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Managing Your Career in Today’s Economy
An ACC Online Chat – April 22, 2009

Download .PDF version of the transcript

Welcome & Introductions

Michelle_Butler Welcome to ACC’s latest online chat – Managing Your Career in Today’s Economy! During the next hour, we will discuss how you can manage your career today and ensure that you further your professional development. All are welcome to participate. We only ask that you remember that this is a professional forum and act accordingly.
Michelle_Butler ACC has lined up three experts to help us dig deeper during this discussion. They are:
Lynn Drake – Drake Consulting & Coaching, LLC
Renee Hauch – Senior Vice President, Search Management and Research, Carlsen Resources
Carol Vernon – Certified Executive Coach & Principal, Communications Matters, LLC
CarolVernon Hi~ I’m Carol Vernon. As a certified executive coach I work with a good number of cable industry, as well as other industry, professionals, to help them grow in their current work and plan for their next career steps. Earlier in my career, I worked in the cable industry as a senior director at NCTA and Cable in the Classroom. Today’s work place and job market are challenging, but they also provide real opportunities for savvy professionals to make significant contributions and be rewarded. A key is to be very intentional in determining your next steps.
ReneeHauch Hello. I'm Renee Hauch, SVP of Search Management & Research for Carlsen Resources. I help drive Carlsen Resources' growth through new client acquisition, and strategically identify and recruit talent for senior-level positions in the media and telecommunications industries. I specialize in senior-level searches in the cable industry.
LynnDrake Hi, I'm Lynn Drake and I run a coaching and training company. Often, I work with people in transition - whether between jobs, wanting a new career completely or even planning a successful retirement. Helping people design a life that meets their mission, fulfills their goals and gives them joy is my passion. Prior to forming my own company, I worked with the NCTA and Turner Broadcasting.
Michelle_Butler How do you successfully stand out in the workplace today?
ReneeHauch To stand out in today's marketplace, I think you need to really increase the demand for your services---show your value within your organization, as well as your willingness to roll up your sleeves and get your job done. Everyone is working with less people and less money, so now is the time to stand out and show how you can do more with less.
LynnDrake You standout by increasing your value to your employer. You do this by being strategic and assertive, by gaining new skills, by offering to do jobs no one else wants to do, by suggesting new ideas and by being innovative. You are on top of the latest trends and technology in your industry and you become a source and resource for people.
CarolVernon Professionals have to take charge of their careers--they need to have clear plans in place about their current work, future steps, developmental needs, and networking.
Michelle_Butler Renee, the February Online Chat was all about "doing more with less", so it's definitely a theme for this year.

Interpersonal and Leadership/Management Skills

Michelle_Butler What is the most common skill or trait employees sell themselves short on?
CarolVernon Interpersonal skills
LynnDrake Employees sell themselves short on their interpersonal skills, their ability to make and maintain relationships.
Michelle_Butler What is it that employers value about interpersonal skills?
ReneeHauch In my opinion, it's leadership/management this economy, you need to show how you can work across all departments and get people to follow you even when they don't report directly to you. As a recruiter, this is one of the things that I feel is lacking on resumes and during interviews. Employees don't showcase their people skills enough
CarolVernon Employers value the ability to develop internal and external relationships
LynnDrake You likability factor is very important.
CarolVernon Good point Lynn; soft skills do count!
Michelle_Butler Lynn, how do you know if you are likeable?
LynnDrake Feedback!
CarolVernon You need to actively seek input from those you report to, those who report to you, and those you work with!
LynnDrake To build on what Renee said about your skills, tell your achievements through stories. Have them in your back pocket and ready to use in any situation.
Michelle_Butler Carol, how do people successfully develop internal and external relationships?
Michelle_Butler Renee, Can you tell us how someone has showcased successfully their people skills on a resume?
ReneeHauch Yes, of course! I had a candidate who was part of two companies merging. They had to merge two various cultures together -one was much more collaborative and the other culture functioned more in silos. This candidate listed a single bullet about how he was effective at bringing two cultures together. It really caught my eye before I interviewed him, and definitely helped make him a top candidate in the long run. He did what I like - he made himself stand out with a tangible accomplishment on a resume.
CarolVernon Good question about developing relationships--relationships go two ways. Look for opportunities to support others and reach out to others who can help you. Actively and continually build your relationships.

Storytelling and Social Media Skills

Michelle_Butler Lynn, that's good to hear that story telling skills is important in interviewing. That's something PR folks should be good at.
Michelle_Butler Storytelling is one of those "hot skills" right now - right up there with social media skills.
CarolVernon I second Lynn's story telling and the need to be able to clearly tell your story -- and have it readily available to share.
ReneeHauch Absolutely! Storytelling is a great way to give an example of your accomplishments. And, I agree with Carol that it has to be clear. You want to make sure that you stay on point when telling stories and don't get off the topic, because then your story will lose its value.
Michelle_Butler Do any of you have tips on how you can improve your story telling skills?
LynnDrake Make your point through examples, using the story telling aspect. Succinct and concise and dramatic will make them memorable.
ReneeHauch Yes, I am seeing a huge need for social media skills in all of the searches I'm doing. Every client I am working with - from cable networks to cable operators, are looking for candidates who have done some work in social media (particularly on the PR side of the business) as well as have ideas on how to incorporate social media into a company's strategy. If you have experience in this area, I suggest highlighting it to show your value! It's hot right now
Nora_E Do you suggest including some social media on a resume?
ReneeHauch I do think you should list it on your resume. It's something that will make you stand out from other candidates. My general rule of thumb is to think about what skills and experiences you have that make you unique...and, this is definitely one of them to list.
Michelle_Butler Is one aspect of social media trendier than another? A year ago it was all about blogging, but now Twitter seems to get the most attention.
Michelle_Butler What about Facebook?
ReneeHauch I have definitely seen an increase in usage on both Twitter and Facebook. I still think blogging is very important as well, because it provides information that you can't get elsewhere. Social media has changed the way I recruit. As a matter of fact, I made my first placement through a candidate who I found via LinkedIn on a search last year.
MJ Renee - referring to an earlier comment above, would you please expand on your comment about blogging being very important? When you think blogging, what does it mean to you - reading blogs, posting comments on a discussion, hosting your own? Can you be more specific about the blogging activities you think are important these days?
ReneeHauch MJ - from my perspective as a recruiter, I am referring to reading blogs. I used to rely on my daily emails from various cable publications (which I still get) to get my information on what's going on in the industry. But, in this new technology world, I find that I have to also read the blogs to keep up to date on what's going on...things change so quickly and I want to stay on top what's going on as quickly as I can.

Intentionally Determining Your Next Career Steps and Managing Up

amandabatson Carol—what are the best ways to “intentionally” determine next career steps?
LynnDrake Next step career moves should take into account your larger vision for where you want to go. How does this step into that vision? Will it sidetrack you? Know what you want and ask for it. Time and again people who know what they want and go for it, get it.
CarolVernon Thanks for the question, Amanda, about planning. Much like we do strategic planning for our work, we need to do it for our careers. We need to clearly ID skills, qualifications, accomplishments, and developmental needs. We need to do our own SWOT. Then we start the process of defining and prioritizing short and long term goals.
Michelle_Butler Carol, what is SWOT?
CarolVernon A SWOT is a look at your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats -- the first two are the internal things you control, the next two are the external factors that you don't control (i.e. economy).
amandabatson Renee & Lynn -- you both mentioned increasing individual value to the company w/ several steps. Do you then recommend "supervising" up or how does one insure that the ones in charge know about/recognize the team member's extra efforts and value?
LynnDrake Amanda - One of the most important aspects of managing up is understanding the style of your boss. How does he or she communicate? How is recognition given out by her and to her? Have you communicated what you've done? Too often employees expect the boss to know when they have so much on their plate already.
CarolVernon To follow up on Lynn's points about understanding your boss, this is a crucial skill. People communicate very differently and developing the skills to communicate in ways that reach different audiences is key to your ongoing success -- both in terms of communicating with your boss and communicating your successes.

The Job Market Today

Nora_E As recruiters, how is the job market now? Are there higher level jobs coming open or are those positions more of a challenge to come by?
ReneeHauch Nora - The job market is much more active than I anticipated it would be this year. A lot of companies are hiring - some are using recruiters, others are using their strong internal recruiting teams. We are seeing a lot more Director and VP positions lately. There are still senior level positions out there, but not as many as there were last year. The areas where I see a lot of hiring are based around sales, marketing, programming and PR
Michelle_Butler Renee, what skills are the companies looking for in PR jobs?
ReneeHauch For PR jobs, I am finding that companies are looking for strategic and forward-looking PR executives....executives who can think ahead in this multi-platform world; they also want someone with strong communications skills (pretty much a given!), but also someone who can work well across the entire organization to ensure that there is a consistent message in the marketplace.
Prasana Renee, you mentioned finding a recent candidate through LinkedIn. Can you expand on how to utilize that site?
Michelle_Butler Renee - LinkedIn? I always read how it's a great networking tool, so it's great to hear it actually works.
ReneeHauch Michelle - Yes, I was doing a search for an interactive advertising company and I found someone who worked in the division I needed at Microsoft. I had never met him before, but got introduced through some of my connections, and he ended up being the best placement!
ReneeHauch Prasana - It's a great site. My best advice is to set up your profile online and put in key words that describe your experience. For example, when I did my search, I was looking for certain criteria - sales, interactive sales, media, etc. and I also narrowed it down by geographic area. A lot of recruiters and employers use the site to look for resumes. The more specific you are in your resume, the more times your profile will be viewed. And, you can also use it to connect to people who you want to network with. You actually send emails via LinkedIn.
MJ Interested to read each of your thoughts about executives (Dir/VP/EVP/SVP) having active myspace, facebook, et al., pages. Is there too much risk as a potential future job candidate?
ReneeHauch MJ - I do think putting too much personal information, pictures, etc. on a facebook page can hurt you. I did have a client notice some "party" pictures that were posted on a potential candidate's facebook page and they didn't like it. There is a way to only allow certain people to view your pages. You have to be very careful when you put any information about yourself on the web. When I interview a candidate, I go onto the web to learn even more about that, and employers do that as, I would think twice about anything personal that you post. In my opinion, I think it's best to keep things as personal as possible and not allow the general public to view your profile.

Executive Coaching and Finding A Coach

DavidDeliman Another topic: executive coaches-- what's your best advice for selecting a coach? And what can I expect to get out of my session(s)?
LynnDrake David, selecting a coach involves first finding the right coach depending upon what you want from the coaching - career, life, etc. You need to have chemistry, to feel like you have a good fit with the coach, they understand you.
CarolVernon In terms of selecting a coach, I'd recommend you look for a coach that you're MOST comfortable with...coaching is all about supporting people in moving forward in their lives and a great coach can help you clarify your goals, make the plans, and move into action!
LynnDrake David, you can expect to set goals and reach them. You will be pushed and held accountable but you will achieve amazing results!
Michelle_Butler How do you find the coach you are most comfortable with? Do you do informational interviews with them before you commit to a coaching relationship?
Michelle_Butler How important is it that the coach is credentialed?
CarolVernon Coach credentials is very important -- the ICF is the credentialing body. Most coaches do informational interviews to see if it's a good 2-way fit for success. Ask around for suggestions, referrals...
amandabatson Is there public access to a list of credentialed coaches? website?
Michelle_Butler David, if you haven't already, you may want to watch the Career Connections video on executive coaching currently posted at It has a lot of background on coaching.
DavidDeliman thanks, Michelle
CarolVernon Re: Amanda's question about credentialed coaches, the International Coaching Federation ( has an online listing.
amandabatson Thanks, Carol

The Importance of Networking to Finding a Job

Michelle_Butler Renee, you explained how recruiters use LinkedIn. How are job seekers finding jobs today? Is "who you know" still the most important aspect of a successful job search?
ReneeHauch Thanks Michelle. I do think "who you know" is still a very critical aspect of a job search. Employers are getting inundated with resumes and it's hard to stand out. The best way to get some traction with a job, is to network with someone you know. Even when I'm the recruiter on a search, the client will forward me any recommendations that come directly to them, and those candidates are always top priority.
LynnDrake Network like crazy. Volunteer for positions in professional associations, get as visible as possible. Another tip I have is take as much of the training available to you, even if it's not directly related to your job. Not only will you learn something new but you might end up with knowledge that can help you find another position.

Standing Out During an Interview or Through Your Resume

Michelle_Butler Once your networking leads you to a job interview, how does a job seeker stand out well in an interview?
amandabatson Beyond social media tools & specific accomplishments, any other tips for keeping resume current? Other hot skills/tools?
CarolVernon To stand out the candidate needs to show (really be able to demonstrate) results, accountability, and likability.
LynnDrake Adding onto what Renee said, you should know as much as you can about the company. From there you need to have ideas, excellent examples of your success and let them know you want the job!!
ReneeHauch Yes Lynn - One thing is to know EVERYTHING you can about the company. I have seen many job seekers go into an interview without being prepared about the company. I think it's important to strike a balance between overselling yourself and underselling yourself. What I mean is that some people won't really talk about what they have accomplished. This is your time to shine and discuss your tangible accomplishments that are relative to the job (look at the job description and make sure to address what the client is looking for and what you done that meets their needs). And, this is where you need to show that you can "roll up your sleeves" and do the job...that you can work with limited resources, that you are a team player
Michelle_Butler If anyone is uncertain about his or her job security, should he be looking for a new job? Should he stay where he is because the "last hired is first to be laid off" during a tough economy?
LynnDrake I believe you should always be looking, always be talking to everyone. Keeping your network alive and vital is the way you find work. People are getting laid off at all levels in the company so there is no guarantee. Acknowledging that will help you move forward. Also, have a Plan B, Plan C, etc. You are in charge of your future.
CarolVernon Each situation is different -- but everyone should be taking charge of managing their career. I recommend that you think of your career as a service or product that you are marketing---develop a unique selling proposition to give yourself a competitive edge!
Michelle_Butler There is roughly 15 minutes remaining in this chat. Please feel free to ask any questions you have!
CBerry There are professionals with various education levels that are being laid off, or can’t find jobs. How important is continuing your education in today’s job market?
LynnDrake CBerry - Continuing your education is very important! Keeping up your skills is essential in this market and in your field.
CarolVernon Good question, CBerry. Additional education may make sense for some positions, but not for others. Continuing to develop your skills makes sense for all positions.
ReneeHauch Amanda - Great questions. We just had a discussion about this the other day. Never underestimate the power of a strong resume. This is your self-marketing tool. It's a personal advertisement that shows off your job skills and their value to future employers. My general guidelines are to highlight the most significant accomplishments at each job you have held and describe them in a simple, powerful action statement that emphasizes the specific results. I also feel strongly about having a chronological format, not a functional format. One thing I feel that people leave off resume is the # of people they managed directly or indirectly, as well as cross-functional experience. The one thing that I see that we (recruiters) and employers don't like is when someone changes their resume to reflect the job description for a potential job (clients don't like it because it feels like you're trying too hard)
amandabatson Renee -- so #people managed, $$ size budget, etc. are valuable on resume?
ReneeHauch Amanda - yes, I find all of that information extremely valuable. It gives the potential employer a good sense of the scope of your experience.

Taking Charge of Your Career

Michelle_Butler Carol, you mentioned taking charge of your career. What is the one thing you think every cable communicator should do in 2009 to take charge of and manage his/her career?
CarolVernon Create a plan that includes specific action steps and timeline it--then follow it!
Michelle_Butler To expand on CBerry's question, how important is an advanced degree?
CarolVernon For certain positions it may be important, but for others it is not! Do the research, find out what employers are looking for the positions you are most interested in...
LynnDrake Taking charge of your career involves what Carol said, having a plan and sticking to it and enlarging your vision. Go through the "what ifs?" scenarios and plan for each one. Don't be caught off guard. Lastly, take charge if you can. Know where you want to be.
Michelle_Butler Lynn and Carol - do you have any tools you recommend folks use to figure out "where they want to be?" In the Feb. chat, some folks recommended who moved my cheese.
LynnDrake One tool I love is StrengthsFinder. It helps you understand your values, your strengths and your motivators. This will help you determine where you want to go and if the direction you're headed is the right one.
Michelle_Butler Renee, how should prospective job-seekers keep their confidence up in this market?
ReneeHauch I think that it's important to stay positive and realize that the job market is much better than we anticipated. Communications companies are hiring, and just remember that it always takes time to find a job. Think about consulting and interim assignments in the meantime. It's a great way to keep connected in the industry. The worst thing you can do is get too down on yourself because that will come through to a prospective employer. Just remember that you have a great skill set and experience and continue to focus on that...don't give up! Stay aggressive with your, network, network.
Michelle_Butler Any final advice?
CarolVernon There are a variety of good books and online resources to help you think big about yourself and your future, uncover what you most value, and where you will make the biggest contribution. Two of the authors I like best are Martha Beck and Marshall Goldsmith. And I second Lynn's recommendation about the Strength Finders.
Michelle_Butler Is StrengthFinders a book?
LynnDrake My final advice is remember you are the CEO of your own company. Your brand is valuable - protect it, grow it and know that if your current job isn't the right fit, there is someone out there looking for you.
CarolVernon Strength Finders 2.0 is a book that directs you online to an assessment that then provides you with a customized look at your strengths.
LynnDrake Lynn can be reached at
amandabatson Kudos to all -- another great ACC chat!
LynnDrake Thanks for including me! Lynn
ReneeHauch Continue to focus on the positive and what makes you unique. Don't forget about what you have accomplished in your career - just emphasize that. Thanks for a great conversation. I can be reached at with any further questions.
MJ Thanks!
CarolVernon Thanks for a great conversation! I can be reached at
Michelle_Butler Thank you for participating in ACC’s latest online chat. ACC offers an e-learning opportunity every month.

The next event is: May 7 – Tap Dancing with the Media – an ACC Webinar

Check for more details.

Please feel free to contact me at or 202-222-2372 if you have any suggestions for future topics, feedback on this chat, questions, etc.
Mailing Address: 9259 Old Keene Mill Road, Suite #202   Burke, VA 22015
Phone: 800.210.3396 / 703.372.2215
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