Reader’s Question about Making a Career Change from the For-Profit to the Non-Profit World

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“Not everyone—even comms pros who’ve risen to fairly high rungs on the corporate ladder—wants to keep progressing to increasingly higher level jobs with greater levels of responsibility. Sometimes they want to switch to a position that’s more meaningful like a nonprofit and has less stress and lower compensation, especially if they envision retiring in five to ten years or suddenly have an empty nest. But how do you pursue these jobs without being labeled overqualified or “throwing in the career towel?” Answer:  There are several assumptions that need to be challenged before this question can be addressed and I do that in the 8 points below. Adjusting career goals and …

How do I manage the timing when I am a finalist for 3 excellent jobs?

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Answer:  When you are in the position of potentially having 3 job offers with two of them “A’s” and the third a “B+”, managing the timing is an exercise in patience.  When you are interviewing for a VP position, the process (despite what the hiring manager says) can take as long as 6-months. The key is assisting each of the hiring organizations to move the interviewing process along. Provide appropriate information about the timing of the other two searches as early as possible. Do not wait to be asked. Provide updates as you have information to report. This is not as straightforward as it sounds. If you are working with …

How do you make the smartest career decisions that fit your unique situation?

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Answer: Here are 7 guiding principles. You are responsible for making the best career decisions for yourself.  Listen to your instincts and “gut.”  If you are unhappy in a job or feeling uneasy when you interview for a new position, there is usually a good reason.  Figure out what it is.  Don’t ignore it.  What to do about it is a complex challenge depending upon risk, family needs, location, and compensation.  Be thoughtful and take the time to consider your options and consequences.  Until then you are not ready to consider a move. When you look at job opportunities either inside or outside your organization recognize that you are not …

What corporate policy requirements must be met to receive an offer?   Is drug testing part of the process?

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Answer: While companies vary in their requirements, it is important to know in advance what a finalist may be tested for and what information may be checked/verified. Companies operating nationally will conform to federal laws for drug testing including marijuana in states where it is legal to use it. Finalists may be asked for a release to review their credit history, to obtain verification of education and employment, and to provide a record of their earnings. For companies which conform to federal laws for drug testing, if a candidate tests positively for marijuana, and there is no medical prescription for drug usage, s/he will not receive an offer or the …

What are 3 major factors that have changed the way searches for Chief Communications Officers are conducted in the last 2+ years?

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Answer:  Searches for Chief Communications Officers have become much more labor intensive and thorough in the past 2+ years. Here are 3 factors that account for the change: Searches are taking much longer now. Instead of a 4-month cycle, it is more typical to have an offer accepted six months after the beginning of the project with the start date one month later. Assuming a candidate has an opportunity to review the job description, s/he should expect to prepare a customized resume (not the “one version fits all approach.”) A targeted, brief cover note is essential.That effort should ensure the candidate will be interviewed. With the advent of social media, …