Posted tagged ‘career branding’

DIGGING OUT FROM UNDER THE SNOW STORM OF JOB LOSS

January 4, 2010

I’ve known loss. Haven’t we all?

A blizzard storms through our lives, creating paralyzing white-out conditions.

In my life, a painful storm from which I not only survived but from which ashes I arose to rebuild a new and BETTER life, occurred when my first husband requested a divorce. Within months, I was thrust into life-altering decisions that, even under the best of emotional situations, would have been difficult.

Initially, life lines were tossed my way by family and friends. After years of self-sufficiency, I was faced with either “going it alone” or accepting the help of sincerely caring people. I swallowed my pride and chose the latter.

As well, I acted: traction was the name of the game to maintain my sanity, my emotional stability and my overall fortitude. As in job search loss, the death of a marriage or following the actual death of a spouse or other loved one, the storm requires mourning, but then requires forward movement to recover. Sometimes, even, the two must be managed concurrently.

During my divorce, I did not have the luxury of flying off to a tropical island and licking my wounds or even spending a few weeks resting and healing; instead, I had imminent bills to pay and clients to attend to. Miraculously, I was able to “fake it ’til I made it.” For example, I recall one client telling me (during the thick of the storm) that I was always such a positive person when he and I met! I was strengthened by his sweet comment – further reinforcing the need for forward movement as a key to recovery.

Similarly, job hunters in the midst of career storms often must keep plunging through the cold hard ground of job search. I will venture to say, with persistence and willingness to make changes, these forward-moving job seekers will see sprouts of growth emerge even during the harshest of climates.

Traction Steps Beget Confidence, Courage and Recovery

I imagine the wind-knocked-out-of-me experience I knew following divorce is something people experiencing job loss or major job transition can relate to. I hope some of the practical and soul-fortifying steps I took also may assist job seekers in moving forward in recovery. Here are a few steps I took:

1. Sold my home and downsized to a townhome (saving money but also dramatically reducing my commute to a then brick-and-mortar office from 45 minutes to 5 minutes).

Unfortunately, I hear too many stories of job seekers hanging on to what was versus adjusting their sails and course to mesh with the wind. Sometimes letting go of real estate, other belongings and past lifestyle desires is just the antidote and relief to calm the storms and further work on rebuilding a newer, stronger and often better-than-ever-imagined foundation for the future!

2. Immediately began the process to transform my business, which, at that time was only three years young and not really ready to be self supporting. I had no choice – I was now my sole supporter! I amped up my industry credentials; I now wanted to increase my service offerings (and revenue), so in addition to my Certified Professional Resume Writer credential, I achieved the Certified Employment Interview Professional (interview coaching) training in Dallas, Texas.

3. Earned the globally unique Master Resume Writer credential and received near-immediate PR and revenue.

When encountered with a hard-hit economy and job search, I encourage job seekers to consider future needs, research and listen to other professional opinions and then ACT: if you may benefit by earning a new credential to better market yourself  – go get it! Or, simply, reach for more training, more training and yet, more training. Continuing education opportunities abound either virtually or within brick and mortar settings!

4. Assertively pursued industry partnerships and refocused time and energy on building relationships that would further build my business reputation, visibility, and ultimately, revenue.

Likewise, I encourage job seekers to seek out and build relationships with key partners who may propel their job search. Encourage Recruiters, Hiring Managers, Companies and Human Resources to follow you and your value proposition via Twitter and build your career reputation. Unfurl the sails, look beneath the layers and get curious. Step by step, you’ll learn the ropes of job search, and it will not only flex your untapped job-search muscles, but it will even be fun–an adventure, at times!

Moreover, visit LinkedIn and set up an account. Click on @eExecutive’s informative article: 5 LinkedIn Resources. Order Jason Alba’s LinkedIn DVD by emailing me to help you navigate the ins and outs of creating meaningful relationships within and without your professional industry.

Start stimulating conversations with other professionals and with recruiters, hiring decision makers and human resource managers. Boost your visibility and credibility via a website established exclusively for movers and shakers who not only take pride in their careers but seek to boost their image and career opportunities.

5. Hired another writer and career coach to help shepherd me through a career repositioning and hold me accountable to implement action steps.

As well, job hunters may revisit their career story arsenal: refit, rewire, reword. A plethora of free articles on building a meaty, value-laden resume may be found, starting with articles on my blog and extending through to a plethora of blog posts by resume writers, career coaches and recruiters. Visit bloggers at Blogs I Read to search for how-tos on resume writing.

You may also hire a Master Resume Writer or other professional career writer, coach and/or consultant from Career Management Alliance, Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, Career Directors International or National Resume Writers Association. Resume writers, coaches and consultants will help uncover the snow-shrouded career story-book and then parse chapters, sub-titles and talk points that reveal your true value to your target audience!

6. Transitioned my business from a locally based, brick and mortar office (with premium office space leasing costs) to a globally focused, completely virtual operation serving clients from coast to coast in the United States, in Canada and also in far-flung places such as Europe and Asia!

Likewise, job seekers should embrace the global design of 2010 job search.  The Internet, and in particular, Twitter, offers a treasure chest of career strategy resources. First, I recommend joining Twitter, creating a pithy profile, and start following others.

As well, my colleague and Twitter friend, Miriam Salpeter and I initiated a Career Collective of 20+ bloggers focused exclusively on job hunters’ needs. Stop in, read a while, find and then personally connect with a couple career experts that appeal to you and with whom you feel a connection. Conversations beget action which beget results–moving from a career hull cloaked in snow to a brightened and buffed career that sails the high seas.

7. Focused on my personal life recovery and fulfillment; getting out there and dating–making it an adventure versus a drudgery. I ENJOYED (for the most part) the interesting conversations and new opportunities to meet new friends. The world was my oyster! It was a series of shared experiences that added value to my day to day life until one day I met and married the love of my life. He is leaps and bounds beyond my expectations, and not because he is perfect (sorry, darling!), but because he is my heart-mate.

Just as the snowstorm that swept through my fare city this holiday season (or that swept through my personal life several years ago), career slamming challenges erupt from time to time, packing your  job-search hulls with snow that weighs you down, virtually paralyzing movement.

After you’ve licked your wounds, commiserated with others about the tragedy that has beset you, Iencourage you to take action. Grab that shovel and start digging! Get out from under that avalanche of job-search snow and regain your career footing.

Captain your career, mend your sails, learn the new rules of career navigation, partner with career experts and SET SAIL!

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MATCH(.COM) YOUR WAY TO A NEW JOB!

December 17, 2009

FIRST IMPRESSIONS MATTER

First impressions matter in dating and job search. I know this all too well as I have moved through dozens of first-date impressions during the seven years following my divorce and before I remarried in 2008.

My husband, Rob, and I met online via Match.com. Besides the first-impression story he wrote in his profile that resonated with my personal needs and priorities for a great mate and life-long partner, the initial photograph Rob sent me was striking—to this day, I call it his glamour shot, as it was obviously posed and snapped by a professional. Rob was decked out in his motorcycle leathers, posing next to his classic Indian motorcycle.

Without hesitation, I responded to his initial ‘resume,’ intrigued by the words he shared and drawn to his handsome picture.

ENTICE INTEREST BY BEING ‘TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE’

As many recruiters and hiring managers may do when reviewing resumes I quickly judged, “He’s too good to be true,” (and beyond that, I thought, if he really looks like his picture, he may be out of my league). But despite that initial feeling of ‘this picture is a bit over the top,’ and in fact in large part ‘because’ of that initial intrigue, I was hooked in. I had nothing to lose by reaching out and affirmatively responding to his gesture to communicate.

We began a series of emails that were engaging, and like a job interview, involved a series of questions and answers. What’s unique and pressing about dating interviews is that you play two roles: both interviewer (company) and interviewee (candidate).

During that time, I ferreted out his real day-to-day physical appearance (he quickly and politely responded to my request for current, non-glamour-shot photographs). A bit relieved he wasn’t a runway model, and in fact, he looked quite attractively normal, I continued the conversation with the hope and optimism that he may be the ‘one’ candidate that would fulfill the job of the-guy-of-my-future.

Within days, we had scheduled a telephone interview, and during this time, our voices and language created new first-impressions. Recently, Rob shared with me that my ability during that first call to hold an intelligent and thoughtful conversation impressed him.

As for Rob, his residual Texas accent, his ability to engage articulately and thoughtfully, his sincere interest in knowing me and his follow-through to place the call in the promised time-frame, met my interview needs and expectations and further attracted me.

DATING, LIKE JOB SEARCH, IS A PROCESS OF INTERVIEWS

Our questions to one another deepened and the answers met my wishes (and apparently his), so we scheduled an in-person interview for drinks at a respectable restaurant. Again, more first impressions were approaching as we scheduled our meet-up,

Our brief in-person interview (remember, it was supposed to be ‘just drinks’) moved into an evening-long conversation replete with laughter, potato skins and chicken fingers.  Like an interview that blossoms into a connection, we politely closed a bit of the distance between one another and signaled our mutual interest.

As he walked me to my car, a second date was planned; and after that, a third date, a fourth, and then Christmas dinner (we began dating just weeks before the holiday!).  The rest, as they say, is history, as our interview dating moved into serious courtship and ultimately marriage.

All of this to say, I continually draw connections between the dating interviewing I experienced over seven years with the job interview process. As such, the following parallels may be illustrated.

1. Job search marketing, like dating, is about being appealing. Be courageous in communicating your allure. Rob’s glamorous picture (combined with his pragmatic, yet best-foot-forward word story) quickly influenced my interest in him as a candidate in my partner search.

2. Job seekers, when building your resume, in addition to writing to your audience’s needs, push your envelope and be courageous. I’ve had many resume clients express initial discomfort with the boldness and bravura of their resume sales message, only later to call or email me that they boosted interviews tenfold and scaled the job search mountain in leaps versus baby steps. Now, more than ever, job seekers need to stand apart and create an appeal.

3. Rob’s profile story (resume) was written in a laid back, direct, ‘real’ tone, focusing on the aspects of his value that would market him – he wrote to his audience’s needs (the audience he wished to attract), and he said no more and no less than needed. As well, he punctuated this profile with a picture that was a bit audacious—he took a calculated marketing risk–that worked!

4. Similarly, writing a resume IS about being YOU and selling your unique value in a tone that is both direct AND value-focused. It IS a marketing tool, and it is written with the reader’s needs top of mind. As well, the resume is no time to be modest—grab the reader’s attention with a presentation that stirs emotions and makes the reader say, “I gotta know more.”

5. Be responsive, polite and persistent. Rob responded to my email response to his initial contact that same day; he also engaged with me via meaningful, thoughtful emails several nights running, maintained a respect for ours/his time (not over-indulging in our new-found interest, placing boundaries and ensuring each communication seemed natural, even though he strategically  responded to make continued positive, authentic impressions). Likewise, in job search, be responsive and engaging, while also applying filters to not saying and doing everything that pops in your mind.

6. He also made himself accessible and reachable with a cell phone number that included a voice mail with HIS voice, and he promptly responded when I called or text-messaged. As we moved past initial interview processes, he quickly removed potential barriers to entry by revealing his home phone number and address.

7. Job seekers, disclosing how you may directly be reached, communicating openly and authentically and being reachable and responsible warms up recruiters, HR and hiring managers versus a nebulous communication strategy.

8. As well, Rob was ever polite and honest without over-revealing (we were dating, remember, not married) and persistent (he initiated follow-up conversations, scheduled our in-person interview and confirmed the meeting the day of). He also asked for the second interview as the first interview was closing.

9. Likewise, job seekers, it is quite acceptable (and necessary) to be persistent in your job search inquiries and conversations, demonstrating interest in the target company; remember, keep it polite, brief and focused on ‘them.’ If you start to feel you are revealing too much about yourself, pull back. If you are under-communicating, push yourself a bit ‘out’ of your reserved zone.

10. Job search is marketing—MARKET you. And the nice thing is, while you’re marketing YOU, you’re focusing on pleasing ‘them’ and filling their needs, so it’s really a process of courtship and you ultimately take the spotlight off of you and place it directly on them.

Bottom line: Proper, persistent and bold online and in-person communications can significantly and positively change the direction of your life and your job search. Interestingly, Rob and I recently were discussing the fact that major decisions in our lives have centered around the Internet: 1. We met on Match.com. 2. We researched and found our sailboat, Seas the Day AND the dock at the lake where our boat resides and where we have expanded our friendship/sailing network by dozens of new, interesting people, via the Internet. 3. We hired our minister to oversee our marriage ceremony via the Internet!

Navigating the Mistletoe of Job Search

December 9, 2009

As co-coordinator with my colleague, Miriam Salpeter, I am pleased to participate in our third round of posts from our community of expert career advisors and resume writing professionals called the Career Collective.

This month’s articles address the topic of Job Search Strategy During the Holidays.

Please follow our hashtag, #careercollective, on Twitter.

Having personally experienced the setback of divorce about 8 years ago on the threshold of the holidays, I empathize with job seekers undergoing the radical change of job loss, job transition and career makeover.

The bottom line, I think the holidays  are ‘not’ the magical time during which careers are fixed, made or broken, However, the holidays also are not the time to feel paralyzed in your search. A healthy blend of job search and rejuvenation are in order!

Earlier this week I featured a technology leader and client of mine, Altan Khendup, in a blog post explaining his job search strategies and the phenomenal results he has achieved.

As this post on ramping up one’s job search efforts during the holidays emerged, I sought out Altan’s tips. As well, I’ve blended in my own opinions on how job seekers may approach the ‘search’ during this particular season drenched in mistle toe, calls to ‘give, love, share’ and dripping in niceties and demands that, if not managed well, will sap our time and energy.

I’ll blend Altan’s and my ideas and comments hereto.

1. How should job seekers use their resume during the holiday season?

Altan suggests:

Do the ‘typical thing’ with your resume: prepare it for presentation, ensuring it’s up-to-date and incorporating any ideas that have been happening throughout the year.

I agree!

Now’s the perfect time to review and revamp your resume, if need be. Even if it’s just been a couple of months or more since you last adjusted your career story, you want to take a fresh look at your message to ensure it’s on-point with your target goal.

As well, if you have held consulting roles, part-time or short-term positions, volunteered, engaged in continuing education or training, or involved yourself in any meaningful endeavor that will support your value proposition, you want to evaluate how this information fits into your resume story, then effectively knit it in.

2. Is the holiday season a good time to distribute your resume and job search / network? Do you think it is, perhaps even better than other time-frames throughout the year?

Altan encourages:

The holiday season is the best time to distribute your resume but not in the typical sense. It is a charitable time and most people really are looking for ways to give back to people that they know and to help them along.

He recommends bearing in mind that the resume is not the first thing to push; instead, focus on strong follow-up post-networking.

Most people will respond positively to a well targeted and prepared networking effort during the holiday season. It is through these connections that resumes should be ready to be shot out at a moment’s notice.

Plant your career search seeds during the holidays in prep for the beginning of 2010 when hiring starts up again in a more formal manner.”

I agree!

Use the holidays to set aside typical job-search methods and simply have conversations around your situation with people who care about your well-being. When a connection is made, and the timing is right, have that resume ready to whip out.

As well, he makes a good point about hiring starting up more formally again in 2010. Though I agree with numerous reports of hiring happening ‘right now’ (and am personally witnessing those hiring events with my clients), I also realize that that activity speaks to  a portion of the business population.

In other parts of business, you have decision makers, recruiters and HR leaders slowing the processes of hiring just a bit in prep for a hit-the-ground running 2010.. Either way, conversations around these impending hiring decisions are happening NOW. Having meaningful, current career positioning documents at-the-ready is critical to job-search preparedness.

3. What are the obstacles in job searching this time of year? How do you overcome them? (i.e., action steps to take; attitudes to adjust/reframe; etc.). What obstacles can you actually convert to opportunities? How?

Altan says:

The biggest obstacles are vacations. Many prospective employers are now taking their vacation times and spending them family and friends. As a result it is important to make the most of every opportunity one can during holiday parties and other occasions where networking can work really well.

Avoid sending anything in email prior to vacations, or if you must, make sure to follow up immediately after. People’s emails will be piling up while away, and once they return to normal work pressures, the urge to move ‘less urgent’ items into the electronic trash bin is high.

Look at each job search action as making the best impression during the holidays, leveraging the good will of others into follow up actions, and working out follow-up action items that can be acted upon post-holidays.

I concur!

The temptation to be so immersed in one’s job search goals and forget that others may possess less of a sense of urgency about your job-search needs is sometimes difficult to resist. However, being aware of your audience’s situation will help you manage your own activities and expectations. With that said, it’s okay (and good!) to maintain a thread of communication with potential employers, recruiters, etc., while adjusting the methods (i.e., phone vs. email or positive-impression, relationship-enhancing emails with short-order follow-up, and so forth).

4. What are the advantages to job searching during the holidays? How do you leverage those advantages? (i.e., planning and preparation plus action steps to take)

Altan says:

What I have found is that many organizations are attempting to use their budgets before year end which pushes them into trying to get last-minute hires before the start of the year. Additionally, the year end also happens to be a great time for companies to look at projects, assess them and make plans for the future.

This is an excellent time to network, engage and establish your value to these future plans. By being properly engaged many people will be looking to recruit you or work you into their plans as soon as possible. Everything has to be ready so make sure that you have the plan and actions ready: engage the network, assess opportunities, present your value, propose your follow-ups, and follow through.

5. Have you in fact found this to be a ‘slow season’ for job search? If not, what has been your take on the activity of this season?

Altan says:

Actually not at all. In the past few weeks I have had quite a flurry of interest from people trying to hire me for a variety of positions. Most are trying to get things in place so that they can execute on them for the following year. Most that I have talked to want to get a head start in the new year so they want to make sure they start the process as soon as possible with some even looking at hires before the holiday season, if possible.

I’ve seen the same with several clients!

Lots of activity, continuing conversations, requests for resumes persist as the year concludes. Engage, engage, engage. Job-search communication should maintain a steady pace as you maintain and cultivate relationships that may convert to tangible career opportunities, if not before year-end, as the new year builds speed.

6. How do you personally plan to pursue your job search through the next several holiday-weeks?

Altan says:

I have already started by responding to inquiries, planning which networking events to go do, getting small gifts for everyone (this helps and is appropriate during the holiday season), having my resume in place, and making sure that I follow up with everyone before the holidays fully kick in. Now is the time to really have great networking opportunities, with many of the folks that I have spoken to looking to grow in 2010.

Good points!

It takes a good deal of organization to do so, but augmenting your networking attendance with thoughtfully selected gifts for people who have added value to your career and life is nice. People appreciate being appreciated … and they remember those who appreciate them!

@MartinBuckland, Elite Resumes, Season’s Greetings and your Job Search”

@GayleHoward, The Executive Brand, “It’s Christmas: And a ho-ho-ho-hum?”

@KCCareerCoach, Career Chaos, “The Gift Every Laid Off Job Seeker Needs”

@resumeservice, Resume Writing Blog,Holiday Resume Sparkle: Outshine the New Year Job-Search Mob

@heathermundell, life@work, “Have a Holly Jolly Job Search”

@sweetcareers,Sweet Careers, “Holiday Job Search Tips for College Students 2009″

@careersherpa, Hannah Morgan: Career Sherpa, “Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa Cheers”

@careerealism, CAREEREALISM.com, “Holiday Tip for Job Seekers: 4 Ways to Impress Others with Your Professionalism”

@heatherhuhman, HeatherHuhman.com, “4 Tips for Making the Most of Holiday Job Hunting”

@LaurieBerenson, Sterling Career Concepts, Three Resolutions to Take It Up a Notch”

@KatCareerGal, Quintessential Resumes and Cover Letters Tips Blog, “Avoiding the Holiday Blues in Your Job Search”

@WorkWithIllness, WorkingWithillness.com, Avoid this Minefield: Drive Your Bus!”

@DawnBugni, The Write Solution “Could that sound really be opportunity? During the Holidays?”

@andyinnaples, “Shift Your Focus to the Highest Impact Job Search Activities During the Holidays to Leverage Your Time”

@erinkennedycprw, Professional Resume Services, How to keep up the Job Hunt during the Holidays”

@keppie_careers, Keppie Careers, “Four tips for effective networking follow-up for the holidays and the rest of the year”

@GLHoffman, What Would Dad Say, “Merry Christmas! Can I Buy You Coffee to Talk About Me?”

@BarbaraSafani, Career Solvers, “Holiday Networking Can Facilitate New Year Opportunities”

@expatcoachmegan, Career By Choice Blog, “Expat Networking: Holidays Are a Great Time to Nurture and Grow Your Network”

@chandlee, The Emerging Professional Blog, “Footprints & Associations: Job Search Tips for the Holidays”

@JobHuntOrg, Job-Hunt.org, “(Holiday) Party Your Way to a New Job”

They Shoot Muffins, Don’t They?

November 23, 2009

A few months ago, I stood looking at myself in the full length mirror in my dressing room as I struggled to fit 45 years of bad eating habits and a total disregard for exercise into the waist of my dress slacks. I knew it was happening; I just enjoyed the status quo to the point that I would simply blame the clothing manufacturers for sub par materials that seemingly shrunk before my very eyes.

I sucked in for one last glorious attempt to fasten the brave clasp and zipper that would attempt to contain all l that I had become. I stood, glaring at the form before me, as the old axiom, “you are what you eat” hit home in a big way, when I suddenly realized how much I had in common with a giant blueberry muffin that had been yesterday’s snack on the way to work. I headed to the closet to rifle through my shirts, looking for at least one with enough girth to somehow camouflage the aforementioned midsection. But soon I was faced with the fact that the same people who made my ‘incredible shrinking slacks’ must have gotten to the shirt guys too.

Exasperated, I chose a tan one, and turned back towards the mirror to finish getting dressed. Once my shirt was buttoned and tucked in, the transformation I had hoped for fell short of the reality. Now, instead of a pasty white muffin, I looked like a freshly baked golden brown one. That didn’t help my outlook for the day at all. And, to add insult to injury, I was now starving for, you guessed it, a nice warm blueberry muffin!!

On my drive to work that day, I pondered the vision of my out of shape physique and decided it was well past time for a change. So, over the next few weeks I read and researched all I could about ways to change that reflection, and before long I was eating healthier, working out on a regular basis and appreciating more and more what I saw in the mirror. What in the world does any of this have to do with a resume?

Well first of all, it’s no secret that we all outgrow our resumes. With every new job we take on, we must fit that new experience into a space that may be getting a little tight. That also goes for degrees, and certifications that we pick up along the way, as well. And just like the guy who’s trying to fit his size 38 waist into a pair of size 34 slacks, those new experiences can be left on the outside of the waist band in a usually not very attractive manner. Just as I was able to get help for my somewhat rotund shape, the professional resume writer can take what you have become and help mold it into a more desirable form.

Yes, you can always buy more paper and add those new items to the bottom of the page, and I could have simply bought new bigger clothes to help conceal the additions I had made. But at the end of the day, that simply is not the best answer.

You must make an investment of time, money and energy in anything you wish to accomplish. Since the day I chose to make that change in myself, I have not regretted one workout session or been unhappy with the decision to eat healthier. It was hard getting started, but the results have been well worth the pain. So, if you haven’t looked in the mirror at your resume lately, maybe its time for a check up that could lead to a whole new outlook for you career.

Written by Rob Poindexter, sales executive and sailor, who, as Jacqui’s husband and business partner, provides an observer’s perspective to job search coaching and resume writing.

Einstein, Bob Marley and Me

August 28, 2009

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As I sat watching the cars whiz by me on the interstate, I envied them all their 4 good tires, all full of air going around and around, 70 miles per hour plus.

I, on the other hand, had only three, which is why I am here, on the shoulder of the highway I had only moments ago been on. Air conditioning blowing cold, Bob Marley playing at about a level 21 on my level 20 radio, speedo needle dipping just a little over 75, quite confident in my ability to reach my destination in the time I had allotted for myself, not a care in the world, just cruisin’ man, just cruisin’.

The soulful Rastafarian’s ‘No Woman, No Cry’ was abruptly interrupted by the sound of rubber being thrown forcefully into the wheel wells, and echoing throughout the cabin. A sense of dread suddenly gripped my soul as my mind tried to come to grips with the sudden change in atmosphere. All of  the usual questions came up:

Do I have a spare?

Do I have a jack?

Do I have one of those things that undoes the bolts on the bad wheel?

Do I have roadside assistance?

Do I have time for this?

The answer to the last question was superfluous at best.

I landed as gently as I could on the shoulder, popped the trunk release and headed for an area of my car, that until now I had only heard of. I rarely carry passengers in my car so the backseat typically holds anything that would normally be fodder for the trunk.

I raised the deck lid, not sure of what I might find, and tried to remember what the car salesman had told me about this area and the tools within when I bought this car 5 years ago. A tab marked ‘pull here’ lurked conspicuously from the right corner of the carpeted trunk. So I pulled, and to my delight, was rewarded with the sight of a wheel with a somewhat smaller tire wrapped around it, and a nifty little plastic bag bolted to the center of the hub with every tool necessary to accomplish the task at hand. I won’t bore you with the details of the next few moments of this scenario, but suffice it to say these car guys really no how to put together a step-by-step manual. It was written as though I had never seen a car before, much less had knowledge that  the wheels were actually changeable.

The guy who wrote this step-by-step brochure made sure that I was parked on a level surface. He also made sure I turned the lug wrench to the left to loosen the wheel and to the right to tighten the wheel in steps 10 and 24 respectively.

Now I’m no mechanic by any stretch of the imagination, but this manual could have been less then three steps long and it would have sufficed for most people.

Step 1 . Raise Car

Step 2. Remove old wheel, put new wheel in its place

Step 3. Lower Car

Had I been tasked with this project, that is what you would find in your trunk marked, “Instruction Manual.”

Soon enough I was back on the road, but the detail of that manual reminded me how often people will hand in a resume almost as simplistic as my version of the instructions and then scratch their head and wonder why the phone’s not ringing off the hook.

Instructions manuals are written with the idea in mind that the reader has absolutely no preconceived ideas about the task they are about to undertake, Most are simple yet detailed to the point that Einstein and I both can understand them and decipher them equally as well.

While most resumes are written for a target audience, you never know if the person making the decision will be Einstein or me. If you always assume they are me, like the folks who wrote the manual for changing my tire, then your chances of success go way up.

~~~~~

Written by Rob Poindexter, sales executive and sailor, who, as Jacqui’s husband, provides an observer’s perspective to job-search coaching and resume writing.

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.

The ‘UN-COVER’ Letter

June 30, 2009

I love my local bookstore. Walking down each aisle, I look at one book after another, usually only stopping to review those books that catch my eye, either because of the title or because of the cover picture or a graphic that piques my interest.

While there are certain books I seek out, because of my own interests based on subject matter important to me, all the books I walk past have the potential to wind up in my library.

There is no such thing as a quick trip to the bookstore for me.

Once a book calls to me from the shelf to the extent that I stop to look closer, it has only one chance at securing its place on one of my bookshelves. And that one chance is determined by how I feel about it after reading the synopsis on the cover.

This may seem a little short-sighted to some of you. And admittedly, I have probably put back many a good book based on this method, but I gave those books the same opportunity as the ones I did take home. It’s not my fault they didn’t pull me in. I wanted to like them or I never would have picked them up in the first place. They simply did not give me enough information, or the right kind of information to deserve the time commitment I must make to complete the entire tome.

So it is with the cover letter, or the ‘un-cover’ letter, more aptly.

A busy manager looking to fill a post in his organization will have to sift through many resumes in his search for the right candidate. So that cover letter better stop him in his tracks or there is a good chance the resume will remain on the shelf, eventually finding its way to the bargain bin, and ultimately to the trash bin.

It should uncover some of what waits for the reader inside, clearly and concisely crafted to beg the manager to look a little deeper, bidding his attention to the point where he has no choice but to “buy in.” This sheet of paper will be your first impression, and you know what they say about first impressions.

So if you wouldn’t buy the book your cover letter is attached to, don’t be surprised if it continues to collect dust on the shelf.