March 24, 2014

4 Ways to Upgrade Your Career: How To Be The CEO

business corporate team on a ladder of success over an abstract sky

Visions of corporate leadership and more zeros on a paycheck can help an entry-level employee survive the workdays. It’s the “paying your dues” and “work hard” mentality that keeps employees on the lower rungs of the corporate ladder motivated for more. For someone who dreams of being CEO, how can you sprint to the top rungs of the ladder, rather than climb?

Justin Hutchens moved from being a resident assistant at an intermediate care facility at age 19 to CEO of National Health Investors at age 36. Hutchens shares with that his father’s advice helped him fast forward up the proverbial corporate ladder. Always do your best, despite the level of your responsibilities, and take the undesirable assignments others wouldn’t want. Broadening your skills, willingness to relocate, and flexibility are also top traits that can boost a person’s marketability, says Hutchens.

Even if you’re not making a steady vertical ascent up the ladder, lateral moves and positions offering growth opportunities can support career expansion, development and advancement. Here are more adjustments you can make in your profession to help charge ahead in your career.

Continuing Education

Continuing your education broadens your skill set and professional training. Complement you marketing background and entrepreneurial spirit with formal management as well as financial and organizational training. Especially since you’ve already experienced the workforce, you can return to school with clearer goals and sharper focus. Returning to school doesn’t have to be a full-time endeavor like your four-year, on-campus undergrad experience with high tuition costs. There are online college options you can research. Penn Foster, for example, equips students with a business management associate degree with up to 76 percent less costs than and traditional and online academic alternatives.

Goal Oriented

An indecisive career path and aimless job hopping can be a time-waster. If you’re bouncing around in your career like a pinball in an arcade game, you’re doing it wrong. Career coach Ford Myers emphasizes that you need a roadmap or blueprint to achieve your full potential, according to “How To Fast-Track Your Way Up The Corporate Ladder,” by Create short-term goals along with a long-term vision. Think about the greater picture beyond your limitations. Determine the pinnacle of your career, and then establish the steps that will get you there. Keep in mind, performing like someone in a higher position can attract the potential for a promotion and showcase your abilities to take the next step. Don’t lose sight of your current role, but think and act a level higher, recommends business consultant Lynette Lewis.

Positive Work Behavior

Attitude and personality traits are just as pivotal as education and a plan. An extroverted CEO-in-the-making will possess the following qualities:

  • Communicates effectively; makes deals and decisions
  • Garners respect
  • Sees a cohesive vision and can create a strategy
  • Acts with self-confidence and self-knowledge
  • Adapts and accommodates to unforeseen changes
  • Works well independently and as a team
  • Listens and responds
  • Energizes, innovates and excites
  • Expresses appreciation and gratitude

Manager & Company Objectives

Understand the values and priorities of your boss and company. Do your efforts align with their goals and objectives? Completing your responsibilities and meeting (exceeding) expectations while taking initiative reflects exemplary leadership qualities. Don’t be afraid to step beyond your role to learn about the high-priority funded projects. Create visibility for yourself by having a hand in projects that greatly influence the business of your company. Not only should you execute, you should initiate as well. Over time, you’ll gain valuable experience that will teach you about risk, opportunity and how to move into not only a managerial position, but eventually a chief executive role.


About the Author:

Ruth Harris is a long HR consultant, service manager, and mother of three.


March 3, 2014

What to Include in Your Cover Letter


Two weeks ago, we published “What NOT to include in Your Cover Letter” and got more hits in a week than many of our articles have gotten all year! Thanks for the read!check

This week, let’s look at what you should include in your cover letter.


Convince the hiring manager that you truly want to work there. Tell them specifically why this is your dream job or why you think the company is the best thing since sliced gluten-free bread. Make it personal, make it compelling, tell a story that makes you stand out. If you can paint a picture that makes you look like the ideal candidate and the best thing since sliced bread, you’ve got an in. Show your excitement and make the hiring manager excited to meet you.


You as the Solution 

A lot of people might be able to do this job, why are you the best choice? Show that you meet the requirements for the position and that you align with the company’s goals. Tell the reader: How can you make immediate impacts? How can you solve the hiring manager’s problem? What can you do to fulfill and surpass the job responsibilities? While your resume will list your accomplishments in each of your roles, what can you highlight here that is particularly relevant to this position with this company? This is an opportunity to showcase how your particular experience differentiates you from the multitude of other applicants. (more…)


February 24, 2014

The Top Ten Things to Include in an Offer Letter

By Jon Piggins, Executive Recruiter, IT Sales & Marketing


Jon Piggins, IT Recruiter

Jon Piggins – IT Recruiter, Sales & Marketing

Offer letters are used to inform a prospective employee that he or she is being offered a position. The offer letter provides general expectations and basic terms of employment if the candidate accepts the offer.


Employment agreements are generally more formal documents that go into greater detail in defining an employment contract, such as setting forth the performance and duties and the remedy for any breach of contract.

What to Put in an Offer Letter

 1. Excitement

This is an exciting moment for both the candidate and the company, and the hire is not over until everyone has signed on the dotted line and the work has begun. So convey your excitement and close the deal!

Ex. On behalf of (Company), I am pleased to offer you employment on the terms and conditions set forth in this letter.  We look forward to working with you and believe that you can make a very significant, positive contribution to the success of (Company). Our company offers you an opportunity to put your experience, abilities, dedication, energy and creativity to excellent use. Welcome to the team! (more…)


February 17, 2014

What NOT to Include in Your Cover Letter



Spelling and grammar mistakes

This should be obvious, I know. But really, please re-read your letter don’t just count on Microsoft spell check and proof your grammar for you. There are many mixed up homophones and cognates, abused apostrophes, and careless typos that can slip in. Like brushing your hair and teeth before leaving the house, your cover letter should be properly proofed to ensure it’s ready to go out.

Incorrect title for the position you are applying for

Job seekers often use a cover letter they have previously written and then re-edit it when applying to a new position. This is ill-advised as it can be quite risky if all the variables are not updated correctly, such as the title of the job you are after. If you can’t take the time to make sure the letter targets the position you want, do you think you are conveying true desire for the position? (more…)


January 27, 2014

Getting Yourself Geared Up for the Executive Job Hunt

Getting-Yourself Geared Up for the Executive Job Hunt

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics expects jobs for executives to increase only 5 percent through 2020. That’s significantly lower than the average growth rate of most positions. With fewer executive positions to compete for, you’ll need to have the right resume, the right image and the right answers for critical interview questions. Get yourself prepared with these suggestions to keep yourself in the game.

Think Like an Executive

The mindset of an executive is different than someone working in operations, says In Power Women. You need to “get out of the weeds” and start thinking strategically about the company. “How can we quickly deliver a customer order?” is a tactical question left to the logistics people in a company. “How can we break into the China marketplace?” is a strategic question. If you’ve been stuck in the weeds for a long time, you’ll need to start thinking differently.

You may need to do some homework to get up to speed. It may even require you to look at supplemental education, such as in economics, marketing or organizational leadership. Research sites such as to find the right courses to take while you’re working and doing your executive search.

Communication Must Be Natural

What you say about yourself and the questions you ask must sound confident and come without effort. Companies look for people who can handle themselves under stressful levels of scrutiny, so calm responses to questions are important. A confident approach also indicates that you are really prepared for any situation.

Your elevator speech needs to roll off your tongue. In 30 seconds, you need to introduce yourself in a way that makes a good initial impression on a person and keeps your name in their mind. After listening to you, they need to understand your goals. Most important, they need to be interested enough in you to ask for more information.

In an interview, Forbes says that all of the questions boil down to three simple questions:

  • Can you do this job?
  • Will you love doing this job?
  • Will we be able to work with you?

You will be asked these questions in a number of ways. Prepare your answers and practice responding various ways. Don’t hesitate because the recruiter may take that as you having second thoughts.

Don’t Skimp on the Basics

Too many candidates still submit resumes with typos on them, according to You leave the recruiter thinking “How can a person who can’t spell run a department or company?” If writing is not your thing, then don’t hesitate to have your resume done by an executive search firm. They will make sure the content and format is perfect for the position you’re applying for.

Dress appropriately for the interview and any meetings with other managers, as well. If you’re not sure what that means, get the help of a professional again. These little things may seem insignificant to a high-level executive role, but they are actually crucial.

Be Your Own Brand

If you’ve been associated with a large company for some time, focus on creating your own personal brand. Design your own website and blog. Start posting on LinkedIn and become a guest blogger on other business sites. Build a reputation as an expert in some important topic. You’ll create an identity for yourself that’s separate from your previous company. Your ideas and opinions will also be associated with you and not your former employer.



About the Author: Mike Adams


Mike has started and sold two successful companies before retiring. When he’s not golfing and playing tennis he coaches new entrepreneurs on business best practices.

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