Archive for July 2009

Step Right Up: Career Blog Carnival Ride Awaits

July 24, 2009

blog carnival 3Welcome to the Career Blog Carnival! Career Trend (Twitter handle @ValueIntoWords; aka, Jac Poindexter aka Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter) proudly hosts this recurring event originated by Ben Eubanks (@beneubanks).  With a strong response by a diverse mix of career folks: resume writers, career strategists, career coaches and recruiters, we’ll get started!

Our first post-er is world-renowned careers blogger GL Hoffman (@glhoffman) who just today announced his Gruzzles roll-out in FastCompany.com (wow!). His ever-popular What Would Dad Say blog is the fuel for today’s Carnival post.  Entitled, Al Schweitzer Quote this article discusses the significance in each of our lives in having someone special who will rekindle our inner spirit when we need it most. This “bursting into flame by an encounter with another human being” struck a huge chord with me! I have several in my life who provided such inner-fire rekindling (on my mom, Ann Barrett’s, 70th birthday today, I want to provide a special ‘shout out’ to her for her consistent mantra of supportive words, particularly during my times of great darkness).  As GL articulates, “we all need unconditional support, love, encouragement … and someone to set ever-increasing expectations.”  READ this article for inspiration, hope and for reminding yourself of the great people who have sparked your flame when you needed it most.

Next, read words of wisdom from Heather Huhman (@heatherhuhman) a mentor to individuals seeking entry-level positions, particularly in public relations. She’s ‘been there, done that’ when it comes to young careers.  In today’s featured article, Heather fleshes out seven key opportunities for interns to maximize opportunities to move From Intern to Full-Time Employee.

Preparing job seekers for a new job search is the topic of @eExecutive’s article, Are You Ready? Providing 13 tools and tips for job seekers to consider whether just starting or in the midst of their job search process, Harry Urschel lends his 20+ years’ experience helping people into new jobs and careers, seeing the job search process from both sides of the table to offer what works now … and what doesn’t.

Julie Ann Erickson is a writer and on-line career transformation coach who provides tools and guidance to help people identify what they want to do and then do it! Her article, Research to Make Your Resume Document provides a three-pronged approach to ensuring the resume you’ve written is YOU, that it serves as a meaningful marketing document and that it communicates what you intended.

For consistently positive messages of hope and optimism, mixed with a blend of pragmatism and ‘real’ opinions, Life Strategist @WalterAkana provides the inspiring article, “You: Rock Star” for this week’s Carnival.  No matter your career field of endeavor, you can attain the clarity that will make YOU a rock star! Thanks, Walter Akana, for your words gems that inspire!

Job Search Is Like Dating is @DeniseMpl’s analogy. Connecting the dots between the two relationship-focused activities, Denise Felder, a career adviser and freelance writer who wants to help people make positive choices that impact their lives and society, shows how things like first impressions, follow-up and displays of genuine interest MATTER in both job search and dating.

For anyone working with chronic illness, working for someone with chronic illness, employing someone with chronic illness, whose family or friend works with chronic illness (you get the drift), Rosalind Joffe at @WorkWithIllness is your lady. Her post: Can You Job Hunt, Live With Illness and Stay Motivated? explores looking for a job in a depressed economy AND living with a chronic illness that impacts your employment history (ouch!).  Helping job seekers ‘break the overwhelm’ via a project management approach, this article provides tactical daily movements to garner positivity during a job search with chronic illness.

Jeff Lipschultz’s popularity on Twitter, I assume, is his clarity and consistency in his brand — my take, he’s positive, proactive, determined, foward-focused, ‘real’ and supportive of others. A founding partner of A-List Solutions recruiting firm, Jeff blogs about the challenges of finding the best jobs as candidates and finding the best employees as companies, among other employment, technology and societal topics. His post, Ten Reasons to Take Up Biking During Job Search taps into one of his personal passions. By moving through job search with physical and intellectual momentum, Jeff demonstrates the multiplicity of positive effects of exercise  (biking, in particular) in job search.

The ever-delightful, humorous and career savvy @DawnBugni never fails to satisfy in her regularly posted career tweets and blogs.  Her ‘storied’ article, Work Like You’re Working for Yourself … Well, Because You Are talks about Dawn’s favorite topics: a positive attitude, good customer service, social media and old friends, linking them into job search and career advice. Inspired – that’s the word I (and others who commented on her blog) would use to sum up feelings after soaking up Dawn Bugni’s inviting article of best practices in life, careers and customer service.

April Dowling (aka @adowling) is certified as a professional in human resources and currently works as an HR Generalist with a focus on recruiting and employee relations. Her post: Between Interview and Offer: Now What? articulates action steps job seekers should take once an interview occurs, including: Keep Interviewing!  All job seekers should read this HR expert’s tips to ensure they are up to speed on what to do when in the midst of an interview process.

Cris Janzen (@crisjobcoach) really does love her job! Why? Because she gets to help other people do the same, and she blogs about her passion: helping people find, create and keep work that plays to their strengths and feeds their soul and pocketbook. Her article: How a Job Search Is Like Painting a Room identifies 12 parallels between the two activities.  For example, “It always takes longer than you estimate — and hope.” And, “Preparation is 80% of the job. The 20% of ‘execution’ is a breeze if you have done your preparation in a quality way.” How true!

Increasing Your Shares during job search is Abby Kohut’s (@Absolutely_Abby) post. Wow! A great reminder to all of us the value of ‘sharing’ your job leads with others. This pay-it-forward attitude is essential to effective networking (and something we learned early on as a child when sharing toys, ice cream, etc.). Read this post if you want positive reinforcement regarding our interconnectedness with others and how it dramatically impacts job search (and life) success.

Mary Wilson, career coach, owns a consulting practice focused on enhancing relationships in the workplace that provides training, consulting and mediation services. Asking Are You in the Right Career?, @LearnSolMary’s article eloquently advises people beginning their career journey or contemplating a change. In particular, I loved the lines: “Don’t let fear of the unknown or what others will think stop you before you even get started” and “Never let others disabuse you of your gifts and your purpose for being on earth.” This is a must read!

Phyllis Mufson (@PhyllisMufson) is a career coach, small business consultant and certified life coach who helps people who don’t know what’s next. According to Phyllis, people usually don’t know the options available to them often because of their embedded fear. Moving them into a sense of adventure, helping people tap into their intuition, passion and potentiality, Phyllis shares her value proposition in this unique Carnival post — a video interview with @BillVick, entitled, Phyllis Mufson – Career Coach.

Miriam Salpeter advises job-hunting clients, teaching them how to take advantage of traditional and social networking strategies and writing targeted resumes that get results. Her article, Job Search Planning — Steps, Tips and Tricks is replete with valuable action steps job seekers can start today to gain immediate traction. As a starting point, be introspective and take time to outline your unique value offerings — identify your 3% that is unique and special. Pinpoint and research companies and then begin networking (via LinkedIn, etc.) with employees within those organizations. Another great article @Keppie_Careers!

Meghan Biro (@meghanmbiro) quickly became a true Twitter pal as we swapped synergistic exchanges that fueled an offline relationship.  An accomplished executive recruiter and career coach, Meghan’s fundamental belief in the importance of corporate culture and candidate personality fueled today’s article: Hiring for Personality and Culture Fit. Just listen to the article lead-in to get a feel for Meghan’s own high-energy and tuned in personality: “In my practice with career seekers, evaluation of a resume and coaching are table stakes. I prefer to focus on understanding a candidate’s personality (as well as resume and overall skill set) … key to whether a person will fit with my recruiting clients’ corporate culture …” The reading only gets better. Advise all perusers take a moment and sink their teeth into this meaty article.

With a repository of career blog posts that would fill a small library, I’m in awe of Erin Kennedy’s (@ErinKennedyCPRW) ability to quickly germinate and introduce her thoughts on resume and cover letter writing, job search and a multitude of career strategy topics. In her recent article on cover letters, Erin energizes her readers suggesting that cover letter writing is both fun and creative.  Read her nuggets of gold in the Cover Letter Tips article.

Finally, my own article, the very popular Steel Your Career links the process of smelting to career management and likens our careers to a strong piece of steel. Co-written by my ghost-writer husband,  Rob Poindexter, whose vocabulary sucked me into its vortex during our early courtship,  (will be introducing him in future blog posts), this story shows how like our own career paths steel is, as we mine our raw ore first from schools and institutes and then begin purifying  this treasure when it sees the light of day … and much more. A popular post that drove my blog visit numbers to record heights, this intriguing story is worth the read (in my not so objective opinion! 🙂

As our Career Blog Carnival winds down for today, I encourage you to share this link with friends and colleagues who may find value from the consortium of careers capital hereto. As for me, the take-aways run deep and broad as this experience further connected me with industry leaders and further educated me with meaty careers articles. Stay tuned for the next Career Blog Carnival – I’m sure Ben Eubanks (@beneubanks) has a stellar line-up over the coming weeks and months.

Visit to Eye Dr. Clarifies Resume Vision

July 3, 2009

eyglasses2Perched in the chair at the optometrist’s office, I eagerly awaited my new set of eyes. Actually, I was there to update my contacts prescription which I had garnered only one year before, and still being somewhat new to the world of contacts, I admit it felt akin to receiving new eyes when two of those wiggly contacts acquaint themselves with a vital part of my anatomy.

Suddenly, the target of my vision became clearer and more vivid. I saw details that otherwise were nebulous; I could read words that otherwise were strings of blurred letters. A bit oblivious (or perhaps resistant) the past few years to the idea of wearing contact lenses or glasses on a full-time basis, I had come to the realization that, day in and day out, I was wearing my reading glasses for more than just reading. It was time, therefore, to accept my fate and ramp up my vision program.

Throughout this one-hour experience at my eye doctor’s, I encountered at least one “aha” moment and took away with me a couple of additional ideas that overlay nicely into what I do and how I think as a resume writer and career strategist.

What I do is to help my clients cast a clearer vision of their own value proposition, prescribing for them a solution that will convert their fuzzy value proposition into a more clearly focused brand message. I also educate prospective clients as to the value of this whole resume strategy process of defining their uniqueness and intangibles and attract them to the pragmatic, immediate and long-term significance of employing me for such an exercise and service offering.

How I think has evolved immensely over the years – but one of the challenges I still grapple with from time to time is the ability to briefly, yet emphatically explain the value of what I do so that it resonates with the client, compelling them to get off the fence and invest in themselves for such a service.

As such, the “aha” moment with my doctor was simple and translated nicely into “What I do” and “How I think.” He and I were discussing the contact lenses that I had been wearing the past year or so, and he was asking several customer-centric questions to assist in assessing my current situation. Throughout this brief conversation, I mentioned that I could see pretty well with the contacts, as well as I felt I was intended to see with them – they were progressive lenses that allowed me to see rather well up close and rather well at a distance, but not “really” well in either instance. That was okay, because that was my expectation (in my opinion, not unlike a resume that is designed in a “somewhat focused” way, but tries to hit multiple targets or is just a bit too general in its focus, overall).

Therefore, these lenses which I’d worn the past year had greatly improved my vision and permitted me to “not” reach for my reading glasses for most social activities — reading menus at restaurants, viewing a theater production, etc. — but the lenses were not intended for computer work or other more detailed and ongoing reading. For those I still employed my glasses. [This situation loosely equates to employing a broadcast / generally focused resume (my progressive contacts) as opposed to the deeply branded and targeted resume (my reading glasses)].

However, from time to time, I still found myself pulling out reading glasses to support the contact lenses even in social situations, and armed with this knowledge, along with a couple of other remarks I made about the overall comfort of my current contact lenses, my doctor made a recommendation by way of a question to me (and herein lies the “aha” moment): “Would you like to be able to see better?”

In this instance of awakening, I felt a question that evoked a simple “Yes” or “No” was quite remarkable and inventive. Of course I replied, “Yes, I would certainly like to see better.” (At the same time, I secretly vowed to employ a version of this simplicity into my own business interactions with prospective clients; i.e., job seekers.) Confidently, yet calmly, the doctor proceeded to prescribe a different type of contact lens that he clearly felt would give me better results. No promises made – just testimonials he’d had from other satisfied clients for whom these alternative lenses were a solution. Of course, if I felt the same did not hold true for me, I could always revert to the former lens prescription. To me, it was a calculated risk to try something new, and really the risks were quite minimal.

One of my points here is that my initial reaction was to accept his recommendation as-is without much adieu (oh, I may have asked a few clarifying questions, but mostly just to understand as best as I could as a layperson, what might be some differences, aside from better vision, that I would encounter when using these new contacts). In the end, though, the intentions of his simple question (Do you want to see better?) and simple conclusion (I’ll recommend this alternative lens) were clear – I was being taken care of – my situation likely was to improve. And like the Nike ad, I said to myself, “Just do it.”

By parlaying my experience, I hope that my career transition and job-seeking reader will better understand my value proposition. Sometimes I get so mired in the complexity of what I do and how I do it, that I may overwhelm the job seeker with information on my value.

Instead, I simply wish to ask the question: “Would you like to generate more interviews?” Or perhaps, “Would you like to generate more interviews that are focused in the area of interest you wish to land a job?” — (i.e., eliminating the residual emails and phone calls from jobs that are nowhere near your target goals, and really sharpening the results of your resume submissions).