Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Who should be promoted- Star Performer or Team Player?

Published in THE HINDU Opportunities on May 23rd, 2012 Link to online article Arun is the Head of Sales of a reputed consumer goods company and is faced with a challenging decision. It is that time of the year when he has to make his recommendation to his superior regarding promotions in his team. Kirti is a star performer in the group as he has excellent sales numbers for the year and consistently delivers quality work. Raj, on the other hand, has reasonable sales numbers and is known for being a team player, as he takes initiative; works well with challenging tasks and multiple personalities and is the key contributor for the group's success. As a manager, Arun is faced with making that critical decision. Who should be promote - the Star Performer or the Team Player? Most managers often face this kind of a dilemma and on a traditional approach, go with an impromptu decision to promote the star performer. The practice of promoting someone simply based on performance metrics needs to be looked at closely. At first glance, it seems that promoting the star performer seems to be reasonable, the logical choice. If they are hard-working and produce outstanding results in comparison to their peers, shouldn't they be rewarded with a higher position in the corporate ladder? Here are some tips on how managers can reassess their promotion practices in the workplace. Skills Appraisal Most managers take into account the employee's existing performance on the job and make this the sole deciding factor in promotion decisions. A star performer can be great at what he or she does, but do they have what it takes to succeed in the higher level position is a vital question that every manager can ask themselves before they arrive at a final decision. Hence, it is important to look beyond what the star performer has currently contributed and think about the skills they possess in order to make it to the next level. And, the same principle holds true for the team player, as well. Does your team player possess the skills and abilities to be able to expand to a senior position? This can best be gauged by a manager by appraising the incumbent's technical skills, interpersonal and soft skills, time management skills, analytical thinking and the ability to handle the responsibilities that come with the new role. Managing is not for all There are times when your star performer is content with their current role and isn't interested in getting promoted to being a manager. Managing is not for all and some star performers, in fact, prefer to be individual contributors or star employees working hard to deliver results, instead of dealing with administrative responsibilities and supervision aspects associated with a manager's position. The key is to find out if your star performer is motivated and challenged in his existing role and continue to reward them for their exemplary work with monetary benefits and also come up with innovative ways on developing a technical career path for them as opposed to grooming them for higher level management positions. In contrast, your team player who has already demonstrated his or her ability to work with multiple personalities and also pulls together the team towards project completion may have the leadership skills necessary to thrive with the manager's role. Think about your team As a manager, when you make a promotion decision, think about the effect it will have on the rest of your team. When a star performer gets promoted, it not only leaves the team with a void that is hard to fill, but also leaves the employee the awkward task of working over his peers, instead of working by their side. This may result in conflicting situations that may lead to poor morale and decreased productivity. Also, star performers often have a tendency to focus on themselves and are driven to prove and succeed as individuals shaping the company's financial growth. In comparison, when a team player gets promoted, he is more attuned to identifying and extorting the strengths of his peers and will be more adept at handling sensitive issues that arise from situations that will make a difference to the bottom line. Robert Hosking, executive director of Office Team says, “Being a strong individual contributor does not necessarily equate to being an effective leader. The most successful bosses excel at motivating others to achieve great results.” Lastly, keep in mind that a promotion decision within your team is in line with your company's culture and philosophy. The choice of promoting a team player over a star performer will send a message to the rest of your employees that you don't just value stellar performance, but also take into consideration other factors such as flexibility, the ability to work well with others and that as a team player you are vested in the company's success and not just trying to advance your own personal goals.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Assess people on conscientiousness to groom for managerial positions

Published in THE HINDU Opportunities on May, 16th, 2012 Link to the published article Employers in MNCs and corporate settings indicate that soft skills and personality traits are becoming integral to their hiring and training and development initiatives. In recent times, several companies are looking beyond educational qualification and experience to hire the best candidate for a job. HR and hiring managers evaluate candidates based on certain personality tests to decide if they can survive in the increasingly work driven environment. They also use these indicators to determine if existing people in the organisation can be groomed for promotions to managerial roles. Managers look for certain personality traits and attributes in their employees when they invest in training them for supervisory positions. It is also helpful for them to be aware of their own personality to develop themselves. This will help them grow as better employees and then help make the transition to become good managers. Here are some pointers on the traits that managers need to look for while grooming their staff for managerial roles. The “Conscientiousness” Factor According to research in human psychology, the Big Five Personality Theory discusses five factors based on which individuals respond differently to similar situations. HR professionals often use these traits to measure the personality of candidates when hiring or promoting them within the organisation. The Big Five traits are: Openness, Conscientiousness, Extroversion, Agreeableness and Neuroticism (OCEAN). The topmost skill that managers need to evaluate and consider in their staff when thinking about developing an individual for managerial role is: conscientiousness. It is the employee's ability to be thorough in his work, reliable at all times, be organised, prompt and persevere in a given task even when faced with obstacles. By measuring people's assiduousness on the job, a manager can determine if they have that “conscientiousness” streak in them to be able to deliver quality job performance across a variety of roles. The Markings of a Conscientiousness Employee A conscientious employee is often characterised by their systematic approach to work and their resolute determination to keep at a given task. This particular attribute ensures their steady growth and success in the respective field. This is an employee who is usually entrusted to deliver an assignment on time as they are known for their prior planning and execution skills, rather than an impulsive nature to do something quickly. These employees may come as sticklers for rules within the organisation and are overachievers within their department. Specific traits of people with a high level of conscientiousness include: Reliable at all times Consistent in the quality of work Highly organised Thorough Punctual Career Progression and Conscientiousness Studies show that an employee's career graph is closely related to the test scores for conscientiousness when they are tested on a personality test or exam. A person with a high conscientiousness rating will have good attention to detail, strong organisational skills. He will combat against all obstacles to get the work done efficiently. This trait in individuals translates into work deliverables across a variety of positions and will be the distinguishing characteristic that sets an employee apart from the rest of the organisation when career growth occurs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

How to be a Motivational Speaker

This article was published in The HINDU Opportunitities section on April, 25, 2012 Link to the online published article How to be a motivational speaker A motivational speaker is one who makes a speech that leaves his or her audience inspired and charged. Motivational speakers are most often heard at corporate events, business meetings, seminars and at school and college events. They are usually asked to convey the company's strategy or the academic institution's mission to the gathered group so that the audience is charged with a positive spirit and are motivated to do more and better. A motivational speaker is the medium through which an idea or a vision is conveyed and the audience takes away the idea and the tools that are taught to them to implement the same in their professional and personal lives. Powerful motivational speakers convey a strong message and use real life examples to make their speech outstanding and inspirational. “Examples are the best tool available to convince others of your ideas. They are also interesting to hear and read”, says Avinash Narula, a leading motivational speaker and management guru. Here are some steps to help you become an inspiring motivational speaker. Connect with your audience The first and foremost step that a motivational speaker needs to understand is how he or she connects with their audience. While communicating, the idea or vision is significant, even more crucial is ensuring that a connection between the speaker and the listeners is established. And this is possible when the motivational speaker truly understands the audience he or she is speaking to. The content of the message then becomes tailored to suit the audience. Narrate a convincing story The fundamental difference between a regular speaker and a motivational speaker is in the manner in which they convey an idea, thought, vision or a message and the tools they use to illustrate their message. Narration of real-life examples, including references to events that have occurred in the lives of popular personalities that the audience can relate to, make it easier for the message to be received well. Good public speaking skills along with the ability to narrate a story with confidence and conviction will leave a long lasting memory in the minds of the audience. Use your props and tools effectively Make sure that you prepare your speech and presentation well ahead of time. Be creative and include appropriate tools to make your speech invigorating and educational. If you have hand-outs for the audience to take with them, be sure to make sufficient copies in advance. Be as visual as possible in communicating your ideas and use flip-charts and other drawing tools, as needed. Ask for feedback A good motivational speaker is one who solicits feedback from the audience and is open to receiving both constructive feedback and negative criticism. This can be done when you have a pre-created form that the audience can complete at the end of the session or just have them drop a line in a suggestion box on their way out. After you've gathered all the feedback, review each comment to know what went well and what could have been better in your speech. Incorporate the suggestions in your next session and gradually you will improve. Perfect your professional portfolio When you are starting out as a motivational speaker, make sure that you have a professional profile and are an expert in your chosen area/topic. Promote yourself by volunteering to speak at your child's school or college event, at the local rotary club or at some company's event. Be prepared to network as much as possible to get additional clients. Based on the performances of your initial speaking engagements, word-of-mouth publicity will land you further assignments. Prepare a written contract for clients with details on your fees, venue of the speaking engagement, other billable expenses etc. Successful motivational speakers are usually in great demand and are often paid good money for assignments and also booked well in advance. Keep your calendar up to date and organise yourself efficiently to keep up your commitments. Motivational speakers are often born with an innate gift to talk and do it with a passion that leaves the listeners with positive energy and the feeling that they can accomplish their goals. They can inspire and engage their audience by making good eye contact, keeping a confident posture and speaking about what they truly believe in. After all, we all need a dose of motivational speeches from time to time to break free from the monotony in our lives and find the inspiration to make our lives more meaningful.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

How to develop a succession plan

Published in The HINDU online on April, 11, 2012

Link to online article:

Many successful organisations and their leaders have a continuing concern about employee turnover in their companies. With the departure of key talent from the company, especially in management and senior roles, the future continuity and performance of the business is at risk. That is when succession planning comes in as a timely intervention to enable the organisation to function seamlessly. A succession plan is a systematic process where managers identify, assess and develop their staff to make sure that they are ready to assume key roles within the company.

Through active succession planning, employees are constantly developed to fill each key role within the company.

Here are some practical ideas on how you can develop a good succession plan that enables a smooth transition with less likelihood of disruption to operations.

Develop your employees

The first step in succession planning lies in identifying and understanding the developmental needs of your employees. Employees need to know their career paths and the roles they are being developed to fill.

It is healthy to allow your employees for lateral moves, assign them to special projects, offer team leadership roles and also internal and external training and development opportunities. You should plan on hiring superior talent and retaining top performers as this will save your organisation time, effort and resources. Be aware of the employment trends in your area to prepare for the roles that will be hard to fill externally.

Update your organisation chart

Start with updating your existing organisation chart and briefly outline what the organisation might look like once someone leaves.

For example, if your manager of information technology is leaving, who will be his/her successor? If they are internal, also outline who will fill their current position. Outline any positions that will be vacant after the reshuffle. Keep a spreadsheet or a list of all the positions in the organisation and the people that are expected to fill the position in the event of a succession. For each position outline:

Job Title

Name of the employee expected to fill the position, if unknown, you can mention ‘Vacant'

Skills required

Training requirements

Keep a succession timetable

Use a succession timetable to track all phases of the succession planning process. The phases can include, but be not limited to planning, business operations (e.g. financial/HR/legal), successor mentorship and training, handover and transition. For each phase list the specifics:

Phase description

Succession action items needed for this particular phase

Start date of the phase

End date of the phase

Conduct a risk analysis

Evaluate the risks to the succession and any contingencies that may happen. Thinking about potential pitfalls and anticipating what can go wrong while the succession plan is being implemented along with recognising the potential impact to the business will help assess the likelihood and impact of risk. As a backup, make sure that you have a contingency/alternative plan in the event that the risk happens.

Lastly, the process of succession planning is crucial to a company's survival and needs to be a part of the organisation's strategic planning process as it deals with projecting future changes along with anticipating vacancies and then determining how to meet these challenges.

The benefits to an effective and proactive succession plan will keep your company well prepared for expansion, reduction in workforce, employee promotions and transfers, organisational restructuring and most of all in building a strong talent base for continued success.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Fast moving consumer goods making headway

Title: Fast moving consumer goods making headway

Published in The HINDU Opportunities on April, 4th, 2012

Online Link to the article:

With India being one of the fastest developing world economic countries, as a result of higher disposable incomes and a middle class that is growing to the next level along with a rural subset that is also expanding to a higher level, the consumer goods companies are relishing huge profits. Both domestic and international companies are investing in the various markets and categories that are available in this sector. The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is at its peak.

Commodities that are sold quickly at low prices are referred to as fast moving consumer goods. Often, these goods have an expiry period and have to be replaced or used within the lifetime of the product. Examples of such fast moving consumer goods include a vast range of items such as perishable food and grocery items, hair and skin care products, household items, packaged goods, plastic and paper products and medical products. Consumer electronic items such as cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players and computers also fall under this category.

Among the various categories, food and grocery make up the largest segment of this sector (almost 70%) followed by the personal and beauty care market which continue to grow at a rapid pace. There are numerous job opportunities available in this sector. Here is a look at the employment prospects in this sector.

Skill sets

A basic college degree or a certification with courses in retail, logistics, store operations, marketing and sales is helpful to get into this industry. Experience is preferred in comparison to educational qualification in this sector. The experience can be from working at a store doing sales or working on the operations side of consumer companies. The top qualities required to be successful in this field are strong sales skills, good perception and insight, negotiation abilities and practical knowledge handling daily issues that come up with customers. Having good customer service skills, patience in dealing with a range of customer personalities along with the ability to communicate in several languages, including being familiar with the local dialect is helpful.


A hierarchy of roles are available in this sector that span from an entry level store associate to a senior executive. Positions in store operations, billing and accounting, floor operations, sales and marketing, product management, logistics and retail are in regular demand. Higher level and specialised roles such as Planning and Analysis, Competitor and Market Analysts, Door-to-door sales and direct marketing, Product Management and Territory Sales, Branding and Market Strategy are also available to management graduates.

Core unique roles in retail and food sector for experienced people who come from food and beverage companies such as food technologists, laboratory technicians, nutritionists, sensory technicians and other consumer goods companies with specialised knowledge about the workings of that industry are also available.

Lastly, sales roles are the most common positions that are available in this sector. Sales positions can include direct sales, sales of goods from wholesale to retail outlets and stores, door-to-door sales representatives and online sales. Some jobs also pay a commission based on the number of sales an employee makes and this depends on the industry, as well. On-the-job training is also provided for sales personnel so that they can become acquainted with the products they are selling.

Employment potential

According to a Booz and Company study for the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the fast moving consumer goods industry is expected to be worth Rs.400,000 crore by 2020. With the upsurge in per capita household income and increase in consumption of certain types of consumer goods from the rural population, the growth prospects in this sector continue at an increased pace. The Indian FMCG sector is the fourth largest sector in the economy and with the competitive multinationals entering this domain along with sustained demand from local consumer goods companies, the needs and demands of the Indian population are consistently mounting thereby making this one of the country's aggressively growing sector.

The forecasts suggest that the sector may produce up to three million jobs by 2015.

Key players

Multinationals like Hindustan Unilever Ltd., Indian Tobacco Company (ITC), Cadbury India, Nestle India, Colgate Palmolive, Dabur India, Britannia Industries, Marico Industries have dominated the sector for years. Domestic and regional companies like Godrej (for toilet soaps and hair dyes), Tatas (for cosmetics and edible oils), Amul (for milk products, ice creams) have also marked their presence in this sector. With increasing awareness among the younger population to go with brand names, several international players like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon and L'Oreal have also entered the Indian market. So, if you have a fascination for the competitive world of fast moving consumer goods, the potential for advancement, profit and career growth is highly favourable.

How to write a Statement of Purpose

Title: How to write a statement of purpose

Published in The HINDU Opportunities on April 4, 2012

Online Link to the source article:

Are you done with your GRE/GMAT tests? Are you currently getting ready to put together your application packet to send to various universities? A statement of purpose (SOP) is your launch pad towards securing that desirable admission into the university of your choice. A well-thought out and personalized SOP that illustrates your academic accomplishments, conveys your zeal for the course and also explains why you have chosen that particular university for your graduate education will sway the admission committee in making a decision in your favour. The main idea behind this exercise is to give the admissions committee an idea of what to expect from a prospective student apart from his/her scores, GPA and letters of recommendation.

Here are some pointers that can help you write a winning SOP:

Purposeful writing: Understand that the purpose of writing a SOP is to convince the university's admission committee to grant you admission. This is best done when you write about yourself, your academic credentials, research interests and how your background fits in with the university's graduate program and how your personality matches what they are looking for in a graduate student. Don't expect your first draft to be your final version, be prepared to rewrite several times and put it away for a few days and revisit it again to give it a fresh perspective.

Framework and body: Many universities require an applicant to answer one big question or a question with many sections as part of the essay. Do your research about the university, its program and be prepared to elaborate on why this course is of special interest to you. Do not hesitate in divulging aspects of your personality, the experiences that shaped you and allow glimpses into your character that are relevant to the questions and talk about your future goals, as well.

Language and presentation: Make sure that your English usage is correct; avoid grammatical errors, abbreviations, spelling and typographical mistakes to make your SOP a clean essay. Follow a logical thought process or use a chronological sequence when describing yourself so that your readers will be motivated to read your story. After all, you are writing about yourself to an audience who has never met you. Stick to the word limit specified and be succinct in your presentation. Give yourself enough time to put together an essay that would do due diligence to you and the admissions committee.

Avoiding the obvious: When writing your SOP, stay away from trying to sound impressive and avoid over-using the “I” approach to your statements, this is because the admissions committee already knows that it is your SOP. Refrain from informal writing and repetitive sentences where you dwell on what program you are applying for, the name of the university etc. as this is all information that is already part of your application before the admissions committee.

American Universities receive several applications from students throughout the world whose credentials and academic background may all be somewhat similar. Further, when granting admission to students, these universities also look for geographical diversity along with other preferred qualifications. A well-written SOP that can stand out and make a mark with the admissions committee is what will make or break your admission into the University of your choice. Also, remember that a convincing SOP is what will cover your bases for any minor glitches in your credentials and is your only chance to sway the admissions committee to make a favourable decision.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Pursuing Graduate Education in USA

Title: Pursuing Graduate Education in USA

Published in The HINDU Opportunities on March 21st, 2012

Online Link to published article

Selecting the right university for your higher education in America can be a challenging and time-consuming process.

Most international students, who come to pursue graduate degrees in the United States, choose a master's degree (MS) over a Ph.D. largely because of the flexibility of the programs.

While a master's program can be completed with two years of coursework and may or may not require a finishing touch such as a thesis, oral boards, or a research project, a Ph.D. program requires years of coursework followed by a thesis requirement.

Hence, a master's degree is a logical choice for many students wishing to pursue higher education.

Kaushik Shankar is pursuing his masters in Industrial Engineering at the Viterbi School of Engineering at the University of Southern California.

“Since my undergraduate degree was in Mechanical Engineering, I was able to get into a program that matches my background and also helps me broaden my interest and skills in the field, which is a great way to help me prepare for a job in the outside world.”

Pursuing a master's degree is no easy undertaking.

Handling a full course load in a new environment, getting used to the grading system and the curriculum and handling living on your own in a foreign place can be daunting at first.

Many students are concerned with the high costs of studying in USA. The cost of education could be anywhere between USD 15,000-USD 50,000 per year, depending on the course and the institution. In addition to the tuition fee, students also need to plan for funds towards living expenses, books, health insurance, air tickets, transportation, etc.

Many students also take up an on-campus job such as a teaching assistant, research assistant, or working at the campus library, bookstore, cafeteria etc. to supplement their living expenses.

Chandra Reddy considers himself fortunate for receiving a tuition waiver and a stipend for his education at the University of Kentucky.

“Since my tuition is covered and I manage my living expenses within my stipend, I don't work on campus.

Instead, I focus my time on taking additional courses, so that I can graduate earlier and start job hunting sooner than my peers to land a good job in my field.”

For students who are looking to pursue higher education in USA, here are a few pointers that can help you find the right university and make the transition successfully.

Pick a university that matches your interest

Since an American education can be expensive, choose an institution that offers you the required funding, tuition waiver and scholarship potential.

After starting your degree, you can also work for 20 hours per week on campus positions to help with your living expenses.

Make sure that the university has courses with specialisation in your area of interest, rather than applying for the program that your friends are opting for.

Today, there is a plethora of resources available online such as: university websites, department profiles, and research interests of faculty, school rankings, tapping into the Indian student organization (ISO) contacts at the university you are seeking admission for and of course talking to seniors, friends and peers who have already gone through the process.

Other factors to consider

The percentage of international students accepted into the university, the geographical location and weather conditions are other aspects that you may want to keep in mind as you seek admission. Also, being aware of the cost of living in the place where you will be residing, knowing if you will be staying at an on-campus residence facility or if you will be renting an apartment off campus and sharing with other students are all decisions that you would need to make as you go through the process.

The application process

If you are applying to top-ranking and good institutions, make sure that your undergraduate grades are excellent and you also have good scores in tests like GRE, GMAT and TOEFL. For admission into a master's degree you need to have had 16 years of formal education.

Most universities require a statement of purpose essay as part of your application and also proof of your contribution in extra-curricular activities.

Once you have narrowed your universities, keep your list short, as this saves up on time and money (application fees and mailing charges).

Adhere to the deadlines mentioned in the application and apply early to enhance your chances of getting admission in the preferred university.

Are you Appreciating your Employees? And are you doing it right?

Title: Are you Appreciating your employees

Published in The HINDU Opportunities on March 21st, 2012

Online link to article

When asked people usually say they change jobs for more pay, but survey after survey shows that they quit because they did not get enough appreciation.

As a top performer reveals, “Employees have a basic human need to feel appreciated and to be recognised.

If you don't give them that, they will seek it out elsewhere.”

So, if you have people who don't receive employee recognition or enjoy their work, you company is failing to make profit.

When you reward and recognise your employees, and do it the right way, they are happier, stay longer and are more productive at work.

Several companies have employee recognition and award programmes to say ‘thank you', ‘well done', ‘we value you as an employee' etc., but, for an employee recognition programme to work, it must be custom-made to fit your company's culture.

The point is to say ‘thank you' frequently to employees who deserve it in a number of ways and this need not be expensive.

As a manager, here are some tips to make sure that your employee recognition programmes are being run the right way.

Think about your organisation

Knowing about your company's culture, understanding management's style in dealing with employees and finding out what your people are thinking, so you can improve are crucial to making your employee recognition programmes successful.

Understanding the atmosphere within the company is important - is the culture an ‘open-door' philosophy or is it closed and private?

How does management operate when dealing with employees?

Is the general mood in the office fun-filled and casual or more business-like and formal?

Thinking about these questions and also keeping in mind the feedback that you receive when sending out employee surveys will ensure that you are sincere in your efforts to make your employee recognition programmes work.

Determine the programme's objectives

While your company may have several employee recognition programmes such as one for rewarding length of service, another programme for employees who have demonstrated exemplary performance etc. it is important to contemplate on why and how each recognition programme will benefit your employees. Gather input from both management and employees about their expectations for the programme.

In a well-known IT company, it was just assumed that money was the biggest motivator for its employees.

The management thought that as long as they kept paying people more, they would do more work and be productive to make profit.

Later, when a new CEO took over and they conducted a poll, it turned out that the biggest perceived perk wasn't the highest salary or the largest bonus- it was the parking spaces.

Many of the employees had to park several buildings away and hence nearby spots were a highly valued perk.

The company then started rewarding improvements in behaviour with better parking spots and got incredible results.

Peer recognition

Many employees consider this a very key aspect of the employee appreciation process. Managers and senior management play a vital role in this type of employee recognition. Taking a few minutes out of an all-hands meeting or at staff meetings to thank employees who have made outstanding contributions is both cost effective and rewarding.

This is most beneficial as the employees value each other's influences more than their supervisor's.

Timing and flexibility

Decide the timing for the recognition programmes. Attempt to conduct smaller awards more often and other competitive awards such as employee of the month, quarter, year, spaced out more logically to encourage employee engagement.

Also, be prepared to change and modify your programmes as situations warrant.

This can be done in accordance with the feedback you receive from employees and management.

Lastly, remember that improving employee engagement is an on-going process and not the end result.

It is something that you have to do every day.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Turning your failure into your success. Getting a job after you are fired.

Title: Getting a job after you are fired.

Published in The HINDU Opportunities on February 29, 2012

Link to the published article

With the global economic crisis and uncertainty in our workplaces, getting fired or being laid-off is a bitter incident that could have already occurred in your life or one that you are likely to face in the future. “Getting fired is a lot like getting divorced,” says Steve Johnson, Vice President of Information Systems for R.L. Stevens and Associates Inc. a leading international career marketing firm. All you hear is ‘I don't want you anymore' and the feeling of being rejected.

Here are some thoughts on how you can overcome this setback and move forward positively and confidently towards achieving success.

Looking into yourself

Whether you were fired for poor performance or were let go because of company downsizing, now is a good time to do some self-examination. Own your success and your failures. Gather the inner strength to get up and move on instead of mulling over past mistakes. Learn from what went wrong in your last job and be aware of your own errors and focus on how you can look forward to making new opportunities click. The best way to do this is to understand what strengths you have and how you possess the wisdom to know the difference between opportunity lost and possibility found.

Know yourself, have a plan, make an impression. After you are fired, the power needed to transform a job loss into a catalyst that gains job offers is simple and straightforward-

Identify yourself. Untangle your sense of job from your sense of self

Chart a five-year plan for career and know what steps you need to take to get you there

Stay in focus and be persistent in your efforts even when you face obstacles and rejection

Pampering yourself

When was the last time you took a vacation or a break without having to worry about asking for time off at work or having to carry your laptop with you to stay in touch with your colleagues? Take a vacation now to clear your head and get a fresh perspective. It is a good idea to not lose focus of your job search, but try to make use of the extra time that you have available. Starting an exercise regimen and working out on a daily basis will help keep your body and mind recharged. Pursuing a new hobby or renewing a lost interest in an area that you enjoy will keep you happy.

Finally, use the time to gauge how much time you are spending with your family now and if your next career decision needs to take that into account, as well.

Exploring options and getting back on track

Instead of moaning about the loss of employment for more than one working day, welcome your firing as an unexpected career advancement to move up to the next level. Update your resume, polish your interviewing skills and equip yourself by knowing the latest happenings in your field. Start talking to ex-colleagues and network with friends who may act as potential leads for the next opportunity. Explore options on transforming your work experience into being a consultant. Using multiple career marketing strategies simultaneously will ensure that failure is never an option.

Don't limit your choices to only what you truly want, but, be willing to make compromises and stay flexible to land yourself the next position.

It is easy to look at successful people and envy their situation. What you often don't see is the story behind what they went through to get there. Many successful CEOs and top people are ones who have been fired from positions in their professional careers and been through painful experiences. What set them apart are the lessons that they took away from such challenging experiences and not repeating those mistakes. Here are some common pitfalls to avoid: Don't take your job for granted. Take the time to clarify expectations early on in the job with your boss to avoid unpleasant situations and lastly, don't put all your eggs in one basket.

Remember to constantly look out for yourself and don't assume that today's promotion or raise will make you an irreplaceable employee. You have to keep raising the bar.