Career Management: It’s all about knowing your PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE

Emily Newlan’s passion for talent management was on display before an attentive group of Career workshop attendees recently. They were eager to learn how to better manage their careers.

And she delivered both the big picture and tangible details on how to make and execute conscious career choices.

What is Career Management?

Starting with a formal definition, Newlan said  that a “lifelong, self-monitored process of career planning  involves choosing and setting personal goals and formulating strategies for achieving them.”

Essentially, its all about knowing your past, present and future. Here’s an overview of the key elements she outlined.

Past Work Experiences

What type of professional profile have you built for yourself? Newlan asked.

When it comes to explaining your work experiences, she recommended using the NEAR formula:   Numbers, Examples, Achievements, and Results. Candidates who succeed in a job interview talk about their responsibilities in terms of numbers, achievements and results and use examples to support them.

Keep track of past and current work examples  and create an electronic folder to save examples.

Present Skills

Assess your present skills with a simple SWOT analysis.

Strengths – In what skills do you excel? What do you bring to the table? These can be your bargaining/negotiation cards later on.

Weaknesses – What are you lacking? Where are  you open to other competition?

Opportunities – Look for opportunities such as additional training or volunteering  to enhance your current skill set and product offering.

Threats – No matter whether threats arise from the job market, the economy or political environment, find a way to navigate and mitigate them.

Future Plans

Make an action plan. Newlan encouraged the audience to give serious thought to making long-term strategic plans.  

Consistently evaluate your career management plan. Determine if there is a need to introduce changes to ensure progress is being made and to stay on track with your goals, she stressed.

While you should look for opportunities to show that your goals are in-line with the company’s long-term goals, always keep in mind that the onus of career management is on the individual (you) rather than the employer.

Practical Reminders

Learning how to communicate with recruiters is part of this process. Whether you’re using your key marketing tool – your resume – or one-to- one conversations, you must present yourself in the best possible way in order to build your professional profile.

Recruiters need to know how you’ve made a difference. By using the NEAR formula to describe your accomplishments, you’ve also described the results of your actions.


Newlan emphasized that adding key words to your resume is an essential part of creating a powerful resume that matches your skill sets with the job you are seeking. Recruiters have a check box in mind. If they can’t grasp immediately how you match the job description, you are eliminated.

Learn how to engage with Recruiters

Newlan urged candidates to be ready for the tough questions you may be asked during an interview. Do your homework. Here are some tips:


Recruiter Says:

You Answer:

You are weak in a certain skill and open to competition.

“I notice that your Adobe skills aren’t current.”

“It’s not on my resume but I am in a LinkedIn group for Adobe programmers and a member of several Meetup groups. (show you are building the skill)

You are concerned that your senior expertise will disqualify you for the position.         

“From your resume, it appears that you are overqualified for this position.”

“I know I may be more experienced than your average candidate and here’s why I want this job:  I’m interested in what your company is doing in (state area). Here’s the value I think I can bring to the company.”

You need to do your homework so you can engage with the recruiter and management about your professional goals.

“Why do you want to work here.”

“I know that your company just  acquired a new company and I’m excellent at transitions. I called you not because you have an opening but because I have a skill set to bring to you.”

Career Management Takeaways

  • Take charge and understand your past work experiences
  • Communicate your present accomplishments
  • Take action to fill gaps
  • Plan your long-term goals and set reasonable short-term objectives
  • Engage with management about your professional goals.

PROFILE:  Emily Newlan is President of Hedgelan Consulting, LLC, a firm that specializes in staffing for the Federal government and government contractors. For 12 years, she has offered a broad range of Human Resources consulting including recruitment, performance management, development and succession planning.  She holds an MBA in Human Resources from George Washington University.

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