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2668632417Most people like to think of progress as a straight line.

Consider an ice cube. Ice melts only when it hits 32 degrees Fahrenheit.

Does that mean the energy required to increase the temperature of ice from 25 to 31 degrees doesn’t matter?

Of course not. You may only see results when you hit 32 degrees, but you never would have seen the ice melt had you not got the ice warmer over time.

1_gpupkgflvd6opmob4-dlhqBreakthrough moments are often the result of many previous actions, which build up the potential required to unleash a major change. Often people make a few small changes, fail to see a tangible result and decide to stop.

Like the ice cube that is gradually warming, you are getting closer to success by just focusing on your daily habits to are natural and logical to reach a goal.  It’s the process of getting better that is the secret, not waiting for a speculative event to claim the prize.

One thing about success is that it’s tied to a foundation of prior work, during which noticeable improvement is probably not obvious. If you keep randomly changing the manner by which you are heating your “symbolic” ice cube or quit to soon, you will lose the power from compounding your efforts and never get hot enough to start melting.

Most of us have no difficulty recognizing luck when it’s on conspicuous display, as when someone wins the lottery. But randomness often plays out in subtle ways, and it’s easy to construct narratives that portray success as having been inevitable. Those stories are almost invariably misleading, however, a simple fact that has surprising implications.

687px-mona_lisa,_by_leonardo_da_vinci,_from_c2rmf_retouchedConsider the history of the Mona Lisa, perhaps the most famous painting in the world. After having languished in obscurity for most of its early existence, Leonardo da Vinci’s work was pushed into the spotlight in 1911 when it was stolen from the Louvre. The widely publicized theft remained unsolved for two years until Vincenzo Peruggia, an Italian maintenance worker at the Louvre, was apprehended after trying to sell the painting to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy. His arrest provoked a second wave of publicity, with images of the Mona Lisa splashed around the world.

If it had it never been stolen, most of us would know no more about it than we do of the two obscure Leonardo da Vinci canvases from the same period that hang in an adjacent gallery at the Louvre. The Mona Lisa is famous largely for being famous.

b0xmttyicaaopbtAs in the art world, so too in the world of work. Almost every career trajectory entails a complex sequence of steps, each of which depends on those preceding it. If any of those earlier steps had been different, the entire trajectory would almost surely have been different, too.

To acknowledge the importance of random events is not to suggest that success is independent of talent and effort. In highly competitive arenas, those who do well are almost always extremely talented and hard-working.

As Charlie Munger, the vice chairman of Warren Buffett’s holding company, Berkshire Hathaway, once said…….charlie-munger-summary-1024x512.png

download.pngHistorical records show that typically only one third of all businesses will ever make a profit.

Another third barely break even.

And the rest never even get close.

According the U.S. Small Business Association, only two thirds of businesses make it past the first 2 years and fewer than half make it to 4.

In fact, it’s highly likely that even with the a hot product and a massive market your dreams just won’t turn out to be the huge success that you imagine them to be.

But here’s what’s exciting.

On top of all the historical facts and figures of doom, your single biggest enemy is something you probably haven’t even considered – being distracted.

And if you can solve this problem, your odds for success just got a whole lot better.

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Kanye West posted on Twitter in April of 2017 that “You have to protect your ability to create at all cost.”

Keep in mind that activity doesn’t always equal progress.

A lot of effort doesn’t mean that at the end of the day you’ve done anything other than run frantically in circles.  Distraction only amplifies that.

When you are really, really busy, it’s easy to imagine that everything you are doing will somehow make you successful.

Doing things that don’t matter usually get you the exact same results – results that don’t really make a difference.

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Too much cake is just as bad as not enough vitamins

Just like job search, focus on solving a problem for an employer (customer) and they will call you asking for help.  Be brutally honest with yourself.

You can argue away your distractions.  And for a moment you may even convince yourself that your actions are helping.  But you’re just leaving yourself less prepared than ever to actually realize your dreams coming true. 

images-1.jpgSo, don’t get distracted from reaching your goals.

Apply a relentless focus on the key issues that get you to the future you want for yourself. Get serious about it.  Be prepared for your biggest enemy ahead of time and the success you achieve may surprise you.

 

When I was younger, I found myself bouncing from one idea to the next, trying to get the desired results and failing. I felt like I was banging my head against a wall. My vision was clear, so why wasn’t I able to make it happen?

I finally realized distraction was the cause, so I began focusing on a concept I found in several business books.

Play to Your Strength: The 70-25-5 Principle

  • Give 70 % of your time to your areas of strength.
  • Give 25 % of your time to the areas you want to improve.
  • Give 5 % of your time to the areas of your weakness.

Distraction can happen to anyone, but only when you fail to set goals does it win. A goal must be written down; otherwise, it’s just a dream.

Studies have shown that “individuals with clear, written goals are significantly more likely to succeed than those without clearly defined goals.”

download-1.jpgThe truth is that if you’re not moving forward, you’re moving backward.

When dedicating 70% of your time working in areas of strength, you’re likely to make progress toward your daily goals.

Focusing 25% of your time working on areas that need improvement will ensure you do not remain stagnant.

Finally, if you spend 5% of your time working on weaknesses, you will become very well-rounded, giving you more clarity to handle future challenges you may face.

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Mike Krieger, the co-founder Instagram acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, took a novel pro-focus approach to avoid being distracted.

When he and Kevin Systrom launched the company in 2010, he had a blanket “no meetings” policy. He turned down every request from outsiders.

A no-meeting policy simplified life, like Steve Jobs wearing the same black turtleneck each day, to save time by not having to decide about what to wear each day.steve-turtleneck

Two things, Krieger says, really helped him.CatEyesMouseGerbilRatOnTable.jpg.653x0_q80_crop-smart

  1. Schedule intentional free time marked out on your calendar.
  2. Make sure to schedule a follow-up on what it is you need to focus on.

 

In every success story, the longest chapter is the one about determination.

Don’t let distraction stop you from what you want.determination-to-succeed

#1 Skiil You NeedYour specialized skills may not give you the ultimate edge when you’re new to the workforce, but your network might.

It used to be that the only way to climb a career ladder was to pick up more skills. Learn how to do A, get paid more for it, and earn job-title B. Each new capability you mastered got you to that “next level”.

Today, many of those ladders have faded away. Lately there have been efforts to try some new ones, with new skills–usually a new degree or specialized training was the key to staying competitively marketable in the job market. Some skill sets really are in higher demand than others, so it makes sense that undergrads and entry-level workers to brush up in certain subject areas to get a competitive edge.Adapability

But this kind of advice still reflects a “ladder-climbing” mind-set in a world where talent and people’s entire careers are much more fluid.

More often the thing you need most is ADAPTABILITY, not just a new skill.

And it’s not easy to adapt if you don’t have a great network you can tap into.

NetworkingTHINK OF NETWORK BUILDING AS A PRIORITY JOB SKILL

Unemployment and underemployment are still a common problem for job searchers. That means you should look for ways to advance your career outside the traditional corporate hierarchy. But sometimes that can be an advantage. With fewer ladder-like jobs inside big companies, younger workers no longer have to wait as long for someone ahead of them to move on or retire to advance.

The gig economy is also a factor here. More employees are ditching traditional 9-5 Sourcingmodels (both by choice and circumstance) for project-based work. And as freelancing becomes more common, your ability to source new options for work is at least as important as your ability to execute it. Your skills matter, but they’ll only get you so far. If you’re less than 5 years into your career, it’s probably time to prioritize building your network the same way the generation ahead of you was told to develop their skills.

FOCUS ON WHAT IS IN YOUR CONTROL 

The fact is that people in the early stages of their careers often have little control over how they develop their skills since they are often controlled by an employer. Finding ways (and the time) to deepen your skill set isn’t always easy. But one thing you can work on by yourself is network building.

In fact there’s probably no more crucial task early in your career. Whether you work in a service industry, administration a nonprofit or in the typical corporate world, your network can extend your access to knowledge.  If you know the right people, you can tap into their skills rather than having to acquire them all yourself. This lets you find better solutions faster which can become a competitive edge.

Rethink TwitterREIMAGINE TWITTER

Twitter isn’t just another social network, it’s a powerful networking and educational platform. Start compiling some Twitter lists of professionals in your field. See what they tweet about and who they engage with. Chances are they’ll help you discover more potential prospects. Join Twitter chats. Engage with others and share your views. Many exchanges that begin on social networks often evolve into valuable network connections.

DATA IS POWERairtable

Networking is a job skill you can develop like any other and it can give you some structure. As you accumulate connections, it’ll get harder to remember who has what background and skills. Consider using a free contact management tool like the cloud based  www.airtable.com relational database that works like a spreadsheet to and add tags to your network so you can easily search and find contacts based on their location and skills.

Great networks don’t happen by chance. They’re consciously crafted over time. Think of the areas inside and outside a field you’re curious about, and look for individuals with experience in that area that you can add to your network.

If-You-Want-To-Get-You-Have-To-Give-Success-Daily-Reminder-khairilsianipar.com_-300x300The key to a great network is generosity. You need to be willing to give freely of your own experience. This may be hard early in your career, when your experience is limited. But just giving what you can (time, insights, even a couple of shares on social media) help you show your network that you will be there for them when they need you.

More than any technical skill, one of the best ways to advance your career is to start thinking of networking as part of your day job before you need one.

images-1As as job search coach and employability skills trainer for 15 years, I have often spoken with people not just looking for work, but looking for work that matters. In many cases, they have talent and drive but never seem to find a “lucky break” that can take them to a level of career success that is remarkable. More often than not, the missing ingredient for them to go from good to great is marketing, also known as personal branding.

Without the right “packaging”, the product YOU, may not have the perceived value of being remarkable. Quite often, the careful crafting of what you can offer is often the difference between getting hired or getting ignored and can ultimately determine the income you can earn. Think of the difference between someone passing out their resume in front of a Starbucks or including it in a portfolio handout as part of their presentation for an industry group meeting.  If you’re just posting your resume on job boards, your “perceived value” may be a lot like the guy in front of a Starbucks.

imgresPackaging is also as important as it relates to your professional appearance, how you look for a job, the company you keep, how you write your resume and the quality of your social presence on the Internet.

Consider this example of how “packaging” can make a difference.

It’s was a cold January morning in 2007 at the Washington, DC Metro Station where a man with a violin played 6 Bach pieces for 45 minutes.

During that time about 2000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work. The musician opened his violin case so those passing could make donations.

After 3 minutes a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing and slowed his pace and then stopped for a few seconds. He then kept walking. After 7 minutes the violinist had received a dollar from a woman who threw the money in his case and continued to walk. After 13 minutes, a young man leaned against the wall to listen to him play. He then looked at his watch and walked on. After 23 minutes a 3-year-old boy stopped to listen to the violinist before his mother nudged him to move on. The child continued to walk but kept turning his head back all the time to look at the musician. Several other children also stopped to listen to the music but without exception their parents forced them to move on.

During the 45 minutes the man played, only 6 people stopped for any length of time to listen to the music. Only one person recognized who the musician was and put a $20 bill in his case. After an hour, he finished playing. No one applauded.

Joshua  BellNo one knew that the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world worth $16 million and he played a violin worth $3.5 million. Two days before, Joshua played to a sold out a theater audience in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each.

The talent was there but without marketing and being in the right venue, Joshua was perceived as just an average street vendor begging for some extra cash.

Think about your approach to finding or changing jobs.  Does your marketing and brand convey that you are a professional or just someone looking for work to pay the bills?  Consider these options to improve your employability marketing:

  1. If someone Googles your name, what will they find?  Do you have a personal website that highlights your expertise and reflects that you are an expert in your profession?
  2. Are you active and connected on social media with professional peers indicating that you are engaged in your profession and looking for something more than “just a job”?
  3. Do you use the tools of the Internet like Buffer, Twitter and LinkedIn as well as contact automation tools to be responsive to people interested in connecting with you?
  4. Is your expertise highlighted in a Blog where clients or employers can get an idea of your thinking and what you can offer that is valuable?

Now more than ever, you need the right venue and packaging to connect with the right people. Just having a resume that’s posted on job boards will rarely offer you the chance to be recognized as someone remarkable and marketable because of your talent.

2016

For many, a new year on the calendar means that it’s time for personal and professional goal-setting and resolutions. But, before you start mapping out your game plan for landing that new job or promotion, it might be time to think about whether the same old ways of getting ahead are actually holding you back.

Consider this transformational thinking to change your work world in 2016.

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Yes or No Not Maybe

If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.

Being safe IS risky. A lack of clarity in what you want out of life or too many options can cause “analysis paralysis”. In today’s world of constant and rapid change, you have to be committed to a goal not just curious if you can reach the goal. You can be comfortable or remarkable, but usually not both.   The key to going from invisible to remarkable is to get out of your current work-world comfort zone and into your passion zone.

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Employers (customers) today want to see and feel that interacting with your personal brand is something that is unique or compelling relative to your competition. You have to differentiate yourself from being ordinary to becoming extraordinary. More often than not, it’s your passion about what you represent that makes the difference in you being a success or not.

Realize that it’s often what you STOP doing that makes you a success or failure. If you’re looking for work, stop scanning job boards and start focusing on building relationships with industry leaders. If you don’t have time to think about building a personal brand, decide what you need to stop to free up time to get things going. It’s that simple.

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Consider, Dilbert, a comic strip written and drawn by Scott Adams. It’s known for its satirical office humor about a white-collar, micromanaged office featuring the engineer Dilbert as the key character. The strip has generated several books, an animated television series, a video game, and hundreds of Dilbert-themed merchandise items. Dilbert appears in 2000 newspapers worldwide in 70 countries and 25 languages.

For 6 years, he worked at a day job while doing the Dilbert comic strip mornings, evenings and weekends. Then Adams bought a book called “1986 Artist Markets” and followed the instructions on how to get syndicated. He drew 50 sample strips and mailed copies to the major cartoon syndicates. United Media called a few weeks later and offered him a contract.  Dilbert.com was the first syndicated comic strip to go online in 1995 and is now the most widely read syndicated comic on the Internet.

Scott essentially built a bridge from where he was to what he wanted. He passionately focused on making his goal to be syndicated a reality. The rest is history.

If you take risks, expect to fail many times. Failure is part of the process of learning. In fact, negative feedback is often some of the most important information you can get, if you use it to redirect yourself in reaching your goals.

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Look at people who are successful and you will almost always see a path of rejection followed by success.

Consider Anderson Cooper from CNN.

Anderson Cooper wanted to be a foreign news correspondent but couldn’t even get an entry-level job at any of the major networks. He ended up working as a fact checker for Channel One, an agency that produces news programs for high schools.

Cooper quickly realized that when you are at a job people tend to pigeonhole you in whatever role you are in—and sometimes you have to do something drastic in order to change people’s perception of you. So he quit his job, borrowed a friend’s video camera, and went overseas to shoot stories by himself.

Living on just five dollars a day, Cooper made his videos as interesting and dangerous as possible, then offered them to Channel One for such a low price that they couldn’t refuse. This bold move is what launched his career and enabled him to live his dream.

CNN's "Erin Burnett OutFront" Launch Party

Cooper explains, “Had I asked the producers at Channel One if they would be supportive of my going out to make war videos, they would probably have said no. It’s easier to say no than it is to say yes, and they might not have wanted to feel responsible for me in any way. So I just did it. I rarely ask people for advice or permission when I’m planning on doing something I feel strongly about.”

If you knew you only had 3 years to live, what would you do differently?

Clearly define what you want as a career and go for it!

The time has come to stop looking for what’s available and build a bridge to what you really want from your life.

 

imgresA curator asked a group of 50 prestigious designers and illustrators to send in their rough drafts and preliminary sketches so that they could be put on display for an art exhibit. This may seem like an odd thing to do since most exhibitions are about finished products. But the curator wanted to show how creativity really happens.

In the book Art and Fear, there is a story about a ceramics teacher who divided students into two groups. Half were told that they would be graded on quantity and the other half would be graded on quality.

The results were shocking. The group that was graded for quantity produced the pots of the highest quality. It seemed that while the ‘quantity’ group was busy lots of pots and learning from their mistakes, the ‘quality’ group sat around thinking about perfection and in the end had little more to show for their efforts than an average looking pot.

imagesConsider the British inventor James Dyson. He didn’t create the dual cyclone vacuum cleaner in a flash of inspiration. His product, now used by millions, didn’t emerge fully formed in his mind. Instead, he did what the group graded for quantity did. He tried and failed, triggering new insights, before trying and failing again and slowly the design improved.

In fact, Dyson worked had 5,126 failed prototypes before coming up with a design that ultimately transformed household cleaning. As he says: “People think of creativity as a mystical process. This model conceives of innovation as something that happens to geniuses. But this could not be more wrong. Creativity is something we can all improve at, by realizing that it has specific characteristics. Above all, it is about daring to learn from our mistakes”.

imgres-1Another great example is Pixar, an animation company that has become synonymous with creativity following its blockbuster successes with Toy Story, Finding Nemo and Monsters Inc. You might think that that these stories were put together by geniuses who envisioned what they wanted right from the start. But the reality is very different. The initial ideas for new storylines are just the starting point. It is what happens next that really matters.

The storyline is systematically pulled apart. As the animation gets started, each frame is subject to testing, debate and adaptation. Amazingly, it takes around 12,000 storyboard drawings to make a 90-minute feature, and because of the iterative development process, story teams often create more than 125,000 storyboards by the time the film is actually finished.

Ed Catmull, the President of Pixar, says: “Early on, all of our movies suck. That’s a blunt assessment, I know, but I… choose that phrasing because saying it in a softer way fails to convey how bad the first versions of our films really are. Pixar films are not good at first, and our job is to make them go from suck to non-suck. We are true believers in the iterative process, reworking, reworking and reworking again, until a flawed story finds its through-line or a hollow character finds its soul.”

The problem in the world today is that we only see the amazing movie or the super-efficient vacuum cleaner. What we don’t see is the whole story of how these innovations emerge from trial and error.

Insight is the endpoint of a long term, iterative process, rather than the starting point.

As the neuroscientist David Eagleman says in his book, The Secret Lives of the Brain: “When an idea is served up from behind the scenes, the neural circuitry has been working on the problems for hours or days or years, consolidating information and trying out new combinations.”

Job Search has a lot to do with learning from failure and getting results from trial and error. Success is almost always the result of repeated, and most importantly, refined attempts to make everything come together to get hired.  The secret formula is practice, drill and rehearse and exploring new ways to make a connection with an employer.

Jim Dyson had 5,126 failed prototypes before he became a billionaire by redesigning the vacuum cleaner. Maybe you need 25 or 50 modified resumes and better interviewing skills to find the missing link from getting ignored to getting hired.

Never forget that failure is your friend and your obsessive drive to get the job you deserve is waiting for you if you just keep trying and getting better with each attempt.

obsession-cover-v2 finalMost personal development experts tell you to work hard, visualize yourself succeeding and realize success through the law of attraction. I’ve always been a believer in the saying that “you become what you think about most often.”

Another way of thinking about this mindset is to GET OBSESSED!

The thought of what you want to do or become has to dominate your mind. Learn everything you can about what you want to achieve. Practice or produce relentlessly. and most importantly, think about it everyday.  Only this level of focus will bring you the answers and results you need to accomplish something remarkable.

A simple thing I learned as a pilot is that a plane will not take off until it reaches velocity minimum control (VMC). Any speed less than that will not allow the plane to take off. That’s why having an obsession is so important. Most people drift through life on autopilot. They quit too soon or never put in enough effort to make their goals reality. They mostly just watch TV, surf the Internet and discuss what other people are doing.

However, with an obsession about creating or doing something amazing, you need to have a focused mind. The difference in results this brings about is amazing.

Ever wondered how some of the world’s super achievers became famous? They did so because they were obsessed by what they were creating. They spent endless hours working on their dream and when they weren’t working on it, they were thinking about it. Ways to improve their product, ways to spread their message, ways to improve their communication skills, how great it would feel to enjoy success and every tiny detail they could imagine.

Obsession factor requires 2 key ingredients to be results.

Passion and Action.

It’s difficult to focus your mind to obsessional levels without being passionate about the goal you want to achieve.  Even when you’re truly inspired by the thought of what you want to do, it takes a great deal of discipline to keep returning your thoughts to its realization. Expect the mental discipline of constantly returning your thoughts to what you want to achieve to be tough. However, it DOES work. Allowing your dream to become the dominant thought in your mind ensures something very important – YOU WILL FIND ANSWERS to obstacles you come across along the way.

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The action part of obsession is simply focusing on developing DAILY habits that over time virtually guarantee your success. Habits are actually more important than goals. Consider these guys and their work ethic.

Wayne Gretzky

When Wayne Gretzky was a kid, he watched hockey like most players his age. What separated him was the way he watched each game. He would bring a pencil and paper. As the game went on, he would trace the movement of the puck on the paper. So obsessed with learning how the puck moved, he wouldn’t even look down. For hours he studied every movement the puck would make.

Michael Jordan

He loved to win so much that he would go to extreme lengths just to make sure he was never the loser. Jordan used to bet teammates that his bag would be the first to come out of baggage claim when they would travel. Chances of that happening are slim, so his teammates always took the bet. To guarantee that he was right, Jordan would seek out the people loading the bags beforehand and tell them to make sure his bag came out first. While his teammates always looked dumbfounded, Jordan just smiled. He never wanted to lose in anything, and he rarely did.

Today, being obsessed and applying smart business practices can make you amazingly successful. In 1937, Napoleon Hill wrote a personal development book titled, Think and Grow Rich, the result of 20 years of research based on Hill’s close association with individuals who achieved great wealth during their lifetime. The principles in the book still apply today. But one of the principles highlighted in Chapter 2 holds the “secret sauce” – it’s DESIRE!

Focused desire will almost magically bring you the answers and results you need to accomplish something remarkable. Get excited and get going. Start today!

branson Chances Favors The Prepared MindNow that machines can diagnose cancer, trade stocks, and write symphonies, they’re not just going to make humans more efficient as they have in the past—they are replacing them entirely.

Although predictions that machines would put humans out of work on a significant societal scale have never quite materialized, artificially intelligent machines are not so much tools to improve the efficiency of workers but really are tools to replace workers.

Consider this. The iPhone 5 has 2.7 times the processing power of the 1985 Cray Super Computer which was the fastest machine in the world at that time. The power of the Internet and the capabilities of artificial intelligence are truly changing the work of work and at a faster pace than most people realize.

Economists tend to dismiss robotization as just another form of “creative destruction.” That is, robots may displace some workers for a while before they also create new kinds of jobs, like a job market for people who can build robots themselves. But what’s happening now is more like the invention of the aircraft. Before the Wright Brothers, humans didn’t fly; afterwards they did.

Surveying all the fields now being affected by automation, this is a significant historic disruption—a fundamental shift from most tasks being performed by humans to one where most tasks are done by machines. That includes obvious things like moving packages around a warehouse and higher skill jobs such as radiology and stock trading.

Today, robots can already do amazing things.

Write Music In 2012, the London Symphony Orchestra performed Transits-Into an Abyss, a composition created entirely by Lamus, a system designed at the University of Malaga. A reviewer called it “artistic and delightful.”

Replace Wall Street: At the turn of the century, Wall Street employed 150,000 people. Today, that number is around 100,000, despite increased transaction volume and profits. Trading algorithms are now making many of the financial decisions that used to be made by humans.

Diagnose Cancer: A Focal Point Imaging System can scan slides for more than 100 signs of disease and it does a significantly better job of finding cancers than doctors do (though doctors do still make the final decision—for now).

Write Sports Articles: Computers can now write sentences like, “Things looked bleak for the Angels when they trailed by two runs in the ninth inning, but Los Angeles recovered thanks to a key single from Vladimir Guerrero to pull out a 7-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sunday.” Which sounds a lot like a newspaper account of a baseball game written by a non-robot.

Make Hamburgers: A company called Momentum Machines is developing a machine that shapes burgers from ground meat, grills them, then toasts a bun and adds chopped tomatoes, onions and pickles.

Perform Complex Office Tasks: Work Fusion makes software that automatically assesses a project to see what parts can be fully automated, which parts can be crowdsourced to a freelance network like Elance, and what still needs to be handled by humans. The platform reduces the need for in-house staff by making use of freelancers, but then it looks to do away with them as well. “Even as the freelancers work under the direction of the system, they are simultaneously generating the training data that will gradually lead to their replacement,”

The biggest disruptions are taking place in industries that are currently bloated and expensive for consumers—industries like higher education and health care.

Online courses now incorporate automated grading algorithms (which mark essays as well as multiple choice tests) and adaptive learning systems to offer alternatives to unsustainable college costs.

The standard response to automation by economists has been to call for more education, so low-paid workers can move up to better paying jobs. Yet many people are already over-educated for what they do—just look at all the college graduates serving coffee in Starbucks.

It may appear that the work of work is falling apart and there will be fewer jobs for a growing population searching for work.

Yet hidden within these inevitable workforce changes is the opportunity for you repurpose yourself as a player in the new world of work.

New jobs are coming that will require someone to sell the new technology to employers, build and reprogram the systems and set up and apply the technology to existing work systems.

Your ability to facilitate these changes and transform current work processes to a new way of doing things is your ticket to continued employability. Keep in mind that the job market is a moving target and you need to lead technology to hit the job market with skills that match where the market is going.

Chance favors the prepared mind.

Start now to read about software automation, robotics, virtualization and applications in development that can be applied to future business solutions to make yourself employable with the skill requirements that will evolve from these technologies.

nicheSurprisingly, few job seekers realize that “being found” by an employer is one of the most critical aspects of getting hired.  Stop worrying about the number of resumes you’re sending out and focus on getting in front of specific hiring managers that you think can benefit from your expertise.  You need the power of “super niching.”

Think about it from the perspective of a blogger. A blog about cooking is a niche. A blog about cooking with Malbec wine is a super niche. The job market will open up to you when you market yourself as an authority in a clearly defined super niche.

You need to create a ‘first to market’ opportunity by packaging what you can offer as something that is highly specialized. Essentially, you need to discover an “expertise gap” in your job market area where you think there is a critical need for what you can offer.

When you focus on delivering an in-demand and highly relevant service as a solution to an employer’s needs, you’ll be perceived as a problem solver instead of a job searcher. Being relevant cuts through the noise makes connecting easier and can build your authority quicker.

The power in super niching lies is that it makes you relevant to those employers that matter– the ones that need your help the most.

It’s not about how many employers you contact, but the right employer, that will get you to an employment offer. Since most employers will find you on-line, consider producing niche content via a website or blog to expand your personal brand and establish yourself as an expert. Super niching will help you to attract the right employer and lead them to you as a solution to their needs.

The employment marketplace is quickly becoming the era of ‘Super Niching’. Online search has created a wonderful by-product; it has changed the need for job searchers to cater to a broad range of potential employers to a market where you can target a specialized audience of people that need what you can offer. Your job market can be quickly discovered, tested and launched with a clear purpose.

Too often, job seekers turn to large, well-known job boards like Monster, Indeed, CareerBuilder.com, or SimplyHired. But tapping into niche sites, which offer listings for a specific industry or location, increases your chances of not only of finding the job you’re looking for, but also of landing that job. Contrary to popular belief, large job boards don’t aggregate all listings. Smaller, more targeted sites usually include openings that don’t show up elsewhere. They often offer contact information for the hiring manager rather than routing you to a generic application, which means your resume is more likely to get noticed. Applicants from niche sites also tend to be more qualified because their skill sets are more often matched to what an employer is looking for so you’ll compete with fewer candidates than you would on well-known sites.

Using niche sites makes you a bigger fish in a smaller pond. You have more chance of standing out on a niche job board than you do on a Monster board. Many smaller companies often prefer using niche boards to find applicants because they tend to get responses from higher quality candidates and they have to sift through fewer applications to find the right hire. Take a look at the Top 18 Niche Job Sites for 2015 http://abt.cm/1JNKprC and discover how micro-focused some sites are.

Consider Erik who worked as a curriculum developer and how he landed a job using a super niching strategy. He worked with a company focused on 1-on-1 mentorships from industry technical experts, yet he wanted to work at a larger technology company. After narrowing down his list to who he wanted to work for, he built a webpage for each potential employer highlighting his technology skills. The strategy got him call-backs to every company he applied to including Google and Khan Academy.

Consider these 5 steps to get noticed by potential employers using a super niche focused LinkedIn job search:

  1. Do a LinkedIn search for potential employers and related hiring managers in your niche.
  2. Look for people similar to that hiring manager that will show up on the right side of their LinkedIn profile with similar industries and job titles.
  3. Also look at the “People Also Viewed” section. This will show you the people that are similar offering you a broader group of contacts to consider.
  4. If you and that hiring manager have mutual connections, request an introduction.
  5. Join his or her groups and make contacts with the group members and then like or comment on their discussions.
  6. Once you’ve made group connections, follow-up with contacts that show up on “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”. This process will also add you to a hiring manager’s, “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” list which links you to their network even if they don’t contact you.

Give job search “super niching” a try as an alternative way to get found in a competitive labor market Avoid the “job search raffle”. Don’t throw your name in the bowl hoping it’s drawn. Create situations where you’re one of the few or the only name in the bowl.

looking for a job

How Most Job Searchers Really Find Jobs (and you thought you knew how)

If you take time to study the job search process, you’ll discover the #1 way people connect with jobs is through referrals. Everyone in the recruiting industry already knows that the best people get jobs by either moving internally within a company or they are promoted. The remaining new hires primarily come from referrals.

If you’re a job seeker, you should stop applying to job boards as your primary target and shift your mindset to building relationships instead of just looking for jobs. Consider this transformational thinking to put yourself in control of your job search.

  1. Spend No More Than 15% Of Your Time Applying Directly To Job Postings. Unless you’re a perfect fit, it’s a waste of time. It’s also important to note that many posted jobs actually don’t exist. Many recruiters post jobs to collect resumes for future use, for market research or to collect data to determine average pay rates. Sometimes companies will hire recruiters to look for candidates and set up a contract where the recruiter won’t recruit from the client company to fill other positions. This strategy is like an insurance policy where no jobs actually exist and the recruiting firm will not recruit from that client company. You as a job poster and left wondering why you never got a call.
  1. Use Job Postings As A Leads And Go To The “Back Door”. When you find a posted job, try to find out the department manager or someone connected to the hiring manager to target as a referral contact. Avoid going through HR as an entry point to a company. Use the “back door” which is getting a referral from a company insider who can help you bypass the competition and get in front of a hiring manager.
  1. Become A Real Networker. Networking is not about meeting as many people as you can. It’s about meeting a few well-connected people who can introduce you to a few well-connected people you don’t know. Never forget that you have to give to get when building a network. Think of ways to help people get what they want they will help you get what you want.
  1. Do Some Homework. An MBA student prepared a competitive analysis for a company he had targeted. He sent it to the VP of Marketing and got an interview. Consider a mini-project like this to demonstrate your capabilities.
  1. Offer A Low Cost Trial Employment Period. There’s always a risk when an employer hires someone. To reduce this risk, offer to work on a small project on a contract or temp-to-full time basis at a reduced rate so an employer can try-before-they-buy.
  1. Practice a 2-Minute Answer To Key Questions. Find a bunch of standard interview questions and force yourself to answer each question out loud for no more than 2 minutes. The #1 reason most people fail an interview because they talk too much.
  1. Control the interview. Ask an interviewer to describe what problems they need solved. Then give a 2-minute example of what you can offer as a solution for each one.
  1. Define What Makes You REMARKABLE. Don’t focus on your qualifications. It’s better to define what you can bring to the table that will help company make money save money or solve a problem. Do your homework so that you can clearly focus on what solutions you can bring to the table. Making an effort to understand a company’s needs will make you stand out among other candidates.

The key to the job search process is focusing on relationships instead of jobs. Spend 80% of your time outside your office or home talking to people and getting them to like and trust you. Job search is a process not an event. Take the time to build your network while you are working.

Research has shown that referred candidates are twice as likely to land an interview as other applicants, For those who make it to the interview stage, referred candidates have a 40% better chance of being hired than other applicants. Get referred and get hired. It’s the secret sauce that makes all the difference.

 

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