Is Your Resume Speaking Their Language?

resume-speak-their-language

No matter where I roam, I am a Hoosier. I was raised on Bobby Knight’s coaching and weekend show, Reggie Miller ruling the court, watching the Indians on 16th Street and lighting of the world’s largest Christmas tree to name a few.

First and foremost I am just going to say, people are people. I meet and enjoy conversations with amazing, kind, good people all over the country. There is no judgement that one location is better than the other.

We now have an office in Tennessee. I have learned to manage the travel and scheduling, but had the most fun learning and observing the subtle differences between the two locations.

Although, we do have one thing in common: we all love Peyton and claim him as our own.

The biggest difference between the Midwest and the Mid-South to me has been the nuances of language. Although I still cannot figure out why it is standard to write Midwest as one word yet Mid-South is typically a hyphenated word.

I quickly discovered a uniqueness in the Mid-South, at least in my area, name calling. Name calling in the Mid-South is meaningless. A different kind of name calling.

I have been called sweetie, sweets, baby, baby doll, babe, honey and hon. Oh yeah, and sweet thing.

My boyfriend and I were at a local spot getting a pop when I heard, “Hey, sweet thing!”

In both the Midwest and the Mid-South the intent was to get my attention.

Now, where I am from, there is a certain connotation that comes with someone yelling that out. If I were back in the Midwest, I would have had a much different reaction. It would have been an insult to my boyfriend, and me, in a really bad icky-ish pick up throwaway line.

Not in the Mid-South, I just turned around. Not that I naturally assumed that I was the ‘sweet thing’ in question, but there was no one else around and I took a chance they were not yelling it out to my boyfriend.

Mr. Sweet Thing then asked me where I got my boots because his wife would look really good in them. I have to give him credit, they were awesome boots. One of my favorites, the pair I call my pirate boots: knee high black leather, fold over top, dangling charms, pointy toe with three inch heels.

When I told him a store in Indiana he said that stunk because he really wanted to get them for her and thanked me.

I learned that hearing any additional name within a sentence is not a personal thing, it is simply a word: thank you sweetie, good morning baby doll, hon can I help you, here babe let me get that for you, have a great day honey. Regardless of race, religion, size, shape – those little words are stuck in sentences.

I am used to hearing words, just a word without major meaning, stuck in somewhere in a sentence, in the Midwest you can here bro, brother, brah, buddy, dude, bud. It is not uncommon for men to use these types of words when speaking to each other, the Mid-South just happens to give the ladies their own list. Thanks y’all!

What does this have to do with resumes? Certainly not a suggestion of adding these words in there! No, no, no, it is all about the language nuance.

When reading open position postings, are you picking up on the nuances?

When you read about the company, are you getting the feeling of the atmosphere or environment? Does the company or position sound like it is a nose to the grindstone, all out, hard core performance only matters or a relaxed, collaborative place that encourages new ideas and growth?

Listen for the intent, do not just read the words.

When you read the job description, listen to your inner voice in putting together a picture of the opportunity, company and environment. When you read a novel, you form a picture of characters in your head based on the words the author uses; this is the same concept.

Once you get a feel for it, dig in for their important words; there are two sets: key words and descriptors. Use both to speak their language.

Descriptors are the words they use to describe activities or items. Do they use words like drive, propel, encourage, maximize – words that inspire action, excitement? Jot down words or feelings when reading to be able to match their level of descriptors.

Key words are word important to the position and duties. Jot them down as you come across them. A resource to quickly and easily check the most used words in any document is TagCrowd.com. Simply copy the text, paste it in the box and click “visualize”. Tada! A word cloud of the most used words.

Here is the word cloud for this article:

tagcrowd-example-within-article

Prior to the picture, there are 713 words. ‘Midwest’ was used 5 times, ‘pick’ twice and ‘words’ 13 times – just to give you a reference for the visual rating. Pick was identified with various endings.

Most people read the posting and primarily focus on the duties, then writing their resume filled with prior job duties to try to match up with the job. This is a mistake, they are missing critical areas and opportunities.

For the next opportunity you see that sounds like a great match, read it over several times to help your resume speak to them:

  1. Read the job duties for alignment with your value and what you want to do.
  2. Read the requirements to identify your qualifications.
  3. Read it all the way through to get a ‘feel’ for the environment listening to the nuances of how they describe factors throughout the entire posting.
  4. Pick out keywords and their important words.

Once you have this information, go back to your resume and communication and adjust:

  1. Emphasize the value you bring to the expected duties.
  2. Highlight your matching qualifications.
  3. Use their descriptors or similar to speak their language.
  4. Utilize keywords throughout your resume.

Taking a little extra time and ‘listening’ to what is written will help you demonstrate that you are the best candidate to the prospective employer in a way that they can hear you. And sweetie, that can be the difference that gets you the interview.

 

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

 

Craft Your Communication Wisely – Rarely Do We Know 100% of Our Audience

who-is-reading-your-communication

Several years ago as a leader, I got my hand smacked about an email in which I added a touch of effervescent witticism.  It was appreciated by my staff, but not my director.

In the very large organization it was not uncommon for updates to fail leaving my staff completely frustrated. During staff meetings and one-on-ones we began adding humor while implementing contingency plans to make the best during these situations.

An update was not successful and another was schedule, I sent out an email to my staff to keep them apprised of time-frames and the situation. The problem is I added a sentence with something similar to “I know you are surprised” after the not working part.

My biggest mistake (and there was more than one) was not realizing my audience was not only those on the email list.

It was a poor reflection of me as a leader supporting another team and the organization as a whole. My communication was not consistent or positive for all who could have seen this communication.

I was young at the time and had a good director. I took appropriate action and accountability. it was a good lesson.

Some companies and representatives do not get the benefit of good coaching or bad mistakes that are good lessons.

I heard a reminder of this and of not being aware of your audience and the misalignment of communication.

There are parts of the south that have experienced quite a winter storm after the holidays. During the weeks of December 26th and January 2nd most services in one small town were pushed back at least a day due to holidays.

The winter storm closed schools, government offices and businesses everywhere and created an even greater delay to some services effectively cancelling them for a week.  Ice covered streets made travel extremely dangerous.

One of these services was trash service, which is provided by a contractor to the town. Many residents passed their trashcans at the end of their driveway day after day for nearly six days after the originally expected delayed pick up date. Then they received communication.

A voicemail was recorded by a representative of the municipality and sent to all customers.

This was the good part – there was communication.

Here is the not so good part – the communication itself.

  • It detailed, in length, the timing of the holiday, how that week and the prior trash had been delayed due to the holidays and in even more detail the storm that hit the town.
  • The representative’s statement threw the service provider under the bus. It was stated that: “we are at the mercy of the service provider, so to speak”. The provider’s name was used only when speaking despairingly about them.
  • It was pretty easy to surmise that the communication came after numerous calls, questions or complaints about the trash not being picked up, that frustration came through.
  • Nearly a minute into the voicemail the most important elements came to fruition: the new collection dates, ability to handle two weeks worth and credit for the missed week.
  • Not only was it was nearly a minute and half long (I am wondering how many listened to the entire message) the tone and delivery was very, very casual.

I believe the communication was to inform and ease. Yet the delivery and dialog delivered a different message: stop calling us, it is not our fault.

If the intent was to address 98% of the complaints, there was a better way. I say 98% because there will always be about 2% who will still complain no matter what you do.

A positive impact could have been had by simply stating: “Due to the holidays and recent winter storm, our service provider delayed trash service for the safety of their employees and those in our community. You will receive a credit for last week and they will resume pick up on X and Y dates with the ability to pick up any additional trash caused by the missed week. Thank you for your patience and understanding, we and the service provider apologize for any inconvenience.”

In twenty seconds this addresses the majority of concerns while demonstrating professionalism , courtesy and appreciation.

When crafting a message we do not always know our entire audience.

If it is an informative message there may be others that the communication touches than the original distribution.

If it is a blanket message (websites, LinkedIn profiles, biographies etc.) the audience is limitless.

If it is a reactionary message, there may be more than one concern. The other thing about reactionary messaging is that it is very easy to slip into blame mode or be a bit testy. Neither is appropriate and either or both will not be viewed well by your audience.

For a more positive, impactful communication, keep these points in mind:

  • There will be the 2%’ers who will not be satisfied or will complain, not a lot you can do about that.
  • Even though there may be one glaring issues or topic, there may be underlying concerns. Your communication should be holistic to cover beyond the most obvious, but not the realm of minute possibilities. In other words, look at it again before you send it out, could there be another concern, are you addressing to many and diluting your message?
  • Speak to the entire possible audience. This means you may have to be less personalized in order to effectively communicate the entire message. Remember throwing in a quip – one group of the audience was okay with it, another was not.
  • If it is a message representing an organization, the voice of the organization should prevail, not an individual.
  • Do not throw anyone under the bus. It does not make you look better by making them look worse.
  • Be brief when you can to maintain the attention of your audience and not dilute your points.

Communication in every form is a representation of the organization, teams and individuals.

For the greatest positive impact, your communication must align in both message and delivery for every person it touches. Reevaluating before distribution can mean the difference between engagement and disengagement of your audience; even those you do not know are listening.

 

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

 

Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions Away From Me

new years picture

I have an aversion to two things on New Year’s: singing Auld Lang Syne and resolutions. Well, actually three – drunk strangers who want to hug you at midnight.

I know exactly five words of that song: ‘Should Old Acquaintance be forgot’ and that’s it so I can give it a good strong start but then mumble the rest. It is pain. The invasion of personal space is even more painful, ick.

The most painful of all – the obligatory resolutions.

Who made this rule? Shame on them. Shame, shame, shame.

Personally, I believe it was an evil plot concocted and pushed by the diet and exercise industry. Evil, I say. Instead of a way to motivate our collectiveness, it instead ends in a majority of personal pools of disappointment and shame.

Don’t think so? How about some numbers?  From the University of Scranton. Journal of Clinical Psychology, as provided by Statistic Brain (conducted December 11, 2016):

  • Percent of Americans who usually make New Year’s Resolutions: 45 %
  • Percent of Americans who infrequently make New Year’s Resolutions: 17 %
  • Percent of Americans who absolutely never make New Year’s Resolutions: 38 %
  • Percent of people who are successful in achieving their resolution: 8 %
  • Percent who have infrequent success: 49 %
  • Percent who never succeed and fail on their resolution each year:             24 %

For you 8%-ers out there – way to go! For the rest of us, I have a proposition. Instead of looking ahead with ambiguous life altering goals, let’s do something different. Let’s celebrate.

That’s right – celebrate.

Now I am not a big fan of driving our life journey with our eyes on the rear view mirror; however, I do think pause and reflect of the past can be a great thing.

If I do not appreciate where I was, how can I appreciate where I am and where I am going?

Sometimes I work on something and feel so disillusioned because I have not achieved it yet I am on the verge of giving up. This is when my very wise best friend will take me on a pause and reflect moment. She walks me back to see all the small steps I have taken and succeeded in only to realize I am much closer to the summit than I give myself credit.

Sometimes I have blips along the way. I may not create consistency in some aspects, but she can point out where I did achieve a goal, even if for a short time period, that since I did it once, I can surely do it again.

So what if we took those what would be resolutions and take a look back at last year to see if we can identify moments which we experienced success or created steps toward success.

According to the same article, the top 10 New Year’s Resolutions for 2015 were:

  1. Lose Weight
  2. Getting Organized
  3. Spend Less, Save More
  4. Enjoy Life to the Fullest
  5. Staying Fit and Healthy
  6. Learn Something Exciting
  7. Quit Smoking
  8. Help Others in Their Dreams
  9. Fall in Love
  10. Spend More Time with Family

Quite a list, huh? I think all sound awesome, although I am not sure how you plan to fall in love, but that is a topic for another day. Let’s take a look at one as an example: Enjoy Life to the Fullest.

I would love to be able to do this every day, but then everyday life does not always lend itself to this or I just personally have a crappy day.

But I do know that I am doing pretty good on this one because I have an annoying habit that my son and boyfriend like to point out: “you always see the good in things, don’t you?” is something I hear often.

Why, yes, I do.

I can look back and see some pretty big events this past year where I made a conscious decision to believe that all things happen for a reason and there is a positive reason that was happening. I can look back now and see that the attitude I adopted seemed to help shorten the difficult duration. In reality, maybe it did, maybe it did not; but to me it did and that is what matters.

I can also look back on specific incidents where, again, I (and the boyfriend or son)  made a conscious decision to enjoy the moment.

Last year the boyfriend and I drove to Florida for a vacation. Here is something to know about boyfriend: he is a military guy with a strong case of absolute affection for schedules. Everything is planned and methodical. How we live together is still a fascinating hiccup of nature, but it works. Anyway, we made a conscious decision before we left that we had no plans. Really. On the way down we made some impromptu stops that turned out to be amazing and a total blast.

I can look back at instances like this and realize that even thought I would have completely failed at a resolution to ‘Enjoy Life to the Fullest’, I actually succeeded the majority of the year. This gives me momentum to know I can do it again this year and more.

So take that list of resolutions and make it a remembrance list. Look back at last year and identify and appreciate the times you did achieve, even momentarily, or made significant steps toward achieving those goals.

If you did it, even a little bit, last year, you can do it again. You can do just a little bit more!

Now, for those who like to set resolutions – go get ‘em!

I prefer to set goals and on an adjusted schedule and soon I will share suggestions, strategies and tips on setting and achieving goals (not resolutions) ~ stay tuned!

In the meantime, happy new year and congratulations on your list of reflections and what you did accomplish last year. You rock!

Out of curiosity, do you make New Year Resolutions? Are they the big life changers or smaller goals? If you succeeded – what was your key to success? Am I the only loafer out there not making New Year Resolutions?

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

Resumes: “Do NOT” ~ “Never” ~ “Always Avoid” – Enough Already!

burning resume

 

Being on a treadmill at 5 am is not my idea of a good time. I am not a morning person. Since it is safest for me not to talk to people that early in the morning, I normally peruse the news and LinkedIn.

I am not sure if it was that I am recovering from a nasty cold or the gentle reminder that I should not take the holidays off from the gym, but this morning was not only a little more painful than most, it was also very negative out there.

Scrolling through the articles I kept running across the most negative articles, things sounding similar to:

“X Things to Avoid at All Costs on Your Resume”

“What You Are Doing Wrong On Your Resume”

“Why Your Resume Stinks”

“Why You are Not Getting Hired”

“Why No One Wants to Interview You”

Two days after the holidays and the newsfeed turned all bah-humbug! Geesh!

Job searching in itself can be stressful; add in the holidays and it can really increase the stress factor.  Maybe it is just me, but I do not think smack in between the new year and merriment holidays is the time to scare the crap or chastise job seekers.

Let’s keep some of that holiday cheer.

So for anyone who is feeling their hand smacked a little by all the negativity, here are 5 things you are doing right:

  1. You are trying.
  2. You have a resume.
  3. You are not believing all the hype.
  4. You are looking forward.
  5. You are seeking the good.

These may not seem like big things, but they are, these can be the most important things anyone can do for success.

It is easy to get discouraged and stop trying. To keep trying takes guts.

There are no absolutes with resumes. If you read every article, compare notes and try to do exactly what each one says your head is going to explode.  There is a plethora of information available to guide you in writing your resume, the problem is, a lot of this information is contradictory.  One page, no two pages; include a summary, no make it a bulleted outline; do this no do that!  Enough already.

When reading all the articles, suggestions and tips what resonates with you? That is how you do not believe the hype – stay true to yourself. If it feels right to you, go with it. If your career life cannot be contained in a snazzy, condensed one page – then by all means, make it a solid, value-driven two.

No matter what is going on right now, no matter what rejection has come to pass, you are still looking. That means you are still looking forward – good for you. Something will hit, you will find the right job, at the right time in the way it is right for you. Keep going.

By continuing to move forward you are looking for the good. You believe there is something good that is going to come of all this, and you know what – it will.

Take a break from all the negative reviews and advice right now. Give yourself a pat on the back for the things you are doing right and remember these two things:

“The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.” – Lao Tzu

“Put one foot in front of the other and soon you’ll be walking out the door.” – Kris Kringle/The Evil Winter Warlock, Santa Clause is Coming to Town.

 

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

It Is Useless To Job Search During The Holiday Season

santa-holiday-job-search-tips

Without a plan, that is.

I do not know who decided that job searching during the holidays was a bad idea. The origin does not matter, I only wish the idea would stop perpetuating.

There are plenty of benefits and considerations about searching during the holiday. Although some searches slow down or are temporarily delayed during this time, there are plenty of opportunities still available and interviews to score. Here are five considerations:

  1. Some 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.
  2. There is less competition because so many take the ill advice of taking a full break during the holidays.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Leverage the opportunities at hand to not only spread merriment, but also spread the word you are ready and available for that next great opportunity! Here are four tips for conducting an active holiday search:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.

But what if you are burnt? What if you have been networking, getting the word out and been active in your searching to no avail? You cannot muster the enthusiasm or energy to go caroling for opportunities. You may not be in the mindset for active searching; however, holidays are still a good time to passively search.

What I call passive search is setting a strategy. If all your holiday deeds are done, you may have more time on your hands. Take advantage of this by reevaluating and refocusing your job search strategy. It requires quiet time, index cards, pen and eggnog (or your choice of beverage). Here are five action items to help refocus and evaluate:

  1. Review your resume. Do not look at it as yours, evaluate it as a hiring manager. Does it speak to the position you seek and the value you bring in a clear way? Grab a glass of eggnog and a pen and start slashing and dashing.
  2. Review your LinkedIn profile. This is a different conversation than your resume. For more about the differences – check out this article: I speak 7 Languages – None are Right for Writing a LinkedIn Profile Are you speaking to your target audience? Is your value, passion and personality coming through? Print it out, grab another glass of eggnog, pen and slash and dash.
  3. What do you offer? Here is a great brainstorming exercise that always works for me in removing blocks and guiding me to clarification. Grab a stack of index cards (or if you prefer notebook/electronic document – one card would equal one line), glass of eggnog and a pen.Only write one thought per index card. Start with the obvious: Degree, years of experience, specific skills – but just one per card. Write as many as you can think of, do not limit yourself and there are no bad ideas. After you have written as many as you can, take each one and now expand on it. Write as much as you can and if another thought comes up – write a new card.
  1. What are you looking for? You can either do the same process with index cards as above. Begin with a single thought per card or line. The type of company, size, industry. Then start getting into the nitty gritty: what do you want to do, how, what about the environment. One thought per card. Then create another stack of cards – what do you not want. Keep going after you think you are done, get it down to the bone. Anything that pops in your head write it down. Things like parking, is there a gym nearby, whatever the smallest details you can think. Once you have completed each list take a break. Then come back and review. You might be surprised at some of the things that come out of this.
  1. What about your network, who can help you and how? Grab more index cards and refill that eggnog and start writing one name per card. Think of people in your network – not just work but personal networks. People at the gym, clubs, organizations, kids sports groups – anyone you can think of write them down. Then on the back of each card, write down how they can help you.Next, review all the ‘hows’ and create an action plan. Reach out to Joey at the gym and ask him about xyz. Connect with Joan on LinkedIn and request an introduction to Jerry.

Take advantage of the opportunities that the holidays offer for both a passive and active job search and with a little effort, action and persistence you might just be ringing in a new job after the new year!

✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰✰

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

The Solution to Any Problem Begins With One Question

Questions

Have you ever have a problem or a situation that is beyond frustrating and try as you might, you cannot get out of the funk of it? Then someone all happy comes along and tells you to relax, everything will work out ok, be positive or some other sentiment that makes you want to throat punch them?

Me too.

And I have been that happy person you want to throat punch, too, but not in a traditional sense.

I am not going to tell someone struggling with a very painful and difficult situation to ‘just be happy, it will all work out’. Blah. Yet I do want to help them get out of that mindset and be able to move forward in a positive way.

The way I help work it out is the way I learned that works best for me. I learned it the hard way and wish I would have learned it years ago.

I ask one question: “Where is the good?”

That whole personal experience thing –tragic family and career events – I can look back now and for every single one, there was a positive. They all lead me in a different or better path. I could not see it at the time because I was too focused on the negative – losing a job, being cheated on, blah, blah, blah.

It is hard asking yourself – and even harder answering – what is the good in this terrible situation. But it can be a game changer. It changes your perspective, it changes your attitude and it can change the next course.

This really works best if you have someone you trust who will help you, i.e. get in your face and not let you quit.

At first you are going to answer ‘there is nothing good about this, I just lost my job!’ or whatever the situation is, ‘how can it possibly be good?’

When you are so entrenched on the negative and want to throat punch your accountability partner, this is where they need to step it up. They need to ask you how much did you love that job? They know you, you probably hated it but are now romancing it up because it is no longer there.

Stop that. And that is what your accountability partner needs to do for you, help you stop that. Whether calling you out on it bluntly or asking sarcastic questions to make you laugh – whatever it is, they need to help you get past that initial chicken little immersion attitude. If you are not comfortable doing this with someone else, do it in the bathroom mirror and give yourself hell.

If that thought pops in your head, ‘I really hated that job’ then you might realize the good could be that you are finally free of that life-sucking monstrosity of a company.

Maybe losing your job allows you to find something you really want. Something closer to home. Something more you like to do. Something that allows you to go back to school to finish or get a degree in what you really love. Something that gives you more time with your family. Something that pays the bills and isn’t too taxing so you can figure out what you want to do. Something in another state because now you are free to go anywhere you want.

You won’t know what the good is until you ask the question and force yourself to keep giving answers beyond the “there is no good”.

Many times we cannot see the good until sometime later and it has all played out. This is not an exercise in setting a concrete path as to what is next. This is an exercise to allow your mind to be open to the possibility that something good or better will come from this. When you shift that mindset from complete negative to optimistic potentially positive, good things will be revealed to you. Because now you can see them – they have always been there, but asking what is good helps take your blinders off.

Think about something going on right now, it does not have to be a life-changing negative thing, just a problem or challenge that you are having right now. What’s the good in it? Start jotting down some ideas and by the end of the day you might just have a whole new perspective and a solution!

 

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

 

The Best Way To Write Your Resume – Stop Trying to Write A Resume

cheshire-cat-doesnt-do-resumes

Now how does that title make sense? Not writing your resume is the best way to write your resume?

It does seems like Cheshire Cat logic – but don’t disappear on this idea just yet. Read on and hopefully the concept will be more clear than the cat in all his glory up in the tree.

(Oh that was terrible, I apologize, I seem to have some weird fixation on Alice in Wonderland theme going on. It probably will not get any better…)

You want to write a resume document, but not write the document as a resume.

More Cheshire Cat logic?

It is the approach, Alice – all in how you think about this document, and its purpose,  that will make the difference between painstaking or productive. It will also have a significant impact on the content and if it will garner the attention that you really want.

But first, why should you not perceive or approach writing this document as a resume:

  1. Most everyone hates writing resumes (except professional resume writers, we are a unique sort) so you are already in a bad mood about it. When has anything turned out well when you start off all sour about it?
  2. Hardly anyone freely and easily speaks ‘resume’ (again, except us professional resume writers – we are the hit of the party with this one) so it is not a comfortable writing style.
  3. Most resumes templates are geared toward duty based documents. If you have not done this in a while or just doing research to help freshen it up, odds are you are going to come across a template or two.
  4. You might ask friends to take a look at their resume, just keep in mind most do-it-yourself resumes are duty based. This means that the bullet points under each position neatly and vaguely tell the reader what the person was hired to do. Meaningless. Just because you were hired for these things does not mean you did them or did them very well.
  5. It might be a natural inclination to assume.  No need to tell the reader what something means, they should be ale to figure it out, right? Wrong. They know nothing more than what you tell them. They are not going to read further than what is presented to them. That is not their job. It is your job to tell them what they need to know in a clear and meaningful way.

The key to writing a resume without thinking about it as a resume is to think of it as a conversation.A conversation to tell your story, the way you want the reader to understand it.

Cheshire Cat again?

Vary rarely will a career have a straight and narrow path up, up, up. For most of us, it is a windy, twisty road full of the unexpected. To anyone else, it does not make sense why you went to this company or that, how this position came about and promoted into that one.

This is your story, you may be the only one who truly gets it.

So your job is to bridge the gap between all the twists and turns with the reason why the reader would want to talk to you: your value.

The common thread between all the positions you are listing is the value you provide by performing duties leveraging your strengths, skills and expertise.

So when writing your resume, sit down at that computer or pad of paper and have a conversation. Think about writing out your side of a conversation with the Cheshire Cat looming above asking:

  1. How did you get there?
  2. What were you originally hired to do?
  3. How did the job every change after you started?
  4. What did you like most about the job?
  5. What did you learn while you were there?
  6. Any other questions that get your mind thinking about the value you provided

Respond in full, write it all out as though you were having a conversation because that is where you will find the hidden nuggets of value to transform into a value-based document.

The fun part is going back and slashing and dashing to make sure each bullet point is now demonstrating value. Don’t forget the key words and let your old friend Mr. Thesaurus help you out to start making it sound more resume-ish.

Once you start getting the knack of storytelling for value purpose, you will soon have a resume that even the Red Queen would read!

(Oh yes, I had to finish it up in the Alice in Wonderland theme, it could have been worse – I am a huge X-Men fan, just think what I could have done with Wolverine references!)

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

Forced Into Finding a New Job – Ask ‘What’ Not ‘Why’

rearview-mirror-why

I thought I was having a bad day yesterday, I was not.  My boyfriend was having a bad day.

He was scheduled to take two flights to come home and arrive at noon.  Key word: scheduled.

The first flight was delayed an hour due to ice on the plane’s wings.

After sprinting to the next flight and having them hold the door for him, he made the second.

A half an hour before landing they encountered a storm.  Not just any storm, a storm that caused three failed landing attempts, severe turbulence, rerouting three hours away and the need for paramedics once landed.

He finally made it home hours later, safe and mostly sound.  As he recounted the events on the plane, an old habit crept into my head, I began asking ‘why?’

Once I realized I slipped into a bad habit of asking ‘why’, I asked ‘what’.

Asking ‘why’ is asking for a definitive answer or explanation leading to a specific action: why did events conspire for him to make that connection and it turned out to be a horrifying event?

Not the best place to go, asking ‘why’.

On the other hand, asking ‘what’ is asking why something happened as a catalyst to something yet undone.

The ‘why’ to the ‘what’ is the determination of something happening to you or through you and the key to moving on in a positive way.

Let’s use another example closer to my area of expertise: you lost your job.

The company is downsizing and they decided to keep the bonehead with a lot less experience rather than you.

Asking ‘why me? I had more experience, I was better, now what am I going to do?’ is a finality.  All events up to that time no longer matter because it is done.  Asking ‘why’ from this perspective just helps dig your feet in the sand and get stuck.

You want clarity on the past, which is like staring at an accident in your rear view mirror trying to figure out how it happened as you are still trying to move forward – which will cause you to ram into the guy in front of you and create a whole new set of problems.

Ask ‘what next, now I have to do something else, so what is it and what do I do to get there?’ Asking ‘what’ is noticing and being impacted by the accident, but keeping your eyes forward and being aware of your surroundings so you can get to where you want to go safely.

The ‘what’ leads to big, ambiguous questions and lots of smaller nagging questions, that probably will not have an immediate answer.  However, ‘what’ allows you to start creeping past the accident, unharmed.

Creeping past may look like realizing you need to start job searching.

And thoughts begin to flow:

  • You need to update your resume.
  • You need to start letting your network know you are looking so they can help you.
  • You need to update professional sites and bios.
  • You need to start looking for a new job.
  • Maybe you want to take a break and decompress from a job that was way too stressful.
  • Maybe you don’t want to go back into that industry.
  • Maybe you realize you really hated your job.
  • Maybe you see something that gets you excited, even though completely unrelated to what you did, and you decide to go for it.

The ‘what’ is freedom and empowerment.  It gives you an opportunity to explore and act on things you would not have if the ‘why’ did not happen, and that makes you realize that huge accident was merely a flat tire on the side of the road, merely a minor inconvenience of an otherwise great drive.

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving – A Time To Create Your Own Personal Sales Force

thanksgiving-family

I remember as a little girl having huge family gatherings for Thanksgiving with extended family that I only saw once a year catching up around enough food to feed an army.

It was fun, although what I remember most is a slice pumpkin pie hidden under mounds of whipped cream. Maybe that is what I enjoyed the most.

I realize some may be dreading this tradition tomorrow, but to that I say: why not use the opportunity presented if you are looking for a job?

Immediate, extended family or friends will probably try to make polite conversation and ask what you are doing now. Instead of dodging the question or answering with, “I’m looking for a job” generic gloss over, why not transform your family into your personal sales force?

What exactly is your own personal sales force?  It is your people identifying potential opportunities and selling you or bringing the information back to you to follow up on.

If you tell your family that you are merely looking for a job and Great Uncle Ed says there is an opening as a road kill cleaner-upper, are you going to jump on that?  Probably not, although, hats off if you do, someone needs to do that thankless job. Thank you road kill cleaner-uppers!

This is the critical part: you must translate what you do and what you are looking for in a way that your family understands it.  If they get what you do and what you want they will more easily recognize it when they hear it. This, in turn, makes it easier for them to sell you to others and/or bring back the opportunity to you.

The first thing to do is to understand exactly what it is you do – not in a job, but in terms of value.  What value do you provide to others?  This does not mean a title.  Titles are only given value by those who hear them which is based on their own experience.

In other words, if you work for a mortgage company and second cousin removed Gertrude just had her home foreclosed, you might just get a turkey leg hurled in your direction if you tell her you  are a mortgage broker.  She won’t know what you do, but she will associate you with the not so nice experience she encountered.

Back to the critical part – if you family understands your value, they can sell you any time anywhere, as demonstrated by my son when he was in high school.

Between football practices he brought a buddy home to raid the fridge and hang out.

His friend asked what I did and my son replied, “she helps people get jobs.”  Cringing out of sight (because that was not at all how I would say it and felt like he didn’t get it), I let the conversation continue.

Which was a good thing because then, the magic unfolded.

His friend asked how.

Boom baby! 

He got it. He presented it in the perfect way – for his audience to ask a question.

He then explained that I work with them doing their resumes, help with interviewing and ‘all the stuff that helps them get a job’.

Then next day his friend’s dad called and hired me.

My cousin is a tech genius.  I am clearly not.  He had to explain what he did to me in a way that I got it, which included using simple examples that related to my personal or business life without using technical jargon.  I was not offended, I was relieved because I finally got what he did and was not afraid to ask about it anymore.

It is not necessary to know the exact job you want.  Giving your family some parameters with this is helpful.  For example you may tell them that you have worked mainly in banking but would not mind going into brokerage or insurance.

Or simply tell them that what you do could be in a lot of different areas so you are not looking for one industry.

Relax on be perfect and fine tuning a pitch. You are not on a job interview or formal networking event. This is honest to goodness labored over turkey, stuffing, and all the fixins here people, not networking chicken!

Talk to your family and friends. When you explain what you do, it is okay to ask them if it makes sense to them.

The more they know the more they can help, and isn’t that part of the whole family thing?

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side. 

 

Now That You Have The Job You Don’t Need Your Resume, Right? Wrong

trashing-your-resume

You polished up your resume and landed a great job.  Now, sometime later, you are feeling the career itch again.  You are ready to make a move for more; more responsibility, opportunity, challenges or ability to learn new skills.

Great, if you have not kept your resume updated, now is the time to freshen it up for that next step.

Oh no, you tell me, you do not need to because the opportunities you want are internal, with the company you are with right now.  You won’t need a resume, they know you.

Wrong and wrong.

You do need a resume to apply for positions internally and do not assume they know you.

It would be wise to have two base versions – an internal and external resume; however, we are going to focus on the internal resume in this article.

The biggest difference with an internal resume is it gives you the opportunity to really speak the company language.  You are one of them – let it show!  You know the mission, vision, values and goals of the company, integrate them within your resume to demonstrate your understanding, commitment and contributions to these core pillars of the organization.

In other words: walk the walk, talk the talk of your company.

This is your edge.  Many organizations require existing employees to submit resumes for internal opportunities.  They also accept external resumes.  Do not rest in false comfort that just because you are already employed by the company that you are shoe-in for the position.

If you do not demonstrate value and an external candidate does, guess who will get the job?

This is where having a false sense of security if ‘they know me’ deflects from effort into your internal resume.

Your existing department may know you, but dose the individuals in the next arena?  Even if it is a promotion within your department, do they really know you?  Do they really know that you truly get and incorporate the company values, mission and goals into your everyday performance?

Putting that extra effort into an internal resume, rather than simply listing the jobs you have held since being with the company, will demonstrate two key factors:

  1. You get it (‘It’ being the company mission, philosophy, goals, vision and purpose)
  2. You care about this promotion, want it and worked for it. You were willing to put together a presentation that demonstrates you are the right candidate and did not assume it was a given.

Approach your internal resume from the external perspective.  What is important for this position? What skills will you need to demonstrate to prove you will be successful? What successes or accomplishments can you promote that supports your value?

Most importantly: write your bullets as value statements, not job duties.  For more on this, click here: If You Want Your Resume Read Do Not List Job Duties

Once you finish polishing your internal resume, put a gentle reminder on your calendar to go back now and then to keep it current.  If nothing else, make notes about important projects, contributions and accomplishments along the way so it will be much easier to quickly whip it into shape for that next more opportunity!

 

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As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles Click the “Yes Please!” button on the right side.