Posted tagged ‘career coach’

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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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.

I’m not a career coach, and that’s okay

October 22, 2009

pen_night_writerOkay, so by default, I weave guidance into my in-depth resume writing processes that smacks of coaching.  Recently, Recruiting Animal (@Animal) took note of this in his blog post: “The Resume Writer.”

However, today, I beg to differentiate myself: I am a word wrangler, message clarifier and career story teller (i.e., resume writer) – not a career coach. At the end of the day, my clients hire me for the influential ‘words’ that erupt from the virtual and literal pages that we create, for the words that spring from their lips during job interviews, networking conversations or when caught unaware in casual conversation.

As well, my job as a career writer is to push, prod, ask the reporter’s ‘who, what, where, when and why’ questions, drive for deeper understanding of where the job seeker has been and even more importantly, provide them the spade to unearth their unique value drivers that help define where they want to go!

As a good career reporter, I do my research. This involves a barrage of questions, the answers of which often lie dormant in the job hunter’s head and involve intellectually rigorous recovery and regurgitation (My clients work hard! Likewise, I lift intellectual weights on their behalf!). Moreover, the job seekers I write for find themselves performing research to illustrate their go-forward goals.

Serious about my writing trade, I maintain ongoing niche-specific credentials (including Master Resume Writer) qualifying me to build the engine for a job seeker’s career vehicle, tapping the job seeker’s truth and powering it up with word fuel that drives the message home to the target reader. It’s all about the audience reading the story, after all!

It’s been bugging me for awhile, this tendency to lump resume writers and coaches into one entity, almost as if to say, that without adding ‘coaching’ to our label, then we’re ‘just’ resume writers with perceived lower value.

I applaud my resume writing colleagues who equally market their career coaching and resume writing talents, for many are passionate about blending the two professions. However, that’s not me. My overriding value proposition is my career reporting skills: abilities in in-depth research, asking the driving questions, unearthing career gold nuggets, whittling 25 pages of career brain dump down to 2-3 crisp, compelling and focused pages, and marketing the job seeker’s value to the right reader, influencing them to call.

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.

Making Yourself Heard Through the Noise: Lighting a Fire Under Your Career Message

May 4, 2009

As with most careers conferences, the value is in the golden nuggets of information mined from a series of seminars and behind-the-scenes conversations with global career experts. For example, at the recent Career Management Alliance conference in San Antonio, Texas, I learned that in the last month alone, 4.4 million people in the U.S. got hired and Twitter’s audience grew by 130%. As well, the unemployment rate, though uncomfortable at 8.6%, is not as high as the 10.8% reached in the 1982 recession.

The value of a conference also stems from a new way of looking at an old idea or truism. For example, career strategists and writers know that each and every of our clients can stake claim to their unique identity. We also are deeply aware that most job seekers ineffectively mark those differentiators.

Peter Weddle, CEO, WEDDLE’s Guide, further underscored why distinguishing oneself is important. He pinpointed that only 3% of a job seeker’s identity sets him apart from another job seeker – the 3% that defines the ‘best self’ – so, the conclusion I draw: individuals must relentlessly articulate their 3% differentiating value.

As a careers writer, my challenge is building distinctive and gripping career stories that fully leverage my client’s 3%. What is it about the product development leader’s ability to drive double-digit revenue impact that separates him from the next revenue propelling executive? What identifiably unique leadership and problem-solving attributes should be embedded into a spellbinding story that compels the employer to act?

As Weddle noted, running the best race every single day to sharpen that 3% of your identity and become an A-player is critical. I’d extend that by saying, there is no better time to light a fire under your career message, all of you A-players out there! Many of you have already sharpened that career saw and are running at warp speed to prove your commitment and excellence in solving revenue, profit and efficiency challenges. Consider these tips most of which were extracted from Peter Weddle’s and ExecuNet’s Lauryn Franzoni’s and Robyn Greenspan’s presentations:

  • Job seekers need career strategies on steroids. Complacency is the killer of opportunity.  Be visible with a clear, precise and targeted communication of your message to cut through the noise – because more than ever, there’s a lot of job-search racket out there! Clamor emanates from an environment wrought with four people contending for every one available job and dozens of social media outlets upon which those job seekers are squatting, in effect, commingling their messages.
  • Place all of your attention on THEM, not YOU. “It’s about my lawn not the grass seeds.” Deliberately carve out a career story replete with painful obstacles you faced and clearly defined solution-focused action steps you took to surmount the obstacles that healed the company’s pain. Mirror these stories to mimic scenario challenges faced by the companies you target. Zero in on your leadership strengths, tenacity, savvy, skill and creativity to communicate to the employer that you ‘get’ what they need, have ‘been there/done that’ and are resilient, with a fervent desire to replicate your solutions behavior with them.
  • Court the Employer. Think about it – whether in a dating relationship, a marriage relationship, a friendship relationship or a business relationship, the party being courted is the one who is on the receiving end of the attention. Providing attention means the courting party is asking personalized questions, listening to the responses, and then extending their line of questioning or responses – perhaps a response laced with solutions to problems or ideas for enhancement. Being ‘them-focused’ will spur the courted party to draw closer, become more committed and loyal to that person and in the end, hopefully extend a proposal of marriage, sustain an existing marriage, cement an existing friendship or make a job offer.

Disengaging from Job-Search Crisis Mode

April 21, 2009

Do you know that person? The one consistently in crisis? The one whose voice is always a pitch or two above their normal when explaining their day to day challenges? Someone who is never quite satisfied and always  the victim or simply the sad sack with little hope?

Though we all, as humans,  share a given fact of life — we WILL endure a crisis (or crises) at SOME point in our existence  — it is not necessary to perpetually hang around a crisis, befriend it and make it a way of life.  It is possible, in fact, to convert a crisis into a journey that unfolds into a more beautiful life than we previously knew.

Every week, I encounter job-search clients, some who who appear to be in crisis. Many times, because of the point in time during which they engage me, as well as my pragmatic and creative role in their marketing process, I am not directly touched by their crises — am not the brunt of their emotions. Many, I’ve noted, have risen above their crisis, created and implemented an action plan to re-frame their negativity into positivity and hope and are fueling their own traction, gaining momentum as they reinvent their path.

How did they manage to progress to this better, more positive place? I’ve got a few ideas.

a) Sought out emotional support from friends, family members, partners, spouses. Engaged listeners to hear their story, then vented a bit. As well, allowed others to console them, to cry with them, to laugh at the absurdity of life with them. Gained perspective through holistic emotional therapy.

b) Detached from negativity. Separated themselves from disruptive  influences, personalities and dead weights that may otherwise have dragged them down into a deeper abyss more dire than that in which they began. Chose not to engage in a regularly scheduled whine fest. Sought out “the good.”

c) Made a plan. In the case of my clients, that plan included hiring a partner writer and career strategist to help unearth their unique value and articulate it to a target reader.  Beyond hiring a career consultant, they revamped their personal budget, revisited short- and long-term personal and business goals and stemmed any bleeding so that they could move forward with a semblance of health and calm.

d) Executed the plan. Day by day, step by step, breath by breath.

e) Allowed the plan to morph – to ebb and flow  – to expand and contract. When Plan A wasn’t working, shelved it and moved into Plan B. When Plan B didn’t work, looked on the shelf, and revisited the timing and validity of Plan A. When Plan A and B resulted in zip, took a walk in the country and rested their mind, only to dream up a new plan that took half the time to Plan A or B but netted double the return, or at the least, got them back on a forward-moving path.

f) Stepped away when the overwhelm began mounting. Laughed daily. And if laughter escaped them, chased down a resource for new laughter and lingered in it as long as needed to heal and refresh.

g) Recognized and declared, “I am valuable!” Reinforced this by writing it down – via career documents and online social media profiles. Reinforced this by talking to others, hiring career coaches and resume strategists trained to help them reclaim and crystallize their value, gaining heightened perspective. Custom built their value proposition; then believed what they built.

h) Empowered themselves to make their own decisions about their vision, their plan and how to execute the plan. Listened, respected and responded to the experts and friends from whom they sought advice. Knit together a plan that threaded the best of the advice through their own personality ‘fabric,’ and ultimately tailored their own decisions. Didn’t play the blame game; instead, embraced their options and their own ability to choose. In doing so, found they chose wisely a majority of the time – a winning proposition.