Millennials: On the Move

Dolly-COUPLE-MOVING-THOUGHT-BUBBLES-EMOJIS

Most information presented today regarding Millennials indicates that this is a population that has a global mindset and is largely open to adventure and new experiences, especially if they offer professional growth and interesting challenges.  If a company is concerned about retaining Millennial talent, investing in their professional growth is essential and should reap gains for the company as well.  Using strategic international assignments for developmental purposes is key to successful talent management and having a flexible relocation package to support these assignments is a clear competitive advantage for corporations today.

 

According PricewaterhouseCoopers’ report Millennials at Work: Reshaping the Workplace, 70 percent of Millennials want or expect an overseas assignment at some point in their careers. And with 1.8 billion Millennials predicted to make up 50 percent of the global workforce by 2020, employers need to ensure their relocation programs are attractive to this generation.

 

Many companies offer lump sum relocation packages, assuming the employee would rather self-manage their funds.  But a lump sum benefit without guidance in its proper usage, can be quickly spent on services and items that do little to assist the employee, and especially a spouse, in the cultural and professional adaptation to their new location.  Companies cannot assume that millennials know what to expect, or know how to manage a lump sum budget.  And because they are accustomed to being transparent in their social commentary, employers can expect that they will openly discuss and compare their experience with others.

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The Risk Of Clicking The Little Blue Guy On LinkedIn

little blue guyI came home recently to discover my husband Steve glued to his smart phone, cheeks flushed with excitement.

“Whatcha doin?” I asked.

“LinkedIn is starting to make sense! It recommended these People You May Know so I started clicking the little blue guys next to people’s names. I clicked over 50 names, and my phone is blowing up now with people accepting my request!”

He peered up at me over his readers. “What? You look sick all of a sudden. I’m confused. Don’t you always say I should grow my network?”

I was thrilled he was exploring LinkedIn, so I acknowledged that. “You are so excited at the responses you’re getting!” I waited before launching into Miss LinkedIn Know-It-All.

“Yes! I didn’t realize how easy this is,” he said.

“Can I share a quickie LinkedIn lesson that’s easy to forget?”

He nodded.

“LinkedIn makes connecting easy, for sure. People prefer to do business with people they know, like, and trust, and LinkedIn is a perfect ecosystem for establishing your credibility. Here’s the thing: Clicking the little blue guy can mess with the “know, like, trust” factor.”

“Why?”

“Because when you click that blue guy, it sends a default message to the recipient which is, I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn. That’s it. It’s blah and impersonal. Think of it this way: If someone walked up to you at a networking event, handed you his business card without saying a word and then walked away, what would you do?”

“I’d probably put it in my pocket and forget about it,” he said.

“Exactly. His awkward networking move is the equivalent of clicking the little blue guy in the People You May Know area. You’ve “collected” a name in your network with someone you don’t know; the trail between you is cold.”

Steve says, “So it’s like having a can in your pantry with no label. The one that sits there unused for years, taking up space.”

“Bingo,” I said. “Here’s another risk: Let’s say now you’re connected to Jerry Smith through the little blue guy. In a couple weeks your friend Rick calls you and says, “Hey Steve—I see you’re connected to Jerry Smith on LinkedIn. I’d love it if you’d introduce us.” You have to tell Rick “Crap! I don’t really know Jerry. Sorry buddy.”

“Now your “know, like, trust factor” has diminished in Rick’s eyes. He can’t rely on you to provide referrals, like you can rely on him. See, Rick knows not to click the little blue guy. He personalizes each connection request, starting the relationship on warm, solid footing. In addition, he stays in touch with his network, providing value in all the ways he can through LinkedIn. As a result, Rick’s “know, like, trust” vibe is through the roof.”

I also tell Steve about the other down side to clicking the blue guy: LinkedIn will restrict your account if too many people you invite that way respond with “I don’t know Steve.” (I contacted the LinkedIn help desk just now, asking what the “I don’t know” threshold was, and was told it depended on “multiple algorithms”). You can get it unrestricted, but I suggest avoiding the hassle in the first place.

The good news is, this whole conversation gave me the chance to reveal how forgiving an ecosystem LinkedIn is. Steve can work on growing his relationships with these new “cold” connections in spite of a rocky start. He can:

  • Message them privately, reviewing their profiles, finding like-mindedness and commonalities, laying the groundwork for information sharing
  • He can provide status updates that his connections value
  • He can write blogs that offer insights and information that benefit his network, boosting his “know, like, trust” factor

That said, it’s harder to turn a cold relationship warm than a warm relationship warmer.

Steve’s initial hunch was right: LinkedIn does make so much sense. It’s a rich online environment for finding prospects, earning their trust, and creating mutually beneficial professional relationships. But in relationship building there is no shortcut, which is why we need to avoid being seduced by the little blue guy, who makes us think a real relationship is just a click away.

Julie Bondy Roberts, MA, GCDF is a LinkedIn™ Profile Writer, LinkedIn trainer & public speaker, REA Career Coach, and blogger. She is the founder and principal at Coming Alive Career Coaching. To learn more about LinkedIn™ Profile Makeover packages & training your group or organization on growing your business through LinkedIn, contact Julie at juliebondyroberts@gmail.com. Follow Julie @CAcareercoach.

3 Key Strategies to Get Your Dream Job

3 Key Strategies to Get Your Dream Job
By Lori Howard, CPRW, GCC – Career Coach REA-Partners in Transition

You’ve been working hard at unearthing and verbalizing your strengths and skills.  You’ve imagined a clear picture of the job you would L-O-V-E to have.  Now what?  How do put yourself in a position to get that job?

When Ron first came to me, he had worked in sales for many years.  What he really wanted to do was teach or train adults.  He actually had some relevant experience, but it wasn’t the focus of his work history.  So how could he make that sort of transition?  How would Ron convince any hiring manager that he had the right skills?

I showed Ron 3 key strategies that would help him to make his transition.  These 3 key strategies can also take you from job-fantasy to job-reality.

  1. Begin with the end in mind.

Or at least a clear picture of the job you want.  Ron looked up positions that interested him, even if they were half-way around the world.  (Just because it’s not in your neighborhood today, doesn’t mean there won’t be a similar opening tomorrow.) He searched to find some job descriptions, anywhere in the real world, that resonated for him.   Ron then made lots of notes about the key responsibilities, skills, and experience required for the jobs he was drawn to.  He paid close attention to the specific words and phrases they use.  Ron then used all of this information to write up his own ideal job description, one that was based in reality.

  1. Update your job search materials to target the job you want.
    Ron took his resume and cover letter.  He also keeps a master list of his accomplishments, so he pulled that out too. Ron then put these materials side by side with his ideal job description and his notes of key responsibilities, skills, and required experience.   Then he updated his resume with descriptions of responsibilities and accomplishments that aligned with his target job.  He rewrote portions of his resume, replacing old accomplishments with new ones that were more relevant to the position he wanted.  He also added a few new responsibilities to show he had the right experience.  Ron reviewed all his paper and online job search materials to make sure everything was now targeted at his new dream job.
  2. Target your search.

At this point, Ron was ready to search for companies in his area that might have the type of position he wanted (even if it wasn’t open right now).  He made a list of companies to target for potential employment.  And then he told the people in his network that he was now actively looking for a training position.  He targeted sales training and insurance training – since those were the industries he knew best.  He asked for their help to find his dream job.

If this sounds like a lot of work to you, you’re right, it is.  But we are talking about going after your dream job here.  Isn’t that worth the extra effort?  It was for Ron.  And he is now happily employed in a job he loves, and is on a new career path.

Have you begun to search for your dream job?  What are you looking for?

What About Me? A Common Question from the Relocating Spouse

What About Me? A Common Question from the Relocating Spouse
by Heidi B. Ravis, Global Services Team Leader, REA (Ricklin-Echikson Associates)

Relocating employees and their families often receive assistance from numerous sources, including realtors, movers and cultural trainers. Research shows, however, that career and acclimation support for the accompanying spouse/partner are critical elements in the success of a relocation. While the employee has a sense of purpose and structure upon arrival in the new location, the accompanying spouse often encounters feelings of isolation resulting from career interruption and/or loss of professional identity and social ties. In addition, the spouse may feel overwhelmed by the challenges of adapting to a new communityor culture and helping children to cope with them as well.

The International Mobility and Dual Career Survey of International Employees conducted by the Permits Foundation (2012) supports this perspective.

The survey indicates that if the spouse has given up a job that provided success, income and identity, their new jobless status may contribute to dissatisfaction with the new location and negative feelings about the move. These factors may have a significant impact on the success or failure of the relocation and, ultimately, the employee’s future with the company. In my experience as an International Career Consultant, I have found that successful support for the accompanying spouse includes the following:

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Supporting the Family – A Wise Investment

Despite ongoing economic concerns, corporations remain focused on expanding their global footprint by building business in new markets. Toward this goal, global talent management and workforce mobility remain key factors in accomplishing business objectives.  As increasing numbers of companies establish sites worldwide and forge relationships with international companies via mergers and acquisitions, the need to develop global leaders through strategic international assignments continues to grow.  Addressing employer and employee and family needs to assure successful international assignments will continue to pose an increasing challenge to corporations especially in these volatile times.

Organizations acknowledge that they must have both competitive compensation packages and substantive relocation benefits in order to attract, develop and retain top talent.  Dual career and partner issues are of paramount importance in motivating key talent to accept an international assignment and assuring the success of that assignment. The Permits Foundation recently conducted a study on the impact of dual careers on international mobility.  An independent not for profit initiative, the Permits Foundation supports international mobility and promotes work authorization for expatriate spouses and partners worldwide. According to its survey, 66% of employer respondents agreed that dual career and spouse/partner issues are increasingly important in their organizations, and cited the growth of dual career partnerships as more women continue to enter the workforce.

The Permits Foundation survey also revealed that nearly two thirds of employers (66%) report that partner career and employment issues impact their organizations’ ability to attract employees to international assignments, and over half of the employers (51%) surveyed report that employees have turned down international assignments due to partner career and employment concerns.

Even when moving within the US, increasing numbers of transferees are asking for spousal career assistance as more couples rely on two incomes for financial security.  The need for spousal assistance has become more pronounced as dual career families face major challenges on the economic front.  Poor housing markets significantly impact a family’s decision to accept a relocation. This situation is further complicated by family separation as the spouse and children typically stay in the home location until the house sells.  Dramatic changes in the mortgage market often require both partners to work in order to qualify for a mortgage.  Lack of job security and a competitive job market may require a career change in the new location which is a daunting prospect for many accompanying partners.

While international assignments may pose work restrictions for expatriate partners in some countries, career and transition assistance can certainly help the accompanying spouse or partner to explore other meaningful pursuits while in the new location.  There are often satisfying alternatives available to the spouse/partner such as telecommuting, internships or self-employment opportunities that are feasible to engage in from the home country.  In addition, activities like furthering their education, learning the local language or new skills or getting involved in volunteer work that expands upon their background and experience may be very rewarding and facilitate greater assimilation into the new country and culture.

Failure to address the career concerns of both partners has a negative influence on the management of key talent and economic outcomes for employers, employees and families.  Survey results indicate time and again that spousal career and transition support is critical for the success of an assignment or relocation.  For a minimal investment corporations can obtain a bit of “insurance” to protect the ROI of their assignment and relocation expenses and gain a cost effective solution to the dual career talent management dilemma.  Employee productivity and performance is greatly influenced by the family’s adjustment to the new location or country and partner career and transition assistance can help assure a positive outcome and experience for both the corporation and the relocating family.

Lorraine Bello, GMS, is CEO and President of Ricklin-Echikson Associates (REA).  

Don’t Let Online Time Derail Your Job Search

5 Qualities of Successful Job Seekers

5 Qualities of Successful Job Seekers

Job seekers today need more than just a good resume. Competition for jobs is very high for many professions and the ideal candidate must do more than just meet the job requirements. Employers are looking for the total package. Here are some traits of successful job seekers that can give you that competitive edge:

1. Resourcefulness – Show that you are a problem solver. Demonstrate how you will find answers even when you may not know the answer. Employers want people who can figure things out.

2. Flexibility – Be open to new environments, situations, projects, etc. Employers are doing more with less, and the more you are open to doing, the better.

3. Creativity – Employers want to hear and see new ideas. Very seldom do they look for someone who just accepts the status quo. Be willing to share ideas that show your innovative spirit.

4. Positive Attitude-Showing enthusiasm can be contagious. It is much easier to work with someone who keeps things positive. Focus on what you can accomplish and find ways to combat the naysayers.

5. Confidence – Employers want people who are capable and confident, but not to the point where arrogance takes over. Be assertive, but also be mindful of others.

It’s Who Knows What You Know

Please click here for an REA Tip Network audio made for you by our President and CEO, Lorraine Bello.

How Coaches Help Families in International Transition

For many people who have moved just within their country, a global relocation to another part of the world can feel overwhelming. Yet in today’s global economy thousands of employees and their families do this every year, often via a transfer by an employer for a predetermined number of years.

Fortunately, many of these world travelers have help from an assortment of people, some of whom are today known as coaches. Hearing this term may bring to mind athletic teams but at the end of the last century it came into vogue as a designation for professionals who provide expertise and support for others in various circumstances and fields of human endeavor. There are life coaches, relationship coaches, career coaches, executive coaches, mental health coaches, education coaches and transition coaches. Many coaches have a high level of training and credentialing, though the specialty is still new enough to be unencumbered by formal government regulation.

Coaches may align themselves with any of the specialties mentioned above while also possessing a broad repertoire of other skills with which to help transitioning families. The partners and children who move along with the transferred employee used to be thought of as “trailing,” but this perjorative term has faded from use as we realize that a successful adjustment to their new world is key to employee success. These accompanying family members face a complete reorientation of their lives, while also navigating the numerous practical matters that come with getting themselves established in a new country.

One important concern for the partners is finding work or, failing that, making constructive use of their time abroad. This is where a career or transition coach can be especially helpful.

Accelerating Full-time, Regular Job-Searches

A job search, challenging enough on one’s home turf, can seem impossible in another country with its own way of doing things. Transferees need to be tutored in how to determine if they are eligible to work and under what limitations (for example, needing a work permit or a sponsoring company) in the basics of the job search itself and in how a search is executed in their own country.

Arturo, a senior finance professional, relocated from South America to the US and had to find an employer who would sponsor his work permit. He was so overwhelmed with the change that he was not able to focus and was confused about where to start. His coach discussed job-search strategies, wrote out an action-plan to keep him on track, and prepared his resume targeting the US market. The coach and Arturo discussed interviewing strategies, and had a practice session on networking and salary negotiation. They also explored the cultural differences between the US and South America and how they can impact a job search. Within two months of beginning his job campaign, he landed a job as Director of Finance with a mid-size company.

Portable Careers Evolving from Passions and Hobbies

Some people cannot have a conventional career because of their spouse’s frequent relocations or because they have moved to a country that does not permit foreign residents to fill regular jobs. In these cases a coach may help a person develop, sometimes out of existing passions and experience, a portable career that is not dependent on being in a specific location. Usually such entrepreneurial undertakings capitalize on the recent growth in communications technologies. A coach can help these people assess their strengths and determine a direction.

Ria, a Software Engineer, relocated internationally from Asia to Australia 3 years ago and, because of the dependent visa, could not work. Her coach discussed varied options and helped her to find a meaningful way to spend her time. Since she had an IT background and good writing skills, she began to write a technical blog.

After two years she relocated again to a European country. This time she had a work permit, but she had toddlers at home and didn’t want to send them to daycare. Ria came back to her coach for further help. Ria’s coach sent her resources on how to make money through websites. They decided that she could continue her passion for blogging about IT. This time, however, she is blogging on her own successful website and it has now become a source of income for her.

The position of Virtual Assistant is one of the hottest home-based occupations for world travelers because much of their work can be done from nearly any location. Because virtual assistants are independent contractors rather than employees, clients are not responsible for employee-related taxes, insurance or benefits. This enables them to work below the radar in many countries and sometimes continue with their predeparture job. Here are several websites that focus on the virtual assistant position:

  1. Virtual Assistant Career Guide: http://www.virtualassistantcareerguide.com/chapterfive/
  2. International Virtual Assistants Association (IVAA): http://www.ivaa.org/
  3. Assist U: http://www.assistu.com/
  4. Virtual Assistants 4 U: www.va4u.com/assistant

Another portable and flexible career is teaching in fields like math, science, social studies and languages. These subjects can in some places be taught on-line, allowing a person to work from home. The following websites that have information concerning virtual teaching and tutoring:

  1. Sylvan Online: http://tutoring.sylvanlearning.com/
  2. Language Lab: www.languagelab.com
  3. Tutor.com: www.tutor.com
  4. Smart Thinking: www.smarthinking.com
  5. Tutor Vista: www.tutorvista.com

New Careers after Relocation 

Another option for the transferee is to create a new career based on skills acquired, if not necessarily deployed for profit, back home. Many coaches are prepared to help their clients assess their experience and abilities and leverage them into a new field.

Jane had been working in a famous casino for 15 years in Atlantic City, New Jersey.  She relocated to a place where there were no casinos and was confused about what to do to earn a living. I gave her a career assessment which helped her identify her strengths and transferable skills. We found that she had strong customer service, sales, marketing and communication skills. Together we explored many possible career choices and now she is happily employed at the front desk of a Five Star hotel. 

Challenges for Families with Kids

When children are involved in a relocation many more factors come into consideration such as the need for daycare, schools, doctors and the child’s overall adjustment to another culture. Often local coaches can steer people in the right direction toward reliable services. Sometimes parents need help even with their older children whose plans for college get blurred by the challenges of living in another culture. Even parents who are moving globally with high school students can benefit from a coach’s perspective. So can the children themselves.

Originally from Germany, Kathy was relocating from Asia to Chicago. She had four children – two in high school, one in middle school and one in elementary school. She told her consultant that relocations have been very nice experiences for all of them because they have learned so much about other cultures and languages first hand. Her kids have always been are really excited about relocating and because of the social media they are well connected and have friends around the world. Kathy, however, was worried about finding the right career for her high school kids. After all the change they had experienced, she felt they needed help focusing on what they wanted in a career.  Over several coaching sessions with Kathy and her kids several career options were explored. Their coach helped them choose a college major in International Management. This capitalized on the strengths they had built through their relocations such as a love of travel, the ability to deal with diverse cultures and an interest in learning different languages.   

Conclusion

Not all partners are able to work or find the right kind of position, but fortunately the alternative is not a slide into inactivity. A coach can help people connect with volunteer and community activities and pursuits that build on and extend their existing knowledge and interests.

In conclusion, coaching can help families and individuals make the most out of the challenges and uncertainties they face when they relocate. With a positive attitude, an open mind and the help of a resourceful career coach, even a stressful relocation can be an opportunity to learn new things, develop new paths and explore meaningful pursuits.

Divya Gupta, MBA, PCC, ACPEC, CPRW, ACCC, and ICF Certified Executive and Career Coach is a Career Coach for REA.

 

Networking Around The World

Networking, making friends or gathering contacts anywhere in the world can be richly rewarding, especially as a way of getting to know the culture of a country a little better.

It can also be a minefield of the unknown because of the diversity of cultures.

Here are some networking tips and suggestions from career specialists’ experiences in Asia, Germany, Turkey and the Middle East.

In China

Guanxi drives business. Guanxi literally means your network of relationships, but also encompasses a sense of trust and obligation. It takes time to build guanxi by sharing meals and small talk, and doing little favors. After you invest time in getting to know someone you wish to do business with, there comes an obvious point where you cross the threshold of being trustworthy, and you’ll likely be awarded work, help and genuine, lasting friendship.

  • Carry plenty of business cards. Exchanging cards begins every introduction.
  • Seek out social and professional networking groups. Many opportunities are launched via informal conversation.
  • Be patient. Deals are rarely finalized in one meeting.
  • Don’t be too pushy or direct. The relationship is seen as more important than forceful efficiency.

In Turkey

Networking in Turkey can be very rewarding when you follow a few simple tips. There is a strong belief that giving back to your network and community is essential to succeed in life and business, which is a good principle to follow when networking.

  • Focus on giving without any expectations and getting to know the person rather than telling them about yourself. Listening and giving are key.
  • Do not try to get before you give.
  • Bragging is frowned upon.  Always be modest and polite. Listen first and then talk.
  • Be yourself rather than try to impress.

In Germany

Germans separate work from private life and use language to reinforce this. The key to networking with Germans is to allow time for the relationship to grow and to avoid using too much “small talk”.

  • Find common ground by discovering where they have visited in your own country.
  • Make an effort to speak some words in German, especially if you can learn some local dialect.
  • Be careful not to be pushy or to expect to become an immediate part of the group.
  • Build trust and respect with co-workers.
  • If you are meeting younger Germans you can immediately use the informal form of address, but beware, as it can sometimes lead to sticky situations.

In Japan

Typically the work hierarchy is maintained outside of the work place. Very often employees will not leave until the boss leaves and will follow the boss’ lead socially.

If you are looking for work it is very common to network in international clubs.  Two of the best clubs are led by international expats.

  • The most important tool to have at your fingertips is your business card. Present it with two hands.
  • Always have your business card with you when you attend an event.  Even if you are not working, you should have a card with your contact details to exchange when you meet people for the first time.
  • Using just one Japanese word will bring you a long way, so make the effort to learn some basics.
  • Practice bowing.
  • The Japanese are very quiet, calm and seek harmony and consensus. Do not be afraid to exercise being silent, which is very normal for the Japanese.

In the Middle East

Relationships take a long time to form in Arab cultures, and building trust is important and takes patience.

  • If you are at an event with other local or native Arabs, be modest and business like in your dress.
  • When you are at an event with local Arabs, either male or female, be aware that they may not shake your hand for religious reasons. (Males can shake hands with males and likewise females with females, but often locals will not have physical contact with the opposite sex). Either wait for them to extend their hand first, or at the end of the meeting, put your hand on your chest and express how good it was to meet them. This is a respectful alternative to hand shaking.
  • Ask about family as part of building relationships. Quite often a business meeting will start with this information sharing and eventually the conversation will come around to the matter at hand. Be patient; it is all part of the culture.
  • Learning the Arabic greeting will show great respect for the culture. There are various ways to greet in Arabic, but a simple “salam alekum” will show respect.
  • Do not admire a local woman’s jewelry, headdress or clothing. If you do, following it immediately by saying, “mashallah.”

In whatever country you will be networking, spend some time becoming familiar with the culture. Showing that you care enough to find out about the culture is a step toward building lasting relationships. Finally, when networking internationally always be respectful and remember to enjoy the experience.

Emma Wheat is a Global Services Coach for REA. This article was written with contributions from REA’s Global Services Team.