I am excited to share that Career Tipper blog will be sharing an ongoing series of question and answer interviews with various industry experts and professionals sharing their insider and mindset tips to assist career seekers and changers pursue and experience their career goals and aspirations.

Our first question and answer interview is with Liz Cotner. Mrs. Cotner will be sharing her HR insight on how to plan and execute a successful and efficient career search. Liz Cotner, M.A., is a Career Ninja with seven consecutive years of Human Resources and Career Services experience. She has been promoted 3 times within her career ladder. Mrs. Cotner provides heroic customer service by assisting individuals with their professional career transitions. She is currently a Human Resources Manager that resides in Sarasota, FL. Mrs. Cotner is a member of HR Tampa of SHRM.

Career Tipper: Why do you enjoy assisting people to connect them to their next level career position?

Cotner: When I was 22 years old, I had obtained my first internship and job in Human Resources. The position was for a 3,000 employee hospital system in Michigan. I was a part of the Employment team, which allowed me to assist candidates. I quickly noticed that I enjoyed witnessing candidates excited facial expressions when they completed a job application or accepted a job offer. In fact, it was the best feeling I had endured in my personal and professional life to that point. It brought me a sense of passion that I had never felt before and pushed me to dive into being a subject matter expert in assisting all individuals with taking their career to the next level.

Career Tipper: What are your top three tips to a successful job search?

1. Uncover what direction your career passion is going. For example: IT, Healthcare or another field of choice.

2.) Drill into the reasons why you are passionate about a specific career path and why you are not passionate about what you are currently doing (if applicable).

3.) Create a basic Excel spreadsheet checklist to track your job search progress for each position that you submit. The suggested subheadings include: date of application submission, resume, cover letter, additional attachments, follow-up and general notes. A candidate may elect to use a more detailed approach than provided in these tips, but the basics will work for any career field.

Career Tipper: What is a great way for candidates to connect with a potential employer?

Cotner: Know thy self, know your passion, know your short-term and long-term goals and continuously improve your network of professionals and networking abilities.

Career Tipper: What are a few of your interview pet peeves?

Cotner: When the candidate is asked the question, “Where do you see your career heading in the next 5 years?” and the candidate responds saying, “I have no idea just yet”. This is an automatic decline for moving forward in the hiring process. A successful candidate, no matter what type of experience you may come with, always has a strategic career goal plan. Other pet peeves, are candidates not calling when they are running late to interview and chewing gum during an interview.

Career Tipper: What advice do you have for career changer that wants to start a career search?

Cotner: Dedicate an entire day to just yourself. Have no kids, no family, and no friends around, and sit with yourself. Take a notepad and write out a list everything you aspire to be, to have and want in the future for your career. Move forward and start filtering down your list by priorities. Next, pick your top 3 priorities and task yourself with end dates of when you will accomplish the priorities. Everything is manageable when completed in a step by step process. Lastly, if you are experiencing some fear of the unknown feelings; know that it is okay. We have all gone through processing the fear of the unknown and more than likely this will not be the last time you feel this way in your career.

Career Tipper: What encouragement advice can you give to someone that’s been searching for a career opportunity longer than expected?

Cotner. Dream jobs never come on the first five tries. “No” is not always permanent. Always send a follow-up thank you email to every new person that you meet and to every interviewer that you complete an interview with.