Where do you want to go?
Write your way there!
What is it that you want - a new job, an advancement, more prospects, to expand your business or to reach new audiences?
In job searching and business building you have the availability of some very powerful tools: resumes, LinkedIn profiles and business biographies. However they are only powerful if they answer one question:
“What can you do for me?”
Sounds easy enough, right? After all, you know your strengths and the value that you bring to an organization or client so typing that out should be no problem. Just take a minute to sit right own and type that out – easy breezy.
Odds are if you tried to sit down and write any of these pieces it was not as easy as you originally thought. Either you knew what you wanted to say but could not find the right words or you could not piece it all together in a coherent way.
That’s because you are most likely overlooking two important steps that are critical in tying it all together and making sense of it all:
Knowing where you want to go
Seeing yourself there
What makes a resume, LinkedIn profile or business bio stand out is the compelling story guiding the reader from where you have been to where you are going. They need to see the connection; they need to see how it all leads up to this point and that point is you filling their need.
I am a break it down kind of girl, so let’s break this down into some easy to follow steps:
Get that goal in mind. Is it a job in the same industry or a new industry, is it a lateral move or promotion, is it a “just for now” job to get by?
Is it reaching a new audience, building your business or reconnecting with your existing client base?
No judgments, just pick a place you want to go and write it down.
If you had all the new clients that you wanted what would that look like? What would you be doing for them?
If you had that job what would you be doing?
Figure out what it is to be in that role. Start writing out those elements in the present tense, for example, “I am performing this task or attending these meetings.”
Go back through your history with this information in hand. Compare your notes as to what you will be doing and find the similarities to when you have done the same or similar tasks in the past.
Start connecting the dots.
Re-write the past positions toward the future position with these points in mind.
Giving the reader a bullet point list of your job duties does not tell them what you did, how you did it and if you were even any good at it.
Spell it out.
Many people focus solely on the “buzzwords” and leave out their personality. That is an important aspect of who you are and how you accomplish your goals. Your voice will come through in your writing so it is important that it be present.
You want your reader to connect with you. They can’t connect if they can’t hear you.
Now that you know where you want to go, the path that lead you to that point, the value you have to offer and utilize your voice bring it all together by making sure you are demonstrating rather than stating.
It is not enough to tell me you are familiar with a process; you must demonstrate your proficiency and prove it with results.
These results can be tangible or not, but they must be included. I get the idea of electricity but if I tried to rewire my house we would all be in trouble.
Make sure with each point, each sentence, each element it is answering the question: What can you do for me.
To title or not to title - that is the question.
It is important to let the reader know the position for which you are submitting your resume. The company may have several opportunities and you do not want to leave it up to them to figure it out. It saves them time, confusion and sets the tone for your resume.
There are two ways you can accomplish this: either use a title above your opening statement or use the title within your opening statement.
Some opportunities are vague and do not give you an exact job title. In this instance it is best to include the summary or description of the title within your opening statement.
Another instance in which it is best to utilize the title within the summary statement is when you have not held the title in any prior experience. Utilize the summary statement to demonstrate you are now ready to assume that role.
If you are applying for a position that is one that you have held in the past or a clear connection to you then you can utilize a title on your resume.
"I am burnt out on networking - can I take a break?"
Of course. Sometimes we over-extend ourselves and a break is much needed. However, do not make it a complete and clean break.
If you are going to remove yourself from the physical networking of attending events then it is important to remain consistent in your electronic or phone networking. In other words: keep in touch.
Remain in contact on LinkedIn, send emails, make calls - whatever it is that is the most appropriate and acceptable way to keep those lines of communication open keep at it.
Once you have caught your breath you can start showing up again. Keeping in contact virtually helps that when that time comes they still remember you.
October Newsletter Continued!
Reopening Doors and Unsticking Windows
If only life came with an endless supply of Mulligans!
Of course my mother would reply to that: “If ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts oh what a wonderful Christmas we would all have.”
Yes, I grew up with a parent that said those types of things to me – it explains a lot…but that is another story….
There are always times in our lives that we screw up, blow an opportunity, ruin a chance or spoil a prospective long-term possibility. We killed the relationship before we really had a chance to take it out.
In my world these relationships are prospective clients or job opportunities.
Most people seem to think that once they have blown that first chance they will never have the opportunity to try again – they will never sign that client or land that job.
Doors can be reopened and windows can be unstuck – but you have to do three things:
You have to want to and believe that you can succeed. Confidence is a major factor. If you believe in yourself it makes marketing yourself that much easier; and easier for others to believe you.
However, you must also temper that confidence with knowing that you may need to eat some crow.
If you messed up in someone else’s eyes they may not be absolutely willing to let you in the door at first; however, they may be willing to keep it open while they stand in the doorway to listen to you.
Respect their feelings and thoughts; acknowledge that they may have doubts and be prepared to counter them in a professional and positive manner.
Empty speak will automatically engage the deadbolt.
What tools did you use the first time around? Why did they not work?
Job searching: Did you use an old resume, outdated or unclear elevator speech and/or appear unprepared for the interview? Go back and see if you can analyze what tools were hurting rather than helping you.
Revamp your tools. Make sure your resume answers the question: what can you do for me. Clarify your elevator speech for various audiences so each one knows exactly what you bring to the table. Do your research and practice before interviewing.
Find out what they need and how you can partner with them to ease that pain. What sets you apart from your competition and why? Did you embrace that and communicate it or were you solely focused on closing the deal?
Did you email rather than call; did you call rather than meet face to face? Did you neglect to communicate at all? How do they like to communicate and did you deliver?
Resend the new resume. Yes, I give you permission to do so. Often people are afraid to do so thinking they may come across as pushy. Pushy or determined – think about it.
If you are unsure then give the company a call. If you have a contact then call them directly. Explain to them that you would very much like the opportunity to have your most current resume on file. It is okay to tell them that you realize your last resume really did not demonstrate what you do, how or the value that you bring.
They can say no, but they can also say yes.
Contact that prospect. Set up a time for a call or face to face, whichever they prefer, to get their advice. When you speak to them let them know that you feel you did not communicate well and would appreciate their thoughts on how you could improve.
If you do not win their business you will learn valuable information that you can incorporate for the next time.
If you missed an opportunity pick up the phone. Swallow your pride and pick up that phone.
They may not realize that you truly were interested in the position or their business. I have heard several times from hiring managers that during the course or conclusion of an interview the applicant never told them that they wanted the job. They naturally assume you don’t or you would have said something.
Let them know you do. Be proactive.
I once went through an interview process which took weeks, several meetings and finally came down to two candidates: me and someone recommended by a current employee. I lost.
I was devastated. A month later I swallowed my pride and called them back. I told them that I was still very interested in working for the company even if an opportunity came up in a different capacity.
“Thank goodness you called, the other person is not working out,” was the response I received. A couple weeks later I started that job.
Had I seen the job posting again in the paper again I probably would have not applied again. They already rejected me once, why set myself up to do that again? Luckily I took proactive action and eventually got the job.
Don’t expect things to change overnight. You have some make up work to do, righting of wrongs, building a better foundation and that takes time. You also do not get to determine the time period – it is up to them.
They will move forward when they begin to accept you. If it is worth it then it is worth the time, effort and energy that it will take to be invited back in.
Follow through. Nothing is worse than having someone beating down your door begging for another chance and then when you finally concede they disappear.
If you do all the work to get your foot in the door again and then fail to deliver the last thing you have to worry about it doors and windows, they will probably pick up the house off the foundation and move across the country. You are done.
You can reopen a door or open a window but if you choose to do so be prepared to walk or climb through. Second chances are hard enough to come by; don’t blow yours.
Is Your Image Matching Your Message?
What is the impression you want to give as compared to the impression you are leaving?
Image starts at a single point: a resolute decision of your message. From there it is built into an entire campaign. Your image conveys your message and the impressions you leave affect the communication of that message.
The ability to communicate the right message is highly dependent upon not only the tools in your tool belt but also on the ability to utilize them correctly.
Being the daughter of a diesel mechanic I know all about tools and the importance of proper care and maintenance of your tools. But the tools are only as good as the operator. Being a member of a loving and sarcastic family I was also blessed with learning many lessons in unconventional ways.
My father tells the story of golfing with my grandfather. My grandfather was an avid golfer; he traveled far and wide playing golf and did so with the likes of Sam Sneed. My grampa was a golfer.
During a round my dad made the comment that his poor game was a result of his cheap clubs. So my grandpa said “let’s trade”. He played the rest of the round with the cheap clubs and my dad played with the top dollar, high end clubs. At the end of the round my grandfather looked at my dad and said, “It isn’t the clubs.”
Whether you are a business owner or a career transitioner your image is the core of your livelihood. Project the right image and your business will increase or you will land the right job. Project an incorrect image and your business will most likely suffer or you will be in the transition phase longer than you ever anticipated.
The value that I add for my clients is their messaging. I build campaigns to identify and communicate their message to their targeted audience. My clients are business owners and career transitioners. Although at first this may seem like quite a range they have the same need: form a clear message and make sure the right people hear it.
For individual clients I focus on identifying their value, skills and abilities; develop a resume, create an effective LinkedIn profile or other relevant business communication and refine interviewing and networking abilities.
For business owners we partner to understand and communicate their message, value and deliverables to prospective clients. I am the copywriter and wordsmith. For their visual image I highly recommend a Brand Developer, Graphic & Web Designer like Matt Wallpe.
Matt is the Owner and Lead Designer of WallpeDesign Inc., a Brand Development company specializing in graphic/web design and social media integration. He was also kind enough to give me his thoughts on the visual aspects of branding and imaging.
As an individual you need to create an image that speaks to who you are not only as an individual but as a professional. Simply put, as I tell my young college clients: if you want a grown up job you have to act and dress like a grown up.
Your personal style should reflect the professional image that represents your message in order to leave the right impression with those that you speak with and those you do not.
Throughout your day or attending a networking event you will not have an opportunity to speak to every single person you see. Those that you did not speak to will have formed an instant impression of you based on your personal image.
As a business owner you need to reflect the image of your company on a personal level. Even with some type of uniform or clothing with your company’s logo you must still represent the message as entire package.
Impressions leave memories and you want to create a positive memory. According to Matt, “Your brand needs to make a memory for someone – it has to stand out against your competition. If they remember you, they will call you.”
Although there is the saying that even bad press is good press, a bad impression may leave a memory – but is it one that will translate to a job or business for you? When Matt works with his clients during brand development he is able to create a positive, memorable visual impression for them. He does this by understanding his client’s message and their audience’s expectations.
“There are basic tools to design; however with no thought behind them, no emotions or no feelings it equals no reaction.” This is where understanding what your audience expects and likes comes into play.
If you are interviewing for a certain position you should know what is expected of you not only in terms of fulfilling job duties, but also as an individual representing that company, that department and those team members.
It is not always about expressing your unique creativity. Yes, it is important to bring your individuality to the table; however, this is about your business, your livelihood and your clients. Learn to incorporate your uniqueness into a professional image.
In designing a website Matt notes that “Just because you like it doesn’t mean your customers will. Remember, you didn’t build this website for you, you built it to bring in business.”
It is also important that you image ties into all aspects of delivering your message. For career transitioners this includes your resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile, business communication, dress, mannerisms and speech.
For business owners it includes your website, business cards, other visual displays and personal representations. If these do not all tie in then it leaves a chaotic impression and, according to Matt, translates to “a business owner that does not have enough respect for their own brand to make it a complete package so therefore how are their services going to be any different?”
In job searching you create an image with your resume, your image is further cemented when you emphasize the message during the interview. In business your website creates a message and your business communication further cements this message.
In sustaining credibility and trustworthiness in order to build client relationships it is important that each element of your image, message and impressions are all consistent. Care enough about your message to create a solid campaign in order that your clients and prospective employer knows you care enough to deliver on your value.
Matt summarizes it perfectly: “The look and feel of your brand ties directly into the perception of your company’s level of service.”
"What should I put as my 'Career Objective' on my resume?"
Before I answer that question let me first say please do not put the words "Career Objective" on your resume. There is no need to title the beginning of your resume. It is assumed it is about you so it is redundant. It is like putting the title "Resume" on your resume.
Now - on to the question...
In this section this is where you create what I call your selling statement. You want to answer the questions of: what do you bring to the table, what makes you stand apart from other candidates and most importantly: what can you do for the prospective employer?
What are your best qualities, who are your clients or your audience, what skills or attributes make you the strongest contender for the position. It could be a certain certification, degree or level of expertise; it could be specific attributes; or even a particular client base with whom you have penetrated and developed a positive reputation.
Think about a term paper – you start with telling the reader what they are going to read and then you construct the rest of the paper detailing that opening statement. Same principle applies for your resume.
This is the section in which you have to grab the reader’s attention and make them want to read more or you could lose them forever.
“What if you have different audiences or markets that you are targeting – how do you present that during networking so that it doesn’t sound like you will work with or for anyone and everyone?”
It is not uncommon to have more than one audience as a business owner or different industry/job targets as a career transitioner. I work with those in transition as well as business owners – two very different audiences.
Know your audience; understand their needs and their availabilities. Is the group more apt to be able to assist you in one endeavor over another? For example, if I am meeting with a group of business owners more than likely I will speak more to my copywriting services rather than my resume services. However, if I am speaking to an industry group my target would be reversed.
Sometimes you are not able to quickly or easily apply this suggestion to a networking event. If that is the case start with a particular target in mind so that you can remain consistent and not get flustered. Allow the other person to introduce themselves first and from this you can get a ‘feel’ for if you should stick to your original target, complete change targets or do a soft introduction from one to the other.
Networking is very fluid so remain open to changing in midstream either completely or by introducing another audience by tying it into something the other individual has said. Just remember to stay relaxed and calm and listen. What you hear will help you determine your best course of action.
August Newlsetter Continued!
The Lost Art of Courting
As a woman and a business owner I know a lot about courting: good courting, bad courting and even about non-existent courting. Courting is a continual commitment and the goal. In business courting is a lot of work and it is necessary. But what exactly is courting? According to the dictionary to court is to try to win the favor, preference, or goodwill of, to attempt to gain or to hold out inducements to; invite or to woo. Woo, according to the dictionary, is to seek the favor or affection, to seek to win, to invite by one’s own action or to seek to persuade. Now that we know what it is – why is it important? Courting is how you attract new clients/jobs, keep existing clients and engage lost clients. It is a means to your livelihood. Courting is serious business. It can make or break your business. Courting is business. People do business with people they like and trust. Cost is not always the primary driving factor; and when it comes down to a narrow margin between prices then emotions come into play. A good friend of mine, Deb Walton, the amazing Chief Gift Basket Officer for Indy City Gift Baskets truly understands the power of courting. In fact I affectionately dubbed her the “Courting Queen” because she is the driving force for her client’s courting. A large portion of her business is contractors who send out courting baskets to their clients. A “thank you for allowing us to perform this service” basket is sent to their clients and it immediately vaults them above any other contactor. According to Deb, “They realize that 85% of the money decisions are made by the woman of the house; if you court her you will have a customer for life because she feels appreciated. “All too often don’t say thank you, we do not take the time to say thank you but when you do your customer feels valued and appreciated and that will lead to her telling her friends because she will take pride in having her friends being treated in the same manner.” Business is all about relationships and to keep relationships alive, healthy and growing it takes consistency, time and attention. This is courting. If you are unemployed courting covers networking and prospective employers. For the business owner courting covers prospective, current and past clients, business associates and networking partners. Job Seeking Depending upon the source, statistics vary from 75-90% of positions secured are done so through networking. Networking is vital in job searching. But it is not a one sided, stale activity. Networking is a fluid, continual process. Do not expect to attend one event, get the lead of a lifetime and go riding off on some white horse. It doesn’t work that way. You have to become a presence, earn trust and offer value. Earning trust and offering value is part of the courting process. To court your networking contacts send a note of appreciation for any lead or suggestion that they give to you. Send follow up emails after seeing someone at a networking event letting them know it was good to see them again. Let them know you appreciate them as a person, and that you do not see or value them just for what they might be able to do for you. Provide value by asking how you can help them. Find out important details like what is their target market, who are their best clients or are there any certain groups or individuals that they would like to meet that possibly you can assist in facilitating an introduction. Then continue the courting by following up. Look through your contacts to see if you can indeed make that connection. For prospective employers maintain a communication based on what is important to them. If you had an interview and are still in the horrible limbo phase scan industry groups and news reports to see if you can find any article of interest to their business. Forwarding this type of information lets them know that you are still interested not only in the job but the company as well. If you made a personal connection then continue along that line without overdoing it. If you found out that they coach their child’s little league team it is good to ask if their child is enjoying the season and how the team is doing. However, do not overdo it – you will just look like a suck up. It is pretty easy to discover that I have children; however trying to win favor with me by continually trying to bond over a perceived connection with children gets old really fast. I appreciate interest; however I do not appreciate insincerity. Gushing is insincere and will do more harm than good. Business Owners Networking groups are subcultures all on their own comprised of a group of people with similar objectives and goals coming together, contributing their time, energy and value to further themselves and other members of the group. If you run a networking group or are part of the leadership make sure to continually court your members. There is competition for quality networkers and if you do not treat them right they will move on. Make sure that you are providing value to your members and your leadership team because without them the group would not be in existence. I am a member of a phenomenal group – the Indianapolis Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. The value that they bring is more than just the opportunity for their members to make connections. The court their members by offering monthly luncheons covering timely and vital topics and opportunities for involvement in government, the community and other important groups relevant to their members. They grow their offerings based on the needs and desires of their members. They also organize wonderful events for members to meet each other and corporate partners. This is where Deb and I met. As I value this organization I also court them by becoming involved. I am a member of the Membership Committee, the Corporate Partner Committee, the Circle for Learning Committee and active volunteer for the annual awards luncheon. I also court the organization by courting potential members. You have to give as good as you get to get. Prospective clients are an easy group to court; actually this is the one group that some business owners make the mistake and concentrate most of their courting activities. Big mistake. You may court them in the door but without continual effort after the fact they will easily be swayed by the next suitor. Current clients need attention before, during and after the deal. If you came on strong in the beginning and throughout the process but then drop out of sight after completion then they might feel used, neglected and foolish for believing that you actually cared. Courting is an emotional business. Sending periodic thank you notes, just checking in and updates about what your company is doing because they are an important part of who you are is a great way to keep the relationship alive. I am defining past clients as those you courted, loved and lost. It is not always intentionally that we neglect our clients in terms of courting; but when we do we run the risk of loosing them and having them fall into the “past client” population. Another reason that a client could be in this category is because you may have made a mistake. It happens and when it does it can be mortifying. Intentional or not, your direct fault or not a mistake was made, a client was made unhappy and you lost them. Are they gone now, yes, but that does not mean forever. It takes a bit of work if you want to win them back; after all you have a bit to prove. The beginning of this courting process is ownership and apology. Even if you were not the direct cause of the error, you still need to take ownership because it was your client. Apologize, sincerely then begin the gradual act of courting. Gradual because if you come on too hard too fast it could make them suspicious of your intentions and actually drive them further away. You are rebuilding trust here: it takes only a moment to shatter trust yet it takes time coupled with continual effort to rebuild. This is another important element for Deb and her contractors. One of her best sellers is the Sorry Gift Basket – a play off the Sorry game. Deb explains, “You are expected to do the right things all the time but when something goes wrong that is when you find out how good the contractor really is – how he responds. Not only making the situation right but also that additional effort to let them know he gets it on a whole other level and he is truly sorry.” This additional effort can make the difference between your name being associated with the one that “completely ruined the project” or the one that “you will not believe what he did – above and beyond, I would never use anyone else.” To contact Lisa directly email: Lisa.McDonald@CareerPolish.net
But what exactly is courting?
According to the dictionary to court is to try to win the favor, preference, or goodwill of, to attempt to gain or to hold out inducements to; invite or to woo. Woo, according to the dictionary, is to seek the favor or affection, to seek to win, to invite by one’s own action or to seek to persuade.
Now that we know what it is – why is it important?
Courting is how you attract new clients/jobs, keep existing clients and engage lost clients. It is a means to your livelihood. Courting is serious business.
It can make or break your business.
Courting is business.
People do business with people they like and trust. Cost is not always the primary driving factor; and when it comes down to a narrow margin between prices then emotions come into play.
A good friend of mine, Deb Walton, the amazing Chief Gift Basket Officer for Indy City Gift Baskets truly understands the power of courting. In fact I affectionately dubbed her the “Courting Queen” because she is the driving force for her client’s courting.
A large portion of her business is contractors who send out courting baskets to their clients. A “thank you for allowing us to perform this service” basket is sent to their clients and it immediately vaults them above any other contactor.
According to Deb, “They realize that 85% of the money decisions are made by the woman of the house; if you court her you will have a customer for life because she feels appreciated.
“All too often don’t say thank you, we do not take the time to say thank you but when you do your customer feels valued and appreciated and that will lead to her telling her friends because she will take pride in having her friends being treated in the same manner.”
Business is all about relationships and to keep relationships alive, healthy and growing it takes consistency, time and attention. This is courting.
If you are unemployed courting covers networking and prospective employers. For the business owner courting covers prospective, current and past clients, business associates and networking partners.
Depending upon the source, statistics vary from 75-90% of positions secured are done so through networking. Networking is vital in job searching. But it is not a one sided, stale activity.
Networking is a fluid, continual process. Do not expect to attend one event, get the lead of a lifetime and go riding off on some white horse. It doesn’t work that way. You have to become a presence, earn trust and offer value.
Earning trust and offering value is part of the courting process. To court your networking contacts send a note of appreciation for any lead or suggestion that they give to you. Send follow up emails after seeing someone at a networking event letting them know it was good to see them again.
Let them know you appreciate them as a person, and that you do not see or value them just for what they might be able to do for you.
Provide value by asking how you can help them.
Find out important details like what is their target market, who are their best clients or are there any certain groups or individuals that they would like to meet that possibly you can assist in facilitating an introduction. Then continue the courting by following up. Look through your contacts to see if you can indeed make that connection.
For prospective employers maintain a communication based on what is important to them.
If you had an interview and are still in the horrible limbo phase scan industry groups and news reports to see if you can find any article of interest to their business. Forwarding this type of information lets them know that you are still interested not only in the job but the company as well.
If you made a personal connection then continue along that line without overdoing it. If you found out that they coach their child’s little league team it is good to ask if their child is enjoying the season and how the team is doing.
However, do not overdo it – you will just look like a suck up.
It is pretty easy to discover that I have children; however trying to win favor with me by continually trying to bond over a perceived connection with children gets old really fast. I appreciate interest; however I do not appreciate insincerity. Gushing is insincere and will do more harm than good.
Networking groups are subcultures all on their own comprised of a group of people with similar objectives and goals coming together, contributing their time, energy and value to further themselves and other members of the group. If you run a networking group or are part of the leadership make sure to continually court your members.
There is competition for quality networkers and if you do not treat them right they will move on. Make sure that you are providing value to your members and your leadership team because without them the group would not be in existence.
I am a member of a phenomenal group – the Indianapolis Chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners. The value that they bring is more than just the opportunity for their members to make connections.
The court their members by offering monthly luncheons covering timely and vital topics and opportunities for involvement in government, the community and other important groups relevant to their members. They grow their offerings based on the needs and desires of their members. They also organize wonderful events for members to meet each other and corporate partners. This is where Deb and I met.
As I value this organization I also court them by becoming involved. I am a member of the Membership Committee, the Corporate Partner Committee, the Circle for Learning Committee and active volunteer for the annual awards luncheon. I also court the organization by courting potential members. You have to give as good as you get to get.
Prospective clients are an easy group to court; actually this is the one group that some business owners make the mistake and concentrate most of their courting activities. Big mistake. You may court them in the door but without continual effort after the fact they will easily be swayed by the next suitor.
Current clients need attention before, during and after the deal. If you came on strong in the beginning and throughout the process but then drop out of sight after completion then they might feel used, neglected and foolish for believing that you actually cared.
Courting is an emotional business.
Sending periodic thank you notes, just checking in and updates about what your company is doing because they are an important part of who you are is a great way to keep the relationship alive.
I am defining past clients as those you courted, loved and lost. It is not always intentionally that we neglect our clients in terms of courting; but when we do we run the risk of loosing them and having them fall into the “past client” population.
Another reason that a client could be in this category is because you may have made a mistake.
It happens and when it does it can be mortifying. Intentional or not, your direct fault or not a mistake was made, a client was made unhappy and you lost them. Are they gone now, yes, but that does not mean forever.
It takes a bit of work if you want to win them back; after all you have a bit to prove.
The beginning of this courting process is ownership and apology. Even if you were not the direct cause of the error, you still need to take ownership because it was your client. Apologize, sincerely then begin the gradual act of courting.
Gradual because if you come on too hard too fast it could make them suspicious of your intentions and actually drive them further away. You are rebuilding trust here: it takes only a moment to shatter trust yet it takes time coupled with continual effort to rebuild.
This is another important element for Deb and her contractors. One of her best sellers is the Sorry Gift Basket – a play off the Sorry game.
Deb explains, “You are expected to do the right things all the time but when something goes wrong that is when you find out how good the contractor really is – how he responds. Not only making the situation right but also that additional effort to let them know he gets it on a whole other level and he is truly sorry.”
This additional effort can make the difference between your name being associated with the one that “completely ruined the project” or the one that “you will not believe what he did – above and beyond, I would never use anyone else.”
To contact Lisa directly email: Lisa.McDonald@CareerPolish.net
I have seen many resumes for which the individual has worked for the same company in different capacities and often times each position is listed separately. The challenge with this formatting is that it gives the impression the individual has had several different jobs, at first glance, with different companies.
Remember two key points here: 1. Your resume is the story of you, create an attention getting informative story that the reader wants to read, and 2. We are naturally drawn to visually pleasing documents.
Here is my suggestion: first, list the company and total years you have been or were there. Next list each position separately along with the years at each position starting with the most current position. Then utilize your summary to tell the story of how you grew with this company. Start your summary with something like, "Began career as..." or "Recruited to..." and build from there. Look at the before and after examples below for visual purposes to see what an impact it can make:
Sometimes you can be bombarded with business cards at a networking event. There are two things you can do to help keep track of all the people you talk to as well as identfying those you really had a connection with and are priorities in following up.
1. Write notes on the back of the business card. Be sure to ask the person if they mind if you take notes on their card then write down information that will trigger your conversation when you review the card later. The notes can be about a topic you discussed or a physical description to help remember the person or even a note about something you have in common on a personal level (i.e. their kids play the same sport as your kids).
2. Discretely separate the cards. No one walks around holding a handful of other people's business cards. Women normally put them in a purse and men normally put them in a coat pocket (I am generalizing here for the point of illustration). Try this: for the "A" cards put them in the inside pocket of your coat or purse and for the "B" cards put them in the outside pocket. That way, when you get back to the office you are able to review the A cards first and recall any details and make your follow up connections immediately.
July Newsletter Continued!
The Game is NOT Over
The Second Half is Just Starting
I once heard a speaker comparing July to the second half of a football game. He said that July is the halftime and the beginning of the second half. Time to re-evaluate the first two quarters as to what succeeded, what failed and adjust your game plan accordingly. A game is not decided by the score at the half.
I miss football.
Many people make New Year’s Resolutions; I prefer to make quarter goals and let them guide my strategy for each half.
The main reason that I plan this way is that I have often times looked back at the end of the prior year and seen a dramatic difference in what I was excited about and wanted then as compared to the present moment.
Business and life are continually evolving; some changes are drastic and some are subtle but make no mistake about it; both are in a constant state of change. Conditions at the beginning of the game are rarely the same at the end.
The weather changes, some players get injured, some step up more than expected, offensive plays fail, defense saves you, and luck comes and goes.
Look at your job, business or job search to see who is still in the game. Are those around you still committed to the same game plan? Do they support the plays called? Do they execute their route or simply run through the motions?
Look at your competition. Did you underestimate them? Did you fail to prepare? Do they have more drive than you do? Do they want to win more than you do? Are they more engaged than you?
Look at yourself. Are you committed to the goal? Are you willing to get input from your offensive and defensive coordinators or are you stubbornly clinging to a loosing strategy? Are you utilizing all the tools at your disposal? Are you more concerned with post season play than the game at hand?
Now is not the time to look at the beating you took in the first half and start blaming. Now is the time to stand up and say, “We have no where to go but up from here. We may have taking a whooping but what did we learn and how are we going to come back?”
Start with what went right.
Okay so you may be on the downside of the 35-0 score but all is not lost. What did you learn from this? Perhaps zone is not the best option, time to switch it up to man-to-man; is shotgun really working for you; and how did your special teams fair?
See what worked and why and start to build on that. Maybe one of your starters had to sit out a play and his replacement actually did a better job on coverage – go with it.
Did you plan on the opposing team playing a certain strategy and they changed it up? Make the necessary adjustments to counter their strengths.
Go back to what you do well. Trying to make those big plays for lots of yardage at one time isn’t working so go back to the basics. The game may not be as exciting when you slowly and methodically march down the field four or five yards at a time but it will get you in the end zone.
Review your attitude. Sometimes we underestimate the team in front of us because we are so focused on the future. Big mistake – can you say “upset”?
You may have had a string of good games or years and instead of playing each game in the moment you start buying into your own success and coasting. That’s when it can quickly turn into quicksand. Instead of recognizing your lack of commitment and involvement you can only see mistake upon mistake. Re-engage in yourself, your job and your goals and not your past successes.
You can still win even if you don’t play for the ring.
The season can be all but lost for any post-season play for your team but that does not mean that you give up on this game. Perhaps your company may not be on track to hit the numbers you originally planned or you are not having success securing your dream job.
What can you do now to build for the next game or season?
If sales are slow are you making every effort to keep your current clients and build a strong pipeline? You may not be able to generate the revenues from this in the current game but building a solid foundation will help ensure than the key factors will be there, trained, conditioned and ready for a strong season next year.
If that dream job is still out of your reach what can you do now to take another position to prepare you when you are called up to first string? What skills do you need to acquire or fine tune? What do you need to practice on, what plays do you need to learn in order to give you the experience to run the offense next year?
Stop looking at the game as a whole and start breaking it down. July is the perfect time to take a moment of pause. See what has worked in each quarter, what hasn’t and where your focus truly is at this moment.
Plan for the second quarter in increments; each offensive/defense series, each special team play; each possession, each quarter. Take ownership in your actions, leadership and strategy and by the end of the game you will come out with your head held high. You might have been run over that first half but did you ever leave it all on the field for the second.
My resume always worked for me before why should I change it now? Because now is not then! The whole process of seeking and filling a position has changed. Gone are the days when any old resume quickly put together and mailed in to a company is sufficient to get an interview.
The competition is fierce and numerous. It is vital that your resume makes a statement and engages the reader in order for you to have an opportunity for an interview.
Simply stating what you want and a cliff notes version of your past jobs is not enough. Prospective employers do not want to hear what you want – they want to know what you bring to the table.
Instead of saying, “I am looking for a company that I can utilize my extensive business experience to increase revenues and help a company grow” try “Results-oriented professional with over 15 years success and leadership in the automotive industry developing, growing and maintaining relationships resulting in increased revenues, strong pipelines and opportunities for tremendous growth.” Which candidate would you rather talk to?
They also do not want to read your previous job descriptions – they want to know what you actually did and how you added value.
Instead of “Wrote summary of new processes” try “Utilized exceptional communication skills to translate technical information to all levels of stakeholders which increased understanding and allowed users to immediately apply to new processes thereby increasing efficiency.”
Your resume may have been just fine ten years ago, but you are not in the same position now – not in a skill level at least. Have you not grown over time? Then it is time that your resume reflects that growth and speaks directly to the question that the prospective employer is asking: “What can you do for me?”
"I want to network, but I don't know where to go." Many people realize networking is critical to their job searching and business success; however finding the right network is not always easy.
Too often we get overwhelmed with the thought of “I have to network” and it becomes a chore rather than an enjoyable, vital business activity.
If you find yourself a bit overwhelmed or frustrated by the numerous opportunities to network or, on the other extreme, imagined lack of networking opportunities – stop. Take a breath and a break. You are over-thinking it.
Start with what you like. Stop looking at it from a business sense. Go back to your interests and what makes you happy. Are you a gardener or a budding chef? Take cooking classes or volunteer planting flowers for an organization. Get involved with activities that you enjoy. This will do two things – satisfy a personal need and fulfillment and introduce you to like-minded people.
Once you are comfortable in these activity-based groups then you can begin to approach expanding your networking. Life is not all about the all-mighty dollar; it is about what makes you happy at the end of the day. When you are involved in activities that bring you joy then it will be surprisingly easy to build those connections. You will be networking without the effort and stress of networking.
March Newletter Continued!
You are Your Brand
But does your audience see your brand the way you want them to or even how you see it yourself?
“Mirror, Mirror on the wall…” Remember the tale, the Queen keeps asking the mirror who is fairest of them all and she was fine until the day that it started replying, “Snow White”? Then she got pretty nasty and it all went downhill from there.
I would wager that anyone in the kingdom did not think she was fair at all, let alone the fairest because she just did not seem like a very nice person. Oh sure, she may have been queen and attractive – but her vanity and a little bit of walking on the crazy side probably created a whole different image than she wanted.
What she saw in the mirror was not what others saw when they looked at her.
Creating, maintaining and growing your image is an intricate process with several factors that must be balanced throughout the entire process. Your image, your brand, your reputation is vital in job transition, career progression and as a business owner in securing new and sustaining existing clients.
Key aspects of brand creation and management include external appearance, internal perception and actions.
This is the one aspect that I believe people tend to focus on the most and it actually takes the least effort of the three – yet it is significant.
Have you ever met someone and when they told you what they did for a living it took you by surprise because your initial thought was, “Wow, they don’t look like a ….” How you present yourself matters – people make instant judgments. Good or bad, those judgments are made in a heartbeat before you even open your mouth.
I cannot stand before a college athletic team and teach them about presentation and professionalism dressed in jeans and a t-shirt. It would cause an internal conflict in their perception – what I am saying versus what I am personally presenting.
When this conflict arises the instinct is to go with our “gut” rather than the rational of what we hear. Without even knowing it there is a battle going on in our brain and it sounds something like this: “I know what you are saying, and I want to believe you – but you look like that...”
If you want to reach goals within your career you must dress for that next step. If you want to gain synergy with potential clients you must represent what you present.
How do you see yourself and do you really believe it? Do you see yourself as a successful business person, as the next manager or working for a certain company? If you do not truly believe it yourself then no one else will.
You must truly believe it and not allow yourself to diminish it. I call this the compliment complex – learning how to simply say thank you when someone gives you a compliment then shut up – don’t diminish it.
If you are a business owner and you land a great client, is there some small part of you that says it was a fluke, or luck or any other dismissive thought? Then you are seeing yourself as less than you really are, or could be.
Is there a promotion or job that you really want but keep telling yourself that you probably would not get it due to any number of reasons? Then you are right, you won’t because you cannot see it for yourself so how could any one else?
Do whatever it takes to get your mental image of yourself in alignment with where you want to go whether that be positive affirmations, meditation, a buddy system, a vision board – whatever works for you.
I had a friend that was going through a very difficult time and he was having a hard time seeing the good in himself, let alone any potential career path. During our conversation there were a lot of negative comments thrown out by him at himself.
I made him put a rubber band around his wrist and each time one of those thoughts crept in I told him to flick the band. Becoming physically aware of just how much verbal and mental punches he was throwing at himself was a pretty big wake up call.
“Actions speak louder than words”
“Demonstrate rather than state”
“The proof is in the pudding”
It all boils down to what you do rather than what you say. You can tell me until you are blue in the face that you are a nice person, but if you act like a jackass then, well, you are a jackass. It is pretty simple. Say what you mean, mean what you say and do it.
How do you treat others? It is the golden rule after all. Learn to give more than you ask of others. In doing so not only will you reap the rewards of being of value to someone else, but this selflessness and value-driven attitude will become part of your brand.
I work with business owners in creating the content for their personal brand, people in transition navigate the job search, individuals wanting to move forward with career progression and with college athletic teams in preparing for the next step whether that be the real world or the pros.
My individual clients vary from CEOs to line workers, from college kids to ex-felons and each one is treated exactly same: with dignity and respect. Each and every one gets everything I’ve got – period. I judge a person based on actions and intent; it is how I was raised and it is how I’ve always lived my life. This is not something that I think about; however it has become something I am know for, it is part of my brand.
If there is discord in where you are and where you want to be the reason very well could be a disconnect in the perception of your personal brand. Get straight in your mind what it is that you want; decide what steps you need to take to get there; and then represent yourself in a manner that supports your path.
"I can sell myself when I get in front of anyone." I have heard this many times; but unless you spark interest in your initial contact with your resume you will not get that chance. By following the mantra of three little words you can transform your resume into a selling statement all on its own.
Demonstrate Don’t State
It is not enough to simply tell me what you can do, you have to prove it to me. If you state that you are an excellent communicator, motivational manager, or go-to guy I will not buy it unless you demonstrate it throughout your resume.
How Do You Demonstrate?
Think about the results of your actions. If you are going to list something on your resume it had better have a darn good reason for being there, as well as support the value that you bring. So what was the positive result in doing what you did?
Next, think about who you worked with and how you worked with them. Did you lead, mentor, assist, advise – what exactly did you do that contributed to the success?
When detailing your supporting statements, or bullet points, remember to think along these lines:
“This is what I did, this is how I did it and this is the positive result of me doing it.”
Communicating it in this manner will demonstrate your value and answer the most important question the reader has: “What can you do for me?”
"He is a great networker, he knows everyone." Actually - knowing a lot of people does not necessarily mean someone is a great networker - it is about the message not the smooze. I would rather people not remember my name as long as they remember what value I bring. I’ve been called the Resume Lady, Career Lady, College Lady, Networking Lady, Business Writer all to name a few and that is fine with me. They remember how I help people and that is the most important element I can leave them with on an initial meeting.
When you are networking it is imperative that your message is delivered for your audience in a manner that they connect and can recall. Three little things that can help you create a memorable elevator pitch are:
Watch Your Language: For a non-industry specific audience, do not use technical jargon. Talk in a manner in which your audience can relate and understand.
State Your Value Rather Than Your Title. Tell me how you bring value to others rather than remaining contained within a generic title.
Be Relevant to Your Environment. If you are in a casual environment, match the mood, be more conversational rather than hard-line selling. If you are in a structured networking environment be targeted, direct and immediately effective.
December Newsletter Continued!
I read an article regarding key words to eliminate from your resume. Obviously, this immediately caught my attention. I by no means proclaim myself as the be-all-end-all of resumes and often look for advice from other sources. I am constantly doing research in one form or another in order that I may stay current with my craft as well as put myself in a position to provide the best benefit to my clients.
And I have to admit when I see esteemed colleagues making opinions that are in line with my own I do perform a little happy dance.
This was a well-written article, as you would expect with it being featured in Forbes, as it not only told the reader what words they should not use but also gave examples as to why. That is always a bonus to me – understanding the reasons behind the statements. I was pleased when I agreed with 80% of the article. I disagreed with two items with qualifiers - one of which was a certain word.
The article stated that one should not use the word “dynamic” in your resume; rather you should wait until the interview to show your dynamism. I disagree - to a point.
If you are not a dynamic person than by all means do not use this to describe yourself. If you are not sure if you are a dynamic person, well, that might be your first clue to not use this word; but just to be sure ask your friends. If they laugh when you ask if they think you could be described as dynamic, well, just let it go.
Nevertheless, if you are a dynamic person then it is my opinion that it should be used; however, this is where the qualifier comes in to play: It is not enough to state it, you must demonstrate it. In other words:
Do not tell me – show me.
Talk is cheap – action is everything.
Put your money where your mouth is.
I hope I was not too subtle in attempting to get my point across and we are now on the same page. I am going to make an assumption that the next logical question is how does one demonstrate a trait. Before I address how to accomplish this let me take a step back and provide a bit of a foundation and broaden our horizon.
This article is applicable to not only to a resume but also to a business biography as well. I work with numerous business owners in creating personalized biographies as a supplement to their marketing materials. They want something they can give their clients that essentially provides a concise presentation of them as a businessperson. From here on out the word resume is interchangeable with the words business bio.
The author of the article was spot on in stating that every word of a resume is important. I explain to my clients that it is a sales statement as well as a personal reflection of you. You have a very limited space to accomplish several tasks including:
Engage the reader
Paint the right picture
Let me address the first three points at this time:
For any opportunity, there is going to be competition and the reader has the unenviable task of sorting through the qualified from the desperate. I have yet to meet a person who enjoys this task. It is a tremendous amount of work and takes up a considerable amount of their valuable time.
Most of those that I speak with who are charged with this chore tend to be quick and efficient in the first round. That is why it is vital that you gain their interest immediately and sustain engagement throughout the document.
One important factor in sustaining engagement is the ability to demonstrate your value. There is that word again: demonstrate. It is not enough to throw out vague statements of what you are or could accomplish, you must give evidence to the reader of who you truly are and what you have successfully achieved.
Let me use a personal example to illustrate my point.
I have a friend who probably anyone who knows him would describe as considerate, attentive, and/or kind. Those are some great qualities and I think it is lovely that others would describe someone in this manner. I have known him for years and always known he was a nice guy, however had not personally been privy to anything that would cause me to include, or eliminate, these words in my description of him.
Until he bought me dark chocolate M&Ms.
We made plans to hang out one day to watch a game and as it was going to be later in the day after lunch but before dinner, we just planned to snack if we ate anything at all. When I arrived, he handed me a Dew - which if anyone knows me they know that is my constant - and a bag of dark chocolate M&Ms. I asked him why the M&Ms and he said that he knew I liked them and remembered I told his brother that dark chocolate were awesome.
I made that comment a month earlier in a short chit-chat type of conversation his brother and I had briefly in passing and didn’t realize my friend had even heard. Demonstrated attentiveness and consideration.
Back to the written word; declaring that you are an effective leader who increases efficiencies is not enough. It does not give the reader any proof, nothing that they can point to and say, “This is why I want to talk to you.”
Substantiate your claim with descriptive evidence. For example you can state that you led a team of seven in researching, developing and implementing the new system which decreased production time from two weeks to four days and saved over X amount in resources.
And who doesn’t have excellent communication/presentation skills? This is so overused and unsupported that is becomes a throwaway statement. Instead of just chucking this out there, wouldn’t it be better to illustrate it?
Stating that you educated and informed diverse audiences including CFOs, Board of Directors, team members and staff on the intricacies of your topic conveying complex information in an easy to understand manner reveals this quality without beating the reader over the head with a trite, vague claim.
The reader of your statement is going to be cynical as they come across so many instances of exaggeration, ambiguousness and outright misrepresentation that you need to give them a reason to believe you, and believe in you.
Painting the right picture.
I do not think I am alone when I say that when I read a book I form an image of the characters in my head. This is primarily the reason that I am not sure that I can go see the upcoming movie based on the Stephanie Plum series. Katherine Heigl is not Stephanie Plum, and although Daniel Sunjata may do justice to Ranger, in my mind the closest is Dwayne Johnson.
If I am going to have the opportunity to see those I have already created an image of inside my head then I want to see them as I envision them. I want the two to match.
I have a friend who was a deejay and always joked that he had a face for radio, he told me that the most common comment he received was people telling him that he did not look like what they pictured.
This visualization is a natural and unconscious occurrence and your written presentation is not exempt. Successfully aligning the perception you want to create with the true individual uniqueness that is you depends on not only the words you select but also how you choose to use them.
Words are often tossed about in an effort to impress others with a perceived prolific vocabulary or to bolster a point. Simply using a word does not guarantee you are using it correctly or effectively. It is actually discrediting to use a word singularly without additional evidence that supports its use.
If you begin your presentation declaring you are the embodiment of a certain quality then, as the reader, I am going to expect to see corroboration of this proclamation throughout the document. It is the rule of buyer beware - I am not going to buy it if I do not see a consistently presentation of validation.
An effective presentation is composed of interrelated factors that include visual aspects, specific words, the overall usage of such words and the tone revealed within the statement.
Just as it is easy to ascertain if an individual on the other end of the phone is having a good or bad day it is just as easy to discern a writer’s self-perception by tone. Yes, it is possible to determine how you view certain jobs, duties and even yourself through the written word. The overall tone of your presentation conveys such things as attitude, demeanor and knowledge.
Consistency in delivery of value is vital in influencing the reader’s alignment of their perceived image of you and your intended representation. With each demonstrated fact and the support of a persistent tone you will be able to paint the right picture – the one that makes the reader say, “I want to talk to you”.
Objective Statement was a common and accepted opening piece of a resume. Was. Get rid of it! Replace it with something that is far more powerful – a Solution Statement. You want to quickly and effectively tell the reader who you are, what you can do, who your audience is – basically lay out how you are the solution to their problem. To be honest, the reader does not care what you want, they want to know what you can do for them. Give them this information first and foremost on your resume. Remember, your resume is your sales statement – what is it you are selling? Answer: a solution to their problem.
Cards, cards, cards... so often at networking events one is bombarded with business cards. Asking one simple and unexpected question makes you stand out from all others, simply ask, “May I give you my card?” This is showing respect for the other party and allowing them the opportunity to not take your card if they choose not to. Having been given the opportunity they will be much more likely to remember you for your unique approach in distributing your business card rather than the rest of the crowd who handed it to them without thought.
As a daughter and a mother, this statement has been personally directed to me and I have directed it straight to my kids. Normally it was about homework or some childhood endeavor. As I grow older, I realize the value in this statement to all sorts of adult endeavors.
For the full understanding of this article, I must first give you a bit of a buildup. No matter your religious beliefs or lack thereof, the basis of my point is my strong believe in karma. Yes, the what-goes-around-comes-around, get -a-flat-tire-because-you-teased-the-dog-last-week type of karma. I also believe there is another side to this karma: learn your lesson or your lesson will keep coming back stronger and harder until you figure it out.
This is not always a bad thing - to learn a lesson. Sometimes it can be a very good thing. But there are lessons that we do not want to learn, that we for some reason do not see that we need to learn and we keep repeating patterns. So how do we identify the need to learn a lesson in order to move forward in a positive manner.
I was discussing this topic with a friend and the first thought that jumped in their mind was personal relationships, which was not my point. However, as I have said often that there is a strong parallel between personal relationships and job searching/working I see the natural inclination. Given that, it should not be difficult to jump over to the employment side of this equation. I’ll try to run the parallel to help keep everyone on track.
Jobs are relationships. When you first get that new job, everything is amazing, even the cubicle is “cute” and the little annoying things are easy to look over because you are so infatuated with this new job. The way the new boss sends you a follow up email right after a meeting recounting every minute that you just spent with them, he is just thorough. Your co-workers commenting on the conversation that you just had and thought was private, well, that is just them being friendly or concerned, they are seeing you as part of the family.
Then the newness wears off. The cubicle sucks, it is cramped and small and in the worse spot in the office. The boss is annoying, does he think you are an idiot, you just wasted an hour of your life in his office, is it really necessary to relive it in email? And those damn nosey co-workers, do they not have a life, do they not respect privacy, do they not have a job to do? You are stifled, can’t breathe, can’t stand to look at anyone you work with. All these things seem like new revelations, but they are not. They were always there but you were in infatuation stage so you were willing to look beyond that.
But what if it goes deeper than that, what if you keep finding yourself in a job that the same thing seems to happen? Every new position has promise and then you seem to keep getting stuck not getting the opportunities to participate in the proposal process, write the copy, meet with the clients, learn the latest programs – you keep getting let down, left in the dark.
It is like dating. You know what you want and deserve and then you meet the next candidate. They say all the right things and naturally, you want to assume that just because they said it then it must be true. Things go well for a while, but then the old issues start to creep back into this new relationship.
You are right back to the same type of relationship, just different face. Back to the same job, just different company. You keep starting new, but never finish to a successful completion or move to a happier phase.
Guess what kids, it is not the company or the new girl/guy, it is you. This is karma telling you that you have got to learn a lesson and finish it before you can move on to the right job and/or relationship. Bottom line: you are not where you should be.
So what might this lesson be? That is your job to figure out and it is not always fun or easy to do, but then I think karma has a wicked sense of humor. For the above job example of the reoccurring left out in the dark the lesson might need to define what is important to them and stick to it. I imagine there is a habit of “being okay” with being left out.
The first time the boss said, “On this one you don’t mind sitting it out do you?” the individual might have thought they were being a team player and did not want to look like a whiner so said, “Sure, I understand.” Dollars to donuts inside they were screaming, “NO! I want to play in the sandbox too!” But they said no, and the pattern could have been born.
It is perfectly acceptable to say, “Actually, this is something I would really like to be a part of.” The boss may not have known that – people are not mind readers so be clear. Let them know you what is important to you. Know what your deal-breakers are and be willing to stand your ground for them.
If you have had several positions that seem to end in the same way, take a step back. If you are not able to be objective then ask your spouse or a good friend to help you dissect what happened. There is a theme there, a lesson that you need to learn and until you figure it out, you will keep repeating the pattern. You want to find this and move forward, there is nothing worse than dating the same looser who just looks different each time!
Sometimes when you learn you lesson it actually takes you in a completely new direction, one that you never saw coming. That is the exciting part – this is when you get to break out of your box and start to explore what is important to you. Embrace this opportunity to figure out the lesson, work through it and have the opportunity to move forward. Even if forward might seem like sideways or backward. If you learn the lesson and break the pattern, you have moved forward. And that, my friend, is good karma.
One page resume or two – the big debate. In speaking to hiring manager, human resource professionals and recruiters when asked this question their overwhelming response is summed up in three words: I don’t care. That’s not the end, of course, it is followed by: as long as the information I am looking for is easy to find, I really do not care.
What are they looking for, well it boils down to three things:
1. What position are you applying for – they do not want to read your entire resume to try to see where you fit. You applied, you should know.
2. How are you qualified for the position that was advertised – if you meet the qualifications this should be brought to their attention, not hidden for them to figure out.
3. What do you bring to the table - in other words, why do they want to talk to you over anyone else that has applied? You have to sell yourself as to why you are the best candidate. It is not about what you want, but what you can do for them.
Communicate these three things well in your resume and the last thing you will have to worry about is one page or two.
The one question that helps set you apart as a professional business person rather than a professional piranha while networking is, “May I give you my card?” It is showing respect for the other person. You do not want to naturally assume they want your card, do you think they are just too shy to ask for it? I doubt it. One additional item, do not be offended or upset if they do not want your card. You are, after all, giving them the opportunity to refuse. If they refuse then respect it. You can show respect to this by thanking them for being honest.
If you ask someone if you may give them your card and they say yes but you feel their hesitation, you can explain why you think it would be a good connection for both of you or that it is a no pressure gesture. For example, if you have a restoration company and you are talking to an insurance agent that agent might think you are going to pump them for clients. You can simply state that if they have a client that ever inquires about getting a complete inventory of household or business items you would appreciate the thought; however, you will not be hounding them for referrals. The card is just in case.
Or if you have two completely unrelated companies you might think that due to their volunteer activities they might here of an opportunity for which you can lend a hand and if so would appreciate them dropping you a note. They may not be on the same line of thinking as you and once you explain then they can easily see it and be agreeable to accept your card.
Recently I had the absolute pleasure to spend a some time with the
One comment that stuck out in my mind was one of the players saying, “But most of us have been playing ball for 15 years, this is all we know.” Considering these young men are ages 18 to maybe 22 this is a pretty powerful statement. They are not alone, I hear this a lot from clients of all ages from all industries. This one statement: This is All I Know is the most common verbal resistance I hear. It is a resistance, a resistance to change, a resistance to truly see ourselves.
To my clients and students my response is this: “No, this is what you have been doing, it is not who you are or all you know.” I see a tendency in our society to define ourselves by our job title, the position we hold or even the company for whom we work. We loose our identities and I believe are afraid to try to reclaim them.
For those most stubborn in letting go of their self-imposed prison I ask you this: were you born into the position that you hold? Obviously not, you did something before this or along with this, you have life experiences, you have built a live based on what you do and the value you add not the title you possess. Life has presented you with changes and that has lead you to where you are now. For this moment in time, nothing is etched in stone.
Life changes happen, to any one any time. You could be working in plumbing sales and now find yourself in the mortgage industry or you could have been an engineer and find yourself as an educator. I was once a Compliance Manager within the investment industry and loved my job, I never imagined doing anything else. But I found a greater love.
The key to getting past the “This is All I Know” hurdle is to look at yourself from a different perspective; step outside yourself. For the team I told them that they actually have two full time jobs – as an athlete and a student, what are some of the common denominators that they bring to both positions?
For those of us in the working world: what do you do in your everyday, whom do you work with, how do you work with them, what actions do you take and most importantly: what are the results of your efforts? Once you figure out your strengths and skills then you need to prove it, determining the efforts of what you do helps you along that path.
One exercise I had the team do is write down words that describe them and what they felt their strengths were; I had them do this very quickly and told them to not think, just write. It was an interesting exercise to say the least.
One young man said he wrote “Organized” which brought much laughter from the rest of his team, when I asked why they were laughing another teammate said, “Because I’m his roommate!” When I asked why the young man wrote organized he responded, “Because you told me not to think!” There was more to it than that.
I started asking about the different aspects of what he does, with school and baseball, and where he felt he was organized. Every response I prodded and gently challenged until we reached the point where he could describe a large project that he had to complete in the middle of the season. He was able to articulate how he planned for the project, juggled his practice and road games, successfully completed each module and earned a high grade on the final. Proof.
Start small, write down everything you do during one week. Once you have something to work with then you can start to build on that. Looking at the tasks that you perform start to look at what skills you utilize in completing them: communication with others, problem solving, analysis, planning, organization etc.
The last step is to recognize your value. A trick I use for my classes is to have everyone take out their resume, pick a bullet point and at the end of it write these words: “Which resulted in” then complete the sentence. Think about it, if you took the time to write it on your resume it must be of some value. Those three little words can open up a whole new line of thought that brings you to see the value in what you do rather than just the title that you have accepted.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Need help with your resume, want to polish up your networking skills or prepare for an interview? Email Lisa at Lisa.McDonald@CareerPolish.net to set a free confidential phone consultation.
When preparing your resume I advise you to use caution in putting a title on the top of your resume. If you are going to put the exact title of the position for which you are applying then I would say it is okay. However, if you are wanting to use a generic position description like, "Executive Human Resource Director" than I would advise you not to do so. In putting this type of title on your resume you are immediately putting yourself into a box. What if the company does not consider the position "executive" even if the duties and responsibilities clearly scream "executive". The reader of the resume may take one look and think, "Oh, they would never be happy as an HR Manager" and not even look at your resume.
Not every title translates to every company. One company may call a Senior Vice President what another calls a Manager. Do not give the reader an excuse to NOT read your resume. A title is not always necessary. What is important is your opening where you identify who you are, the position you want and what you have to bring to the table.
Remember to read the job description to get a feeling of the position, the key words, the atmosphere and the most important aspects the company is wanting in their next candidate in order that you may incorporate these into your resume.
Have you ever had a conversation with someone and you hear the words they say but the message received is completely different?
It can be something simple like having someone take a bite of a new recipe that you tried and they tell you it tastes fine but the look on their face looks like they just took a spoonful of lemon juice.
Or when you go to a movie with a friend and you thought the movie was fabulous and the friend agrees politely but the message is they just spent two hours of their life that they can no longer get back.
Sometimes we try, really try, to say the right things but we fail to complete the act by making sure the total message comes across correctly. Have you ever tried to tell a woman that something they are wearing is not flattering? No easy task, and good luck with that one…
This concept was made clear to me the other day when I was talking to an acquaintance about his job search, more specifically the loss of his job. We were discussing interviewing and the topic of explaining why he was let go
His words were gentle enough and he had a light tone in his voice. Here is what he said in a nutshell: the company was cutting costs and it was easier to replace him with younger less experienced workers who they could pay less. Let that sit for a moment. It sounds innocent enough, but let it sit for a minute.
Because what I heard, and might possibly hear if I was a hiring manager was the following:
I feel old and maybe outdated in my skills and abilities
I do not feel I am worth what I was paid
I can be replaced easily
I am resentful of younger workers
I am untrusting of management
I am going to be wondering if you are going to replace me
I am still holding a grudge but am putting on a happy face
It was nothing in his body language that gave me these impressions. And his words and tone were not angry or abusive, but this message came across loud and clear to me.
The easiest way to find out if you have any of these unspoken messages coming through is to use the rule of Five Whys. You can do this with someone you trust or simply write it out on your own. You start with the statement, for this example: “I want a new job in the same industry I was in before but in a better atmosphere.” And let the whys begin. You keep asking yourself why if writing this out yourself. If you are working with a friend have them keep asking you why and to not accept “I don’t know” or “Because” as answers. After each answer, ask again. The more you dig the more the unseen messages will come out.
When this happens you will be more aware of the underlying message and be able to adapt it accordingly. Sometimes we have some unresolved anger or resentment below the surface and it unwillingly comes through in our messages. This exercise will help you determine if these issues are still lingering, face them and move on. We all face these feelings, the key is to acknowledge them, accept them and not let them control us. Oftentimes it is the discovery that the feelings are still lingering is enough to allow us to make that conscious effort to put them behind us. When that happens your words and your message are clear and exactly what you want to portray.
Have you ever attended a networking event and not really been in the right frame of mind or mood to do so? I hate to tell you but it most likely showed and if I was there I probably avoided you like the plague, as many others might well have. Try as we might most of us are not very good at hiding the irritations or frustrations of the day for an extended period of time. We all have bad days, and sometimes weeks, it is normal and forgivable – it is life, it happens. So, take the day off from networking. I would rather not attend an event and have someone miss me rather than attend and give a poor or wrong impression which will take a great deal of time and effort to correct. That is if I get a chance to correct it. First impressions are lasting and there are no “do-overs” so do not waste them. If it is imperative that you attend the event and you know you have been in a foul mood then you must make every effort to change your mood, really change your mood. You need to find your own trigger to put you in your “happy place”. Yes, I really did say happy place and I am going to stick to it. My trigger is music. I have different play lists set up on my iPod and when I am in a mood I set it to a certain list, do some deep breathing, crank it up and let go. If I am in my house, I dance it out; if I am in my car, I sing and do a lot of head bopping. I may look crazy but it puts me in a better mood. Another thing I do is to make a list of ten things I am most grateful for and why. The top is always my kids, family, best friend; just making this list makes me stop being so self-centered. I also text my best friend and literally tell her, “I’m in a mood, help” and she will normally text back some crazy Buddha statement or something that will make me laugh, she is awesome that way. Find what works for you so you do not waste that first impression or be “that guy” that everyone is avoiding.
Have you ever attended a networking event and not really been in the right frame of mind or mood to do so? I hate to tell you but it most likely showed and if I was there I probably avoided you like the plague, as many others might well have. Try as we might most of us are not very good at hiding the irritations or frustrations of the day for an extended period of time. We all have bad days, and sometimes weeks, it is normal and forgivable – it is life, it happens. So, take the day off from networking. I would rather not attend an event and have someone miss me rather than attend and give a poor or wrong impression which will take a great deal of time and effort to correct.
That is if I get a chance to correct it. First impressions are lasting and there are no “do-overs” so do not waste them. If it is imperative that you attend the event and you know you have been in a foul mood then you must make every effort to change your mood, really change your mood. You need to find your own trigger to put you in your “happy place”. Yes, I really did say happy place and I am going to stick to it.
My trigger is music. I have different play lists set up on my iPod and when I am in a mood I set it to a certain list, do some deep breathing, crank it up and let go. If I am in my house, I dance it out; if I am in my car, I sing and do a lot of head bopping. I may look crazy but it puts me in a better mood. Another thing I do is to make a list of ten things I am most grateful for and why. The top is always my kids, family, best friend; just making this list makes me stop being so self-centered. I also text my best friend and literally tell her, “I’m in a mood, help” and she will normally text back some crazy Buddha statement or something that will make me laugh, she is awesome that way. Find what works for you so you do not waste that first impression or be “that guy” that everyone is avoiding.
Think non-verbal messages are confined to body language or voice intonation? Not true. I can do a cursory review of a resume and pretty accurately tell you what the individual thinks or feels about themselves, their positions and their resume. The message comes through. I have ha resumes where the reader is apologizing for me having to read it, others absolutely hated their last position and still others are seething about being unemployed.
Remember your resume is your selling statement, it is your first impression and it must count. If you of the mindset that you do not like writing your resume and do not think it is going to do you any good then that is the message that will come through to the reader. Before you begin writing your resume go to your “happy place”- yes, that place again. Put yourself in a good mood and relax. Do not try to write your resume in one sitting. If you start getting frustrated in writing it, take a break. Walk away, do something that relaxes you or lifts your mood then come back. Take your time in preparing a resume that is well put together while you are in the right frame of mind, it will pay off in spades.
Although the beginning of a new year is a great time to re-evaluate and set goals it is important to have a plan of action to ensure success.
Wait a minute, what happened here, 2010 is over and I feel like I missed something - like several months! Holy cow - how did this happen and why does it happen every year?! -Sigh-
I'm not a New Year's resolution maker - I never have been. I realized a long time ago that I do more damage to myself in making lofty goals each January because by February I would find myself in a meaningful relationship with some Godiva Belgium Dark Chocolate ice cream because it truly understood that I was in over my head with the resolutions.
But that is me. I have seen so many articles in the last few days about NOT making resolutions that I wanted to write something for those that DO make resolutions. And if one of your resolutions is to get back on track with your job search, then this article is for you!
Let's take a look at some steps that are easy to implement and actionable items to get you on your path to success
1. Determine your goal.
This sounds simple enough, but in earnest you must determine the goal in a way that it can be defined. It is not enough to say, “I want to get a job in 2011.” Honestly would you take just any job? Honestly? I think not. So decide what you would like to do, even if that is pursuing a couple of different directions. The first part of step one is determining the direction.
The next part is to understand and define what you want by asking yourself why. Each position we take is not necessarily the end all goal, sometimes we take positions that are steps to our ultimate goal. In your own mind you must be clear. And this is a good time to tell you that these are your goals, not your friends or families. So if they think you are shooting too high, being unrealistic or silly - remember, that is just their opinion. Everyone has one and you can listen to them if you would like but do not let them influence you. This is all about you!
2. The feasibility of right now.
What is the opportunity or chance of you obtaining your goal right now without any further action? For example: are you qualified for the position right now and are there positions available in your area? This step is one that requires research. Some of the things you need to research are the following:
1. What do I need to qualify for the position – i.e. do I need more education or training?
a. Where can I get this education or training?
b. What are the costs involved?
c. What are the time commitments involved?
2. What is the job market in my area for this position?
a. Will I need to relocate?
b. Will the positions be opening soon?
3. Are their positions that I would qualify for that could lead me to the goal position?
4. What are the benefits and pay for the goal position and subordinate positions?
5. Do I know what companies are hiring for this position?
6. Are their related companies that could give me experience if I am targeting a specific company?
7. What is the hiring process?
a. Do the companies use a hiring firm?
b. Do they utilize their own HR Department?
c. How do they make positions available for the outside world?
8. Do I know anyone currently in the position that I want?
9. Do I know anyone in the companies that employ this position?
10. Have I put myself in the position to meet those in the above two questions?
11. How much time and resources am I willing to invest in pursuing this position?
Number 11 is a tricky one - you must be honest with yourself about your time and resource commitment. This is serious business so you must make a plan, budget and time frame and be willing to stick with it.
3. Determine what actions you need to take to improve your marketability.
This may mean taking courses, taking a second job to gain experience or even volunteering. There are multitudes of ways in which you can increase your marketability. The key is to not jump into everything, but rather decide on a few items that you can do right now and are willing to stick with until accomplished or you begin to see results. Stick-to-it-ness: that is what this is going to take.
4. Bring in the professionals.
Now that you have a goal and know where you stand right now it is time to determine if you need assistance. Assistance can take many forms so let’s look at a couple ideas to get you started.
The most obvious is seeking the assistance of a professional in the job search industry. This could be someone to help you determine “what you want to be when you grow up” if you are having difficulty with the first few steps.
Or, you might need someone to help you polish your image and help you re-engage in your job search. This could be helping you polish your resume or help you determine and execute whole job search or transition strategy. Someone like me! Okay, shameless plug, I apologize.
Another possibility is a mentor. Seek out someone who is successful in your industry and reach out to them. Good mentors will help you navigate the difficult landscape of progressing through your current situation. They can provide valuable insight not only in your industry but also might assist you in telling you how they have personally succeeded.
5. Train your brain and that of your family and friends.
I have harped on this previously and I will do it again and again because I cannot stress the value of this. Remember, it is not enough to tell your friends and family that you are looking for a job. That is too generic and easily forgettable. Let’s look at the how and why.
The first step in retraining your own brain is to determine what you want and what you have to offer. You must know why someone would want to hire you and start believing it and living it. Then let others know about it. If you are an IT Help Desk specialist change your thinking from introducing yourself as this title and start thinking of yourself and introducing yourself as the value: I get your computer back up and running when it crashes in the middle of your deadline! More people will understand the value in this and be able to remember and refer you!
You see, If I understand what you do and what value you add I can easily pass this along to any contact I happen to be talking to without even thinking about it. It is, in my opinion, human nature to want to help others. Make it easy on me to do this for you by letting me know what value you add and where you want to be, please do not make me guess and heaven help you if you let me assume!
The second step is to retrain your friends and family. When you are telling this group of people not only what you do (remember, in a way that they understand) also mention key words and ideas about what types of companies you would like to work for, where, and in what capacity. The more they know and understand the better. Not only can they relay the information to their contacts, but they can instantly pick up on the key words or ideas if they hear a potential employer mentioning those very ideas!
6. Plan to be visible.
Do you realize that five percent or less of all positions that are being filled are found via job postings – internet or print. That is a pretty low percentage! Sitting in front of that computer all day searching is not your greatest odds. What is your best course of action – get yourself noticed!
This means networking! Do not be afraid to network, it simply means to go out and meet people. That’s it. Go to a Colts game and talk to the people around you – tada, networking! The more people you know the more that will know your value and where you want to go.
The most difficult part in this is going to be your attitude and approach. First, get over the fear and just do it. If you need help send me an email and I’ll be your networking buddy. I do this often with clients; they just need a wing-woman. I’m an awesome wing-woman because I love to go to new and old places with an open mind and positive attitude.
Secondly you must attend events or networking opportunities with the mindset of how can I help you? Even though this is all about you at this point you must take a backseat here. Help others, reach out to see what they need and how you can get others to where they want to be and I promise it will come back to you. Put yourself out there to help others and you will build a reputation as a great contact which will translate into a person that others want to know.
7. Follow up and be consistent.
Once you start meeting all of these people make sure to follow up with them and keep in contact. It is not enough to meet someone once at a networking event and think everything will change. I cannot tell you how many times I have met people at events and after reaching out to them after the event never hearing from them again. There might have been someone I know that needed a person just like the one I met at the networking event.
A month later we meet again and they say, “Oh yeah, you emailed me – was there someone you wanted me to talk to?” I do not think so. If you can not take a moment for the simple courtesy of responding to an email I do not feel very confident in referring you. This reminds me of a quote I heard, “
Personally, I like to set up one-on-one meetings with individuals to get to know them. I am certainly not going to open up my connections to someone I just met. Quite frankly, I do not know you so why in the world would I recommend you? You have to earn my trust and that takes getting to know each other. Be prepared to put in a lot of time and effort to get to know others and letting them get to know you. It pays off. Be consistent.
8. Be flexible.
You have reached the point of determining what you want and how you want to go about it. You have hired a professional to create a professional resume and helped you get on track. You have mapped out monthly networking opportunities and have been attending faithfully. Awesome. But what if you do not feel you are getting results?
Step back for a moment and think about this before you give up or make a change. How much time have you invested? If you are attending one event once a month without doing any follow up and it has only been a couple of months then you have not put enough effort into this venue. Go back to rule seven. FOLLOW UP and STAY CONNECTED!
If you have been attending two to three times a month, following up and it has been four months you will need to further analyze what you are doing. Are you reaching out to help others? Is your message clear? Or are the people you are meeting in no way connected to your goals? Then you may need to find an alternate venue. It is okay to establish a new plan if you have really, really worked the current plan without positive results.
It is not a failure, it is a learning opportunity. For the next venue you are better prepared on making the most of what you are doing. You can better judge how to introduce yourself, ask for the connections you want and intelligently determine if the actions are productive.
9. Keep track.
I’m a list person. It is just a part of who I am, but one thing I have found in being a list person is it can keep me positive. It helps me on my really bad days go back and see what I have accomplished without realizing it. I can track my movements and efforts and see either actions or possibilities. Sometimes we need to go back and see that we actually are progressing, even if we do not see immediate results.
The other benefit to keeping track is it keeps you honest. If you are feeling quite blue because things are not moving forward for you a tracking sheet can show you in black and white if you have really put the necessary effort into your goal. Looking back if you have only attended two venues in the last month and made no follow ups, then I hate to tell you buddy but you have only yourself to blame. Try as you might that next position is not going to come knock on your door. I know several who have tried this approach and the success rate is zero.
10. Treat yourself.
Take time to celebrate your small victories. It is a job in itself getting a job. There are no defined hours, the pay stinks, no benefits and lots of potential rejections. What a happy thought. But as you progress through your plan make sure you show yourself some appreciation for what you have accomplished. If you are painfully shy and have attended several networking opportunities and actually reached out to people then hooray! Celebrate. Do something for yourself. If that is taking a day off away from all electronic devises and reading books all day then go for it! Pack a lunch and go take yourself on your own little picnic. Take in a movie (for the budget conscious go to the dollar movie or go during the week in the afternoon).
11. Take care of you.
Remember to involve yourself in some activity to relieve stress. Do crossword puzzles, read trashy novels, take the dog for a walk, color in a coloring book, cook, clean, or do like I do and crank up the music and just dance it out. I may get funny looks from the dogs, but it makes me feel better! The better you feel the better your attitude and the better your performance.
Remember every time you step out of the house it is a possible opportunity waiting for you so be sure to keep strong, healthy and appropriately ready. Eating well and some sort of exercise will help you remain healthy. Releasing stress will keep your mind calm and strong. And dressing in appropriate manners and feeling good about how you look will project your confidence in any opportunity.
Break it down into manageable steps and taking care of yourself are the two key things that will help you get through this time. Take time to remind yourself, even during a difficult time, of the people or things in your life that are irreplaceable and what a blessing it is to have them.
Life is short, enjoy what you can about what you have, set goals that you want and then go for it! What do you have to loose? Nothing! But you have everything to gain! I hear opportunity knocking so please – get off your tush and go answer the door!!!
"I recently met someone at a networking event and they are very pushy about setting up an in person one on one - I do not a face to face. How should I handle this?"
Delicately but firmly. You can simply let the other person know that your schedule does not allow you to have as much time as you would like to meet in person; however you would very much like to get to know them and their business. You can follow that statement up with, “I can call you Tuesday at 2:00 or Thursday at 10:00 – which time would work better for you?”
In this manner you are still allowing for the opportunity to get to know that person without compromising your schedule. If someone is absolutely insistent on an in person one-on-one I think I would have to question that. If you feel the person is becoming a bit rude or frightening, it is well within your rights to gently decline the meeting in entirety.
You are not like everyone else, right? So why does your resume look like everyone else’s? Do not be afraid to be a little different.
I do not mean go crazy here with pretty hot pink paper or graphics all over the page rather make a stronger statement within accepted business communication. For example there is no written rule that states the title of your resume including your name, address, email and phone number(s) should be all be centered, Times New Roman and two font sizes larger than the rest of the text. Right justify, play with the fonts a little, use a boarder under the title – create a visual interest! Your name can be much bigger font and the detailed information can be smaller than the rest of the text. Play around with it a little and see what you can come up with. If you are stuck for ideas, try Googling “Resume Sample” then click on images. Look at the pictures of the different resumes without reading content to see if any one of those catch your eye.
I have two dogs - Micki and Misfit. Micki is a 10 year old Australian Sheppard mix and Misfit is a 3 year old Puggle. My son named Micki when she was a pup after a nickname for McDonalds and I renamed the little one to Misfit because she is a crazy little dog. Every once in a while these two teach me a lesson.
I was working diligently and noticed that my dogs were being unusually quiet in the backyard. When I looked out back I was surprised to find that I had THREE dogs in my yard. Apparently Misfit and the neighbor's dog had hatched a plan to dig an escape tunnel under the privacy fence.
After making sure all three were going to play nice for a few minutes, I sprinted to my neighbor's house to let them know the situation. By the time I returned to my house Micki was at the backdoor wanting in and I had another surprise: there was only one other dog in my backyard - Mr. Friendly. Misfit had taken advantage of the escape route and was literally running around my neighbor's backyard.
Let the mayhem ensue. We were able to successfully bring both dogs to their rightful homes and fill in the not-so-secret passage with boulders. It wasn't until after all the "fun" that I realized an interesting (to me at least) correlation between the choices my dogs made and a question I am often asked.
You see, Micki had decided against going under the fence to explore new worlds. In my mind it was a decision based on a few different factors: 1. She is too old to be venturing, 2. She is a little too round to squeeze anywhere, and 3. I give lots of doggie treats - life is good here, why explore?
Misfit on the other had probably saw an opportunity to go crazy - and they had a pool! Okay, a dog pool which means a pond; this would have resulted in a spa day, which means doggie bath, had she tried it out. Misfit knows life is good here, but she wanted to explore. She is young and again, crazy.
My point to this story, and yes, I do have a point, is that you must make the decision if the grass is greener on the other side based upon what is best for you. I have had people tell me that they are in a terrible work situation and ask me if they should stick it out until something else comes along or quit and look for another job full time.
My answer is always: "You must do what is best for you." Period. I cannot answer this question for you nor should anyone else.
Is it just uncomfortable or you feel stagnate? Are the officers of the corporation behaving unethically? Can you afford financially to take the time off to search for other employment full time? Can you afford emotionally to stay where you are? No matter the situation the bottom line is this: you must decide what works for you and what you can live with.
Are the above questions too generic? Let's look a little more closely: if your bosses are acting unethically and you are literally loosing sleep, unable to eat, stressed beyond your limit and visiting a hospital - can you emotionally afford to stay?
What if you just do not like the people you work with? The job is fine, the pay is steady but you are just not happy. Is it worth loosing the financial stability of a weekly paycheck because others don't play nice in the sandbox?
Only you can answer these questions. No matter what you decide, you must make a decision. Either way once you make that decision you must honor and respect yourself to give it your all. If you decide to quit the make a plan of action and give it everything you have so it will help lessen the unemployment time. If you decide to stay with not-nice co-workers then promise yourself that you will concentrate more on the work than the pettiness and give it 110%.
Realize this: you may make the wrong decision. It happens. And then you will have to answer for it, but it is much easier defending your actions when your motives are pure and committed. And, if by chance it is a mistake, then learn from it quickly and move forward. Be prepared if you leave without another position lined up to defend your actions during an interview. Oh yes, there are repercussions for your actions and you must consider those as well in the decision making process.
No matter what you decide to do, remember that it is YOUR decision. Please stop asking your friends what you should do. That is placing an unfair burden on them. What if you decide to stay based on their suggestions and it blows up in your face - are you going to start blaming them? This is a path we do not want to walk down my friend. Please ask opinions of those you trust; however make the decision on your own then commit to it. It is a hard world being a grown up but making these types of decisions are expected at one time or another. But difficult life decisions give us the greatest opportunity for growth.
Knowing what a prospective employer wants to see on your resume may seem impossible, and granted if you are responding to a blind ad it makes it that much more difficult. The best approach is to research the position and think like a hiring manager. What are the most important skills and abilities of individuals holding that position? Make sure your resume reflects your research. Utilize job boards, government websites and placement profiles to help define the position and required skills.
If you are responding to a posting be sure to read the entire profile, not just the requirements. Reading the "about us" section gives you vital clues about the company. If the description includes words such as " drive, optimal, foster, inspire, achieve" this gives you the idea that this is a go-getter company and you should reflect these same words in your resume and cover letter. It shows you speak the same language and are a natural fit.
"So tell me about youself" can be a very intimidating statement to respond to when networking. First and foremost - be prepared! Ask yourself what is the purpose of you attending the networking event? Are you looking to make connections in a certain industry or company? Then let that be known! Remember, networking is based upon helping others. One group's members will ask you immediately when you walk in, "Who do you want to meet?" Be prepared to answer that question as well.
If you are a former manager in the Investment Industry and you are looking to make connections with Banking Professionals for potential employment opportunities then your response should include the value you can bring as a manager and that you are looking forward to meeting those targeted individuals. You response should be tailored to you. You should feel comfortable in delivering it to various individuals. And remember, it is going to vary each time you say it - and that is okay. You do not want an answer that is "down pat" because you will sound too rehearsed and could loose personal credibility.
Thanksgiving is almost upon us! That means giving thanks for all that we are thankful for, lots of food, football, hunting through the fourteen Christmas isles in the store to find the one little section that sells pumpkin pie in a can next to the green beans and fried onions, and family.
Family, Those that I love more than anything and cannot deny that they are a part of my world - even if I wanted to. My family is loving, a little goofy and undeniably mine. I drive them crazy, they drive me mad; but at the end of the day they are my anchor. I am blessed. They keep me grounded and are my biggest supporters.
Most people would say their family is their biggest supporters and would be the first ones to try to help them find a job. In my world that means they are your biggest sales agents. However, did you know that they are probably some of the worst sales agents for you and it's your fault? Yes, you! And the reason is - you failed to train them.
Now you may be thinking, "But Lisa, I told them I'm looking for a job, isn't that enough?" Frankly no. They must know exactly what you do, how you do it, how to communicate that to someone else, and what are the important key words - without these things they are ineffective. Giving them your title is also much to vague.
To tell someone that you are a manager, well now that honestly means nothing. What if you say you are a manager in the telecommunications industry. Nope, still nada. What does manager mean? How do you manage? Who do you manage? What do you affect and how? What are you looking to do? Are you a hands-on manager or a micro-manager? Were you promoted because they did not know what else to do with you or because you have stellar accomplishments?
In another lifetime I was a Compliance Officer in the investment industry. See, tells you nothing. If I were to tell my family around the holiday table that I wanted to do that again great, but it does not give them any information. Not unless they work in the financial industry and know the basic role of a Compliance Officer, but even then it is still too little information to sell me.
What you need to remember is your audience. You need to explain what you did and what you are looking to do in terms and concepts that they understand. You need to plant the seeds of key words and phrases that will act as a trigger for them.
So, using my prior life as an example again: this Thanksgiving if I were unemployed and looking for compliance work I imagine one of my family members would ask how the job search is going. I would reply something like this:
"I am really hopeful the next great thing is just around the corner and thank you for asking," (note - be positive!) "I would love to be back in the role again of doing all the paperwork for brokers and investment bankers. You know when you buy or sell stocks, bonds, annuities or mutual funds and you have all that paperwork and questions you have to answer?" (pause and wait for response)
"Well that is all the stuff that I oversaw and I loved it! I'm the crazy one that enjoyed working with regulators, audits, auditors, filings, the exchange and all the rules. " (pause for them to say something like, "you are crazy" or anything else that is family like) "It would be great if I could work in a mid-size company again, not as big as a Merrill, but something smaller and local where all those things are done in house. I really miss being the person that stands between corporate and the sales people - of course I was called the sales police, but my guys always knew I was on their side and even helped grow their business"
There is a lot of information in the above so let's review:
A list of 18 key words that say a lot more than Compliance Manager in the investment industry. And who knows, maybe my cousin Jason or my Aunt Mary will be having lunch with someone next week who is talking about their friend having problems at their job. Perhaps their friend is complaining that there is so much paperwork to do at their office that their brokers are getting fed up in having to work with all the rules; they need to hire someone to take chare of their filings so they do not look like the sales police. BINGO! Four key words right there.
That my lovely sales force - i.e. family member - would probably say something similar to, "Oh, you need to give your friend my cousin/niece's name - that is exactly what she does and is what she is looking for!"
Remember, we all want to help our friends and family, but we are unable to unless we understand what they do and can relate it to others. This falls upon us as individuals - we need to train our friends and family.
One last thing - at the end of the "training period" i.e. conversation with your friends/family there is one important thing you must always ask: "And how can I help you?" Giving is receiving. I hope you have a blessed Thanksgiving.
What is the difference in these two sentences:
Wrote procedures to save time, money and resources.
Wrote procedures which saved time, money and resources.
There is just one word that is different between the two sentences but it makes a huge impact. The words that are different are to and which. Using the word "to" means that is what you were hired to do, not that you got it done. Using the word "which" shows you added value to your position by accomplishing certain things.
Make sure you are telling someone of your value, not giving them your job description.
One little word can make a world of difference!
Not only is Thanksgiving coming up, but the whole holiday season is going to quickly be upon us. That means lots of festive get togethers and holiday parties! Just a gentle reminder that these are all great opportunities for networking so please play it safe and smart. Easy on the spiked eggnog, just because there is a full buffet does not mean you should go through three times with a full plate, and lastly remember giving is receiving. Ask what you can do for others and put that thought and action before yourself and your needs. You must give to receive.
If you are in the business of sales, and this includes those in transition because let' face it - your job is to sell yourself, then everything you do in the process is connected. Your marketing material, i.e. brochure/resume/business cards, reflect your value statement, which is reflected in your elevator speech, which is expanded upon in your selling statement (i.e. interview/appointment).
I could tell that Karah had been practicing her answers to some generic questions when the three of us (Karah, her mom and me) spoke at the beginning of our meeting. She gave me a bit about her background: she on the varsity cheerleading and track squads and had a part time job with her sister.
When her mother left us and we took our seats, Karah and I started going through her "tell me about yourself" speech. And bless her little heart; she started to tell me what she thought sounded like good answers and what others thought she should say. For example:
To all of these I answered, "I don't think so."
Welcome to my interviewing sessions! I explained that being a varsity cheerleader and running varsity track she had to have some measure of confidence to do those things. I also asked her exactly how does one heal another with a smile? And lastly, it turns out that the life-changing experience was a small side trip while on family vacation.
I then looked at her and said, "Now, answer the question how you want to, now how anyone else wants you to. I want to know you, not fluff." Whether a pageant panel or interviewer, they will see it for what it is: fluff.
This is a common interviewing mistake substituting fluff for substance about yourself. Another critical error: she was not incorporating her personal strengths into her answers. This means she did not do an honest, in-depth self-assessment prior to the meeting. It came across as though she was talking in abstract rather than really talking about herself.
She took a deep breath, relaxed and was able to articulate rather well what was important to her and what actions she had taken that emphasized her commitment.
For example, her father died when she was young. Not being able to help him had really made an impact on her and she has now dedicated herself to pursuing medicine to not only help patients struck by major illness but also be that person that helps their families as well.
She is also a formidable fundraiser, in honor of her father. She grew her own vegetables, marketed and sold them making over a thousand dollars in proceeds for which she donated the entire amount. Impressive.
She also realized that she does have self-confidence and poise as she cheers and runs in front of large crowds; but she participates in these activities as a team member. She wants to build confidence for individual activities.
I understand that you want to say just the right thing to an interviewer - you want to tell them exactly what they want to hear. However you need to make sure that your answers are true and accurate and that you can back them up. You should do the research on the company so you can intelligently speak to your strengths and how you are a great fit for their need.
Utilizing fluff answers does not meet interviewers needs, it leaves them unsatisfied. Giving examples, describing situations in which you have succeeded and learned, and being able to passionately talk about your strengths and skills gives you credibility and puts you in the front running.
Being honest, accurate, passionate and prepared will alleviate the "should-haves" after the interview. You know what these are: "I should have answered it this way...", "I should have said this..."
Not all interviewers are going to be so kind as to look at you and say, "I don't think so" and let you start again. So head this advice now, then practice. Practice, practice, practice. You do not want your answers to be down pat, but you do want to be prepared with a general framework of what you want to say in order that you can easily adopt it for various situations. A panel interview instead of a one-on-one; an surprise phone interview; or meeting a great prospect at a networking event; learning during a game that one of the parents on your son's football team is a manager in the company you want to target - opportunities come at any time. Do your self-assessment, do your homework, practice, relax and be honest.
Being prepared for an interview means you will also be prepared for networking in a variety of situations: formal or informal, being introduced to a great prospect out of the blue, as well as informational interviews.
Karah started our meeting giving me answers that she thought sounded good and that I would want to hear instead of giving me details about telling me about her, I suspect she felt that she did not have enough experience or interesting things about herself to offer. After helping her with a self-assessment she realized she had everything she needed and more. She walked out much taller than when she walked in.
Oh, and just in case you still do not see the connection between good interviewing skills and any type of situations, even beauty pageants - Karah was officially crowned the Queen and has the honor of being the youngest winner ever for this pageant! Congratulations Karah! With her newly acquired knowledge of how to present her skills, strengths, passions and accomplishments I know she will shine in her future college and job interviews!