Career Advancement Reading List

Blog Title - PP - Career Advancement Reading List

To say that “Knowledge is Power” is the height of cliché. It’s also undisputedly true. The more you know, the better off you are. Few forms of knowledge are as beneficial as a firm understanding of how to develop yourself as a person and advance your career.

With that goal in mind, we’ve compiled our list of the best career and professional development books that we’ve read:

Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg

What Is It About?

  • Written by the COO of Facebook, Lean In covers the obstacles, both internal and external, facing working women. Sandberg examines gender interactions in the workplace, the idea of “having it all”, and how to make the best career choices.

Who Is It For?

  • Both women and men

Most Important Lesson?

  • Increasing the number of women at the top of the business world will benefit everyone.

David & Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell

What Is It About?

  • Gladwell examines the upside of our disadvantages and the downside of our advantages. He talks through dozens of historical examples of how underdogs best powerhouses and the hidden advantages of being the little guy.

Who Is It For?

  • Anyone considering taking a leap

Most Important Lesson?

  • Don’t wait. You have all you need to get started. Start today!

Never Eat Alone: and Other Secrets to Success, One Relationship at a Time by Keith Ferrazzi

What Is It About?

  • Never Eat Alone could be the How to Win Friends and Influence People of our generation. It’s full of short, impactful chapters on how to connect with others and build your business or career by forging and managing relationships. Networking isn’t about collecting contact information, but sharing your expertise and providing value for others.

Who Is It For?

  • Everyone who wants to expand their network

Most Important Lesson?

  • Be bold and go after what you really want.

The Start-Up of You by Reid Hoffman and Ben Casnocha

What Is It About?

  • Co-written by the founder of LinkedIn, The Start-up of You instructs you how to take control your professional future. To maximize your career, you have to know what you’re good at, what you want to do, and what the job market values. Merge all three and you’ll set yourself up for the best career possible.

Who Is It For?

  • Everyone!

Most Important Lesson?

  • You’re the boss of your career.

Smartcuts by Shane Snow

What Is It About?

  • In Smartcuts, Shane Snow dismantles the idea that climbing the corporate ladder is required to reach the top. He argues that waiting your turn and paying dues is not only the wrong way to get ahead but can actually hinder your progress. With case studies and real-life experiences, Snow makes the case for “lateral thinking”. “Later thinking”—solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, is highlighted as the way that most successful people have made it to the top.

Who Is It For?

  • Professionals who feel stuck and are open to alternative routes to success

Most Important Lesson?

  • Shifting gears and continuing to add to your skill set is very often the best way to get ahead.

Knock ‘Em Dead: The Ultimate Job Seeker’s Handbook by Martin Yate

What Is It About?

  • Martin Yate is considered the job search guru. This book and its companions are the handbook that every job seeker needs. They provide a step-by-step, in-depth understanding of what hiring managers want, how to sell yourself, and win the job you want.

Who Is It For?

  • Each and every job seeker. If you have a resume, you should own this book

Most Important Lesson?

  • It’s not what you know, but who knows you that will land you your next job.

More Best Answers to The 201 Most Frequently Asked Interview Questions by Matthew J. and Nanette F. DeLuca

What Is It About?

  • While Knock ‘Em Dead covers the A-Z of the job search, More Best Answers guides you across the goal line. It’s a tactical and practical handbook for interview prep, interview strategy, interview follow-up, and compensation negotiation. It gives readers the tools to land the interview, feel more comfortable and in control during interviews, and answer tough interview questions that cause other job seekers to stumble.

Who Is It For?

  • Anyone with an interview coming up

Most Important Lesson?

  • Interviewing is a skill. It can be taught and learned. The recipe for becoming a great interviewee is one part preparation, one part observation, one part improvisation, and one part negotiation.

Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill

What Is It About?

  • First published in 1937, Think and Grow Rich is an oldie, but a goodie. It’s the spiritual successor to Dale Carnegie’s famous How to Win Friends and Influence People. Universally applicable business and networking advice is abundant, as Hill tells of his journey from the poor house to prosperity.

Who Is It For?

  • Everyone!

Most Important Lesson?

  • The power of positivity

What have you read that has added to your career or professional development? We’d love to hear from you!

Planning for Growth & Succession

Planning for Growth & Succession

Planning for Growth & Succession

If you’re an executive or manager, you’re busy. It’s likely your hard work got you to your current position and hard work is the only way you’re going to keep it. Hard work is great, but if all you do is work hard, you’re going to fail at growth and succession planning. Ensuring the future of the firm isn’t about working hard, but working smart.

It’s the responsibility of every executive or manager to have a plan for the future of your firm, your division, or your department. This plan is built around talent. The end goal is to ensure that your firm has the right number, type, and quality of people in the right roles, at the right time, to execute its strategy.

Most managers understand that there’s a connection between business strategy and talent. However, very few managers create plans or processes to leverage this connection for the benefit of their firm. Below is an action-based outline for talent development and succession planning that supports your firm’s business strategy and goals.

  • Create an ideal candidate profile based on your firm’s strategy. Begin this process well in advance of your expected need. Consider both short and long-term business goals. What experiences, traits, competencies, and skills will this person need for success?
  • Get an accurate of assessment of current candidates’ strengths and weaknesses. This is best done utilizing 360 performance feedback from the candidate’s supervisor, co-workers, and direct reports.
  • Think ahead. Don’t just plan how to replace the incumbent, plan 1-3 moves ahead. Succession planning is an ongoing process, not a one-time event. Dig deep and learn who the potential candidates are in the mid-level and junior positions within your firm.
  • Develop the skills needed for future roles with on-the-job training, coaching, mentoring, and education. Your executive team should make recommendations on how to prepare their successors, spend time mentoring these employees, and advise them on the unique challenges they may face down the road. Leaders should include their successors in routine projects to help them understand their decision-making process.
  • Stay up to date on candidates’ career goals. Have a quarterly discussion with employees about their career aspirations. What are his or her goals? What does he or she want to do? If their goals have changed, your succession plan may have to as well.
  • Put succession planning on the agenda for meetings of your senior leadership team. Succession is an ongoing process. As potential leaders emerge from within your firm, the senior leadership team should be updated on plans so they know how to meets the future needs of the organization.
  • Link your talent management and development planning to your longer-term business strategy. The future is unpredictable. As your business strategy shifts, so must your talent development process.

At the mid-level of your firm, proactive succession planning leaves your organization well prepared for all contingencies and ensures a strong talent pool for your firm. At the leadership-level, the results are even more significant. It allows your firm to continually strengthen the leadership team that will support your firm’s strategy and goals well into the future.

Contact our team today at info@promoplacement.com to formalize your staffing and succession plans. There’s no time to wait. The future of your firm is too important!

The State of the Promotional Products Talent Market

The State of the Promotional Products Talent Market | 2017

The State of the Promotional Products Talent Market

Finding great people is always a challenge. However, your odds of finding and hiring great candidates are significantly increased if you have a firm understanding of the talent pool that’s available to you. In other words, knowledge is power.

Our team of sourcers and recruiters have hundreds of conversations with hiring managers and job candidates every week. To provide hiring managers and job candidates with a better understanding of the promotional product talent market, we’ve tracked these conversations over the past 12 months. The results of our analysis have provided the insights below.

If you’re planning to grow your firm and add to your team in 2017, here’s what the promotional products talent market has in store for you:

DISTRIBUTORS

Executive-Level

  • Within the distributor-side of our industry, executive-level job candidates are available in relative abundance. For many active job seekers, this is no doubt this is due to the large number of mergers and acquisitions that have taken place over the last several years. On the other hand, many passive job seekers are facing the challenges of ownership changes, stagnant career growth, and the increased role of millennials in many distributor-side firms.
  • Supply exceeds demand

Management

  • Unlike the executive-level, experienced managers are in high demand. Many growing mid-tier firms are facing the need to expand their management team in 2017. Sales managers and customer service managers are especially sought after. These positions are usually reserved for experienced distributor-side managers who have held leadership positions before. Many smaller firms, most with an owner who is also the top sales producer, are seeking successful senior sales reps who can transition into a sales manager role.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Marketing

  • Both marketing managers and marketing support reps aren’t in high demand as they were in 2015 and 2016. Challenges in differentiating themselves from competitors has caused many firms to move spend from the marketing department to the customer service department. The thinking here is that they are better off keeping existing customers satisfied than trying to win new customers. While demand is low, supply is also low for marketers who know and understand our industry.
  • Equilibrium

Sales

  • The talent market for distributor-side sales reps contains two very different markets. Demand has been (and always will be) very strong among distributorships with a commission compensation structure. The reason for this is simple economics. However, demand for sales reps with firms using a salary plus bonus compensation structure is low. These firms have good people on their teams and there are many lower producing commission sales reps who would jump at the change to stabilize their income with a salary.
  • Commission compensation structure – Demand exceeds supply
  • Salary plus bonus compensation structure – Supply exceeds demand

Customer Service

  • Distributors large and small are having a difficult time fully staffing their customer service teams. An increased customer-focus within many distributorships has put these job candidates at a premium. The growth of many distributorships with a commission compensation structure also adds to the demand for these candidates. Experienced, knowledgeable customer service people are very valuable in today’s talent market.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Vendor Relations/Sourcing/Merchandising

  • Vendor relations, sourcing, and merchandising professionals are sought highly after on the distributor side. There just aren’t a lot of job candidates who have strong experience in this area. Many firms facing stagnant growth and are looking to sourcing and merchandising professionals to increase profits.
  • Demand exceeds supply

SUPPLIERS

Executive-Level

  • Despite the high number of mergers and acquisitions on the supplier-side of our industry, executive-level candidates aren’t in high supply. Many of them are kept on board during mergers and acquisitions. Additionally, their backgrounds and experience make a transition outside of the industry far more likely than their distributor-side counterparts. Several firms are looking to expand or make changes to their executive team in 2017.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Management

  • At the management-level, there are few opportunities and fewer experienced candidates. Once supplier sales reps ascend to a management-level they tend to stay put. This is caused more due to comfort with the organization than a lack of opportunities. Though the opportunities are far from plentiful.
  • Demand just barely exceeds supply

Marketing

  • Marketing, long talked about as an important differentiator among suppliers appears to be coming into its prime. Over the last 6 months, more and more suppliers are putting their money where their mouth is and investing in marketing talent. Hopefully, these investments and new hires pay off. Candidates who understand the promotional product industry and the tenets of modern marketing are very rare. Suppliers may soon find themselves having to reach outside of the industry to hire young, savvy marketing talent.
  • Demand will far exceed supply within the next 12 months

Sales

  • The traditional game of supplier sales rep musical chairs has slowed down over the last 12 months. In general, sales reps are staying put longer. Additionally, there’s a significant pool of experienced sales reps who are underserved by their current supplier.
  • Supply exceeds demand

Customer Service

  • While not suffering the same sharp shortage of distributors, suppliers are adding staff to their customer service teams. Again, it’s an increased customer-focus that has brought on these new positions. Distributor sales reps are placing more and more importance (as are end-users) on communication, responsiveness, and results from suppliers.
  • Demand exceeds supply

Sourcing/Merchandising/Purchasing

  • Sourcing, merchandising, and purchasing professionals are in even higher demand than they are on the distributor side. The shortage of experienced job candidates is very sharp. It’s a real challenge for the suppliers looking to squeeze savings out of a more efficient supply chain.
  • Demand exceeds supply

If your firm is planning to grow in, PromoPlacement has the insight, network, and placement expertise to ensure that your team is made up of the best our industry has to offer. Contact our team at info@promoplacement.com to discuss your talent needs and business goals.