’s ambition and drive and knew immediately that she would be a terrific addition to any team. I reached out to a colleague who was organizing classes for job seekers in the area and recommended Clarissa to her. After Clarissa was hired, she proved to be an outstanding member of her new team and my relationship with her supervisor strengthened as well as my relationship with Clarissa. Clarissa and I are now working together on an exciting project, and as you can see, you never know how your healthy relationships can turn into profitable ones!

Once you feel like you’ve mastered the art of valuing and nurturing your relationships you might want to also consider “Strategic Networking”. This type of networking includes identifying your long-term goal, the people and organizations that can help you reach that goal and accepting the non-linear process that it might take to get there. Understanding that your strategic networking efforts may not operate in one manner (like getting referrals or collaborating) is vital to the process of building a network. Some strategic networking approaches involve 5 to 12 months of commitment! Still, having a deliberate approach to forming meaningful relationships can help connections and rewards come sooner to you and your peers.

I have found that networking skills come in many forms. They can spawn from a willingness to make introductions, provide information, insight and encouragement. It can even be asking someone to do a favor for a colleague or friend. Whatever the task, remember to always approach others with selflessness; I assure you, it always comes back around.

If you feel you need a Career Coach to get better results, Smart Moms can help.  Complete the Interest Form and we will be in touch.  

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Strategies If you Are Not Landing A Job

Here are some proven ways to land a job if you are a seasoned professional but have hit a roadblock.  

1.  Get Past Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)– Use the right keywords on resumes and cover letters  - Use to identify the keywords in a job listing and make sure they show up in the right context in your resume and cover letter/email. Also add high demand keywords into your social media profiles.   Consider Wordle to identify the top keywords.

2.  Make sure your resume is accomplishment rich!!  See Accomplishment Rich Resume Examples

3.  Setup job alerts on 2-3 of these top job sites - Glassdoor, Indeed and LinkedIn.  Use these job alerts to stay abreast of opportunities at target companies. Leverage your network for introductions and referrals.   Top Job Sites

4.  Find A Transferable Career -

5.  Network – Talk To Friends, Family, Church, Social Clubs – Strengthen your Networking Skills.  Many of the jobs available are acquired through networking methods.   Check out this Video on Networking

6.  Visit A Trade Show or Job Fair –  NETWORK & LEARN something new in your field.  Stay current with new knowledge and certifications.

 If you feel you need a Career Coach to help get better results, Smart Moms can help.  Complete the Interest Form and we will be in touch.  

Thursday, January 26, 2017

What I Learned During My Entrepreneur Break

Yep, I said it.  An entrepreneur break not a work break.  I have been on an entrepreneur sabbatical.  I took almost 2 years to explore working full-time for an employer after 10+ years of creating, building, launching various ideas.  It has been a journey.

My full-time job as  Educational Class Recruiter and Program Coordinator allowed me to do what I loved which is help others and better the world.

The recruiting job satisfied some of my Holland Code Interests - such as Conventional, Social and Artistic (CSA) interests.  But my interests that make me want to get up and go to work every day were not being met.  I am truly an Investigative, Creative, Social (ICS) individual which is what propelled me to pursue 6 years of formal engineering training, work in the field of engineering for several years, lead projects and ultimately create a niche staffing firm with a good friend where we put hundreds of jobs seekers to work.

I learned that creativity drives me.  I love to problem solve and no matter what I do, that will not change.  It make me happy and even when I have a tough work situation, I enjoy the work of solving a problem to completion. I work even harder if it is problem that involves interacting and extracting information from people.

So I am back.  Committed to building a more productive Smart Moms or something new.

What have I been doing besides working:

Reading...Reading..and more Reading.  Here are some my favorite titles:

Racing Weight - Matt Fitzgerald
The 4- Hour Workweek - Timothy Ferriss
Leadership and Self-Depection Getting Out of the Box  - The Arbinger Institute
EntreLeadership - Dave Ramsey
A Woman's Guide to Spriitual Warefare Quin Sherrer & Bethanne Gardlock
How Rich People Think - Steve Siebold
The Gifts of Imperfection - Brene Brown
Finding Ultra - Rich Roll
Communication Across Barriers - Dr. Donna Beegle

I have been absorbing different concepts related to endurance, leadership, self-deception, amazon marketplace and selling a product.  Let's see what this studying and entrepreneur break will produce.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why Is Labor Data An Important Piece of the Career Development and Job “Landing” Process?

Let’s first address what is Labor Data.   Labor market information (LMI) includes all quantitative or qualitative data and analysis related to employment and the workforce. In other words, LMI looks at how many jobs are available and the quality of those jobs in the workforce.  This is of course a simplified definition.   The goal of LMI is to help job seekers, career changers, customers, educational systems and businesses make informed plans, choices, and decisions for a variety of reasons.  

So why should job seekers look at LMI?  The data can provide confidence, focus and motivation while they are pursuing a new career or career pathway.

Case Studies

Chris B. is considering a career in Information Technology.  He has worked in Digital Printing for years.  He started out as a technician completing the printing orders and eventually acquired a Bachelors to move up the career ladder.  Over time he migrated to fulfillment manager where he managed several areas of the printing operations.  He acquired technology skills by working with various software applications and Point of Sales Software to help facilitate operations.  Chris is ready for a change but one where he can leverage his strongest transferable skills some of which include technology, engaging and helping others.  

Through Chris’ initial LMI research he learned that the IT industry, including the cybersecurity sector, is expected to grow by 18% or 485,000 jobs between 2012 - 2022. The average median annual salary for computer/IT occupations was $81,430 in May 2015 per the Occupational Outlook Handbook.  In addition, his research showed that information security analysts, computer systems analysts, software developers, and Web developers will be in top demand.    

LMI data from CareerOneStop also showed Chris that with a 17 month to 2 year degree program, his earning potential will be close to 50k in NC and even higher in other parts of the US. For an entry-level Computer User Support Specialist position, which Chris is thinking of pursuing as his entry point, there are expected to be 15,050 Computer User Support Specialist Positions of varying levels added annually within the US.  

While Chris doesn’t want to relocate, he knows he can move to another state because this job occupation is in demand.  According to LMI data found on, Computer User Support Specialist is also known as Technical Support Specialist, Help Desk Analyst, Application Specialist and others.


Chris used Career OneStop to collect LMI on Employers that might hire him when he finished his training at a community college, technical school or area university.  According to his research, he learned that over 100 employers had immediate job listings posted for Computer User Support Specialist in his state.  These job listings correspond to the Standard Occupation Code (SOC) 15-1151.  

With this preliminary data, Chris can begin making steps to pursue an occupation as a Computer User Support Specialist (I, II, III, IV).  His motivation is high because he knows when he finishes his training the opportunities are there.  

Naomi S. has been working as a Sales Manager for over 10 years. Within her Business Management work, she analyzes her sales projections and calculations by creating spreadsheets and word documents that resembled that of an advanced Excel or MS Word user.  She uses macros and created spreadsheets to make operation decisions clearer.  She doesn’t have a BS but several certificates in various areas.  Using LMI data, Naomi has determined that a career as a Web Developer might be a strong option for her. She tends to migrate toward job functions that allow her to use her hands and solve problems at the same time.  She is investigative by nature.  

Naomi’s research started with OnetOnline as well.  She learned that the average salary for web programmers is $64K and within the next 10 years there will be projected job openings of 58,600.  This is approximately a growth rate of 27% for this job title alone.  Of the respondents that participated in OnetOnline’s  Web Programmer profile research, 20% of the respondents had Associate degrees while another 13% had a post-secondary certificate.  Naomi’s confidence increases because she knows that she may not have to spend the time pursuing a Bachelors to enter the field.  Her chances are decent for landing a job by acquiring an Assoc or Certificate.  

The Occupation Outlook Handbook showed Naomi that there are similar occupations related to Web Developer that she could explore such as computer programmer, software developer and database administrators.  While many of these similar occupations may require a BS or higher, Naomi can weigh those decisions prior to investing large amounts of time and money.  

similar occupations.png

Naomi explores Career OneStop to collect LMI data related to the Information Technology industry with respect to her local area.  Her research shows that in 2013 there were 1569 establishments that specialized in Professional, Scientific, Technical and Computer System Design Services (Industry Group # 5415) in her state.  This same industry profile showed that over 42k were employed in North Carolina and the average wages paid in the IT sector was $84,760.  

Naomi will begin to focus on companies classified under this number and network within this industry to ensure she is well connected with companies. She can land with one of these companies by the time she finishes her degree/certification.  


Click here to view a complete list of the top IT professions, salaries and education level required.

Interested in working with a career coach, contact Smart Moms