The One Question Almost Everyone Asks & Hardly Anyone Answers

Interview - how do they know you are still interested

Building a network, expanding a business, searching for a job or just being neighborly, what is one of the first questions we are asked or ask others?

What do you do?

It seems simple enough and I bet a lot of people would say that they do answer that question. What is your normal response? I’ll bet dollars to donuts it starts with “I’m a …..”

If that is your answer, you are not answering the question. Oh no you are not.

The question is what do you DO, not what is your TITLE.

Titles are boring, snippet summaries. They do not really tell what you do – except in the case of a pediatric neurosurgeon. In that case, yes, it does sum it up nicely.

But for the rest of us not saving the lives of tiny humans, our title does not – or more accurately – should not define us.

What we do is bring value to others in a unique way. It is part of what we are as a person. A title does not reflect a person. It reflects a job.  Many people can have the same title yet be on opposite ends of the spectrum in terms of value, style and ability.

Take me for example. To say I am a resume writer is partially accurate. I do write resumes. I also write LinkedIn profiles. So should I say I am a resume and LinkedIn profile writer? Nope, still just the tip of the iceberg. I also coach and train on networking, leadership, communication, interviewing, negotiation, branding….and let’s not overlook that I do not just work with those who are unemployed. I work with leaders going to the next level, those who want to improve their effectiveness where they are, athletes, coaches, trainers, motivators, entrepreneurs, heads of corporations and more. I build confidence, bring out their inner rock star, support, give a little kick in the toushy when needed, challenge, celebrate… Saying I am a resume writer does not encompass all of that.

Oh, and let’s not forget – there are many others that are resume writers, coaches etc. What makes me different? Well, my work is comprehensive not volume based. I get to know my clients. I don’t rely solely on questionnaires. I really give a damn about my clients and their success. Our work is interactive, they have skin in the game. I am tenacious in getting them to where they want to be. I love what I do and bring fun into the equation. I have real conversations, ask tough questions, support them through the process and the best feeling in the world for me is when someone reads what we have put together and they say, “Holy crap – I’m awesome!”

Replying with “I’m a resume writer” really falls short of all that now doesn’t it?

So what is it that you do? How do you do it better than anyone else? And yes, you do what you do better than anyone else. How? By the way you do the thing you do, maybe by your approach or mindset. Whatever it is that makes you awesome, own it by giving yourself permission to say so. Once you figure that out, NOW you can get down to really answering the question.

So tell me, what do you do?

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principal of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

 

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Don’t Let an Assumption Kill Your Job Search or Its Progress

fender bender

 

Chief is going to get a new truck because someone is going to hit his.

Let me clarify two things here. First, Chief is the boyfriend. He is a Chief in the Navy hence the moniker.  He has waned back and forth about getting a new truck. It is time for an upgrade, he’s done a lot of research but yet he hasn’t pulled the trigger just yet.  Second, I am not willing or hoping for this accident; I just noticed a pattern and realized someone hitting his truck will be the catalyst in pushing him into that decision.

Every morning we go to the gym at an ungodly hour. On our way back, we pass a school. Sometimes, if we are running a bit late, we pass by when parents are dropping off their kids early. The road in front of the school bends to the left, which takes us back home.  Immediately before the bend is an entrance on the right into the school. Most people leaving this entrance turn left, crossing in front of us.

I noticed almost every single person leaving the school assumes we are turning into the school and therefore whip out in front of us. We have had several near misses. Even using the turn signal indicating we are turning left, they still whip out there. I can understand the assumption as this is not a well-traveled road and most people would assume the only ones on this road are parents or teachers heading to the school.

This is a dangerous assumption and at some point, I am going to look down from the truck and see the hood of a Nissan stuck in my door.

My brother helped me learn how to spell assume with the little tidbit of “never assume, it makes an ‘ass’ out of ‘u’ and ‘me’”. Yes, I know he didn’t make it up himself, but he was my big brother and one of my heroes so I’m giving it to him.

This tidbit got stuck in my head forever. It has helped me beyond remembering how to spell the word, it has been a sage piece of advice.

I normally find I assume in two situations. One, when I am being lazy.  I make a quick evaluation of facts, act quickly to save time and if I was wrong, telling the other person that ‘I just assumed’ is my half-hearted apology.   The second is when I am fearful. I assume I didn’t hear back because they didn’t like me.

Some things I think are in our general nature to assume. Face it, if you see a seven-foot tall man walking down the street – doesn’t the word ‘basketball’ immediately come into your mind?  People make assumptions about me all the time based on my size and height. That’s fine. It’s pretty harmless.

But when you make assumptions during your job search, it can be like looking down at a Nissan buried in your door.

Just because you had a great interview, do not assume you are a shoe-in for the job. Follow up with a thank you maintaining professionalism and interest.  They may be assuming you are no longer interested in the position because you have not expressed a continued interest after the interview.

Just because you have not heard back from the interviewers, do not assume you did not get the job.  There may be an internal snag in the process or the decision makers have to focus on another priority at the moment. You just do not know.  Reach back out respectfully and professionally to remind them of your interest and ask if you can provide any additional information for their consideration.

Just because you landed the job, do not assume that you know everything to know about it. Every job, even if it is a lateral move, is an opportunity for growth and learning. You are the new kid; take a look at this environment with fresh eyes. Take it all in to see where you can improve yourself or the system.

Just because you are not employed, due to termination, downsizing or your choice to leave, do not assume this is a negative for the next employer. Life happens. Companies downsize and people are let go. Sometimes we recognize it was a horrible place to work. As mentioned before, every job is an opportunity. Find the positives in that last one and speak from that perspective. Do not bad-mouth anyone or any company. It comes across as bitter.

Just because you are on either end of the age scale – too young or too old, do not assume you won’t or can’t get hired. Everyone has valuable qualities to bring to an organization. Youth brings fresh perspective, a willingness to learn, adaptability, more of a mindset that anything is possible. Age bring maturity, life experience, ability to stay calm during storms having been through them before and patience. 

Just because you have only done this one thing throughout your career, do not assume you cannot change careers. The skills you developed in that one thing are probably a good match to another field. Take a step back and analyze what it takes to do the new thing. What are the underlying skills needed to complete the tasks? Communication, relationship building, working with cross-functional teams, organization, some financial aspects? Now take a look back at your old thing and see how you used these skills. That is your common denominator and the value you bring to the new field, industry, company.

 

Give yourself a break. Before you act upon that assumption, take a moment to ask yourself where is it coming from. Is it a bit of slacking or a bit of fear? If either of these are the root cause, take a deep breath and either ask the question or take a more bold action.  This can save you a lot of headache, heartache and damage to your vehicle.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

You Didn’t Come Off an Assembly Line, Your Resume Shouldn’t Look or Sound Like You Did

hamburger assembly

 

The two hardest parts of writing your resume (or any branding piece) is making it sound like you and describing what you do.

When wanting to convey what you do, the default in describing what you do is to rely on your job description.  After all, it describes your job, right? Eh. Maybe.  One problem with using a job description is that it only tells what you were hired to do, not what you did.

The other problem with using a job description is it does not reflect you.  There may be many, many other people that can use the same job description so there is no differential.

Think about McDonald’s.

McDonald’s is known as being a beast of systems.  There is a system in place for everything they do.  Visit a McDonald’s in Indiana and you will be greeted with the same environment and food as a McDonald’s in Tennessee.

In theory, yes.

But have you ever been to a good McDonald’s and a bad McDonald’s? There are two McDonald’s near me that exist within 10 miles of each other but could not be more worlds apart.

The closest McDonald’s is what I call Bad McDonald’s. It literally would take me less than two minutes to run up there and get a half cut sweet tea (a weakness of mine). Yet I will gladly drive 15 minutes further to go to the good McDonald’s.

Why?  The drink is the same from the same company – what makes good McDonald’s worth the extra drive?

The way they do the things they do.

Bad McDonald’s

Bad McDonald’s is dirty. I have seen in the last 12 months only one employee cleaning and that is the young man who is assigned to the outside of the restaurant.  He’s a worker. There is often trash on the floor throughout the inside and on the drink station.  The crew is on a continual rotation of new people whom I have yet to seen smile. I have never seen them trained, but often barked at for not moving fast enough. It is hard to move fast when you don’t know where you are supposed to go or how to operate the register.

It has a vibe of depression.  Orders are often returned for being wrong, young staff is yelled at, the inside is dirty and the management do not seem to care.  I once walked in and saw the manager eating a Pizza Hut pizza in the dining room. One of the newbies had a question so the manager walked behind the counter, looked at the register, shrugged her shoulders and said, “I donno” and went back out to the dining room – all while carrying a half-eaten slice of pizza in their hand!  I left.

Good McDonald’s

Good McDonald’s is spotless inside and out. There is always a worker floating in the dining area to great every person, pick up trash and check on patrons. When ordering you are greeted with an authentic friendly hello and how are you today. Orders are taken quickly. The entire crew works together, smoothly, never seeming to be unfazed no matter how busy it is. They are a well-oiled machine who seems to really enjoy working together and what they do.

Think about your job.  Other people may do the same job that you do, but which McDonald’s are you?

The differential is going to be how you describe what you do, using words that reflect who you are.

Think about the tasks at your position. How do you approach or complete them in a way that is different – dare I say better – than anyone else? What about how you work with other people? What makes life easier for others in working with you rather than someone else?

When you describe these things, use words that feel right to you.  If you are high energy and bring that to the workforce using your powers for good, use words like revamp, champion, launched – words that resonate with your energy level.

In a world of McDonald’s, find a way to differentiate yourself.  Demonstrating your value in your voice is going to be the determining factor for that employer to want to go the extra miles to make you a part of their winning crew.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

Don’t Let Anyone Tell You What You SHOULD Be – Be What You Want

boy superman

 

When I was in college studying Criminal Justice, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do with it, maybe become an attorney or work in a forensics lab.  Although I didn’t’ know, I was given plenty of suggestions.

My brother squelched the attorney thought (he was right) and my dad said I should be a Park Ranger. Wait, what? Now I love the outdoors and the fishing/hiking trips my family took but to go all in?  That one really took me and my mom for a loop.  I think he was suggesting that because he was an avid fisherman and outdoors guy and having a daughter who was a Park Ranger could be beneficial to see more national parks.

Needless to say, I did not become a Park Ranger or an attorney.

I was reminded of this quirky family story the other day when I got an unexpected email. The sender was super excited to tell me about the jobs listed within the email for which I was a perfect match! These positions included:

  • Facilities Coordinator
  • Administrative Assistant
  • Team Leader- Electronic Monitoring
  • Trial Attorney
  • Concierge
  • Project Manager

I am not making those up.  How in the world am I qualified to be a Trial Attorney? Seriously? I thought about it once, but really? But this email got me to thinking about ‘advice’.

Sometimes we get stuck where we are and are not sure what we want to do next or even what we want to be when we grow up. That is when we ask for advice. In this moment of doubt about ourselves or our career, we may start giving other people’s opinions more credence than our own. Stop that.

One of the most important and often underutilized or recognized tools in job searching, career changing, or really life is your gut. Listen to it. Listen to it more than you do anyone else.

It is okay not to know what to do next.  There is nothing wrong with that, it is normal. Just stay in that place for a bit and instead of asking everyone else first, ask yourself: what do you want to do.  Notice I did not say what are you qualified to do, what kind of job do you think you could get – no, what do you want to do?

Do not get caught up in the “I have only ever done this” or “I am not qualified to do that”. What do you want to do? When you acknowledge it, does it feel right in your gut? Great, that is your starting point.  Now you can start planning.  Look at your transferable skills, how to they match up?  How do you break into that field? Is there a lower level that your skills match up with to gain the experience? Is there training or education that you can earn? Where there is a will, there is a way. You just need a North to set your compass.

It may not happen in a day or week or month, it may take over a year or so; but having a goal that rings true to you is worth pursuing.

I am not saying do not ask advice, it is wonderful to get the input of our friends, family and others. Yet we need to take it in with a filter. If someone suggests you try a whole new avenue in your career, instead of just going with it, ask them why.  Maybe they see something in you that you have not seen before or in yourself.  In that situation, fantastic – they are helping you learn more about yourself.

If they can’t give you a solid reason, take it with a grain of salt, smile and thank them.

This is your path to create and we continue to create it throughout our entire career.  It is not a one and done so take your time. Spend time listening to your gut, intuition, the little voice – whatever you want to call it.  Remember your filters when soliciting advice from others and above all else – enjoy the process of change and discovery!

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

 

“For Your Career or to Find a Job You HAVE to …. “ Nope, No I Don’t

dont have to cant make me

Have you ever met a person that when they are told that they can’t do something, they dig in their heels to want to do it even more?

No?

Well, hello, my name is Lisa – nice to meet you.  Now you have.

You can thank my dad.  He taught me at a very, very young age there is nothing I cannot do and don’t let anyone tell me otherwise. That thought grew into a stubborn determination and, admittedly, times of “I’ll prove you wrong”.

It also morphed into a natural aversion to anything following the phrase “you HAVE to…”

The aversion turns to complete shut down when the have to is used as some sort of threat or fear tactic. I don’t do threats. I don’t work with people who try to scare me into hiring them.

Recently I was contacted by a marketing professional who was willing to help me with my marketing. (I chose the words in that previous sentence carefully with the right amount of sarcasm – willing, help, professional)

He did a preliminary scan of my online presence and during our conversation mentioned that he could not find me on Facebook.  This was followed, in a commanding, condescending tone, with “you have to be on Facebook or you just aren’t relevant.”

Nope.

No.

You see, here is the thing – I am on Facebook (and I am relevant, thank you very much). My company is also on Facebook. Those are two distinct profiles. My personal Facebook is just that – personal. It is not open for the world to view and I only connect with people I know and like. It is my Facebook page, I get to do that.

I have nothing against business owners who open their Facebook to the world or connect with all their clients, prospects and anyone else. More power to them.  If that works for them – awesome, because my online presence separation works for me.  I connect with my professional sphere through LinkedIn.

I do not make blanket recommendations for every client. Not every single client of mine needs to get off Facebook and conversely, not every single client of mine needs to be on LinkedIn.

I love LinkedIn yet I am realistic – it is not a platform that is best for everyone. An example would be some in the financial industry. Their company may have very restrictive parameters for their LinkedIn profile, if they are allowed to have one. It defeats the whole purpose of conveying yourself in an authentic manner when you have compliance dictating what you can say or giving you a script.

While you are in your job search or expansion, personally, I would be wary of anyone telling you that you have to do something or you just won’t succeed.

Let me take it a step further: if you are looking to move forward in your career or looking for the next right job, please allow me to offer a piece of advice.  Research, read and talk to as many people as you desire or can stand about the process; then dismiss everything that doesn’t work for you.

If you research resume writing you will find more articles and information than one person can possibly digest.  It can be overwhelming. It can also be confusing because often, the advice you find contradicts itself.  There are no hard fast rules to resume writing, so see if you can determine common themes of the advice given.  Then apply those for your situation.

If you come across anyone telling you that you have to do something that does not feel right to you, don’t do it. Do not let them threaten you and make you think or feel that you won’t get a job without their advice or help. Also, do not let them scare you into something that makes you uncomfortable. It is wrong, bad business practice and, personally, I think bullying.

My personal favorite way to handle that is when told I have to do something I reply with “No I don’t.”  If they insist on pushing it further and up the ante on the bullying, I respond with something to the effect of I’m a grown up, I don’t have to do anything and they aren’t my dad, they can’t make me.

Hey, if they are going to be childish in trying to threaten or bully me, then they deserve that. It normally does the trick on ending the conversation and any potential future conversations all in one shot.

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I think we all have a career search horror story about being bullied. Mine was when I was in my early 20s I went to a placement firm and was told by the ‘gentleman’ I met with that I would never find a job without his help and my young son would starve. (He literally said that! Not cool to say to a single mother!) The cost of his services: over $5,000 (this was over 20 years ago) and the positions I was looking for were non-executive administrative.  Needless to say, I did not sign up!  But phooey on him, I got a job a couple weeks later at a higher level, great pay at an amazing company.

What was the dumbest/bully-ish/fear factor experience you had in your job search?

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

If You Don’t Know What It Is It Ain’t You

Doggone Dinosaur

 

Recently I was reminded of a time the boyfriend and I were in Washington DC.  We set out to do a bit of sightseeing that day and the first order of business was finding a central place to park. At the time we did not realize what a challenge parking in Washington DC was, but we soon learned.

 

The thing that struck us was there were plenty of open parking spaces, but they all came with their own little signs. They were all designated for some specific group.  After searching for a bit – I cannot say how long, but if you ask the boyfriend it was a very….very….long…..time, he was ready to throw in the towel. He suggested we just park in one of the designated spots because they were all empty.

 

This is when I think a bit of  my mother comes out in me.  She is always the voice of reason.  I asked him if he knew what that designation meant (“no”) so I said, “If you don’t know what it is then it ain’t you.”

 

Side note, we found a safe spot not too far from one of the Smithsonians and a happy sightseeing day ensured.

 

The point of this little parking adventure story is the comment that I made, which I found myself saying again recently.

 

I was talking to an individual who wanted something more in their career.  They felt they outgrew their current position and after recently earning a degree.  They wanted to take the next step.  Actually, they wanted to leapfrog a few rungs up that ladder.

 

Let me say this: I absolutely appreciate education.  I am all for it and actively pursue it myself.  I have my advanced learning goals all planned out.  The next adventure begins after the first of the year.

 

With that said, a diploma or degree does not automatically qualify you for shooting up the career ladder.

 

This individual was having no part of that thought.  They dug their heels in that their degree equated to making strides well beyond their capabilities.  We discussed a potential job of interest.  When asked ‘how your experience equates to this duty’ they started to falter, but still held tight.  When I asked them what a particular required aspect meant, they said they did not know.

 

That’s when the parking line came out.

 

If you do not know what the job needs, entails or have any relatable experience – you are not it.  You can have all the ambition and amazing work ethic as one person can possibly have, but if you cannot demonstrate how you fit the requirement – you are not it.

 

Wanting it is not enough.  Wanting that parking space and taking it would have gotten us towed.  You have to prove it.  This is not a matter of a job description using different terminology to what you do in a tə-MAH-toh versus tə-MAY-toh kind of way. This is a no clue what that even means kind of way.

 

Not every accolade or accomplishment is going to boost you up that ladder, but they will help you get there one step at a time.  You can make those steps faster when you learn to prove you are what they want and need.  That comes with doing it.  So keep doing it, aim high, keep getting knowledge, education and experience and keep moving forward.  Your ladder awaits!

 

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

They Don’t Like You and That is Okay

sticking tongue out

There are times that I talk to someone who is in the midst of job transition and they tell me, with a great deal of frustration, that they use their current resume to apply to everything and never hear back.

My initial response to that is “don’t do that.”

You see, when you apply to everything using one form, you match with nothing.  One size does not fit all.  It is important that you tweak your resume to match with what that employer wants.  Sometimes those tweaks are making sure you bring out more of one quality than another.

For example, if they want someone who has experience as a Zebra wrangler and a bit of Cobra coaching and your resume speaks equally to Zebra wrangling, Cobra coaching and Ant farming, well then a modification needs to take place.  Highlight more of the Zebra with second emphasis on Cobras.

But, they still might not call you.  Even if you match up on their ATS pretty well (the software that analyzes your resume against their opening), they still might not call you.

Why? They may not like you.

“Hey! That’s not fair, they don’t even know me, how can they not like me?!” you might say.

You are right, they do not know you because dollars to donuts you are not in your resume.  This is the voice part that is very important.

It is about fit.  It is about culture.  If you are doing any type of research on job transition you have surely run across articles that speak to the importance of company culture and finding individuals who fit in or can thrive within a company’s culture.

If you are a very outgoing person, full of energy, really bring the life to the relationships and help people and processes get better every day but your resume looks like it was shot down the side with a BB gun and would put you to sleep reading it  – then you are not in your resume.

If you are a behind the scenes kind of person who likes the analysis and roll up your sleeves kind of work to make a difference, putting a splashy resume full of high energy words is not you.  You are not in your resume.

When someone reads your resume – and yes, people do read them after the computer is done – they form an image of you based on the words you chose.  Much like forming a picture of a character of a book based on the words the author uses.  If that image matches with what they want, and what is in line with their company and culture, you will hear from them.

If not, then that phone just won’t ring.

What if you are in your resume, and you are matching the keywords and concepts for each job, and you are still not hearing back?  Well, sorry cupcake, they may not like you. And that is a good thing.

It is a fact that not everyone in the world is going to like you or me or anyone else for that matter.  You have heard the old phrase, ‘not everyone’s cup of tea’?  I was once told “sweetie, you are not a cup of tea, you are a shot of tequila”.  I am more than okay with that.

Not all clients are a great fit for me and I am not a great fit for all clients.  That is why I insist on a conversation before accepting any projects.  Rarely do I come across someone that it is not a good fit.  I put myself out there in my LinkedIn, website and articles who I am and I know that it resonates with the people I like to work with: amazing, fun, intelligent, compassionate professionals who blow me away with their talent, career and genuine personalities.

Back to you, in our prior two examples: the bubbly and the behind the scenes, if you are the bubbly and they want behind the scenes – or visa-versa – they probably won’t call.  That is a good thing.

Think about it, if you like doing your own thing – do you really want to work for a company who wants and expects you to be the bubbly?  No!  If you are bubbly are you really going to be happy relocated to a little cube somewhere in the back without any team interaction? No!

This is when it is time to look at what you are applying for and get a sense of them.  Just as they form an image or impression off of what you have presented, you need to do the same for the company and position.  Do your homework.  If it feels like a drag then do not apply.  Why set yourself up for rejection of something you really did not want in the first place?  Talk about adding salt to the wound!

Some job descriptions are horrendously written.  I mean, c’mon, could you be any more vague?  That is when you need to do some research on the company – if it is listed.  Dig deep, look at other similar openings (if the position is new to you) and get a sense of the job.

Here are three steps to help you hear from the right ones:

  1. Get a feel for the job and company. Really feel it out. Do not check off all the skills that meet what they list – read it.  Listen to it and listen to your gut.  Does it sound like a fit for you beyond the skill set?
  2. Now go back and highlight the keywords and phrases. Match those in your resume and cover letter.
  3. Read your resume again and make sure you are in there. Describe what you did by how you did it and start using words that really resonate with you.  Bubbly might use revitalized, revamped, revolutionized (quite the busy little bee, weren’t they?) and do your own thing might use words like structured, architected, executed.

 

Stop applying for things you do not want.  You are wasting your time and setting yourself up for rejection or worse, getting the job and hating it.  Be you. Do you. Bring it in your resume and allow that right company to see you and come get you!

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

 

 

5 Power Words For Today’s World

manners maketh mann

Communication in the current state of the world has evolved – or degraded – to short, concise communication.  Think texting, tweeting and any other short form of communicating.  It is a ‘tell me quick and tell me now’ kind of philosophy.

Even in resumes, you want to get your message across quickly, clearly and succinctly; less words more white space.  You have seconds and inches to get attention and make an impact.

I live in this world. I get the purpose and power of short communication.

With that being said, there are five words that are being more frequently dropped from communication outside the resume: face to face, emails, Skyping, phone calls, networking, introductions, casual conversations – the list goes on.  They need to come back. Pronto.

These five words are power.  These words are ones that most people know yet are neglecting to use, normally on the premise of time.

Without further ado, here are the five words:

Please  ~  Thank You  ~  I Apologize

I am a huge fan of manners.  Like Harry the Kingsman says: “Manners Maketh Man”.  I remember reading Miss Manners in the newspaper as a kid.  When I tell my dogs to do something, instead of ‘good boy’ sometimes I say ‘thank you’. Yes, I was a bit of an odd child and possibly an even odder adult.

My parents and grandmother instilled the importance of manners in me while growing up.  I instilled it in my son. Sometimes I think my lessons took in a little too deep when, as a child, he would hold the door open for someone and if they did not say ‘thank you’ he would blurt out rather loudly, ‘You’re welcome’ after they were well clear of the door.

Poor boyfriend.  He is a Chief in the Navy and it is sometimes difficult for him to adjust when he gets home.  What is a request on base sounds like a command at home without the power words.  Although, he does realize he has not made the transition to ‘home mind’ when, after a command, I simply look at him and say, “Please?”

In everyday communication, without manners, without these power words, what we say or write can come across as commands.

This week I have received a few commands, which prompted me down the rabbit hole of manners and ultimately here writing this.

  • “Send me this”
  • “Call me this afternoon”
  • “Go to our website”
  • “I got it.”
  • “I’ll reschedule”
  • Do this. Do That.
  • You are not important.
  • My time is more valuable

These last three can be construed as the real message without power words. How much more respectful, professional and inviting would it be to simply put a ‘please’, ‘thank you’ or ‘I apologize’ in there?  A lot!

By the way, I am using “I apologize” instead of “I am sorry” for a specific reason.  I am sorry is too often overused and ignored by most people.  It can be seen as a canned response or knee jerk reaction.  When my son was growing up, and to this day, when he says, “I’m sorry” I follow up with “For what?”  I make him explain why his is sorry to make sure it is not a canned response. I would not suggest doing this with your network.

I know we have such limited time in the day.  There are times that I am being absent minded or rushed and I forget to say please or thank you.  I hate when I do this.  When I realize it, I go back.  Yes, I do. I re-respond apologizing for sounding blunt or rude and then thank them or ask nicely properly.

There are also times that you need to respond quickly to someone you know well.  In the rare occurrence that the boyfriend sends me a link or message during the day, I do respond with “Got it” because I know he is very busy and not engaged in ‘home thinking’.  This, for him, is good manners – recognizing that I received his communication, the thank you will be said later in home-mode. So yes, you can get a pass now and then.

Other than that, no.  There is no excuse for not using manners and showing appreciation or recognition to those that you are interacting with at some level.

I realize there might be some that doubt how powerful these words really are, so let’s try this: test it.  For a few days or a week, be very mindful in your communication and start adding ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to your communication.  After the designated timeframe, evaluate the communication that ensued.  I would bet dollars to donuts that the responses were more open, communicative and your messages were received in a more positive manner.

Please try it, if for no other reason than to start a return of manners. Thank you.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

 

 

Help A Recruiter Help You

good eggs and bad eggs

 

Recently, I have noticed a bit of recruiter bashing. I will be honest, there are some recruiters out there that deserve the unkind words and vented frustrations. Another point of honesty – I know more who do not; in fact, they are outstanding professionals and people. Unfortunately, they suffer from the actions in the first group.

A bad experience can certainly taint your view; I completely understand that. Yet give me just a few moments of your time and lend me your ear (or eyes) to give you a different perspective.

There Are Good Eggs & There Are Bad Eggs

When I say I understand the bad taste in your mouth after encountering a bad recruiter, I really mean it. When I was in my mid-twenties, a single mom looking to improve her lot in life, I met with a bad egg. He told me, and I remember these words verbatim, that I would not get a job without him and my son would starve, but if I paid him $5,000 he could get me a job.

Seriously?  Can you say sleazeball? To add insult to injury, he did not even talk to me about skills, career goals or talents. Just pay him the money or my kid would starve. Get outta here!

Luckily, I later met a good egg. She took the time to sit down with me, review my resume, talk with me about skills, responsibilities, strengths, ambitions etc. She hooked me up with a great company for an interview. She helped coach me and debrief after the interviews. She negotiated on my behalf and it wound up being an amazing experience and a great launch for me.

You are Not the Only One

I had to have my car worked on a month or so ago. I do not like being without transportation so having the old girl sit in the shop was hard for me. It took a bit longer than they anticipated. I wanted to get frustrated and angry, I wanted her to have her zip back and at my disposal, but there I sat, waiting impatiently, until she was ready. At home, car-less.

I had to remind myself, I was not their only customer. I was not the center of their universe.

No matter how much you should be, remember, you are not a recruiter’s only client.  If they do not respond to you within five minutes, do not throw the baby out with the bathwater.

They are Not the Only One

When my car was being held hostage (ok, not really, but it felt like it), part of the reason was that the mechanic had to order parts. Unfortunately, the vendor was not communicating promptly. They called and called the vendor and finally got a response.

The recruiter may very well be working really, really hard for you but they cannot make someone respond. If they could, trust me, they would – it would make their life a lot easier. Some companies use internal and external recruiters, while others really stink at responding.

Unfortunately, sometimes a recruiter gets a gig with a company who is clueless as to what they need and become completely scattered about requirements, salary, duties or even expected start dates.

Give them a break, they are dealing with a lot of frustration on both ends, all while really trying to help you.

They are Only Human

Sometimes it happens, mistakes are made. They are human. If they do not call you back when they said they would or you are waiting on information – call them. Make sure you had the time and date right. Don’t stew. They are they to help you, keep that communication open. If a mistake was made a good recruiter will apologize and make sure it doesn’t happen again. A bad egg will ether blame you or shrug it off.

Anne Sullivan they are Not

Recruiters work a balancing act. Their clients have needs and expectations and their candidates also have needs and expectations. Oh, if only both parties would be clear and communicative… but they are not. My mom had a saying, “if ‘ifs’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, oh what a wonderful Christmas we would all have”.   (I honestly never thought I could work that into an article, and yet, there it is – my mom will be so proud.)

From the candidate’s side, help them out. Yes, they should be talking to you about your skill set, accomplishments, talents, abilities, career goals, education, certification and all other factors that impact your candidacy. However, the onus is not only on them.

If you market yourself in person or on your resume by simply gives titles, companies, time periods and brief description of your job duties, you are making their job more difficult. How can then sell you when they don’t know what value you have to offer? Value is the key. What can you bring to an organization, what can you do for them? That is the most important question to be answered – supply it to the recruiter.

They cannot read or hear a cliff notes version of your career and immediately whip up these value selling points. They are not miracle workers. Help them out.

Their Time & Talent is Valuable

Most recruiters I know do not do resumes. That is not odd. I do not do recruiting. I specialize in personal branding and dipping my toes in the recruiting side would deflect from that. Recruiters, good recruiters, are specialists. Their time is valuable and spent cultivating relationships, leads and matching great candidates with great companies.

In short – they do not have time to redo your resume. Redoing a resume that is a cliff note version is not a quick and easy fix. A resume done right takes time. Time you do not want them to take away from finding you the right fit. They can tell you if you need to revamp your resume – but do not expect them to go through line by line to debrief you and tell you what to do. Remember, you would rather have them using their time finding your happy career place.

Ask for recommendations or do some research. Head their advice on your resume – they know. Yet do not get upset if they do not offer to redo it for you.

Another time consideration – the relationship building aspect of their job. Good recruiters have great relationships. The best have relationships with exchanges like:

Client: “we want this”  ~ Recruiter: “you need that”

You see, they cultivate these relationships to be able to know their client’s culture, values and important factors of positions, departments and the company short and long term. In other words, great recruiters partner with their clients to determine exactly what they need so when they fill it – the fit is like a glass slipper. This type of rapport, research and communication take time.  Time that does not impact their candidates, but hey, these good eggs work hard and this is an aspect I do not believe most people even consider.

Make It Easy to be Found

LinkedIn is an amazing tool utilized by recruiters. If you want to be found, you have to put out there what is important.

Hello keywords!

Yet, instead of throwing out a bunch of keywords; integrate them into your heading, opening sentence, summary and career section. Demonstrate you know what those things are and why they are important. Do not assume that having a specific title will communicate all there is to know about you.

Titles are can be a hindrance. If you are looking for a sales position, be general. The more general the term the more likely it will appear in a search. If you use, for example, Client Representative, that will not score well in a search for Sales Representative. Bring in the broader search terms to make sure you are covered.

Tell recruiters or those you want to read your profile what you want them to know about you – put it right there in your summary and career section! If you don’t say it – how are they going to know? Do not let them assume, as my dad used to say, “never assume, it makes an a$$ out of you and me.” (wow, look at that, a saying from both parents in one article!) 

If you are in between jobs, put in there that you are looking or interested in what you want.

If you are making the case that you have a strong strength in a certain skill, industry or capacity – demonstrate it. Listing it over and over as keywords is not enough. For example, if you are a rock star Project Manager, give examples, tell a story demonstrating why you are a rock star. Help them find you in order to sell you.

The other wonderful thing about LinkedIn is it is a great resource. Search for articles or  career professionals in your network or just beyond to help you get on the right track with your profile. There are an amazing amount of articles and thoughts on making the most of your LinkedIn profile!

Participate – It Goes Both Ways

If you are thinking about working with a recruiter do your due diligence. Participate in the process. Interview them. Ask them questions. This is your career here, would you take a job without asking any questions? Talk to a couple, search LinkedIn, ask your network if they have used a recruiter or if they recommend anyone in particular – then ask why.

You still might come across some bad eggs, but by remembering the points above, you will find that there are some amazing professionals out there who really work hard to make sure their candidates and clients are happy. These are the ones that love what they do – and that, you will spot a mile away. That is the kind of professional you want in your corner.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right

 

 

 

My Dog Just Might Help You Face The Fear In Your Career

Bandit Walking on Sunshine
Bandit – Walking on Sunshine!

 

Where do you want to go or do in your career? Are you there? Are you taking steps to get there? If not – what is holding you back?

 

There may be many answers to this question: time, money, education/certification, etc. but they can all be boiled down to one thing: fear.

 

It may seem that a lack of resources may be the cause, but if it is something you really want, you would find a way. Financially, get a second job. Time-wise, get up an hour earlier. I know these sound like easy answers and it is not always easy to find that time or extra income. Yet, I contend it is not lack of resources, but an abundance of fear.

 

I am not throwing stones – fear is my friend and foe that I have disguised as a resource limitation in order to avoid it. I saw a wonderful short video of Will Smith talking about jumping out of an airplane. Long story short, he was saying that the night before and every moment leading up to jumping out was full of fear yet the moment he was hurled out of that plane was sheer exhilaration. He rightly concluded that all that fear leading up to the moment was mind manufactured.

 

He did not say that last phrase, I made it up as a summary, but I really like that – mind manufactured. Our mind manufactures all sorts of things to stop us. It’s job is to keep us safe and we think fear is bad.

 

Fear is not a bad thing – it is a merely signal. A sign from your mind or body telling you it is time to grow or push yourself.

 

I was inspired to write this today because of my pup. Poor Bandit. Every morning and evening we talk a walk to a semi-forest lined field. The field was recently cut down so there was a lot more room to run and roam. This is where he does his business. Last night, while doing his business, something must have bit him in the butt. He gave a weird little yelp then came running over to me, tail tucked tight and kept sitting down the rest of the walk – as though guarding his little rear-end from anything else that might want to take a nip at him.

 

This morning, he hemmed and hawed alongside the field. The pup had to poop but was afraid of going back in that field. He is also finicky and does not poop on sidewalks or streets (thank goodness) so it was a necessity to go into that field. Eventually the need to poop won out and he gingerly went into the field. When mother nature called and he had to squat, he did so gingerly constantly looking around for unknown tushy attackers.

 

Nothing happened.

 

He then did the doggy kicking the ground after you poop thing and went happily along exploring the field and running around in the sunshine. That’s him in the picture above.

 

His fear was faced as a matter of necessity. Sometimes we are forced to face our fear and that is the best way – we have no choice. Once we face it, we have that rush of beating it. That is when I think fear is my friend. The one that throws you in to prove that you can swim. For example having to give a big presentation or being promoted to a new role only to realize we are really good at it

 

Fear is my foe when I let it linger and give it companions to stick around: no time, no resources, no idea of how I am going to do this thing I say I want to do.

 

There is a goal I want to achieve and I kept making excuses I just don’t have the time. The project is a little scary for me – it could turn our really well or land me flat on my face.

 

That’s when I realized it wasn’t about time. I have the time, but I am borrowing it for something else, almost. There is a project that has to be done and I don’t want to do it. It is a personal project that will take a lot of work, diligence and time. I am procrastinating about it. I am putting off this project, wasting time in doing so, that I could be using toward my project.

 

I am using the project to fuel my fear of failure. If I just buck up and get the project over with, I will have all that time to do work on my goal. It was my aha moment like my dog had: “I have to poop, I have to go in there to poop, the longer I meander out here the worse I have to poop. I’m going in.”

 

As for me, I have a whole afternoon booked to take a huge dent out of that personal project. I have set a timeline for myself to kick its butt and get it done. Then I start taking one step at a time on my goal. I get to mark things off my list (which always makes me happy) and move on.

 

If you are stuck in your career with a fear of moving forward or going for something else, you have two ways of breaking through that fear.

 

First is the Bandit way: think of it as a necessity. Stop looking at it from a possible failure aspect and look at it as you have to move up or on. Staying where you are is like Bandit prancing around the outside of the field – uncomfortable and possibly painful.

 

The second is the divide and conquer way: What is your fear? How are you mind manufacturing new ways of not facing that goal? Break that apart into smaller steps to conquer them one by one. When you take fear apart into pieces, you can take one step closer into that field of your goal and really enjoy running around in the sunshine.

 

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A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding 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 personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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

To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right