Article, Six Figure Career Check-up, by Maureen McCann :

Six-figure career check-up - are you ready for tomorrow?
Maureen McCann, BA, MCRS, MCIS, MCCS

With the recent changes to our economy, many $100K+ professionals find themselves needing to evaluate their careers and prepare a job search strategy for the first time in years or perhaps even decades. If this sounds like you, the key to success is to perform a career check-up. Prepare yourself for the turbulent times ahead, assess yourself critically and honestly, then build a plan that will stabilize and strengthen your career objectives.

As the saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Regardless of how long you want to spend in your current job, you will benefit from taking an hour today to perform a career check-up.

Take this quick and painless “Self Q and A” to better position yourself for the weeks and months ahead.

Getting started

First, it’s important to identify that what you are about to undertake is seldom given much thought. It may, at first feel uncomfortable, however the results will be significant if done correctly.

Performing a career check-up is like developing a sales strategy for yourself. So, like any great sales strategy, it is important to understand the basic concepts of selling. Yes, selling – whether you like it or not you are “selling” - or exchanging your talents, qualifications, and assets to the business that employs your service. With this in mind, your career check-up will help you to identify what you have to offer in exchange for the compensation you receive. By knowing and articulating the value you offer, you’ll have the competitive advantage in today’s economic climate.

What are your career objectives?

Understanding your career objectives makes it easy to target potential opportunities. Put together a list of ten things you would like to accomplish this year within your career. The things you list could be quite straightforward – to maintain your position through this tough economic climate, to earn a promotion, to travel more, to travel less. It matters less what goal you set, more that you take the time to consider each. With clarity comes conviction.

What are you worth?

Knowing what you are worth is less about dollars in your bank account and more about the balance between the parts of your life you are willing to exchange for compensation. Document your interests, hobbies, and personal development wish list. Don’t forget things like the book you have been meaning to write, your pilot’s license, the time you have wanted to spend with your children, that trip you have been meaning to plan with your university friends, guitar lessons – you know, the list of things you told your high school self that you would do before you turned 65.

By doing this simple exercise you will confidently be able to consider offers as they come in by evaluating what parts of your life you are willing to trade and which are too important to give up. You’ll say “yes” to those things that offer you the value you are worth and “no” to those that do not. Until you have given this due consideration, you may struggle with decisions – especially when presented with multiple, competitive offers.

What value do you have to offer an organization?

Once you have determined what you want, you are now ready to analyze the value you offer. What do you have to offer? What can you do for your employer that other qualified professionals cannot do? The answers to these questions differentiate you from your competitors.

Think back to the projects you have led for the past ten years. Determine the talents that you demonstrated in completing these assignments. By studying your talents, evaluating the benefit you bring, and researching the qualities that make you better than the next candidate, you will position yourself better to compete with your colleagues today and in the future.

Often times, senior-level professionals are so invested in their projects they miss out on evaluating the actions that launched their success. Many six-figure job seekers can say they have done; yet they have difficulty explaining how they have accomplished their goals and objectives.

Here is a statement that might be found in a resume or may be something overheard in an interview: Increased market share 16%. Notice how this next message differs: Boosted market share 16% in a down economy by leveraging relationships with key stakeholders and strategically positioning the product in new verticals. Do you recognize the significance and difference between these two statements? Understanding how the individual increased market share 16% in a down economy distinguishes him or her from the competition. In the second statement, the person clearly demonstrates talents in two areas: leveraging relationships with key stakeholders and adapting to changing times by penetrating new vertical markets.

Consider – and briefly list – the accomplishments you have achieved in your career. At the end of each statement, ask yourself this simple three-letter word: “How?” Some people find it difficult to answer this question because they “just get it done.” If that is the case, try asking yourself: How did you revitalize the organization? How did you improve profits? How did you increase visibility for the company? When you attach an action and a result to your accomplishments, you will find it easier to promote yourself confidently to employers.

Perform your career check-up often

Regularly recognizing your worth and will lead to a continued healthy career. By performing your career check-up often, you’ll gain many benefits. You’ll be able to confidently stabilize your career, effectively weigh the value of your expertise, sell yourself during difficult times, compete better with other qualified professionals – and you will advance to new heights in your career.


Maureen McCann is an award-winning, inspiring, and resourceful master certified resume strategist and career consultant, and senior advisor for Career Professionals of Canada. As senior Consultant for Graham Management Group, Maureen assists executives, managers, and six-figure professionals through the full scope of career transition. You can contact Maureen and find further information and articles directly at


Newsletter Signup form

* First Name
Last Name
* E-Mail Address
* Province
* Job Field

Resume Critique
Canadian Salary Reports
Article Archives
Links To Career Professionals
Sign Up Now