Job-hunt readiness, surviving a promotion

AP News
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Posted: Nov 10, 2009 2:46 PM

READY OR NOT?: With the nation's jobless rate above 10 percent, many workers may expect the unexpected when it comes to their careers. But only one in five have updated their resumes in the last three months, while almost half haven't made changes to the document in the past year, according to a recent survey.

The telephone poll of 493 adult office workers, conducted by staffing company Robert Half International Inc., found that 82 percent think that they're ready to start a search if they lost their jobs tomorrow. Meanwhile, 44 percent said it's been more than a year since they've revised their resumes. Twelve percent have made updates in the past month.

When asked how prepared they are to conduct a job search, 39 percent of workers said they were very prepared, while 43 answered that they were somewhat ready.

"Workers who are prepared in the event of a sudden job loss also are ready when new employment opportunities arise, including those within their own companies," said Reesa Staten, senior vice president and director of workplace research for Robert Half International. "A current resume is an essential career tool _ the longer it remains untouched, the harder it is to update, since specific achievements are not always easy to recall."

Staten suggests creating a "personal personnel file" to keep track of your successes and kudos.

The survey had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percent.

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SURVIVING A PROMOTION: Newly promoted employees may be at a higher risk of job loss, particularly if they were promoted to replace others who were let go during cutbacks, according to OI Partners, a global career transition and coaching firm.

The firm surveyed more than 100 executive coaches on employee failure rates and the top reasons workers do not survive a promotion.

Many employees who advance to a higher position do not receive proper coaching and training, and their failures could end up hurting a company's bottom line, said the firm's chairman, Tim Schoonover.

"Some newly promoted employees have been unable to make the transition from being individual performers to managers," Schoonover said. "Others have been promoted to the next level without getting an opportunity to improve their management, motivational, team-building and communications skills."

OI Partners lists these common problems for those who have recently acquired a higher position, but do not know how to progress from being individual performers to managing others:

_ They may be unable to motivate others and keep them fully engaged in their jobs.

_ There's a chance they have a poor ability to relate interpersonally with others. They may have such toxic management behaviors as being too critical, abrasive, unpredictable, self-centered, arrogant, close-minded, or volatile.

_ Lacking strong written or verbal communication skills can hinder someone's ability to manage effectively.

_ They don't enlist the support of subordinates and peers to build commitment to their strategies. Relationships with higher management, colleagues, and other departments are also important factors to managing a team.

_ They fail to recognize contributions. Managers need to acknowledge the achievements of others and share their successes.

_ They are unsure of exactly what their bosses expect them to accomplish, or the two or three most important company goals.

_ It may be impossible to achieve desired results within an acceptable time frame once they've started a new position. The deadline may be as short as three to six months _ if it's even clear what the deadline is.