Moving Up the Ladder: Managing the Impostor Syndrome

mask

Tim Muma, Senior Marketing Coordinator and Radio Host, LocalJobNetwork.com

Interview with Kim Meninger, Boston Executive Coach

As professionals expand their job responsibilities and take on new leadership challenges, they often experience a gap between what they know today and what they might need to know in their new role. This gap often contributes to the Impostor Syndrome – a term used to describe the feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt that plague high achieving professionals despite strong evidence to the contrary.

How can you manage the Impostor Syndrome?

Be realistic about what is possible. If you feel overwhelmed, focus on your strengths as opposed to your weaknesses and development needs. Of course you will want to improve on your areas of weakness but focusing only on the negative can be a detriment to your confidence and overall success.

As you take on new leadership roles, it is important to have clear expectations. You are not required to have all the answers, especially not immediately. So you should take advantage of the ramp-up time to ask questions about your goals, the availability of resources and so on.

Recommended steps:

  1. Schedule meetings with key stakeholders during your transition to demonstrate your preparedness and commitment to success.
  2. If you feel there is a miscommunication or disconnect in expectations, be honest about it and clarify.
  3. Ask for feedback early and often.

What happens when you are not able to meet expectations?

  1. Learn to delegate. Particularly as you take on increasing responsibilities, you cannot be in control of everything.
  2. Leverage your resources. Find out who has complementary skills and how can you take advantage of them.
  3. Find mentors within or outside your department who can help you accelerate your learning.

You can hear the entire interview here.

Related Links

4 Ways to Battle the Impostor Syndrome

Feel Like a Fraud?

Minding Your P‘s and Q’s: Seeking a Job While You’re Employed

interview.handshake

Tim Muma, Senior Marketing Coordinator and Radio Host, LocalJobNetwork.com

Interview with Kim Meninger, Executive and Career Coach, Boston, Massachusetts

It is common for currently employed professionals to be looking for new career opportunities. There are many reasons for this:

  1. Career Dissatisfaction: Frustrations may include a toxic boss, an inability to get a raise or promotion, or lack of sufficient job resources.
  2. Quest for Greater Fulfillment: While compensation is important, many professionals are also looking for greater meaning, satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment in their work.
  3. Passive Job Seeking: Many professionals, to proactively manage their careers, remain steadily in passive job seeking mode.

What preparation is needed before embarking on a job or career change?

Since you have a limited amount of time, you need clarity. What do you want to do next? Where do you want to be? What aligns with your strengths and interests? What do you want or not want from your next job? What soft factors are important – dress code, commute time, cultural fit and so on?

What are some effective strategies?

  1. Networking is the most effective way to find a new job. However, you need to be strategic about your networking efforts. Start with your connections that know you best, as they can be great advocates.
  2. Headhunters can also be an excellent resource. They have access to hidden job opportunities and are sensitive to confidentiality issues.
  3. Leverage your mentors, who are already familiar with you and your strengths.
  4. Social media can be useful but dangerous as well. While tools like LinkedIn can be great for networking and the overall career management process, you do not want to publicly state that you are looking for new job opportunities. Discretion is important.
  5. If you post your resume to a job board, set the appropriate privacy settings so that your resume is not available publicly.
  6. Seek help from a career coach. Career coaches can be great resources in helping you navigate through the career change process.
  7. Stay focused on your existing work commitments and keep a positive attitude overall to avoid raising red flags.

You can hear the entire interview here.

Related Links

7 Tips for Seeking a Job While You’re Employed

Jack of All Trades? 4 Steps to a More Powerful Career Marketing Strategy

How do you create a clear and focused value proposition when you are a jack of all trades (master of some)? As you advance within an organization, you become less of a tactical specialist and more of a strategic generalist. Given this breadth of experience, how do you market yourself for your next leadership role?

Here are four strategies to help you:

  1. Shift your mindset. Rather than worry that your background is a shortcoming, look at your diverse skill set as an asset. Focus on what differentiates you from other leaders.
  2. Have a clear target. Don’t cast a wide net. Focus on a clearly defined job target or career goal.
  3. Don’t tell the whole career story. Emphasize only your relevant professional experience, strengths and accomplishments.
  4. Believe in your story. Be clear about why you are the right person for the job.

Related Links

Jack of All Trades? 4 Steps to a More Powerful Career Marketing Strategy

3 Reasons to Consider Your Next Executive Career Move

Proactive career management is critical to your career success.

  1. Job security is a thing of the past. What are the right short and long-term decisions for your career?
  2. Your next challenge could be right in front of you. What are you doing to prepare for your next leadership role? Are you proactively cultivating your professional network?
  3. Keep your current employer on its toes. Re-invest in your professional development. Your performance is likely to improve and your manager will notice the difference as well.

Plan ahead. This can help you with your current job or strategically prepare you for your next career opportunity.

Related Links

3 Reasons to Consider Your Next Executive Career Move (Even if You’re Not Ready for a Change)

5 Reasons Your Networking is NOT Working

A strong professional network is essential to your career success. But your networking efforts may not be working.

  1. You may be lacking a networking strategy. Clarify your specific goals. Do you want to learn about a company? Are you interested in meeting executives with similar interests? Are you looking for contacts in a new industry?
  2. Your message is unclear. If you cannot clearly and succinctly introduce yourself and your goals, even motivated networkers may not be able to help you. Before networking, develop a focused introduction – the elevator pitch.
  3. You are too impatient. You may want to see immediate results but networking takes time. Invest in trusted and long lasting relationships.
  4. Your discussions are too job-centric. Asking your network to help you find a new job is a highly ineffective strategy. Ask for information your network can provide – their insights, information and expertise.
  5. You are not following up effectively. Try sending information your contact may find helpful. When you lead with value, you are more likely to experience a positive response.

If your networking is not working, adjust your strategy or seek help from a career coach who can help you with the process.

Related Links

5 Reasons Your Networking Is NOT Working

Your New Executive Career Checklist

You have been considering a career change. Your current leadership role is no longer a fit and you are ready for a new challenge.

  1. Be crystal clear about your next career move.
  2. Understand where you want to work.
  3. Internalize your career story.
  4. Develop a powerful career portfolio with an executive resume, cover letter and updated LinkedIn profile.
  5. Leverage your executive network by seeking informational interviews.

Don’t waste any more time. Start using this checklist to make a career change.

Related Links

Your New Executive Career Checklist

The Real Reason Your Executive Resume Isn’t Working

Is a powerful executive resume enough to help you land your next job? The resume is a tool, but not a career strategy. To successfully implement a career change, you need:

  1. A compelling career story: Clarify your job target and articulate your professional value.
  2. A powerful executive network: Create a networking strategy. What information do you need from your professional network and what value can you offer in return?
  3. A clear action plan: A good action plan gives you direction and holds you accountable.

You need more than just an executive resume – you need an effective marketing strategy. If you need help, seek out a career coach to help you.

Related Links

The Real Reason Your Executive Resume Isn’t Working

5 Critical Interview Questions You Must Ask

Before any job interview you must be prepared to ask questions. This should not be taken lightly. The interview is as much for you as it is for the prospective employer.

Asking questions helps you to present yourself as the best candidate for the role.

  1. Why is this position open? What are the circumstances under which you are being hired? What ae the expectations from this role?
  2. What keeps you up at night? This question allows you to strategically position yourself as the right candidate for the role. You can also ascertain if this is the right role for you.
  3. What are the success criteria for this role? How will you be evaluated or measured? This can give you a window into the company’s management style.
  4. Do you have any reservations about my candidacy? This is a powerful opportunity to get early feedback and to respond to any objections that may be raised.
  5. What are the next steps? This will help you understand the process, the timeline and so on.

Asking questions is a great way to differentiate your candidacy. It will also help you evaluate if this is the right job opportunity for you.

Related Links

5 Critical Interview Questions You Must Ask

4 Ways You’re Compromising Your Executive Brand

As an executive, your brand is critical to your executive success. But because of your job responsibilities, you have little time to proactively invest in your executive brand. Here are four ways you’re compromising your brand:

  1. You write your own executive resume. Most executives struggle to distill their many successes into their executive resume.
  2. You lack a sophisticated social media strategy. With a powerful social media strategy, you can establish yourself as an expert and thought leader in your field.
  3. You neglect your executive network. Take time to nurture your network at all times.
  4. You have an unclear value proposition. If you cannot articulate your leadership strengths and differentiators, you are are doing yourself a disservice.

Investing in an executive brand will differentiate you from others and position you for long-term career success.

Related Links

4 Ways You’re Compromising Your Executive Brand