Monthly Archive for September, 2012

Persistence, The Key To Success

“Persistence is probably the single most common quality of high achievers,” says Jack Canfield, renowned career coach and author of the best selling book, The Success Principles. “They simple refuse to give up. The longer you hang in there, the greater the chance that something will happen in your favor…the longer you persist the more likely your success.”

Consider the wisdom embedded in these declarations by high achievers.

“Most people give up just when they’re about to achieve success. They quit on the one-yard line. They give up at the last minute of the game, one foot from the winning touchdown.” H. Ross Perot, billionaire and former presidential candidate.

“History has demonstrated that the most notable winners usually encountered heartbreaking obstacles before they triumphed. They won because they refused to become discouraged by their defeats.” B.C. Forbes, founder of Forbes magazine.

“Fall down seven times, get up eight times.” Japanese proverb.

“Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Calvin Coolidge, thirtieth president of the United States.

I wish you career success!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work




Why Use A Search Firm To Attract and Hire Senior Consulting Talent?

There are some basic reasons why to use a search firm to hire any senior executive.  There are reasons specific to consulting, and there are some situations where it does not make sense to use a firm.

 Why use a search firm at all?

A good search firm provides specific professional expertise, which cannot be replicated using other resources.  Just as you use an attorney or an auditor, search professionals provide outside expertise to help your business function more efficiently.  Retained search provides:

  • Dedicated representation of your firm in a competitive hiring marketplace.
  • Access to the highest quality candidates, particularly if you hire a firm specializing in your field.
  • Ability to provide a strong case for passive candidates.  Candidates who are not looking generally make the best hires.
  • A justification of their own expense by saving you time, and by ensuring a quick and successful hire.  Delayed hiring or poor choices cost much more than a search fee.

Why Use A Specialty Search Firm For A Consulting Hire?

The placement of consultants provides challenges unique to executive search.   If you are looking for candidates from professional services firms, you should consider the following:

  • Consultants generally work in matrixed environments making it more difficult to identify candidates, than if they worked in a conventional management structure.
  • Many consultants have a variety of skills and experiences, so the ability to identify their strongest capabilities can present a challenge.
  • Consultants are moving targets and can be difficult to manage through a typical search process.
  • Consultants are business-savvy and must be approached with a strong marketing message in order to attract them.

Using and industry-focused, functionally-focused or generalist firm in consulting search is a risky proposition.


When To Avoid Using A Search Firm

Many senior hires are made without the benefit of a search firm.  There are a number of circumstances where it is best to avoid working with a search professional:

  • When the position is not clearly defined.
  • When you have a strong network specifically in the area. This is generally the case when a strong partner is hired, who has a following of more junior consultants.
  • When you are recruiting positions with many potential candidates.  These may be junior people or consultants with easily identifiable and broadly available skill sets.  Usually, these positions can be filled with help of a contingent recruiter or in-house recruiter.
  • When you have the time to dedicate to conducting the search yourself.  This is generally not the case for a hiring executive, but running the process yourself may give you insight into how and why to use a search firm.

If you find a search firm that suits your company and can successfully fill open positions, they usually justify their expense. Your due diligence should cover the firm’s expertise and track record in your area. You may also look for a firm willing to risk a portion of their fee to offset your own risk.  Your financial commitment to the search firm will return on your investment by providing high quality representation and an effective hire?

This Posting Created By The Staff At Ivy

Resume Q&A: Showing Leadership and People Skills 

Ivy Exec’s Sr. Resume Specialist Staci Collins explains how carefully chosen words and focusing on the solution, not the problem, are the keys to getting the interview and Showing Evidence of Leadership & People Skills on Your Resume:

Adding proof of Leadership & People skills into your resume, while of crucial importance, can be some of the trickiest bullets. First, it’s often hard to quantify people results.  Not every intervention results in a promotion, performance grade improvement, increased returns, etc.  But even when they do, because the challenges are individual or team, not market, cost, or process, it can be hard to find words that do justice to the result without “throwing someone under the bus”.  You throw your last company under the bus, and I, your new potential employer, imagine you’ll do it to me as well.

So, no one wants to write that his or her last boss threw screaming tantrums in front of clients, or reamed out team members with customers in the room, or was so involved in politics that they ignored operations. Avoid saying that the team couldn’t stop fighting, or the project was weeks or months behind and needed to be turned-around fast and cheap so as not to lose a key client and revenue stream.

And yet, every behavioral interview asks a version of “Tell me about a time when you resolved a team, client, or boss conflict.”  Having a well-worded statement of such on your resume may just win you the interview.  But if you’re not careful, it could lose it as well.

One way to address these things discreetly is of course to focus more on the solution than the problem…”Turned-around team” …and in my resume writing I make sure to use gentler words for problem descriptions: “Under-performing” rather than “poor-performing” or “failed”.  Also, choose the right competency verb “Coached”, “counseled”, “negotiated”, “mediated”, “Facilitated”, “Resolved”.

But the big bang is in the well-told story that’s respectful, but authentic; making these problems appear smaller with compassion & competence, since most of us realize we have some interpersonal issues (who me? Never).  By handling previous interpersonal snafus with skill and compassion, you assure me that you’ll do the same should I hire you.

Staci has over 15 years of experience partnering with managers at all levels to build their careers via career strategy, career assessment and selection, brand identification, PAR development and mapping, and strategic resume and cover letter development.

Staci brings deep industry experience, having worked at Accenture and Ernst & Young in performance coaching, change management, human resources, and strategic planning.

She received her MBA from the Haas School of Business, University of California, and Bachelor of Arts from Harvard.

To learn more about working one-on-one with Staci on your resume or inquire about Ivy Exec’s resume writing options, please email: or visit

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I recommend this blog as a great source for career advice.

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach

Common Sense At Work




Career Advice: How To Market Yourself For A Job

If you are looking for a job, think of yourself as a product to be sold…for example, a box of cereal or a new service from a bank. Think of employers as buyers. You need a marketing plan to make the sale.

Such a plan contains three elements: (1) what you have to sell; (2) where to sell it; and (3) how to communicate the selling message to prospective buyers.

Six Steps To Marketing Yourself

Your personal marketing plan for career success should include six basic steps.

First, define what assets your “product” has to offer which are better to solve the needs of the buyer than the field of competitors.

It may be difficult to find many real points by which to differentiate your product.  This simply underscores the necessity to execute an effective marketing plan in order to foster at least the perception of differences.

Second, create a list of prospective buyers where your “product” makes the best fit.

Third, screen and prioritize the list of prospective buyers according to how they match with what you have to sell and your goals. That list should take into account where you would most like to live, based on lifestyle, proximity to home and other factors.

Fourth, learn as much as possible about each of the prospective employers who come out of the screening… their history, recent developments, sales and profit volumes and recent major changes in management.  This can be done by consulting such resources as annual reports, “Standard and Poor’s,” back issues of the Wall Street Journal, Fortune magazine and recent books which can usually be located through a nearby library.

Fifth, based on your research, carefully craft various versions of your resumes to make your “product attributes” (i.e., reasons to buy) as applicable and attractive as possible to each prospect.  The selling points should include education, training and previous experience, special interests and how they relate to the prospect’s business.

Sixth, cover each resume with a letter that demonstrates a special interest in and knowledge of each targeted company. The letters should be as specific as possible, making such points as: “I know that XYZ, with sales last year of over $1 billion, is the fastest growing company in the widget industry as a result of its pioneering the development of the super widget. I am especially interested in your company because it is one of the keys to our nation’s battle against water pollution.

“Much of my education and experience points me toward building an engineering career in widgets.  I can think of no better place to make that career than at XYZ.  I believe I could make a real contribution to your company if I am fortunate enough to get an opportunity with your company.”

Most employers find it difficult to resist taking at least a second look at an applicant who has shown enough interest to do some homework.  It guarantees a leg-up over the competition.

Getting a job requires a lot of hard work, patience and common sense.  Nobody said achieving career goals would be easy, but the candidate armed with a well-thought-out marketing plan, executed with focused energy and persistence, has a head start on the career path to success.

To get more advice on how to accelerate your career during tough times participate in Ramon Greenwood’s widely read Common Sense At Work Blog <> He coaches from a successful career as Senior VP at American Express, author of career-related books, successful entrepreneur, and a senior executive/consultant in Fortune 500 companies. For more info go to free career coaching.


I wish you success!!!!

Ramon Greenwood, The Career Coach