Whatever You Do, Don’t Job Search During The Holidays!

hire me santa

Whoever is giving that advice and following it up with “hiring slows during the holiday season” I wish they would stop.

Just stop. It is terrible advice.  The holidays are a great time to continue a job search. They provide unique opportunities giving job seekers a break from traditional searching techniques.

Here are 10 things to keep in mind during a holiday job search, including benefits of job searching at this time:

  1. Some searches slow down or are temporarily delayed; however, there are plenty of opportunities still available and interviews to score.
  2. Companies have a need due to a recent “reorganization” at the end of the year or by staff giving notice to take advantage of time off coupled with holiday closing. Candidates will be needed to fill these needs at the start of the new year.
  3. There is less competition because so many take the ill advice of taking a full break during the holidays.
  4. Holiday hiring has its own timeline. It requires flexibility and patience to accommodate staff taking time off before they lose it at the end of the year, holiday parties and companies closing for a day.
  5. If you do not hear by the end of the year it is not an automatic rejection. There are many factors coming into play, not only the ones mentioned above, but the human element of after the first of the year everyone reengaging to move forward.
  6. Fiscal year and budgets come into play so your start date could very well be after the new year, this could also work to your advantage in negotiating salary and benefits.
  7. This is the time for good cheer and many attendees at holiday events will welcome the opportunity to help you with your search or spread the word.
  8. There are more networking opportunities that come along with holidays – more events and more attendees. Think beyond company events to research and include Chambers of Commerce or professional associations, as well.
  9. Partner changing your strategy (attending more events) with changing your approach. Think of this push as growing your network instead of finding a job and it will increase your ability to enjoy the interactions much more. Added bonus – partner these two with a goal of helping those you meet.
  10. Use holidays as an excuse to reconnect with your network and gently remind them you are searching. Send holiday notes, cards or emails wishing them well and casually mention, in an upbeat tone, that you are continuing to search for your next great opportunity and know it will be coming soon. If your contacts have helped you in the past, be sure to thank them.

If you are uncomfortable with holiday cards, send a message at the first of the year wishing your network a happy new year with the same sentiment about continuing to search for your next great job, which you know is right around the corner.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

10 Reasons People Avoid You After Networking Events

Displeasure

I have a love-hate relationship with networking. I love meeting new people, hearing interesting stories and being in different environments. On the flip side, there are some behaviors or attendees that are less than enjoyable.

I am not the only one to get stuck in a corner by the person I have been avoiding at another event and make the excuse, “Oh, gee, I haven’t been able to respond to your 100 emails because I have just been crazy busy.”

I have never been that crazy busy. I have intentionally and actively avoided any and all contact. If you find that you reach out to new contacts after a networking event and they seem to be “crazy busy”, you might want to take note to see if perhaps you have perpetuated one of the following.

In my best ‘Late Night with David Letterman’ voice, the Top Ten Reasons Why People Avoid You After Networking:

10. You Spent The Entire Time Telling Them How Great You Are

There was not one word, question or inclination of interest in anyone other than you. Spending all our time together talking about you, you, you does not build any type of rapport, let alone the beginning of a relationship. From the sounds of it, you do not need any relationships, you are perfectly happy with just you, you, you.

Ask questions and take interest in the person you are talking to, find out how you can provide value to them.

9. You Gave Too Much Information – Way Too Much Information

When asked how you got into this business, please for the love of all things holy, do not start back with your childhood or the hideous crash and burn of a relationship. The former bores people and the later makes them uncomfortable.

Make your introduction short, impactful and something that your audience can relate to; a personal story is compelling if it is a positive one.

8. You Had No Respect For Personal Boundaries

No one, and I repeat this with all the respect I can, no one wants to get that up close and personal to actually see the size of your pores. There is a difference between leaning in to hear and being in your face, scary person frightening your conversation partner with the threat of being spit on.

If it is crowded or loud and you are having trouble hearing, lean in and turn our ear to the person slightly to signify that you are interested in what they have to say and then lean back to respect their space; leave adequate space between each person for them to move comfortably.

7. Personal Appearance and Hygiene Missed the Boat

There is no pleasant or subtle way of saying this, I apologize; however, it happens: if you are emitting a foul body odor including bad breath, it puts people off. Especially so if you also committed number 8. It is not nice to judge by personal appearance and yet it is done instantly and without thought. Food on your clothing, bed head, torn or disheveled clothing and visible dirt on clothing or person is a deterrent to connections. My dad was a mechanic, he had permanently stained hands, but they were clean, nails trimmed and taken care of – there is a difference between hard working and dirty.

If you know you are attending an event, take a few moments before you arrive to reapply deodorant if necessary, freshen up, pop a breath mint, check your clothing and appearance. Carry a small bag in your car with necessary items for last minute adjustments.

7. You Were Overly Excited About The Free Food And Drink

Some events are very nicely catered, providing a lovely selection of cocktails and hors d’oeuvres for guests to sample. Piling a plate six inches high and continually going back for free refills is in bad taste. They are meant for sharing, not hoarding. Cutting short conversations because you see a break in the bar or appetizer line to go “stock up” is also a complete turn off – it demonstrates you care more about the food and drink than the attendees.

Enjoy what is provided in moderation while giving yourself the ability to easily shake hands with other guests without threat of spilling a drink or dropping food.

6. You Immediately Asked For A Meeting Or Referral

A good conversation starter is not, “Hey, do you know anyone who could use a good _____?” fill in the blank with whatever it is you do. If we have just met and all you know is my name, there is no indication whatsoever that you have a clue as to how to provide value to me or my clients and therefore I am not inclined to immediately set up a coffee or lunch meeting with you. People’s most valuable asset is time, please do not expect people to fill your calendar with meetings to find out more about you rather than gain value for themselves.

Relationships take time. When someone refers another person they are putting their name to it. That is not something that is taken lightly. References and referrals are earned and should be respected. Earn your potential contact’s trust before requesting the coveted information of their friends, family and network.

5. You Played Business Card Hit And Run

This is the fun game of coming up, hand extended with your business card and shoving it into the other person’s hand while asking for theirs; feigning a dismissive question then going on to the next person. I keep those cards all together in a special place while networking and transfer them to another special place when I return to the office – the trash.

Think of the card as a reminder to follow up for a purpose, have a conversation before asking for one so you know what that purpose is and it is of value.

4. You Dismissed People By Their Title

This is the networking snob, asking people what they do and if their title does not impress you enough or add direct value to you, you immediately dismiss them and move on. Without meaningful conversation, you surmise exactly the value of an individual based on your needs. This, in itself is ridiculous beyond being a snob, because titles are often times completely meaningless.

It is most common and comfortable to introduce yourself by a title. If your conversation partner does so, ask them follow up questions to find out what they really do and who they help. Remember, some titles are made up and others are very simplistic hiding real gems.

3. You Treated The Event Like A Singles Bar

Stop hitting on people when networking. This is not a way to add to your little black book or find hook ups and it is creepy. This is a major cause in the decline of some networking events and organizations. The purpose of the networking event is business. Overt flirting or blatantly asking someone if they want to get out of there and go have some fun is just, again, creepy.

Just do not do this, period.

2. You Commiserated Or Complained Instead Of Networked

One of the advantages of networking is the opportunity for those who are looking for job opportunities to meet and establish connections with people who could help them. The quickest way of destroying this opportunity is to complain. Complain long and loud to every person you meet about how unjust it is that you are no longer employed or speak ill of your former employer/boss. To add a cherry on top, do this only with people who are in the same situation thereby eliminating all possibilities for opportunities.

This is not therapy, stop it. That is what your best friend or significant other is for and a great bottle of wine. This is business, an opportunity to shine and show that you have value to add to the right organization. Put your best foot forward, commiserate after the event in a private setting.

1. You Were A Creepy Stalker Who Wouldn’t Leave Their Side

Cornering an unsuspecting victim for the entire event is a sure fire way of not receiving further conversation. Perhaps you feel very comfortable with the person you just met, wonderful, do not creep them out by being stuck to them the entire event. This may be part of the number 3 reason of trying to ask them out; but often it is a comfort level. They want to talk to other people, let them. Do not act like their little dorky sibling who their mom made them bring along. Go meet other people.

Set a goal for yourself before the event, perhaps to meet five new people. This will help you structure your time in order to actually meet five new people. If you are having a great conversation yet only talking to one person, ask them if you can follow up to talk again soon before leaving to meet the next person.

Bonus: You Did Not Establish Your Value

If everyone you meet walks out of the room and cannot remember what you do, you have not established your value. If I cannot remember how you can help my clients or contacts five minutes after I meet you, how am I going to remember in the next couple of days when you reach out?

Do not depend on your title when introducing yourself – instead tell people the value that you provide. Ideally you would like to present an opening that generates a question or opportunity for further discussion. When you find people are saying, “How do you do that”, “That’s interesting, how did you get into that”, “What does that mean” or similar – you have generated interest and your message is on its way to be heard.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Do You Want To Be Right Or Do You Want The Help?

not listening

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My father’s patience with me was a constant.  I believe he was so patient because he helped create the reason patience was needed.  The first piece of advice or words of wisdom that I remember my dad giving me was, “you can do anything a boy can do, except pee on a tree.”

That was my dad.

He instilled a sense of independence, curiosity, pride and exploration in me.  Before I took shop in high school, I was using his power tools in the basement or under the deck to build things. I loved to explore and try things and he let me, while keeping an eye on me.

There were times I wanted to do something and I was convinced I was right or knew the right way to do it. I refused his help and said I could do it myself.  He patiently watched me fail and then gently asked if I wanted to know the right way.

The pride he taught me was to have pride in what I did and not let it stand in the way of asking for help.  I learned to ask why or why not instead of challenging the right way when I thought I was right.

Asking for help is not an easy thing to do, yet it is worthless if you are not going to listen to the answer and counterproductive if you are going to argue that you are right.

In all the years I have been coaching and writing resumes, I can count on one hand the number of clients who preferred to be right rather than listen to the professional advice they had paid for.

That is the beauty of owning your own company; you can choose not to work with certain clients.  There are clients I have referred to others because it became obvious, very quickly, that they wanted to be right.  They would pay well to argue with me just to be right in their own mind.  I think that is a waste of time and money.

It becomes a detriment in the workplace.

I have a very good friend who is a director in the financial industry.  She is extraordinarily brilliant in the ways of compliance. Her opinion is highly valued and sought after.  But there are times…

There was a project that she was called on due to her expertise and asked to consult.  The gentleman that requested her help fought her at every turn.  She could back up every recommendation with rules, regulations, examples and case studies yet he refused to listen.  He had to be right.

It became obvious, very quickly, on his team that he was not willing to listen to any input that could propel the project.  His primary objective was instead to be right, no matter the cost to the company, project or his team.  His respect level from his peers, team members and leadership plummeted.

I have another good friend that owns a marketing company.  She is amazingly talented in the ways of marketing.  Her clients reap measurable and immeasurable benefits from the work she does for them.  But there are times….

She will get a client who comes to her and tells her they need a complete revamp of their company.  She and her team go to work diving in to get all the information to create exactly what the client needs based on what they want.  Then in presenting the information, the client will tell her that they don’t think they should do it that way, they think this other way is the best way.

In each case I just want to ask two questions:

If you know so much, why did you ask for help in the first place? 

What is the cost of being right?

In paying someone for assistance, you are wasting your time and money; in the workplace, you are destroying your reputation.

The two women mentioned below are very close friends and we have one thing in common – we are a bit forthright.  In other words, we do ask the above two questions to those that asked for help.  You might think that we get a nasty rebuttal; but instead we normally get surprise.

Those that are insistent on being right normally do not realize their behavior.  They may be nervous about the situation or so engrossed in doing a good job that they fail to realize they have become their own worst enemy.

When pointed out in a gentle but firm way the priorities realign and the process continues smoothly.  But there are times….

Sometimes people are just buttheads.  Let’s face it, they just are and you cannot change that.  However, it is best to know what you are dealing with – someone who is so badly wants things done right that they go a little self-centered nuts or a true self-centered jerk.

Unfortunately, this seems to be a management style.  Ask your team for help then ignore them to prove you are the leader.  If this behavior continues the team no longer gives it their A game and the manager is left as an island alone, wondering what happened.

If your team is not engaging as much as you would like, perhaps you have been behaving in a not so team-like way.   It takes a bit of clean up after being called out for wanting to be right rather than getting help, yet it can be done.

The best way to avoid this is twofold:

Listen

Ask why or why not rather than standing firm that you are right. 

You will get the expertise or assistance that you need and perhaps learn a thing or two.  You will also show your team that their input matters and you put the project before the individual.

That is called a win-win.

 

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Why Can’t I Tell Them On My Resume The Job Loss Wasn’t My Fault?

resumeThis could absolutely be the shortest article I have ever written if I just answered that question.  It would be comprised of one sentence:

It is not in your best interest.

That would be it, end of article – hope it helped!

Although the reason is simple and easily explained, to understand why requires a little more explanation. I also do not think a seven-word article is very useful.

A Resume Is Not An Application

There are certain elements that are not expected to be listed on a resume that are expected on an application.  These items include address, phone number, supervisor’s name and – get ready for it – reason for leaving.

Your reason for leaving is not expected to be listed on your resume and if it is it would be probably be considered odd for being on there.

You Do Not Get To Pick And Choose

When I have a client that wants to list why they were let go from one position, it is just that one position they want to detail; not the rest of their jobs because they may be due to being fired or quitting.

If you only detail one job then you really send up a red flag.  The reader will notice it is the only explanation and want to know what happened to the rest of the jobs listed.  As you did not give an explanation for any other job, they will assume the worse.  Misconception due to lack of information.

The Explanation

The best time to explain a job departure, and when you will normally be asked, is during an interview.  I did say normally: there may be a requirement during the pre-interview process in which you need to detail each departure.  This is not the ideal case, but it is more manageable and to your favor than putting it on you resume.

Whether you have to write an explanation or answer in an interview, the answer should be the same and follow a few best practices:

  • Be positive, or at least do not be negative.
  • Take ownership and accountability.
  • Be honest and concise.
  • Put it in the best light.
  • End it looking forward.
  • Remember, you are human.

Blaming a former employer is never a good move.  If you are still angry, blaming or being a victim the prospective employer will see that as a red flag.  No one wants to hire a victim.

What was your role?  Did you make a mistake? Were you in over your head? Was there a miscommunication with the client?  Where did it start?

If you were lucky enough to be downsized due to budget cuts or the company that bought out your company kept only their management That is all you need to say.  It is understood.

However, if there is something there, they will find it so it is best to be honest – without going to confessional.

If you were hired for one position and given responsibilities that were over your head, be honest.  Then put the positive on it.  Although you were not equipped at the time you are grateful for the experience.  It made you stretch and realize where you could improve.  It is regrettable that you did not have enough time to master it while there; however, you have been doing xyz since and are not at abc point.

From there you can look forward.  Now that you have mastered this, gained more experience, been exposed to a broader range of skills you know that not only can you bring value to this company, but having the experience you are able to identify possible challenges before they become an issue.

Lastly, remember, you are human – everyone makes mistakes.  Every. Single. Person.  You are not unique in being the only person ever fired or let go from a job. Just as I told my son and many parents have done so as well, it is not the mistake but what you do after it that counts the most.

What did you learn, how can you apply it going forward.  Some of the best experience comes from the worst mistakes.

All of this information would not fit on your resume.  Leave it for the next step in the process.  Hopefully, that will be in an interview because that is the best case scenario.

Best Case Scenario

The interview is your friend for explaining a departure.  This is where you need to use all your senses: watch and listen while you are speaking.  Give your short, concise explanation and either wait if on the phone or watch while you are giving it.

If on a phone interview, listen for their reaction.  Not just what they say, but how they say it.  Listen to their tone and inflection of their voice.  Do they sound hesitant? Do they sound confident or dismissive?  It will tell you how much more detail you need to give or if they are going to move on to the next question.

If you are in a face to face interview, watch their body language as you are speaking.  If you start giving too much detail or going in an area that causes them discomfort or suspicion, their body will let you know. Shifting in the seat, raising of eyebrows, tilting of the head or pulling it back a bit, crossing arms etc.  If you get the vibe they are not digging it, they are not digging it and stop digging yourself a hole.

Please remember, this is not a confessional – you do not have to give every gruesome detail.  Just start with the basic facts and go from there.  If they want more information, they will ask.

Preparation

The question is coming so be prepared.  You want to know what you are going to say but not recite a script.  If it sounds like you are giving them a memorized cliff-notes version, it will send up a red flag.  Know the major points only, not word for word memorization.

Practice, practice, practice.  Stand in front of a mirror and answer the question several times.  Let some of the minor words change, the most important thing is that it flows naturally, confidently.

Practice with a trusted friend and have them watch your body language.  Are you fidgeting, are you showing that you are uncomfortable or do you have any tells?  If you are not natural and comfortable no matter what comes out of your mouth, your body will betray you.

One last thing: you are explaining, not justifying or apologizing. Events happen in life, mistakes are made, the sun still rises and sets.  Focus on the positive that you bring to the position, do not dwell on the negative and you can set the tone so they focus on those positives, too.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Find Your Own 3 D’s To Give You Balance During Job Searching

happy office puppyI am the first to say it and I say it often: job searching is a job in itself. You magically transform into a business owner and sales person all in one. Your business is you, your product is you and you are constantly promoting yourself.

Every encounter can be a lead or opportunity. Every networking event could unfold to meeting a person who might know the right person. Opportunities are endless and it takes an extreme amount of time, effort and energy to suit up for this job every day.

You are always “on” being a business owner. You never know if that person you are talking to in the grocery or foo-foo coffee line is a prospect. Your radar is constantly running, that prospective right connection buzz rings in your head at all times.

It is exhausting.

It can also be mentally, emotionally, financially and physically grueling. Thinking you made a great impression during an interview or connection then never hearing another word – sheer hell. At which point you go back to your product design and see where there might be flaws. Was it in the delivery, was it in the sales pitch, did you not convey the benefits of your product effectively?

It is enough to send you over the edge – if you let it.

Do not let it. Find a completely unrelated distraction and throw yourself into it.

I absolutely love what I do, if you were talk to any of my clients I think that is one thing they would all agree on – I am very passionate about what I do. I give it all I’ve got when I am working. Having clients in different time zones and countries makes a “typical” working hours type day nearly impossible. It would be easy to get burned out by burning the candle 24-7; however, I have three secret weapons that work for me – the three D’s.

Dogs, Dew and Dancing.

They are more than secret weapons, they are more like healthy obsessions. Ok, bordering on the unhealthy, whatever.

Dogs

I preface every interview with clients by telling them I bring my dogs into my office, they might hear them in the background now and then. I traded an empty-nest situation to a dog situation. My current pack is three.

They sense when I am tense or having writers block and I find a dog head popped into my lap as if saying, “time for a brain break.” I talk to them, they talk back. I take them on walks, give belly rubs, play chase and throw- they do not return the items so it is a short lived game. They give me a healthy, loving, fun break from my day.

Dew

This is my unhealthy obsession – Mountain Dew. I love it. It is bad, I know, but when I really kick butt on a project I reward myself with a Dew. When I am struggling, I help pep myself up by getting a Dew. The bonus is when I am done with the bottles they become instant dog toys. The boys love to take the screw off cap off the bottle and have gotten it down to being able to do so in about 30 seconds. It is fun for me to watch them get all excited about getting a bottle then triumphantly spit out the cap.

Dancing

This is the best and is sometimes done with the dogs. When I find myself stressed out or blocked I turn up the music and dance it out. Yes, right there in the middle of the office. Oh yes, and sometimes right in the middle of a store. It may look like I am flailing or having some sort of attack, but it is my release. All I hear is the music all I feel is the beat and all I do is let it go and let it out. Five minutes of that jumps starts me right back into my day.

These three D’s have helped me keep my sanity – and perspective. When I am dancing it out I tend to stop analyzing why I didn’t get a certain project or care that I am having a brain block. Having three sets of eyes watching every move because it has been an absurdly long time since they have had a treat gives me perspective.

Find your own obsession or escape from the job of job searching. You need balance. You need to recharge. Embrace your release and let yourself go. My obsessions also weave in the important elements of keeping healthy:

Exercise – walking three dogs will definitely give you some great exercise, I take one at a time to triple the benefits
Eating Well – not the Dew, but the reminder from the pups that they get a treat after I eat, so it helps me remember to eat regularly
Sleep – dancing it out and walking three dogs can cause physical exhaustion which helps me get great sleep
Fun – dancing is fun, playing with my dogs is fun; fun is a necessity! Seriously, look at that face in the picture – that is one of my pups, how do you not smile when you see that face?

When you are on the clock for your job of job searching, give it all you’ve got; just make sure there are down times or hours. If you do not take care of yourself you will be no good to anyone else – your family, yourself or that new, fabulous job!

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Dad’s Advice for College Turned Out to be a Key to Customer Service

dad and daughterMy dad gave me great advice, adages and tidbits of wisdom. One of my favorites is, “If you are never sure what to do, imagine me standing next to you.”

He told me this before I went off to college and considering he was the dad that scared the heck out of all my high school dates, I know the primary intent of this little tidbit. It worked. There is a certain filter that comes with being around your parent, even if you just imagine them there.

I kept this little tidbit in the back of my head throughout my career and as a business owner. I find it very helpful with customer service, good or bad. This week I experienced a contrast in customer service.

The transmission in my car when out. We called several places, priced many options and decided upon one company. Initially it looked as though all would be taken care of in less than a week. Then the transmission goblins stepped in – it is close to Halloween you know. Long story short – three bad rebuilds lead to the company sending it to a dealership for a new one and nearly a month later I (according to the manager) had hit the transmission lotto with a perfectly running car.

I was not happy that each week there was a problem with the newest install; however, this was not the fault of the company, it was a bad transmission from their supplier. Even though I was not happy, I could not blame them; I did suggest they find a new supplier.

In the end, they kept us apprised of what was going on and held true to the original cost and increased the warranty. Things that were out of their control they handled on their end and upheld good customer service to us.

There were plenty of opportunities for great customer service and they kept them front in mind.

This weekend, we stopped in to a McDonalds to grab a quick breakfast. We had a lazy day planned so we were not in a hurry, thank goodness. There were only two young people in front of us and several people waiting on their order.

After we got our drinks we sat down and got engulfed in conversation. At one point we realized we had not heard our order and I saw the young girl still standing near the counter that ordered before us so I knew it had not been called. That is when I looked at the receipt to see what time we ordered. 10:47. Our order was called at 11:15.

It also had to change because one item we ordered were hot cakes, when they handed us the food they told us that they were out of syrup. Well, that would not work. So we asked for something different and got it immediately.

The young girl in front of us who also waited over a half hour for her food – she ordered a cinnamon role and hash brown.

As we ate we tried to figure out what went wrong. Why did it take over a half an hour for these things. That is when dad’s adage came into my head.

The young man at the register never smiled or greeted any customer. He simply took the order without ever moving from his spot. When one angry customer made the comment, “Thanks, a half an hour later!” he made a snarky remark under his breathe. Would he have acted like that if his parent were standing next to him?

The backup crew were busy but without urgency; often standing in front of the screen waiting and watching. If what they needed was not there, they just waited. If their parent were standing next to them, perhaps they would have looked to see what else they could be doing before the order came up.

The woman who called out the orders was brisk; calling out the food and leaving it on the counter. Not once did I see her say, “Thank you for your patience” or “I’m sorry about your wait”. Would she have done so if her parent were next to her?

The thing I realized is that the tone was set before we even walked in. One gentleman walked in and let out a loud groan looking at the line. We told him they were a bit slow today, taking about a half hour. He remarked that they always took that long. I could not understand if he thought this then why was he there and why was he complaining?

Yet the tone was set. There was no customer service. There was no friendly. There was no “we are so sorry for the wait” there was no urgency or energy.

Perhaps they were short staffed, or just had a huge run and obviously the stocking and ordering were not done properly to account for a weekend. Yet, even with these things, there were opportunities for great customer service. They were all missed.

Most customers do not care about your short staffing problems or rushes that you just handled. They care about their experience only. Each and every one is unique and an opportunity to prove yourself all over again.

You cannot always handle or predict what happens during the day; however you have complete control over how you treat each and every customer or client.

My dad worked hard all day on his feet. It did not matter how bad his day was, he always came home and was a great dad. It did not matter what happened five minutes before, it was the immediate interaction that counted.

Putting this with the adage of what would I do if he were standing next to me, I realized that customer service is about that moment. Not the one before or what comes next, just that one moment of interaction.

Perhaps the transmission place got it right because of their advertising or tag line. After all, their commercials are done by the “owner’s mother” and ends with the line, “My Edward, he’s such a good boy.”

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

How to Immediately Discredit Yourself to a New LinkedIn Connection

yell salesI love LinkedIn. I love the business community, vibrancy, interaction, connections and opportunities it offers. I teach numerous workshops on leveraging this magnificent tool for business and career growth and write profiles for individuals and businesses to improve their branding. I love LinkedIn.

I respect that there are different strategies in leveraging LinkedIn; there is really no one size fits all way to utilize the capacity offered by LinkedIn. That being said, there is one small piece of advice or request that I have for those looking to build their network: slow down.

Time is one of our most valuable resources. I teach a 15 minute plan to optimize LinkedIn fully understanding that many people do not have or want to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn yet still want results. I get it, we are busy people.

The problem with using “busy” as an excuse is we get lazy and try a let’s throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks approach: mass or generic push responses.

When I get a mass or generic push response, I immediately devalue that connection in my head.

Let me define “generic push response.” It is the response a person sends after you connect with them that is an immediate sales pitch. It is like saying, “Hey, thanks for accepting my invitation, now hire me!”

No.

Some people do not accept invitations unless they know the person or have a second degree connection with them. Others will accept outside that circle only if there is a note within the connection introducing themselves and giving a reason as to why they want to connect.

I do not have a filter on who I connect with; well, except inappropriate comments. I do not connect with people who send me icky messages. Other than that, I am happy to connect with fellow LinkedIn-ers. It is all about business.

Some people connect with me because they are ready to move forward with their career or business and want to work with me. Some might someday maybe want to change so they connect with me, just in case. Some want to connect to someone I know. Others are building their connections. Others have liked my articles.

Recently I received an email: “Hi, Lisa! Thanks for accepting my connection request!” (a very happy person) and then it was follow by the generic push.

But this generic push made me laugh. I went back to my settings and noticed this person had viewed my profile.

Their generic push – to teach me how to use LinkedIn.

They viewed my profile, yet I do not think they read it. Either that or this was their subtle way of telling me that they think I really stink at the whole LinkedIn thing.

If nothing else, this person has made an impression. I immediately had a few questions go through my head:

~ Do you think the generic, pre-fab response is the best for me? Do I fit in the model of your other prospects?
~ How about a slight attempt to get to know me a little before you try to sell me?
~ Is that your greatest value that you want to immediately introduce me to – hiring you? The only value as a connection is for me to pay you?

When you are building your network and want to engage in conversations to deepen the connections, make it a conversation.

  • Send a thank you for the request or acceptance.
  • Read their profile and ask them a question about themselves, their industry or company. Something that demonstrates that you read their profile. I had a great message the other day, the gentleman clearly read my profile and asked me a clarifying question about what I do.
  • Find the spark. This will happen during a conversation; you will discover the topic or item that will make it click to introduce your services. Wait for it, watch for it and build to it.

An accepted connection request is the beginning, not the immediate sales point. Like any other networking, connection comes with time, effort and work. Put in the right amount of each with respect to your connections and you will reap much greater, deeper and richer rewards.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

I Speak 7 Languages; None Are Right for Writing a LinkedIn Profile

different languagesI have developed a pretty impressive multi-lingual ability as I age. I have learned to speak six languages besides English. One of these languages is the language of resumes.

Even though I speak resume as a Brand Strategist, Career Coach and Professional Resume Writer – this is not the most important language for LinkedIn. In fact, it is the worst language to use. It is the wrong conversation tone.

One of the most important differences between a resume and LinkedIn is voice. There is a clear distinction for each.

Resume: This is an arm’s length conversation. The tone is a removed, professional sales tone. It is written in the assumed “I” – instead of “I am responsible for xyz” a resume is written as “Responsible for xyz”. It is a language that is only used for the resume, not for any other type of conversation.

LinkedIn: This is a one-on-one conversation with the person reading your profile. They are looking at your picture and getting a sense of what you sound like. You are speaking directly to that one person – your target audience. You should use the “I” or “me” as it is a business, professional, casual conversation.

Think of your summary as this: if you were sitting down in a foo-foo coffee house across from your ideal target and they asked you, “Tell me about yourself” you would not answer with “I am an experienced Professional Title with 15 years’ experience doing ABC”. This might be the opening of your resume, but is not how you would talk to another person.

Instead you would tell them a modification of your elevator and interview pitch. You would talk like a real person talking to another real person sitting in front of you. How you answer that question is basically your LinkedIn summary.

So the most important language you should use when writing your LinkedIn profile is the language of you.

Use words that accurately describe you. If you are energetic, passionate, motivated and the like – then use these types of words.

If you love the behind the scenes analysis, research and reporting – then tell it like it is!

Be you, the professional you, and that will allow the right audience to connect with you resulting in expanded networks and opportunities.

The other six languages I speak: Mom, boy, dog, obvious and sarcasm.

Mom: I raised a son. I learned the best way to communicate with him was short and direct. I also learned that he interpreted things differently than I did; for example “clean your room” had two different meanings to us. I learned how to command the “Mom Voice”.

Boy: My son’s best friends were often at our house so I was the adopted second mother to a house full of boys. I am five foot tall, they all grew to be over six foot before high school, I had to learn to talk boy quickly to gain and keep control. The “Mom Voice” came in handy here, too. I also learned to be fluent on topics of sports, flatulence, explaining why not to do stupid things just because it popped into their heads and the difference in holding a fork like a utensil and not a shovel.

Dog: I grew up with four dogs, at one point had a pack of five and my current pack is now part of the office. Yes, they have different sounds, whines, barks, yips, moans, sighs and howls; and yes, I understand them all. I know the difference between a chipmunk sighting alert whine and a delivery truck alert whine.

Obvious: One of the two languages passed down from my father and brother. This language is incorporated into my body language, it cannot be helped. In this instance, I was holding a friend’s crutches and someone remarked, “wow, you’re short”. We captured the moment.

Sarcasm: The other language passed down from my father and brother; my brother was the king. I prefer to call this effervescent witticism. I am a huge fan and skilled translator.

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Why Does The #1 Business Success Principle Die During Job Searching?

measuring success “What gets measured gets improved.” – Peter Drucker

My first love was compliance, specifically in the financial industry. I began my professional career as a compliance officer and branch operations manager with ownership of all compliance functions.

I loved it. To me, it was a puzzle. Everyone had a piece, from the brokers, agents, clients, FINRA, MSRB, trading desks, margins, options – you name it everyone had a piece of that puzzle. It was my job to know what the picture was we were putting together and get all the pieces in place.

When dealing with local, state or federal rules or regulations I had to not only put the puzzle together, I had to monitor it, create or keep reports on it and prove I was keeping the puzzle together.

I had to know what I was measuring, prove I was measuring it and prove that the measuring was creating a positive effect.

That is a pretty standard process in measuring success: define the goal, create metrics, measure, compare results to goals and make modifications when needed.

This formula is utilized in measuring the success in all forms of business from a sales campaign to an employee’s performance.

There are interdependent keys to this: know what you are measuring, measure and make adjustments. Each element is important. I have yet to talk to anyone working on a project or business that does not incorporate this into practice.

However, I rarely talk to job seekers who incorporate this into their business of finding the next right job.

When searching for a job, it is a job in itself. Treat it as you would in working for someone else because you are – you are working for yourself to build your own business and sell your product – you.

Define

What do you want to do? If you know exactly what you want, this is an easy part. Not sure what you want to do next, great! Really, in making a no list of things you do not want in the next position instead of a yes list of only the things you want, you allow yourself more flexibility and openness to different opportunities.

Your definition can range from “Project Manager Position” to a list of things you want to do, for example:
Work on a collaborative team
Opportunity to learn new things
Be the behind the scenes support
Talk to and support clients
Utilize systems I know and learn new ones
Flexibility to work on different projects
Something in marketing or sales

Or a no list might include:
Being stuck in a cubicle doing the same thing for 8 hours never leaving my desk
Pushing paper that never goes anywhere
Working in a vacuum
Creating excel spreadsheets all day long
Customer service – taking calls from customers all day long
Doing certain tasks that you are good at but hate
Leading a team

These are simplistic lists, yet they are a start.

Whether you have a yes list or a no list, create a list. You need something to compare the job opportunities to in order to effectively evaluate them. There might be a time during your job search that you have a moment of frustration and get excited about a job that you know you can do; however, it is nowhere near what you want but the length of time it has been since you had a decent prospect has been so long you just do not care. Having that list nearby keeps you grounded.

Metrics

How do you know if you are being successful? How can you keep yourself on task during the difficult slow or silent periods? Metrics. Set goals. Your goal can be to meet five new people a week. It can be through LinkedIn, networking, a volunteer activity – whatever you chose, just make a goal. Think about how this goal will help you achieve your success.

Meeting new people is awesome, unless you just do a “hello” and then there is dead air. Metrics are not one line items. Meet new people, create conversations, follow up, offer assistance, get involved – these are all sub-metrics in support of your goal.

Measure

Once you have your goal, action steps (metrics) now you need to keep yourself to task in completing them and measuring their effectiveness. The measuring aspect will also help you refine your metrics.

For example, if one of your goals is to get more visibility on LinkedIn, you may set a goal to join groups that support your business. If you join a group and begin activity with no result, that gives you vital information. The first is that this is not giving you ROI. It is also telling you that you might want to set metrics for your metrics.

Modify

The next group that you look at joining, perhaps there should be some parameters before you join. Evaluate the group size, members and current activity. If it is a very small group that has not had any interaction within the last six months and there are no members that have any correlation with you in any way – this is probably not the group to join.

This holds true to sending out inquires or resumes. If you find that you sent out 50 resumes last week with no response, it is time to evaluate your metrics. By the way, if you sent the same resume to 50 jobs you do not qualify for any of them.

What types of jobs are you applying for? Do you really meet the criteria? Did you demonstrate this? Did you speak directly to their needs and goals? Did you align with the job requirements and responsibilities? Did you follow their directions exactly? Have you defined your value? Can they understand it and find it easily on your resume?

If you find that you are sending out to just anything, odds are you will not get a response. Be strategic, get in alignment, follow up when possible and keep moving.

If you come to a point of frustration, modify your plans. Take a short break and come up with a plan that is not about you. Make a goal of connecting five people next week. Figure out who might be good connections and how you can make that happen. Sometimes the best leads come when you are helping others.

Not only will implementing the act of defining, setting metrics, measuring and modifying help generate more activity, it can serve as a boost during down times. There might be a period where you feel that nothing is happening and you start to question yourself. This is when you take out your business plan, metrics and measurements and you can see – visually, in hand see – that you have come a long way. You are taking action, you are being proactive and the right opportunity will come about because you have a plan and you are working it the right way!

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

You Are Unique, Why Does Your Resume Sound Like Everyone Else? 7 Tips to Stand Out

stand out from crowdJust how many resumes are received for a job opening?

A lot.

Of course it depends on the position, industry and demand; and what little research I found was an average of 75 for each position in 2009 and up to 250 for each position in 2013.

Needless to say, there is a lot of competition for great positions. So many that many companies use software as the first step in eliminating a great majority in an attempt to get a manageable number to review.

With all this competition from other candidates and computers weeding you out – why would you want your resume to look like everyone else’s when you are not like everyone else?

The common sense answer is that you would not; however, the difficulty is figuring out how to make your resume sound like you to get the attention you want and deserve.

Here are some seven tips and suggestions to make your resume your own and stand out among the crowd:

1. Know What You are Selling

Your resume is your personal sales statement. In order to sell any product, you must know the features and benefits. What do you bring to the table, how can you add value, what makes you better at what you do than your competition?

2. The Proof is in the Pudding

It is not enough to tell a prospective employer that you have x years’ experience in a field. Length of time does not equate to quality or value. Haven’t you worked with someone who has been at a company for an extended length of time and wonder how they are still there because they have no clue as to what they are doing? Exactly.

It is important to demonstrate your expertise, skills and value. Instead of telling them you prepare reports (no value, statement only) demonstrate the value of this task, perhaps something like, “compile and present monthly x reports identifying new avenues and opportunities for growth” What is the value to what you do.

3. Duties vs. Value

To be frank: no one cares what you were hired to do; they care what you did. Listing out job duties as bullet points is simply posting your job description on your resume. It only tells the reader what you were hired to do, which does not demonstrate value.

To determine value, think of these questions:

  • Who do you work with?
  • How do you work with them?
  • What do you do?
  • Who benefits?
  • What is the value received by you doing what you do?

From there you can create a value-centered bullet point for each task integrating the answers to these questions into your bullet point.

4. Templates are a Start

There are many templates available to utilize when building your resume. These are fine, as a start; however, they do not customize your resume for you. If you feel stuck on how to start, templates can be a good kick starter. Just remember to personalize it after you fill in the blanks.

5. If it is You is Should Sound Like You

We each have our own style and that cannot be captured in a template or by sounding like everyone else. If you are a very dynamic, go getter than you want to use words that reflect that side of you. If, on the other hand, you are a behind the scenes kind of person using dynamic words is a contradictory.

Think of it this way – when you read a book you get an image of a character based on the words that are presented. This helps your mind form an image of that character in your mind. The same is being done when someone reads your resume – they are forming an image of you based on the words you chose.

6. Research

Keywords are king. If you are having trouble finding the right keywords, find job postings of the position you seek, copy and paste them into tagcrowd.com –  this gives you a word cloud of the keywords used in the position.

Another option is google similar resumes to see what phrases or keywords are used. Do not copy and paste the whole resume, just utilize these to get a sample and make them your own.

While you are searching similar resumes, click on the “Images” tab of Google and look at them from the visual perspective. At this point, do not read them, just let your eye flow over the many, many resumes before you and see what you are naturally drawn to. You can then emulate this design into your own style.

7. Would You Hire You?

Writing your resume is a daunting and not fun task. Sometimes we get so caught up in trying to say the right thing that end up saying nothing at all. Take a step back from your resume and read it from as though you were the hiring manager and ask yourself, “Would I hire this person and why?”

Challenge yourself to prove that you own that next job and make sure your sales presentation supports that sentiment.

Lastly, relax and do not try to write the one be all end all resume of all times in one setting. Your resume will need to be tweaked and modified for each position. It is an evolution at every turn so allow yourself to grow and modify it as you go along the process.

The very first resume you write may not be the worst or the best, but through the process of revisions, tweaks, research and modifications the real you will come out and get the attention of the right hiring manager for the right job!

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

I hope you enjoyed this article and it provided value for you. If so, please click on the follow button so I may continue to share valuable content with you or the share buttons to share with your network.

I help people identify and set a path to achieve their career goals by using the V Formula:

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

Visibility is the leverage to move in, move up or move on in your career; expand your book of business or territory, grow your company and strengthen your team.

–Lisa

Lisa K. McDonald, Owner and Principal of Career Polish, Inc. is a favorite speaker and seminar facilitator at companies, professional organizations and colleges speaking to leadership, sales, teams, transitioning/downsized employees and networking groups about career mobility, personal branding, networking, creating executive presence and achieving career movement success. To find out more, visit Career Polish, Inc.

Back to top
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,096 other followers

%d bloggers like this: