The Choosers Guide to Failure Winning, an 8 Point Plan

I know life hands us some pretty crappy things. And we can orchestrate some spectacular failures for ourselves. We all fail. But what happens after that?

It’s your choice. You get to choose.

Be a chooser.

Do you move forward or let it weigh you down?

Some of my failures could be considered masterpieces of failures. Hall of Fame worthy. I’ve failed as a mother, a partner, a leader, a business owner. I failed. I learned. I improved. I grow.  Here are eight points I have learned and use to win from failure.

1. You’re not that special. [Recognize]

Rarely is your failure a one-of-its-kind. Other people have screwed up in the same or similar way. Think about it: in all the ways to mess up, are you really that special that you created a failure that is a first in history?

I doubt it. So cut yourself a break. Why not find people who made the same mistake and learn how they bounced back.

2. Short time in the ring. [Permission]

It is natural to beat yourself up when you fail. Instead of making it a new daily routine, try this: give yourself permission to do a little beating up then forgive yourself.

Take yourself in a boxing ring, throw a couple punches, then get out.

You don’t get a full round. Ten to fifteen seconds is all you get to give yourself your best shot, a jab or two. Then get out. Period. Take off the gloves. You’re done beating yourself up.

Forgive yourself and let’s move forward.

3. You’re still here. [Perspective]

As trite as it sounds, you’re still alive. If you’re reading this, the worst did not happen. And if your still here, you’re not done. You have more to do.

I’ve been there where after a massive failure, my starting point to move forward was, “Well, I woke up today, I’ve got more to do.”

Start where you can. Start where you are.

4. It’s not who you are. [Release]

Failure chains itself to us when we take it on as a character trait.

Failure is an event, not a personal attribute.

Failure is what happened, not a definition of you. Babies fail to walk across the room on their first try. You don’t label them a failure. Why be so hard on yourself? Stop it.

5. It’s a tool. [Learn]

Failure, as an event, is also a teachable moment. A tool. We all fail, it is how we learn. Remember the babies learning to walk? With each step then learn and build on their skills. They take these lessons and put them into practice. The walk. Then they run. Learn to use it to your advantage.

6. Use your brain. [Investigate]

Failure can be very emotional. I’ve melted into a puddle of tears before, which made the short stint in the boxing ring ugly. But then I flip the mad switch. It’s my personality. I tell the emotional side of my brain to go rest and let my analytical side take over.

Look at your failure from a neutral, deconstruction perspective. Ask yourself a series of questions to explore and dive into the fullness of the event:

“What went wrong… Where were early warning signs… What did I miss… What could I have seen… What actions did I take that helped or hindered… What can I learn that can help me make better decisions in similar situations… What did I do well… What resources do I have that I did not use…, etc.”

Dive deep. Keep asking questions. Answer honestly. This emotionally-detached deconstruction will serve as the blueprint for your growth.

Don’t ask only negative questions, recognize the positives in the situation, too.

7. Do something about it. [Ownership]

This is the chooser’s guide to winning at failing. So it makes sense that you need to make a choice and do something. Choose to move forward. Introspection, insight, and blueprints don’t mean diddlysquat without action.

Start. Take one action. It doesn’t have to be big, but there has to be a step. Build on it. Chart your progress. Celebrate your success every inch along the way – no matter how small.

8. Don’t be stingy. [Empowerment]

Share your experience with others. This will reinforce in you that you rock. You turned around a bad situation and it will encourage others that they can do it too. We are not isolated islands on this earth. We’re all in it together. We all get better, grow and benefit from our positive interactions and when we learn from each other.

 

You can do this. You can triumph. You can be an inspiration. You’ve got this!

 

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Or let’s have a conversation to get you moving forward now. Click here – Let’s Talk! – to schedule a free phone consultation.

 

4 Step Plan for an Awesome Resume

My dad was a mechanic. My grandfather was an electrician. My uncle led a construction crew. My DNA is programmed to build things.

It’s how I look at resumes. Building a brand.

With any good build, you need a plan. Sequential steps with each action building on the last.

For a quick read and a plan of action to help you with your resume, here is my simplified plan of four steps to build your brand for an awesome resume.

Pre-work

Before we build there is one critical step – you have to know your goal. What job are you targeting? You may be interested in several avenues, but your foundation is for one.

Step 1. Position Purpose

What is the bottom-line purpose of the position? Narrow down the entire scope to one statement. Keep reducing it until you get to the bottom-line impact value. For example: maintain revenue streams and retain clients. Or: protect a book of business from risk.

Boil it down. There may be more than one purpose. This is barebones. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It will generally fall into something to do with time or money in one form or another.

Step 2. Core Drivers

Again, we are focusing on broad strokes. There are normally three to five activities that you must do to achieve the position’s purpose. List these things. What are those things? Perhaps one is to oversee system and quality assurance processes (CTO) or maintain records of financial transactions (Bookkeeper).

Step 3. Primary Actions

Now let’s start digging in. Under each of the core drivers, what does that entail? How do you do those things? Who do you work with, how, what do you do and how does something benefit from your involvement?

Step 4. Differentials

Here is the icing on the cake, putting you in your brand. How do you do the things in your chart that is different or better than anyone else? What makes you stand out among your competition? What skills or strengths do you use in completing the primary actions?

This is the blueprint to create an authentic brand that distinguishes you, supported by demonstrated value and speaks to the needs and critical points of the desired position.

When you cover all of those bases, you’ll be the top candidate for the job.

 

⇒⇒⇒ Want a kickstart – click Awesome Chart! to download our free blueprint chart to help you get started charting the most important elements for your resume and brand. ⇐⇐⇐

Need a little more kick and some coaching to get you clear and on your way? Click here to set up a free consultation to see how we can get you momentum in the right direction.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

 

 

 

The Undeniable, Frightening, Liberating, Neglected Superpower of “No”

“No” was my son’s favorite word when he was learning to communicate. His answer to almost every question. He was so happy when he said it. “No”. Boom. Then on his way.

I don’t think I was like that as a child. I don’t think I knew “no” was an option.

How many of us grew up knowing you don’t tell your parents “no”? Then when you get older, you don’t tell your family “no”. Or your friends. Especially when they need your help. Be a good child, sibling, parent – always help when you can.

This concept continues to morph into your work, neighborhood, and community families.  If someone needs something, and you can help, you don’t say “no”.

 

The myth, the guilt.

It is rude to say no. It is selfish to say no. It is wrong to say no.

Bullshit.

It took me a long, long (decades) time to be able to respond with that. What I learned is we need to say no. For our health. All our health – mental, physical, spiritual, emotional and financial.

Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to. Your time, talents and sanity are valuable. If you give them all away to everyone else, what’s left for you? How can you give if you have nothing left? How can you give of value when you’re depleted?

It is not selfish; it is self-care.

I love the argument that you are being selfish by saying no. So wait, it is selfish of me to think of myself, you want me to think of YOU instead. Hmmm….isn’t that YOU being selfish?

I am a believer in giving. Your time, talent, resources, positive thoughts – anything you can offer in a healthy way to help others. Notice I put in there a healthy way?

There are also different ways we can be saying “no”: not completely “no”, not right now “no”, not to the whole thing “no”. No matter what your “no”, let’s get into the healthy business of saying “no”.

“No” scenario options.

Not ready to commit options: Let me think about this. I need to consider this a bit more. I’m not ready to say yes or no right now, let me do more research.

Not right now options: I do want to help, just not this week/month – it’s packed …. how about (offer alternative)

Not the whole enchilada options: That’s a huge commitment, that i can’t do right now, however, I would love to help with … (a smaller piece)

Simply no options: I’m sorry I can’t, but I appreciate the offer. Thank you for thinking of me, I am just not able to. I think I will pass, thanks for asking me.

Gentle reminders for no.

Get comfortable with saying the word “no”. If you don’t come right out and say “no”, at least put in the negative meaning. For each of the above, there is a “no” or a negative in there.

Be firm and polite. If one of the first statements don’t work, follow up with “No thank you.” Short, simple.

You do not need to give a long drawn out excuse. You don’t want to. Period. As simple as that.

Replace the poison word.

But. That is the poison word. Any time you use ‘but’ in a sentence the listener has a Pavlovian response. They know everything before “but” it was rubbish and your real intent is what came after it.

Replace but with however, yet, or eliminate it all together. Using a bridge into a softer blow can help the listener accept your answer. Be prepared to do a firmer, softer, still polite, follow up no. They might see it as an opening for “persuasion”.

Follow up nos.

  • No thanks.
  • No thank you.
  • Not for me, thank you.
  • I’m afraid I can’t, thanks for thinking of me though.
  • I’d rather not, thanks.

Permissions for saying no.

You do not owe anyone an explanation – this is for personal “no”s. Your boss is going to need a reason.

Trust your gut. If something inside is screaming “don’t do it!” then don’t. Say “No thank you”.

It is scary to say “no”. For a lot of us, it goes against our upbrining, culture, and implications we have been living with for a very long, long time. It’s okay. It will take some practice – and courage. (if you need extra help, see the end of this article for The Power of No program info)

Remember, when someone is accusing you of being selfish, that means they are not thinking of you. They want you to ignore your health and make them a priority. It’s all about them. This is passive aggressive manipulation. Recognize it, don’t’ get sucked into it.

You are not a bad person for saying “no”. If someone makes you feel guilty or ends a relationship because you prioritize your health and yourself, is it – or was it – a healthy or valuable relationship for you?

This is for your health – remember that. You are important. You matter. This is your right. Don’t allow someone to bully you into saying yes, making you feel guilty or prove your reason worthy.

You can do this. For your health, you must do this. You’ve got this! Take some baby steps and soon you will be comfortable and empowered by that little word – no.

 

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If you find you still struggle with saying no, let’s talk. We can work through our Power of No Program that will help you identify:

  • where you need to say no more
  • beliefs stopping you from saying “no”
  • your priorities for clarity

We will help you use techniques and a three-step action plan to be able to say “no” when you need to!

Click here Let’s Talk! to schedule a free consultation today so you can fully embrace the undeniable, liberating, superpower of “No”.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here –CareerPolish.com– to find out more.

You Get The Most out of Your Resume – and Vacuum Cleaner – When You Turn on the Power

 

Someone asked me the other day,

“Why do I have to detail what I’ve done in my resume? If they list a task as a requirement and I list it as a duty on my resume, won’t they assume that I meet that qualification? Isn’t that good enough?”

I don’t know when they reincarnated as my son when he was a teenager.

Let me respond to those questions in reverse order:

The answer is no.

The answer is no.

Oh, for goodness sake son, stop being lazy.

My son is in his mid-twenties now. I’m not sure how he survived his teenage years, but here we are. The thing about my son at that age was he was (and is) incredibly smart. Like scary smart.

He was also crafty. If there was a way to not do something, even if it were ten times more work to do what was asked, he would find a way. He always had an argument on why the lazy or lesser way was “acceptable”.

He was tasked with cleaning his room. Not a lot to ask. Yet it was a constant nightmare. Let’s use this example – specifically vacuuming his room – to relate back to the question at hand. (I don’t know why he had the biggest aversion to vacuuming, who doesn’t love those nice clean lines in carpet??)

Why can’t I do the bare minimum – list the job description as my bullet points. Because it is like vacuuming without plugging the thing in or turning it on. You’re barely going through the motions but it’s not saying (or doing) anything.

Won’t they assume I’m qualified? Just because my son said he vacuumed, I never assumed he turned it on. He may have drug it around his room to get fake lines. My brother taught me to spell assume with, “Never assume, it makes an ass out of you and me”. Assuming is bad.

Here’s the other thing – you have competition. Let’s say you are going to apply for a job. The prospective employer has listed the duties for this job and one is to vacuum.

In your resume you list that you vacuum, or have vacuumed before.

They don’t know how you vacuum or if you’re one of those that run a vacuum cleaner without turning it on to get the fake lines. You’re leaving that assumption up to them.

Now let’s say your competition lists that they:
– Turn on the machine when they vacuum
– Vacuum the entire area
– Use the brush attachment and clean the baseboards
AND THEN put on the skinny attachment and suck up all the cobwebs in the corners, windows, closets etc.

Which one do you think the employer is going to want to talk to?

To get the job you want you need to do two things (beyond qualify for the basics of the job):

1. Distinguish yourself (what are your differentials?).

2. Prove your value to them (the ROI in hiring you).

Know your worth to outshine your competition, get the interview and negotiate stronger.

If you’re going to go to all the trouble of pulling out the vacuum cleaner and drag it around the room, why not turn the darn thing on and do it right? It will give you much better results.

As to the conclusion of vacuuming saga of my teenage son – when he moved out I ripped up all his carpet and threw it in the dumpster. Then installed hardwood floors.

Who, besides me, loved Michael Keaton as Mr. Mom?? He’s still dreamy!!

 

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Having trouble trying to describe your vacuuming prowess? Let’s have a conversation. Click here Let’s talk! to set up a time for us to talk about how we can power up your Resume, LinkedIn or job search.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Why Your LinkedIn & Resume Are Flatlining – And How To Revive Them

Are you sending out resumes that are getting lost in the blackhole of no responses?

Are people looking at your LinkedIn but not connecting or responding?

These are two strong indicators that your resume and LinkedIn profile are dead. Or dying a slow painful death.

What happened? You’re using keywords to describe your experience. It should be obvious that you are a match. Why won’t someone talk to you? Why is your resume or LinkedIn on life support or worse?

Because you are not talking with anyone. You’re writing at them.

That’s the cause of death.

Here are the symptoms

Is your job description your main points? Are you trying to talk “resume” or “professional”? If so, you’re not engaging. You are not only killing your brand; you’re killing the conversation before it starts.

You’ve got your eyes closed, hands over your ears talking in a different language to the person in front of you. You can’t have or invite a conversation that way, now can you?

Here’s the why

Resumes are a funny thing. No, strike that. Resumes stink. They are in a weird language, use the assumed “I”, and you’re not sure of what to include, how, or even the current rules. Writing your resume is a frustrating, mind numbing, nerve racking, exercise of torture.

Given this set up, is it any wonder that most people do what is easiest – use their job description as bullet points? No, of course not.

But easy isn’t always right.

The problem in doing so is many:

  1.  You are not conveying value.
  2. You are writing what you were hired to do.
  3. No one cares what you were hired to do.
  4. They only pay attention to what happens when you do it.
  5. They only care when it relates to them – what can you do for them.

In other words: boring, irrelevant, snooze fest, they have moved on. That’s if someone actually reads it. If it is your resume, it probably hasn’t passed the ATS system. But that’s another conversation.

Here’s the fix

Stop trying to be the right words and be you.

Have a conversation. I know resumes are a bit awkward. I call them an arm’s length conversation. You aren’t sure who is going to read them so it might be a bit removed, but you are still having a conversation.

Talk to them!

Take those bullet points, job duties, and bring them to life. Tell them why they want to talk to you. Break them down to include points of interest. Do so by examining them with these questions:

  1. Who did you work with?
  2. How did you work with them?
  3. What did you do?
  4. How did something or someone benefit from this?
  5. How is it better since YOU did it?
  6. What is unique about how you did it?
  7. What was the problem?
  8. Why was there a need for this?

It’s a bit of storytelling, a dash of context, sprinkling of keywords, and a whole lot of demonstrated value. Mix this all up and you have a conversation starter.

Talk with your reader. Imagine them asking you a question – “tell me about a time you fixed this problem”. Then answer it speaking to them directly, without the $10 words and fluff. Tell them what matters to them in a fast and understandable way.

If you drone on in person, people will tune you out. Drone on in your resume, they do the same thing.

Now LinkedIn is a bit different. The conversation changes. Instead of an arm’s length, it is now a one-on-one with the person you want to read your profile.

Think of it – and write it – from this context. You’re sitting in one of those ridiculously overstuffed chairs in a foo-foo coffee house across from your target reader. They ask you to tell them about yourself.

How do you answer that?

If you answer it like your resume, “I’m a senior technical professional with 20+ years’ experience….” Zzzzzzzz You killed the conversation. Why? Because no one talks like that in real life!

Answer it as a person. A real-life person facing another real-life person. What would you say – in person – in that casual, professional environment?

One of my most favorite examples is a client with boundless energy. And a LinkedIn opening of: “I am a TITLE with COMPANY who covers TERRITORY.” Zzzzzzz

We captured her energy by opening a conversation with an engaging statement that represents her, her industry, and her clients. In less than 10 seconds you know she is an influencer, a winner with a healthy balance of work and play.

We used “me”, “my”, “I” and “our” in her profile. She is talking directly with her audience.

Her views shot up 300% in the first week and recruiters were engaging with her.

Summary

Yesterday I talked to a young man frustrated at the lack of responses and engagement. When he explained to me one of his bullet points, he could tell me the value. His resume was a job duty. He exclaimed, “I don’t know what to say or how to say it!

My answer – to him and to you – stop talking at someone using words, phrases or even a style that isn’t natural. Pretend you are talking to me. And be you.

You are going to get noticed and hired due to a combination of things. Your experience, skills, expertise, and/or potential. But don’t forget the most important part of that equation, what it all starts with, even that sentence: you.

How can you tweak your profile to invite a conversation?

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

How To Use “I Don’t Know” In An Interview To Convey 5 Positive Business Attributes

It’s okay to say “I don’t know.” Sometimes it is better than okay, it is absolutely the right thing to do. Trying to come up with (or fake) an answer can be unintentionally amusing, or it can be be detrimental to your career.

Recently, I got a funny instead of an “I don’t know” A little TMI warning – I’m exploring HRT. I was given a new script and asked the pharmacist what’s the problem of too much estrogen and how will I know. His answer:

“You cry a lot.”

Oh my. He was serious. I thought it was hilarious, thought I don’t know that anyone else would have thought so. I have a weird sense of humor. Maybe next time an I don’t know followed by check with your doctor, let me ask, let me look it up…. anything really.

I used to be afraid of admitting that I didn’t know something. I was told it was a sign of weakness. How can anyone take you as an authority, a leader, if you don’t know the answers.

The problem was, I’m not good at faking. But I was good at learning. So I decided if I was going to be seen as an unauthoritative weak leader, I was at least going to be helpful.

I learned to say, “I don’t know, but I will find the answer.”

Do you even realize how powerful that statement is?

It’s liberating!

It freed me from trying to be perfect or something I wasn’t. I did not have to meet some unrealistic expectation.

And the lucky break! I would get excited because I saw it as a golden opportunity to learn something new. I love learning. Phyllis Diller attributed her longevity and success partially to learning something new every day.

You are never so far advanced in your career that you know everything and no longer need to learn.

To anyone who is like I was, afraid to admit not knowing something, either in an interview or early in your career, I say:

Don’t be.

Here’s something that will take this liberating phrase up a notch to make it even more powerful. I wish I would have figure this out back then… Here how “I don’t know” can be a positive differential in your interview.

Don’t say you will learn or find the answer. Prove it.

How?

Use an example. There is some time in your past you did not know something you needed to know. How did you find it out, how did you solve the challenge, how did you win over that problem?

A solid example with a positive result will prove at least five positive attributes:

  1.  Credibility – backing up your words with demonstrated past action
  2.  A problem solver – able to discover or use resources to find a solution
  3.  Self-aware – willing to admit when they don’t know something
  4.  A go-getter – willing to go after the next step, or create it
  5.  A self-starter – able to craft a solution

There is one slight ring of truth to the don’t know equals a weakness – if it stops at “I don’t know.” If you don’t go beyond, prove your power, and learn from it then yes, “I don’t know” can be seen as a weakness.

You are a lot more powerful that you give yourself credit. Amp it up by admitting you don’t know then ferociously go after that knowledge. What a rush of satisfaction to learn something new!

With my last I don’t know I did learn the symptoms and some interesting alternatives. What’s the last fun thing you learned from an “I don’t know” moment?

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Don’t Bad Mouth – Ever – You Never Know Who You Are Talking To…

I love hearing stories of six degrees of separation aka Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. It is fascinating to me how we are all connected. And it isn’t just across boardrooms or cubicle farms.

This just happened and it is one of the most fun ones I’ve come across. Let me plot it out….

  • Chief worked with Rizzo in a small town in Tennessee before Rizzo was transferred to Virginia.
  • Chief’s daughter, her husband and their kids live far south in Florida.
  • Chief’s granddaughter’s soccer team played in a tournament in California.
  • Rizzo messaged Chief that he just met Chief’s daughter and family pool side in California.

You just never know who you are going to run into and how you will do it. This is why it is just best that you do not speak harshly or badmouth anyone or any company. It could damage your career, or future opportunities.

I know we all have a bad experience now and then. A company you may have hated working for is the exact same company that someone else’s father built or that they are very proud to work for that company.

You can’t be bitter about a past and taste the sweet success of the future at the same time. Just can’t happen. Those are two extremes. Decide which is most important to you and go with it.

If you want to be mad, you have every right – go for it. Just don’t be surprised when you stay stuck in that mad space or things don’t move forward for you. You’re going to get what you radiate.

It’s like being bitter at that person for dumping you. You get a bit of time to do so. But after a while there is no way a decent person is gong to be interested or interested for long. That bitterness oozes out and repels people.

Not throwing stones, I’ve been there, done this. But I finally woke up and was able to find something I could appreciate out of that relationship. I had to dig deep to rise above and find it. I about dug to China for that one. But I did and shortly after doing so, I healed and amazing people started to enter my life.

Some might think it hard to find the six degrees of connectivity when they meet a stranger. I challenge you to take it a step further and do so from a completely positive perspective. That’s when you’ll really find some awesome connections!

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Resumes & Interviewing – What To Do With That Wackadoodle Job

I have purple hair. Wasn’t supposed to, didn’t mean to – but there it is. It is a lovely combination of deep lavender melded within dark silver…

Whatever. You can put a pig in Armani and it’s still a pig.

My hair is purple.

It’s about now that one of my favorite sayings comes into play: failure isn’t fatal. Winston Churchill, Mike Ditka, and Don Shula said some version of this, but the bottom line is the same:

Failure isn’t fatal.

This is not fatal. Now I find it hysterical. Because it freaked Chief out.

I have long hair and a boyfriend who really likes my long hair and really, really likes it blonde.

When he first saw it, I can’t count the number of “𝘖𝘏. 𝘔𝘠. 𝘎𝘖𝘋. 𝙬𝙝𝙖𝙩 𝙝𝙖𝙥𝙥𝙚𝙣𝙚𝙙???” that came out of him. It’s 𝙢𝙮 𝙝𝙖𝙞𝙧 but he’s the one having a meltdown. One more guy thing I don’t understand.

But I digress.

My point was this isn’t going to kill me. No mistake or failure is really can’t be classified as a failure if you learn from them.

What I have learned – some people aren’t the best with toners and my hair really takes to purple and not in a pretty purple sort of way.

So what does purple hair have to do with careers and resumes? Don’t freak out over your purple hair position. Temporary purple hair is your wackadoodle job.

Maybe somewhere in your career, you had a job that made absolutely no sense to your career. It was a filler or a mistake. Whatever it was, you feel like it is the pink elephant in the middle of your resume or in your interview.

It’s not.

There is something to be learned or gained from every single position that you take. You learned or reinforced a skill. Discovered something new. That discovery doesn’t have to be positive. You may have learned that you really, really don’t like that industry or type of position. That’s still learning something.

Now take it to the next level. If you learned you didn’t like a certain aspect or job, turn it into a positive. It pushed you to dive into another aspect, more education, training, or something that was a better fit.

Spinning the experience to a positive show maturity and intelligence. That is something an employer wants to see and hear.

Pretty much everyone has had a weird job that made no sense, was a disaster or a mistake. And pretty much everyone survives from them. It’s all in your perception and what you choose to do with the experience.

Have some fun with it. The more positive and light you can be about it, the less it will concern others.

For me, I’ve got a couple weeks before my next speaking engagement… I may let the purple reign just to torture Chief a bit longer. That’s not too mean, give me a break here, I’ve got to have some fun with this purple hair!

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

No, I’m not kidding, there is more than one type of cover letter

I literally said this to someone at the gym the other morning.

Perhaps not the way I would normally respond, but give me a break, it was early. Chief somehow gets us to the gym in the ungodly hour of 5 am so I wake up sometime around 6ish on a treadmill.

The guys at the gym know what I do. Not that they asked me. They asked Chief.  It’s the southern manners, they often talk to the man instead of the woman.

It’s very interesting, especially for someone not from the south. The closest I get to being a Southern Belle is Carol Burnett’s Scarlette.

On this day, Chief was out of town so it was just me. Somehow, a couple of the guys were talking about early retirement, changing jobs, job searching – you know, stuff up my alley. Then I hear one tell the other that it’s good for him to keep his resume updated all the time (true) but not to worry about a Cover Letter, they’re dead.

Wait. What?

Now boys, I appreciate the southern charm, I really do. However, that advise is as useful as a steering wheel on a mule. And you’re fixin’ to get me riled up.

Too late, riling happened. I had to interject. Because, you know, this is what I do….

Now if you think a couple of good ol’ boys are going to believe a girl who’s just about knee-high to a duck just because she said so well then you’ve only got one oar in the water.

So after the above mentioned “No, I’m not kidding” I did convince them (and educate a little) with some Q&A:

Q: What if you saw a position posted and they asked for a cover letter? Oh, well yeah…
A: That’s right, you would have to write a Traditional Cover Letter, which targets a specific job in a company.

Q: What if you were referred to send your resume to someone in the company? Uh, the same thing?
A: Just about, just a tiny technicality in calling it a Referral Cover Letter which mentions the person who referred you.

Q: Now, what if you wanted to be proactive in your job search and reach out to a company, companies in an industry or an entire region to discover a position that isn’t even posted yet, create enough interest that one is created for you or make such an impression that they refer you to a hidden opportunity – meaning hardly any competition? You can do that?
A: You betcha! It’s called a Value Proposition Letter, which is a crisp, focused letter demonstrating your value. There are versions to this, with minor differences:
– A letter of interest – written without a specific job in mind to a specific company.
– A broadcast letter – written without a specific job to several employers in a targeted sector.
– A prospecting letter – without a specific job to a smaller, more targeted audience.

Q: Okay, lastly, what if you wanted to do something new but didn’t know anything about it so you wanted to reach out to someone to get their advice on how to get into their industry, find out more about what the position is like or even what else you can do once you get into it? I don’t know
A: Another letter – or email – but this time it’s a Networking Letter. You’re basically asking for an Informational Interview to get their advice or gather information about a position, industry or your job search.

My good deed and workout were done for the day.

Oh, and don’t think these things are just thrown together haphazardly. Oh no, each letter is thoroughly researched, targeted and meticulously crafted for the most impact. The most impactful and successful Value Proposition Letters are no more than 150 words – total!

Some hiring managers and recruiters may take the side of the gym boys saying the Cover Letter is dead. It may be in their eyes. But not for everyone.

I know many decision makers across multiple industries that do read the Cover Letters. Some read it before the resume and use it as a deciding factor if they want to read the resume. Some read after the resume as a test to make sure the person sounds the same in both.

Across our industry, it is generally accepted that on the low end, at least 60% of jobs are hidden – meaning they aren’t advertised. Think about it for a minute, how often do you hear or know of when a position needs to be filled, internally you hear those four little words, “do you know anyone…”?

This is why networking and hidden job market strategy using Value Proposition Letters are so amazing. They get results.

Every piece of communication is an opportunity for you to expand your network, cement your brand and open doors. Why would you turn that down? The person on the other side of the desk can choose not to read that letter, but wouldn’t you rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it?

Of course, I guess if someone doesn’t want to make the most of every possible opportunity, they have their reasons, bless their little heart.

 

Has one of these letters been successful for you? Bonus question – I had a lot of fun with the southern sayings in this – I think “bless their heart” is still my favorite. What’s your favorite or one that you don’ hear anymore? 

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals break out of a suffocating corporate existence and get happy in their career.

I’m the career alchemist – I turn job lead into career gold!

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about we can work together to get you career happy.

There are no such things as lazy hummingbirds in nature or in your career

One of my favorite birds in the hummingbird. I love watching them dance and zoom around the flowers, each other and the feeders. I love their colors and personalities. I love their symbolism, meaning, and energy in nature. The latter is why I have a little hummingbird tattooed on my ankle.

In other words: I’m a fan.

I put my feeders out a few weeks ago and let my mother know of my first sightings. Since she is in Indianapolis, I wanted to give her a heads up that they would soon be headed her way.

The other day I was telling Chief about how quickly I am having to refill my feeders and how they haven’t shown up at moms yet. That’s when he said the funniest thing.

“Do you think our hummingbirds are just the lazy ones that don’t want to fly any further North?”

No!

They are territorial little things and this is their territory, their summer home. They want to be here. They aren’t stuck here because they’re lazy! And by the way, I don’t think there is such a thing as a lazy hummingbird.

That comment not only made me laugh, but it also stuck in my head. And since my mind always twists things into a parallel for careers, personal branding or job searching, I saw a connection to how we beat ourselves up for being happy in our job or career.

It’s such a more, more, more type world. You did $50k in sales, great – now get to $100k. Your business broke the $5M mark, awesome – now do $10M. You made Manager, great – now you need to go after District Manager. With every mark you make it isn’t enough, you should be doing more. You shouldn’t rest on your laurels, keep going, strive for more, go, go, go!

Why?

What’s wrong with being happy right where you are? What if you don’t want to be that next title up? What if money or titles or prestige isn’t the most important thing to you? I’m not knocking any of those, I’m just saying what if right here is your right place?

Why are we looked at as lazy hummingbirds for staying where we are, even if we have the ability to go further?

Society expectations? Peer pressure? Parent blaming? Who knows?

The point is, stop it. If you are happy where you are, stop defending yourself. Stop thinking there is something wrong with you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you, you’ve got it all right!

You’re the lucky one: you figured out what makes you happy and you’re living it. Hooray for you! Being happy right here gives you a longer season to enjoy the sweet nectar of happiness.

 

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach, and Social Media Brand Analyst I help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.  Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about we can work together to get you unstuck