C-Suite Insight: Sharpen Your Skills and Never Stop Learning

shutterstock_176015801-webAs leaders of their company, C-suite executives are often viewed as extraordinary figures who have reached what seems to be the highest point of their professional game. It is sometimes assumed that these individuals have little to improve upon since they are in such an esteemed position. This is simply not true. The real key to success as a C-level executive is the ability to continue developing and honing crucial skills, while also having a passion to continually learn new things.

Below are two of the top skills that every C-suite executive should possess.

  • Adaptability- As the famous quote by Heraclitus states, “One thing that is constant is change.” In the Property Casualty insurance industry, those words are truer than ever. From an increased influx of millennial employee hires to new technologies that affect daily processes, the industry is in a constant state of change. A C-suite executive’s ability to adapt to and embrace this change is a skill that is crucial to their success, and has a two-pronged significance. First, upper level management must be able to continually adapt to unexpected situations and decipher the best action to take for the betterment of the company. Everyone, clients and colleagues alike, look to the C-suite to lead through times of change by making the crucial decisions that count. Second, C-suite executives should also be the one to create and implement this change. Possessing an innovative mindset that continually seeks out and welcomes new processes and perspectives is what will make themselves and their company truly successful.
  • Relationship-building- Every company is made up of different kinds of employees and deals with all types of clients. As leaders, the members of the C-suite must know how to successfully build and maintain relationships in order for their business to thrive. In a Q &A article by Carrier Management, Farmers Insurance Group Chief Operations Officer (COO) David Traverse says, “I believe with all my heart that you should never take this job if you do not like interacting with people,” when asked about the required qualities of a COO. He goes on to say, “We are paid to be on our game—to manage relationships, and to do it in a way that gives comfort and security to the people that are counting on us. It’s a people job.”

In addition to possessing important skills, upper level employees in the Property Casualty insurance industry need to be committed to continual learning. Successful C-suite leaders know that they must continue to grow, both personally and professionally, if they want to see success for their company and themselves.

Below are two steps company leaders can take to continue career development: 

  • Ask for feedback. One of the easiest ways to learn more about how you can maintain current success or even improve in your position is to simply ask the opinions of those around you. One of the greatest gifts a leader can ever receive is feedback. From the members of your team to your supervisors, everyone can bring a fresh perspective you may initially miss because you are focused in your current responsibilities. These are the people who know your company and industry, so their opinion can be incredibly valuable to the advancement of your career. Feedback fuels the truest form of professional development. 
  • Continue your education. An article by Brett Gleason in Inc.com says, “Leaders usually know that their people need training and development. The smartest leaders understand that the same applies to them–and that the need is ongoing.” Even in a C-level position, there is still so much left to learn and achieve. You’ve invested so much in your initial education and career thus far, stopping when you are in the most influential and important position is a mistake. Whether it’s going back to school, acquiring new certifications, attending educational conferences or seeking out a mentor, there are several ways to pursue self-improvement and career development.

Property Casualty Insurance Careers: Does Your Grade Point Average Really Matter?

The debate on whether one’s grade point average (GPA) can impact his or her career has been a popular topic for years. Many career experts feel that it plays a major role in an employer’s decision to hire someone, while others believe that hiring managers don’t consider it a true indicator of one’s professional abilities. Though there are arguments for both sides of the matter, it is important to know that if you’re considering a career in Property Casualty insurance; your GPA matters.shutterstock_172077230-web

When pursuing a job in insurance, especially with the larger carriers, insurance recruiting experts would advise that the most successful path starts by entering a company’s professional associate program, also known as a trainee or development program. What many young professionals don’t realize is that having a 3.0 overall GPA (or higher) gives them a much greater chance of being accepted into these programs right out of college. The following major carriers list a preferred GPA of 3.0 or higher as a requirement for almost all of their internship, training, development or early immersion programs:

If a graduate doesn’t complete college with a competitive GPA, they will more likely have to enter the insurance industry at a standard entry-level position where they then must work their way up the ladder. These two routes can have very different salary ranges, and those entering into entry level positions as opposed to getting into a trainee program may never truly catch up in terms of earnings.

Some may feel that they would be able explain the reasons for their lower GPA during the interview process and would then be considered for a position, but they may never get the chance. A lower GPA can affect their chances of even being called in for an interview. An article by Collegiate Gateway reported, “According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers’ Job Outlook 2013 survey, the percentage of employers who screen candidates by GPA reached an all-time high this past year: 78.3% of the survey’s 200 respondents. Of these same respondents, 63.5 percent of respondents reported a “cut-off” (or minimum GPA required for consideration) of exactly 3.0, with just over 20 percent using a GPA cutoff greater than 3.0.”

Overall, it is evident that a graduate’s GPA can play major part in their professional success, especially in insurance. This industry is growing at a rapid rate and attracting more young talent than ever before. Recent grads must do everything they can to stand out from their peers to land a great Property Casualty insurance job.

Key Steps to Consider When Reevaluating Your Human Resource Costs

shutterstock_226614253_webReevaluating and improving human resource efficiency is vital to the success of any Property Casualty insurance company, especially when employee turnover can be so costly. An article by Insurance Business America stated, “…a November 2012 study from the Center for American Progress found that for positions earning less than $75,000—including most insurance producers—the cost of firing and hiring a new employee was roughly 20% of that position’s salary.” This means that a bigger emphasis is being placed on getting the hiring process right, making it even more important for every human resource department to take a closer look at their company’s candidate recruitment strategies and expenses.

When reevaluating human resource costs:

1. Determine if your organization has a ‘spend’ or ‘invest’ mindset. When asking human capital questions to hiring leaders, pay close attention to their responses. If the overwhelming responses to your questions are “how much is it going to cost?”, then you are likely part of a ‘spend’ culture. Conversely, if you are consistently asked “what is the expected return if we do this?”, then you are probably working in an ‘invest’ culture. These are two very different environments and understanding how to best deliver services to support the organization can drive everything including culture, attracting, hiring and retention strategies, metrics and recognition programs.   

2. Continually assess your hiring strategies, processes and budget. If you are spending or investing most of your time and money on recruiting and hiring whether internally or via third party, is it paying off? Make sure you are evaluating and measuring the right human resource strategies to really know if they are functioning in the most efficient way for your company. Items like reducing recruitment expenses or improving your investment return are key items to take into consideration. Should you insource or outsource recruitment efforts? If you decide to insource, you must develop processes that ensure your internal recruiters are solely working on recruiting needs. If you outsource, selecting the right recruitment firm for your company must be a priority to ensure human resource efficiency.

3. Find the most qualified insurance recruitment firm/recruiter for your company’s needs. When outsourcing your hiring efforts, your company must decide if hiring a recruitment firm or a specific recruiter will work best for your hiring needs. There is a big difference. When you hire a recruitment firm, you aren’t guaranteed to get the same recruiter every time. If you hire a specific recruiter, this means you are intentionally hiring a specific person to be the only one to conduct your searches. In either scenario, your company must seek out firms and recruiters that have a proven track record, impeccable referrals, large networks and are experts in all aspects of your industry. These are a few key qualities that will produce a qualified candidate in a timely manner; saving your human resource department time and money.

4. Ensure you are utilizing your internal/external recruitment strategies efficiently. If you decide to keep recruitment efforts as an internal responsibility through an in-house recruiter, make sure processes are in place to minimize distractions so that recruiting efforts are their sole focus. Often times, internal recruiters can get pulled into the other realms of human resources for various reasons. If your company decides to outsource through recruitment firms, be sure you are comfortable with their recruiting process, expertise and the type of search being conducted. Consider initially hiring only one or two firms or recruiters if you are conducting a contingent search to source potential candidates. Some companies think that using more recruiters to find employees will result in a larger pool of qualified candidates to choose from. This is not always true. In most cases, firms use many of the same methodologies to identify candidates; therefore you essentially end up with multiple companies contacting the same candidates.  This creates marketplace confusion and sometimes lessens a candidate’s desire to pursue your opportunity. Keep in mind, candidate identification is only part of the process, the best recruiters are also able to access and influence candidates based on their deep relationships, industry knowledge and personal experience.  

5. Implement the most effective type of search. When using a recruitment firm, you should be able to match your position and budget with one of the firm’s search options.  For example, if a company is looking to attract exceptional executive level leaders while learning about passive executive talent across the nation, a retained search may be the best option.  If a company is looking to hire key individual contributors and/or maximize their candidate pool, perhaps a contingent search should be utilized.  Or, if hiring high quality, management level candidates is necessary, consider using a customized blend of retained and contingent search features.

Finding Success by Considering an Insurance Career in a Specialized Market

Whether you’re just beginning your insurance career or you’ve already built a strong background in the industry and are considering a change, there are many avenues within the Property Casualty insurance industry to consider and pursue. There are several specialized markets that offer incredible professional opportunities and can provide career longevity due to their specific nature.shutterstock_115905412_web

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are examples of three fast-growing, niche markets of the Property Casualty insurance industry you may want to consider entering:

  • Agribusiness Insurance covers the insurance and risk management needs of agriculture and farm operations and is not limited to areas of dairy operations, ranch and equine operations and much more.  Whether you have a background in the agriculture industry through a prior career in farming or education concentration or you have a genuine interest in the industry, it is definitely a specialized insurance sector to consider because agribusiness is and always will be a crucial part of our economy.
  • Boiler and Machinery Breakdown Insurance covers the costly physical and financial damage that can result from an equipment breakdown (definition source: Hartford Steam Boiler). This market may be appealing to those insurance professionals with a naval or engineering background as they may already have a proficiency in this area. This sector is growing at a rapid rate and is often now referred to as equipment breakdown insurance as it covers more items such as computers, electric motors and generators adding an even greater need for qualified insurance professionals.
  • Ocean Marine Insurance covers the transportation of goods and/or merchandise by vessels crossing both foreign and domestic waters including any inland or aviation transit associated with the shipment. This type of marine insurance also encompasses coverage for damage to the vessels involved in shipments and any legal liability arising in the course of shipment (definition source: International Risk Management Institute).  In an article about ocean marine coverage by Property Casualty 360°, Travelers’ Ocean Marine President Bill Queens says, “Most of the people in this industry come from a maritime background, and they have a language that’s unique to that environment.”  He then goes on to stress how important it is for Ocean Marine insurance agents to educate themselves on the specific language of the maritime industry. If you have prior naval or mariner career experience or are knowledgeable on nautical terminology, this may be an insurance sector to consider for your career.

Many people also may not initially consider careers in these ultra-specialized areas of insurance because they feel they may not be qualified due to the specific knowledge or training that is required, but this is a misconception. Property Casualty insurance companies are often willing to assist employees with the specific training or certifications necessary to fulfill the position if they feel the person is or can be an asset to their company. If you do already have specified skills or a background that pertains to a certain sector like agribusiness or ocean marine, that can also give you an edge over other candidates.

If you are interested in moving into one of these specific insurance markets and feel you are already qualified, contact Coleman Search Group today. If you are interested in learning more about these niche markets, we encourage you to research them by visiting sources like Property Casualty 360° and Insurance Journal for more information on specialized Property Casualty insurance jobs.

Women in Insurance: Industry Insights on How to Chart a Successful Career

Blog #2The Property and Casualty Insurance sector has historically been viewed as a “male-dominated” industry, meaning men hold the majority of the upper management positions. Property Casualty 360  reported last year, “At the largest insurers and reinsurers women held only 6 percent of top executive positions, 12.5 percent of board seats, and 8 percent of inside business, legal or actuarial officer roles such as chief actuary or division president, according to a recent industry study by St. Joseph’s University Academy of Risk Management and Insurance.” Coleman Search Group recently asked top-level female executives if they would share their perspectives to provide insights that may help other women excel in the insurance industry and improve statistics by landing more influential leadership positions.

As one Commercial Lines Sales and Marketing Vice President for a major insurance carrier progressed in her career, she found it harder to overcome the proverbial “glass ceiling.” She feels that even though the industry is benefitting from diversity, there still seems to be a preference for male-oriented leadership styles in many upper level positions. That being said, she has found career success through taking a positive perspective on any opportunities she has faced in the industry. She comments, “I don’t really see things as obstacles. Everything is a problem to be solved and some are more difficult than others.”

A Senior Vice President and Chief Claims Officer for a major insurance carrier said for her, one of the biggest issues she has faced is ensuring women are effectively supporting and encouraging each other to reach their full potential. She says, “I have had several women champions over the course of my career and without them I doubt I would be where I am today.”

Here are some key points they shared with Coleman Search Group to help other women be successful in reaching higher-level positions in the insurance industry:

1. Stay educated and informed on the trends and new facets of the industry. The Commercial Lines Sales and Marketing Vice President says, “The insurance industry needs new ideas, new ways of thinking. Technology and data analytics are transforming the industry for the better, making insurance careers more attractive.”  Insurance companies are always looking for candidates that are on top of the latest trends and developments in the industry. Continually pushing yourself to learn more, stepping outside of your comfort zone by taking on new responsibility or volunteering for high visibility projects may be what sets you apart from other employees and candidates pursuing those attractive opportunities. Obtaining additional insurance designations will also help to position you as a key candidate for many high-level positions. One of the executives stated that obtaining a Chartered Property & Casualty Underwriter (CPCU) designation and a Senior Claims Law Associate (SCLA) designation were keys to her success.

2. Use your personal strengths and interests to succeed. The Chief Claim Officer indicated, “There are so many career paths within the insurance industry to choose from, and the work can be very meaningful.  Find the area of work that you enjoy most.  For some people that area is loss prevention and mitigation; for others it is helping injured workers get back to work.  What is so great about this industry is that there are many options available to you. If you are willing to navigate for that right fit, it can be an awesome career.

3. Evaluate yourself regularly and be open to adjusting your work style to excel. According to the Commercial Lines Sales and Marketing executive, “Self-awareness is a great place to start.  Ensure that you are fair and objective in your position on issues, and that your interactions reflect that integrity.  Show confidence and assuredness, but not arrogance.  If you persevere in that manner, you will be accepted, valued and elevated into positions of influence.

4. Be open to new opportunities (even if it scares you). “As more women move up in the industry it is necessary to develop a broader skill set. Be voracious about learning new things and jump at opportunities, even when you think you might not be quite ready for them,” explains the Chief Claims Officer.

The insurance industry is always evolving, and women continue to make great strides every day. Soon, more women will hold high-level positions bringing even more gender balance to this ever-changing field.

How Generation X and Y Can Succeed in a Business of Baby Boomers

Generationx blog picThe workplace is filled with all kinds of employees who have different personalities and traits. People from every race, religion, sex and political affiliation are often brought together by their place of employment. In addition, a company’s staff also consists of employees from multiple generations including Baby Boomers, Generation X and now, Generation Y (also known as “Millennials”). Over the last few years, “generational gaps in the workplace” has been a hot topic and the subject of many studies and articles.

Until recently, the insurance industry has consisted primarily of employees from the Baby Boomer generation. As time evolves and companies become more reliant on technology and social media for success and efficiency, more members of Generation X and Y are being interviewed by insurance recruiters. This doesn’t mean Generation X and Y employees are more valued than Baby Boomers, but it does mean that it is advantageous for Generation X and Y employees/candidates to be cognizant of the generational gaps that do exist in the workplace. Being informed and prepared on how to be successful at bridging the generational gap in the office will only help Generation X and Y candidates land, maintain and succeed in those great insurance jobs.

If you’re unsure of how generational differences may play out in the workplace, here are some example scenarios and tips on how best to approach them:

1. Phone Call or Meeting vs. Email or Text– Although email has been used as a professional and efficient way to communicate for several decades, there is great value in a phone conversation or face-to-face meeting. Members of Generation X or Y have grown up in a world of immediate responses while Baby Boomers grew up on the belief that taking time to build and sustain relationships meant everything. It is important to know that even if something can be accomplished faster via email or text, a meeting or phone call may be more suitable for certain situations. Being able to determine the best communication platform with your Baby Boomer colleagues will help you form better working relationships. Also, as texting becomes the latest communication trend, keep in mind that it is relatively new for Baby Boomers and may be the least preferred communication forum. It is crucial for Generation X and Y employees to be open to verbal communication and to know which form of communication is preferred by colleagues in various situations.

2. Use of Social Media Websites-There is no doubt that social media plays a huge role in everyday life for many people. Most of the world uses Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or is at least aware that these sites exist. Although most members of Generation X and Y find social media to be incredibly advantageous and entertaining, it’s important to note that Baby Boomers may not feel the same way. Again, this technology has not always existed during their career and has possibly caused their work responsibilities and style to change in a big way. In most cases, Baby Boomers are just as excited as Generation X and Y to talk about the exciting things happening in their personal lives, but may not be comfortable sharing that information with the thousands of people it can now reach through social media. It is also important make an effort to build and sustain Boomer relationships on more than just a social media level. In some instances, that may require a Generation X and Y employee to avoid posting photos or even discussing your most recent social media update while working. Many Baby Boomers have a more traditional view on work place conduct and may feel updating Facebook or posting a photo on Instagram is not an appropriate task to be conducted during work hours.

3. Work Style and Environment-Members of every generation know that hard work pays off, but work style, approach and environment may differ greatly. The Baby Boomer generation may be used to a more traditional office setting with a quiet, organized, neutral-toned work space where they can concentrate on the task at hand. Generation X and Y employees may find a more colorful, creative-conscious and lively atmosphere inspires their best work. For example, a Generation X and Y employee may find that listening to music through ear buds or using colorful office supplies and décor helps them do their best work, but a Baby Boomer may see those things as off putting or distracting. If you are a Generation X or Y, you should be conscious of these possible opinions and respect different work methods and environment preferences by knowing when to use these items appropriately.

There is a lot to consider when it comes to the varying work styles in a multi-generational office environment. Being mindful of the different preferences of your colleagues in every generational group will help you be successful when seeking great insurance jobs. With Baby Boomers still playing such a major role in the insurance industry, companies are looking for candidates who are aware of this and can adapt easily.

Dedication and Connections Breed Success

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Many job seekers believe that building an impressive resume, attending a top-rated university and winning numerous awards are all you need to land that dream job. While those achievements are important and play a critical part in getting an incredible position, there are two items not found on a resume that also create true career success:  dedication and connections. On that note, Coleman Search Group (CSG) is proud to announce our own Iwalani De Los Santos (Lani) recently accepted the position of claim associate for one of the leading multi-line insurers, Zurich Insurance.  She accomplished a lot and formed new relationships during her time with CSG, which helped bring her to this place of career success.

As operations manager at CSG, Lani had the opportunity to get an up close view into the property/casualty insurance industry, which ultimately fueled her desire to work in this business. She learned how to identify key traits that made a job candidate successful and how important it was to be truly prepared for every professional scenario. These experiences, along with her dedication to learning, helped Lani hone her skills and qualities, making her a more sought-after job candidate. In her position, she was responsible for several key functions of the company which built her confidence in her own capabilities, as well as in the insurance industry as a viable career field.

Lani met and worked with various key contacts in the industry. Through these connections and interactions, she gained valuable knowledge from experienced professionals and began building lasting relationships that will forever play a part in her professional path. Lani’s positive rapport with clients, candidates and colleagues through daily work activities and networking events contributed to the incredible opportunities and glowing references she received.

A strong resume is definitely a key part of accomplishing professional success, but it’s not always the only or most important piece of the puzzle. As you can see in Lani’s success story, there is much more that goes into landing that great job. She does have the remarkable resume filled with coveted job experiences and academic accomplishments, but it was ultimately her dedication and the connections she made while at CSG that led to a great opportunity for an incredible company.

How to Pick the Star Candidate

By: Iwalani De Los Santos

This summer, we encouraged candidates and job seekers to take actionable steps to sharpen their skills and gave advice on how to set themselves apart from the competition. But how can hiring managers best prepare themselves and their team to make the best selection for a new hire?

recruitmentRecruitment Strategy

First, define the job you are looking to fill. A well-crafted job description will serve as a great reference when you begin to sift through applicants. It will provide a clear outline for what you desire in a new hire as well as keep you focused on requirements and preferences. This is an advantageous occasion to critically analyze the duties, responsibilities, necessary skills and education that you seek in a new hire.  To go deeper than the basic job requirements, consider the individual attributes of a person who excelled in that role in the past. Contemplate and identify what kinds of individual strengths you need to add to your team.

Next, create a panel of team leaders, human resources personnel, or others whom you respect to have good, professional judgment. Assemble a team of people who represent your company’s values and are skilled at identifying those values in others. This team will provide support and balance throughout the hiring process. They may be integral to an interview panel or a post-interview meeting.

Tap into your Network

You may be more connected than you think! Utilize word-of-mouth to spread information about position availability to your industry contacts, employee referrals, social media outlets, and industry leaders. Even if someone within your company is not ready to shift into the open position, they may know of someone who is ready. Reach out to your college buddies or professional organization members who are in a similar industry and can help you source for potential candidates. Professional recruiters can offer a highly-specialized approach with their own industry contacts and pool of quality candidates.  Recruiters can be an invaluable resource in finding passive candidates who are not actively searching for a new role, but whose skills may be a perfect fit for your hiring need.

Interview Strategy

Ask behaviorally-based questions to get a sense of how the candidate would respond in different situations. Some of the best indicators of future behavior is shown through examples of how someone handled themselves in the past. Ask for specific examples of how they handled a confrontation in the workplace or how they solved a difficult challenge with a customer. Preparing questions ahead of time is just as important in this process as it is for a candidate to come to the interview with questions prepared to ask of you.

How do you determine if the interviewee is the right fit for the job? At this point in the process you should already have a good idea if a candidate is capable of executing the job duties and has the necessary skills to be effective. However, you still need to consider their presence and personality to see if they will be a good match for your existing team. A top-notch candidate will present themselves with confidence and will clearly convey their interest in the position. Assess whether they are comfortable discussing their strengths and have a keen knowledge of the expected performance. Now you need to tune into your sharp, discerning executive mind to accurately read the candidate for compatibility with your team.

There are many options and new approaches you can try as you make your hiring decisions. The best piece of advice we can give is to continue nurturing your professional relationships. As you continue hiring top-quality talent, you reinforce your team’s success and gain a reputation for acquiring the best.

 

How to Gain a Competitive Edge During Summer

By: Iwalani De Los Santos

In the coming weeks the World Cup will bring competition into the global spotlight and has us considering how individual coordination, energy, and teamwork can yield victory when it comes to a job search.  soccerCandidates come to us for résumé development, interview preparation, and ultimately how to score their desired career opportunity.  How can you be positioned ahead of the pack to score that goal?

Pre-Season Conditioning: Enhance Your Skills

Players expecting to make the cut for their nation’s World Cup team can’t take a break in their off-season.  Top competitors continue to hone their skills, advance their moves, and stay in peak physical condition.  Why shouldn’t you do the same?  How are you enhancing your skills?  How are you staying in peak condition?  Have you ever considered that you are in a very unique situation when searching for that next opportunity?  You may ask “how is that unique?” quite simply; YOU are the product that is being marketed.   As such, how are you enhancing yourself and your value?  Have you strengthened your resume, sharpened your interviewing skills, enrolled in continuing education or licensing courses?  Have you differentiated yourself by volunteering in the community?  These are simply a few suggestions that will help condition you to be the star-player when it’s time to compete.

Play Offense: You Have the Ball

Historically speaking, summer time is usually a slower period when it comes to interviewing and hiring.  Many companies bring on new hires in the spring or fall and most have already filled their openings with new college graduates before summer.  Don’t let this deter you from applying or sending your resume to a hiring authority.  In fact, you can get a jump on the competition while there are fewer contenders in the game.  Be proactive by submitting your resume, use social media to remain well connected, and work alongside an industry insider, when necessary.  After years of the ‘Great Recession’ hiring drought, employers are identifying and hiring great candidates, sometimes before posting roles on their career board.  If a hiring manager is looking for talent, make your moves count and be on offense.

Be a Midfielder: Expand Your Chances to Score a Goal

Soccer players always keep an eye out for any opportunity to score a goal.  They must capitalize on a variety of vantage points on the field for success.   Likewise, approach your job search with an open-mind, continuously update your perspective, and modernize your target job.  Have you considered widening your scope of possible relocation regions, exploring a lateral opportunity to broaden your skills and qualifications, or taking a calculated risk to go for that next position on the corporate ladder?  We believe it’s important to remember that you aren’t looking for a ‘job’; you are looking for the right career opportunity for your skill set and experience.  You never know, taking a shot from an unlikely angle could lead you to score a life changing opportunity for you and your family.

Teamwork: Strategize Your Strengths & Weaknesses

Every great team has their rising stars, veterans, support staff, and coaches.  Each part of the team must work together to develop their individual talents and provide support in areas that need improvement. How each team handles their unique combination of strengths and weaknesses will determine their success.  From our perspective as recruiters, it’s essentially  the same game plan: a candidate who seeks a new role should know their individual strengths, find out how to limit their weaknesses, network with “veterans” in your area of interest, and rely on “coaches” like Coleman Search Group (CSG) to help you navigate the field.

Set yourself apart from the pack and attract prospective companies by taking an assessment of your strengths and weaknesses.  There are many resources and methods to assess your strengths and learn about your personal attributes.  Knowing how to advance a player’s strengths and how to reduce weakness creates a healthy balance for any winning team.  Once you assess your abilities, seek out professionals with a solid reputation in your business – they will provide sound advice to help you advance in your field.  Next, you may consider using a “coach” to help you prepare and provide strategies for your job search.  Coaching makes a difference and the right “coach” can help you succeed and give you a personalized training plan.  Last, but not least, lean on your family and friends as you consider new responsibilities, relocation options and your career dreams.  Carefully consider their feedback because they know you well and can be some of your biggest fans!

The Dog Days of Summer: Tips to enhance your Work-Life Balance

work life balanceSwimming pools, beach umbrellas, barbeques, and long-days spent soaking up the summer sun.  The Dog Days of Summer are upon us and though school is out until autumn, the learning should continue.  June, July, and August should become the months to make sure that balancing your work life and maintaining a mental equilibrium soar to the top of your to-do list.  While the effects of a high stress work environment and long hours are evident to each employee, employers are dedicating more time and energy to address employee-wellness issues.  According to a report on the importance of work-life balance by Business Improvement Architects, “Employers are becoming increasingly aware of the cost implications associated with over-worked employees such as: operating and productivity costs, absenteeism, punctuality, commitment and performance. [Consequently,] there are five main reasons why companies participate in work life balance programs: high return on investment, recruitment and retention of employees, legislation, costs, and union regulations.”

“Companies that have implemented work-life balance programs recognize that employee welfare affects the “bottom line” of the business.” – Business Improvement Architects

Here are some ways to develop your own homeostasis in your daily work-life balance:

A fresh perspective
It is human nature to veer off your chosen path, losing oneself to the many distractions of life.  We often have moments during a task or process where we stop and realize that we’ve been wasting valuable time instead of being efficient.  We also realize when we get so wrapped up in an effort that went poorly or a meeting that was far from perfect, we lose sight of the big picture.  As The Telegraph’s Hazel Davis points out, “You can’t control everything that happens in your life, so try and create processes, scheduling and timekeeping for those aspects you can control.  Then release the aspects you can’t control so they don’t make you crazy.”  Remembering to step back and objectively analyze a situation or series of events will help you maintain a clear perspective not only for yourself, but also for fellow employees.

Organize, Manage, and Prioritize
So much can be lost amongst the hustle and bustle of daily work.  What was once a tidy, well-oiled machine can quickly morph into the haystack of all haystacks.  Having a well-organized and properly maintained work area can have a positive impact on how you feel about your work place, being well structured also extends to your personal priorities.  The Mood Disorder Society of Canada suggests you “Identify your priorities and adjust your life to make time for things important to you.”  So often, we lose sight of what is important and instead of being excited for new challenges, we resent the burden of unwanted problems.

“Finding a manageable work-life balance is crucial for long-term business success.” –Hazel Davis, The Telegraph

Consider How You Spend Your Time
Ask yourself this question:  On a daily basis, how do you spend your time?  If you are putting in long hours at the office, are you giving the same focus and effort to your personal wellbeing at home?  Amy Rees  Anderson of Forbes explains that, “In all the talk about work/life balance we forget that part of balance is taking time for you.” Taking time for personal activities such as exercising, reading, or simply getting out of the house can do wonders for an overworked psyche.

Recharge
Sleep.  Sleep.  And more sleep.  As time, energy, and inevitably stress increases, the need for extended periods of sleep rises as well.  Martin Bjergegaard of The Huffington Post writes “When you’re sleep deprived, research shows that you make the wrong calls, focus on the wrong tasks and fall into the trap of working longer but less efficiently.”  Remembering that you will be a more efficient and well-balanced employee with a steady amount of sleep can help you set aside the time, regardless of work-load, to achieved a well-rested body and mind.