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

 

 

 

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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

 

 

Don’t You Dare Dumb Down Your Resume!

do not dummy down your resume

Question: “I am overqualified for all the jobs I am applying for and not getting any response – do I need to dummy down my resume to get a response?”

Answer: No.

How is that for a short article? The question was answered, yet it probably does not eliminate the frustration of the original question, so let’s expand a bit.

First, do not ever dummy yourself. Period. For any reason, job or person. It is disrespectful to yourself and that is not a state of mind that is healthy or to operate.

For your resume, it is not a matter or overqualified, underqualified or just right qualified.

There are plenty of candidates that know they are a perfect fit for a job and still do not hear anything back.

There is a bigger issue at hand: focus. Focus on them. Focus on what is important to them. Focus your resume to make that connection.

Most resumes are compiled with two flawed premise: tell the reader what you were hired to do and speak to all your experience.

What you were hired to do are your duties, which are too often used as bullet points. No one cares what you were hired to do. They care what you did.

Speaking to all of your experience is a convoluted road map. This is not about you, this is about them and what they need. Your job is to provide a succulent road map that shows you are the solution to their problems.

Focus

Back to being overqualified and how to focus your resume to a specific position. Let’s use the example of having run your own business and now going after a sales leadership position.

Remember – we are focusing on them. Forget about your history for a minute and analyze the opportunity. Do your due diligence here and identify key factors including:

  • Company size
  • Product
  • Industry
  • Needs
  • Metrics
  • How you be measured and on what
  • Responsibilities

What does this job really entail? Now, how does that match up with what you have done?

If you were running a company, you were doing sales. There is overlap there, find it and mine it.

Running a company and sales have four goals in common: revenue, growth, profit and market penetration/expansion.

When you were running a company, how did you measure success? Do they echo what is typically used in a sales leadership role: ratio of new business versus repeat business, turnover rates, lead response time or rate of contact?

Some typical goals or responsibilities assigned to a VP of Sales or Sales leader include:

  • Strategic planning for developing business, hitting company goals, building go-to-market strategies and corporate sales plans
  • Recruiting, hiring, training, development, aligning behavior to culture
  • managing team of X number of people
  • Growing a channel
  • Managing key client relationships
  • Working in a specific industry, specific products/services to small/medium/large companies or to individuals
  • Closing key opportunities
  • Utilizing CRM to manage team tasks, pipelines and closing data
  • Analyzing, reporting on markets, trends, competition and metrics
  • Budgets, compensation, incentive programs, training, process management / improvement, forecasting

 

The new job’s responsibilities and metrics are your roadmap – take that back to where you have been to build a road right to the opportunity.

Use the 80/20 rule. In your resume, focus 80% of what you put on what aligns with the position and the remaining 20% on the remainder of what you did.

If you ran a company it is not going to be expected that you only focused on sales, there were other important responsibilities that you fulfilled. That is your 20%.

And you don’t have to tell them everything.

If you had some really major accomplishments that you think would scare the crap out of them, you don’t have to put those down. The point of your resume is to tell them your story the way you want them to understand it.

 

Speak to what you want, what you know as it aligns with where you want to go and soon they are going to want to be talking to 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

 

How To Not Stink At Supporting Someone During Their Job Search

be supportive

One of the things I love the most about what I do is that I get to help people. Really help. Not the “hey, let me know if you need anything” then fall off the face of the earth help that unfortunately they get from a lot of people in their circle ‘help’.   Real help.

After working with people in transition for almost a decade, I hear many stories and a lot of frustration. I am taking it upon myself to be their voice today. I am speaking directly to you: their support system, their network, their friends, family and colleagues.

Here is what you need to know to truly provide support or assistance to them during their job search and things that we all wish you would stop doing.

First Things First

Before you even make a single comment – take a step back and remember this one thing: what they are going through is an end of a relationship. It was a commitment much like a serious relationship or marriage.  The relationship may have stunk, but it was still their relationship.

The ending may have been their idea or they may have been blindsided with divorce papers. The point is it is over and it hurts.  There are emotions tied here so let’s be sensitive about that. No downplaying it with things like, “you are better off without that dirt bag” or “you were too good for her”.  Nope.

Be compassionate and remember there are feelings here. That job may have treated them badly but it was their job and they were vested in some way, even if it was a paycheck. So being kicked to the curb or walking out on a bad thing is very taxing to the emotions, confidence and their spirit.

Be kind, not assumptive.

Start With This

Instead of asking what happened, asked instead “what can I do”. Asking what happened is almost akin to asking for gossip. It also rips open those emotional wounds – see section above for a refresher on the whole emotion thing.

When it comes down to it – does it really matter why? Nope. The point is the relationship is over. No one wants to go through their ordeal over and over again how they were left for a younger version of themselves. Give them a break. The gossipy part is not the important part. The important part is showing your support.

What can I do let’s them know that you are there to help I whatever way you can and you are looking at this as a way to participate in moving forward, not reminiscing about the past over a gallon of Ben and Jerrys….or wine. Whatever the preferred method.

Walk The Talk

If you are going to ask, then be sure to follow through when they ask you for something. If they say they really want to meet someone at a certain company and you know an individual that fits the bill, than make that introduction!

They do not need lip service. That will only pour salt in the emotional wounds. I would say see first section about the whole emotion thing, but it should be sunk in by now.

Find Their Comfort

When making an introduction, ask them how they want to be introduced – in other words – what they want the other person to know about them and how to handle the “available” situation.  Maybe they want to go in a new direction and they would prefer that you focus on those skill sets instead of what they were doing prior to the split.

Give Them A Reason

When introducing people, give them a reason to connect.  Simply sending an e-introduction with “Bill meet Susie, Susie, this is Bill” kills the connection before it even happens. Bill and Susie do not want to feel like sixth graders at their first boy-girl dance pushed together by their parents not knowing what to say to the other.

Give a little background with the info gleaned from the prior section. “Bill, I would like you to meet Susie – she is an absolute wiz at XYZ and someone I think you should definitely have in your network!  Susie, meet Bill, he is the go to person in COMPANY for ABC and has been a great resource for me.” That was totally off the cuff, but you get the drift.

Keep In Touch

It is not your job to follow up with them or harass them to make sure they connected with whom you introduced them to – if they are appreciative and professional, they will do so and let you know.  No, this part is about just dropping a line every now and then to let them know you are still there.

No one likes feeling like they have a mad dash of support than two weeks later it is crickets in their computer. Have a cup of coffee and talk about something else. How ‘bout them Cubs? I saw a great movie the other day, have you ever seen it?

Help them get their mind off the overwhelming task of job searching now and then – it helps, a LOT!

Don’t Squash Their Dreams

If your person says they want to take their career in a whole new direction, or even just veer it a bit, please do not respond with, “you can’t do that” or “why on earth would you want to do that?”. It is their dream, their journey so no negativity from the peanut gallery.

If you don’t get it, just respond with something non-committal like, “that’s nice.” If you want to get it, ask them how that came about, as in “wow, I never thought of that, tell me more”. If you are close with this person and want to help them achieve their dream, then really engage in conversation.

Just make sure when you engage in conversation it is not from a ‘can’t do’ or squashing standpoint, instead ask them to paint you a picture. What skills do they have that align with the dream. If you don’t’ know anything about this dream job, ask them to tell you about it and they maybe you can start seeing some transferable skills. Just come at them from a ‘let me help you build a road map’ stance instead of ‘that’s the dumbest thing I ever heard – you’re going to this as a rebound relationship’ stance.

Know When Enough Is Enough

Sometimes you help people and they become octopuses. One little suction cup gets stuck on you (not wanting to go to a networking event if you aren’t there) and pretty soon a whole tentacle is wrapped around (never wanting to attend any networking event without you, constantly asking for help but not following through on anything you give them.). Next thing you know, you have that big squishy octopus head sucked onto your face and you can’t breathe.

Distance yourself. It is okay to tell them that you have given everything you know to help and right now, just can’t think of anything else. If you are real tight with them and that kind of friend, it is okay to say, ‘look dude, I gave you 10 leads and you did not follow up on one of them. I can’t help you if you don’t want to do anything.’

Don’t let their fear, insecurity or lack of follow through ruin your relationship. You need to be healthy too. Put some distance in there if they are just not moving on. Suggest help. Let them know that you have exhausted all your brain power and maybe it is time they talk to a professional who can help – no, not a relationship guru, a business person.  You know, maybe someone like…..I don’t know, possibly me?

It doesn’t have to be me, there are so many amazing resume writers, brand strategists and career coaches out there that they should talk to a few to get a sense of who is right for them. Just as a side note – if your person is stuck in the angry phase (still blaming the ex or unwilling to move forward) please do not send them to me. I don’t like working with angry people.

 

It all comes down to this: heaven forbid you ever find yourself in that situation – how would you want someone to help you? How you answer is how you should proceed.  Remember, the Golden Rule has never tarnished.

 

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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

 

How Your Brain Sabotages You When Creating Your Personal Brand (And How To Make It Stop)

Personal Branding and Your Brain

Do you know why most people struggle when creating or communicating their personal brand? Because they make it all about themselves.

Well, that seems quite contradictory now doesn’t it?  I mean your personal brand is all about you so if you don’t make it about you then who the heck are you talking about and how does it relate to you?

Your personal brand is about you – it is right there in the beginning of this sentence; however, there is a huge block in the way: your brain.

When you sit down to create your brand and begin with the “I have to write about myself” you approach it from the all about me stance. When you put pen to paper you get brain freeze.  If you manage to thaw it a bit and actually write something down, your brain whispers to you in that little voice, “you’re bragging”.

That’s it – game over.

Your brain works against you by telling you anything that you write about yourself is bragging!  Unfair!

Your brain is really trying to protect you, most people do not like talking about themselves so it is keeping you from doing something uncomfortable. Great leaders do not like talking about themselves because they don’t do it, they promote others. So the brain puts the brakes on.

Gee, thanks brain, but we still need to do this! So how do you get it to play nice and help you?  Shift the focus to value.

It is pretty simple and painless, it is only four questions: Who, How, What How.

  • Who do you work with?

  • How do you work with them?

  • What do you do?

  • How do they benefit?

The beauty of this is that it can start in a very broad sense – an overview if you will – then these questions can be used to target and explore.

The first time you go through these questions you will probably think about your overall position.  When you answer the first question you might come up with three groups that you work with: your team, your leadership team and your clients.

Break them out separately and use the four questions again.  If we took your teams and asked who do you work with, you might respond with: the team as a whole, the leadership of the team and individuals on the team.

With each break down answer finish asking the questions.  How do you work with individuals, do you provide support, mentoring, learning opportunities, help them identify where they want to go and how to get there?

Great, how do you do that? This is where it may feel a bit strange at first or your brain starts waking up that there might be something going on here and fight back with, ‘what do you mean how do I do it, I just do it.’ No, how do you do it?

No one just does anything. There is a system, process and skills involved. Break it down as though you are describing it to someone that does not know your position.

Lastly, who benefits from you doing what you do, the way you do it and how do they benefit?  For example, your individual employees: if you provide formal and informal mentoring, this may help them develop their skills to improve their performance, spark new interest in them, help them set and achieve goals of advancing in the company.

Once you go through these questions and break it down (current and previous jobs) you will discover you will have comprised a lot of information. You now have a gold mine because we tricked your brain!

It is not about you – it is about providing value to others.  Secondly, you are not bragging, you are simply telling your story with facts, not flash.

Find similarities and themes in this information for the broad stokes of your brand and the details can be used to compose your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Four simple questions lead to you creating a value-based brand with demonstrative skill backed information that will translate consistently across all your communication platforms.  That wasn’t so hard now was it?

 

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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

 

The Key To Personal Branding: The Way You Do The Things You Do ♪ ♫

Different guitar styles

It can be very frustrating to try to describe your value and create your personal brand when you feel as though you are the same as everyone else.  That voice in your head may be saying something like:

“I’m only a manger”

“I have the title CXX, but that doesn’t describe me”

“I just do this or that”

“I only know this industry”

You may have a common title or do the same thing as many other people, but the key is differentiating yourself.  You are different than everyone else in the way you do the things you do. (I don’t know about you, but every time I type that I hear the Temptation! Hopefully you do too now!)

Let me illustrate by using an example that is completely unrelated to resumes or LinkedIn: relaxation, my boyfriend and me.

We both have incredibly full work lives and his gets daily doses of high stress. Gearing up for our day, we take the same approach. We go to the gym first thing in the morning and hit it. This gives us a shot of energy to start our day and a feeling of accomplishment before we walk out the door.

Throughout the day we need to get in shots of relaxation to stay strong, complete our day and come home able to rejuvenate and appreciate our lives outside of work. This is where we take opposite directions to get to the same place.

I am a nature freak. In both the front and back of my office are patios where I have created little sanctuaries. Lots of plants, colors, comfy seating and bird feeders. Alternating between sitting there and taking the pups on a walk, I immerse into nature having a lot of interactions with hummingbirds, blue birds, cardinals, lizards, toads, squirrels, deer, hawks, foxes, opossums and raccoons. This time brings me a sense of peace.

The boyfriend, on the other hand, has a different strategy – he is a metal maniac. He goes to the gym, puts in earphones and turns up the metal. With Metallica blaring, he hits the treadmill or weights for about an hour. He can’t exactly thrash while he is running, but he gets the full intensity of the music and lets it come through while he is exerting a tremendous amount of energy. This gets him to a place of peace.

He goes on hikes with me and I went to Metallica and Iron Maiden with him.

We both reach the same place, but in different ways.

When branding yourself, either in your resume or LinkedIn, think about the way you to the things you do (I couldn’t help myself). You may have similar duties as others, but how to you get results? Who do you work with, how do you work with them, what do you do and how do they benefit from you doing these things in this manner?

With those questions in mind, you can begin to describe how you provide value and that is the core of your brand. Describing it is branding yourself and will make your resume and LinkedIn more effective tools working for 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

Resumes: How Do I Fit A 20+ Year Career On One Page – You Don’t

Frustrated writing resume

That is one question or concern I hear a lot, how am I supposed to fit 20 or more years of my career on one page when I am ready to start transitioning into my next new adventure.  To be honest, most people do not say adventure, that was me, but the concern is still the same.

You don’t.

This is not about one page or two – that debate is ongoing with each side having valid arguments. Here are a couple of articles I have written on the whole one page or two debate: Resumes: One Page or Two – and Why They Fail Based on Length Alone and One or Two Page Resume – Why It is a Shot in the Dark and Doesn’t Matter.

The bottom line is if you have the goods, the reader will read your resume whether it is one page or two.  That also leads to the answer about not fitting a lifetime of a career on one page (or two): it is not about the career so much as it is about the value.

The point is not to put your entire career in there; it is to speak to the value that you bring to an organization to be the solution or solution driver to their challenges.

To be blunt, and that is my style, no one cares about every single thing you have done over a decade or multiple decades. They only care about what is important to them.

They have an idea of what they are going to get – resumes from people who think they are qualified. What they want is someone who understands their industry, the position, the challenges and who can speak to how they successfully overcame these things in the past.  Past performance is an indicator of future success.

For the next adventure –what are the tools necessary to not only survive but thrive? Leadership, operations, finance, logistics, information technology – what are the core skills they want? Now, how can you prove your proficiency with these tools to demonstrate success in your past adventures?

If you spent 10 years in the Arctic, that is a whole different adventure than your time in the Amazon.  If you are going to a jungle location, speak of your time in the Arctic only in what applies in the jungle.  They are not going to care about dog sledding or making igloos. Those may be great stories and skills, but unless they mean anything to your jungle audience, they will not care, which translates to an unread resume.

Your value is not only where you have been and what you know. Your true value to the reader is what you know and how you have done what you have done in a way that translates to a positive return on their investment in hiring you.

So how you do translate a 20+ career on one page – you don’t – you translate relevant value to the reader from your experience in the length that works for 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 

6 Reasons We Hate Your LinkedIn Connection Requests & How To Make Us Love Them

LinkedIn Connection Requests We Hate

To build a network you need to connect to people.  To connect with them you have to meet them.  On LinkedIn, more often than not, you need to send connection requests.

Sounds easy enough, LinkedIn even makes it easy for you providing you with an opening:

“I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.”

Yes, it is boring and a template.  Yet, in a pinch it will work.  I get a lot of the template connection requests and I pass no judgement on any of them.

I understand some people are still getting their sea legs on LinkedIn and some may feel uncomfortable scripting something to a professional that specializes in LinkedIn.  Some are just busy and this is an easy, fast method.

Let’s face it, if people did not connect using this opening I doubt LinkedIn would still be providing it for us.

That being said, I do not recommend using the generic template.  It is best to craft a personal message (which I will discuss in short order) however, there is a line.

These next six examples cross that line.  They crossed it two time zones ago.  These are the types of messages that drive people away.

1. I Am Not Looking To Buy

This is another type of template – a cold, uninformed, annoying sales pitch of anything.  I do not know you, I am not going to buy from you because you clogged up my LinkedIn request with:

“I can save you (pick from the following): money, time, get you more prospects, get you a better job, reduce your stress, blah, blah, blah.

Nope.  Delete.

2. My Name Is Important

Back in the day (as my son would say) when we used phones mounted on the wall and no Caller ID, we had to answer the call and then determine if it was a sales call.  For my house, it was easy.  My maiden name is Teepe.

Yep, Teepe – c’mon, I’ve heard them all – the wigwam and toilet paper jokes.  Yeah, it was a blast growing up with that last name.  The one benefit is I could always tell a solicitor because they did not know how to pronounce it.

Misspelling someone’s name in a connection request is the same as butchering their name in person.

My name is pretty simple – Lisa.  Can’t really go wrong there, although here is a trick: I use my middle initial in my profile.  When you use something to automatically fill in the first name, for me it will populate “Lisa K”

My dad was and will be the only person in this world who ever called me Lisa K.

3. Do You Even Know What I Do?

This goes along with number one, but to a different degree.  These connection requests seem like they are more personable because they are not obvious mass copies; however, there is one problem: they did not read your profile.

They are sending you something that demonstrates they did not even look at your profile. Case in point: I had a connection request from someone offering their services as a LinkedIn profile writer.  Really?  Even if they had just looked at my title they might have seen that, gee whiz, that is what I do!

These are the ‘personal’ messages selling rawhide bones to cats and catnip to dogs.

4. Shotgun Recruiter

I have a great deal of respect for recruiters, I really do. I do not have a great deal of respect for recruiters who send out blast messages.

I have received connection requests from recruiters saying they have a great job opportunity for me…in some obscure field I have no experience in whatsoever.  That is cheap, throwing a bunch of requests out there with a potential hook to see what sticks to the wall.

As for me, I love what I do.  I also have a pretty cool boss and my office mates are three crazy dogs. Top that work environment!

5. This Would Not Pass Mrs. Traycoff’s Class

Mrs. Traycoff was my high school English teacher.  A very tiny yet powerful woman who would perch at the front of the class on her three legged stool wrapped up in a shawl or blanket and with one gaze she could stop you in your tracks and make you fear getting an adverb and adjective mixed up. I loved Mrs. Traycoff.

Connection requests with bad grammar, horrible spelling  and just no sense to your sentence structure equates to spam or someone who has not grasp the whole communication thing yet.

6. This Is Not A Party line

Do not hit on a potential connection.  This is not an online dating site. It is creepy and wrong.  Just stop it.

To take your connection request up a notch from the standard template do this one thing:

 

Think like a person.

 

If you were meeting this person in-person, what would you say?  How would you introduce yourself? LinkedIn is a digital handshake.

“I noticed that we have 13 connections in common, I thought it would make sense for us to connect”

“I see that you and I are both a member of Community Volunteer Group, I don’t know how I have missed meeting you…..”

What do you have in common – people, organizations, schools, passions, past employer – find it and mention it.

Maybe you have read an article that someone wrote or a presentation they gave, that is your opening.

“I really liked your article XYZ and would appreciate connecting with you on LinkedIn.”

These are all examples, but the most important thing is to make them your own.

Remember, you are just a person digitally standing in front of another person asking them to connect to you. Be yourself and you will do just fine.

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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 Dogs are Jedi Masters

mom and boys

 

Yoda has nothing on my dogs.  They really are the Jedi Masters of peace and tranquility.  They are so good, they taught me to chill out.

 

I got to the point in my life that chaos was the norm. My best friend and I used to joke about how we have this sick tendency to actually enjoy having a full plate. It makes us energized and even perform the competing tasks at hand better than if there was only one to do.

 

Chaos became the norm.  That was okay when it was work, I felt I could handle it.  But it never just stays at work.

 

I used to work for an organization that was simply exhausting.  Chaos would have been a welcome break.  I had over an hour drive from work and would use this time to ‘decompress’ and put myself in a better place for when I got home and was with my son.

 

When I quit that job the first thing he said to me was, “Thank you, you were always in a bad mood during the week when you got home.”

 

So much for decompressing and being in a better place.

 

I used to run around on the weekend trying to accomplish what needed to be done throughout the week in a day. Cleaning, cutting the grass, weeding, grocery shopping, laundry – and by the way, how do two people have so much dang laundry?  Chaos was becoming a norm in my personal time, too.

 

One night I was sitting down, exhausted, and over came one of my pups.  He nonchalantly plopped his head on my lap.  My first thought was “I am too tired to play” but then I looked down at him.

 

If you are a dog person, you will understand the look I saw in his eyes.  If you are not, just go with it. He looked at me as if to say, “really *sniff* you don’t have time to even pat my head?”

 

Guilt by dog.

 

Of course I patted his head, rubbed his ears, and gave him undivided “mom” time.  This brought one of the other ones over and it became a puppy love fest. For that period of time I did not think of any tasks or things left undone, I just enjoyed getting happy mauled by my dogs.  Once they had their fill of attention, they went back to sleep.

 

Just as easy as that.  Fifteen minutes of play time then so relaxed that they took a nap. Seriously?  I want that!

 

As crazy as it sounds, I studied my dogs that weekend.  I was like a modern day doggy Jane Goodall. When they had a task to complete (eat, chase, dig) they gave it their complete and undivided attention.  When they were done, they were done.  They did not go back to that hole and think, “I could have done more, maybe I should dig from the outside in next time.” The threw themselves into the task at hand.

 

Then they napped.

 

They enjoyed the outside, laying in the sunshine, soaked it all up until they sounded like they were about to pass out, then they went in the house and laid on the cool tile floor.

 

Then they napped.

 

On walks they literally stopped to smell the roses…and the grass, and the mailbox posts, and the other dogs poop, and the wind and their own butt…  Even if we just saw that mailbox post yesterday, they were going to sniff it again, you never know what could have happened in 24 hours. Every smell was awesome! They took full advantage of what was around them.

 

Then they napped.

 

At night they nestled close by, getting belly rubs, rolling their little puppy eyes back in their head from sheer pleasure then started snoring.

 

These guys know how to live! Besides realizing my dogs took a lot of naps, I realized they had taught me a thing or two:

 

  • Put all your effort in the task at hand; when it is over, it is over.
  • Enjoy your surroundings.
  • Rest and rejuvenate.
  • Move – play, keep your body active.
  • Every day is a new day, you never know if there is something new in your same old path.
  • Relax, it gives you more energy when you have tasks to accomplish.
  • There is great joy in the smallest pleasures.
  • Treats are good.
  • Take time for yourself.
  • Take time to love the ones you love.

 

I have incorporated my Yoda dogs teachings into my daily life:

meditation pup

 

I take breaks throughout the day to go outside and enjoy the sunshine, birds, clouds, rain – whatever the situation is, I do a mental break and immerse myself in the sights and sounds of the right there.  Recently I put up a couple hummingbird feeders outside my office – I am in heaven during these breaks watching those little guys buzz about.

 

When the work day is done, it is done.  Then it is time for the family, dedicated, quality time.

 

Sleep.  We get sleep now as a regular thing not as a so-exhausted-I-fell-into-bed thing and please let me get just a couple of hours.

 

Daily walks with the dogs and time at the gym to keep physically active helps reduce stress.

 

And treats, lots of treats.  A massage, a manicure, a day trip, a special meal – whatever it is, treats are good!

 

Try following a dog’s life this weekend and see if you don’t get converted by these Jedi Masters of happiness.

 

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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

 

 

Don’t Let One Word Sabotage Your Message

not listening

I am going to make a generalization here and throw this out there: if you do not think one word is important or can change the whole meaning of your message or dynamic of your conversation – you have never talked to a woman.

Don’t believe me? Try this little experiment: tell your wife or girlfriend tonight “You never do …” fill in the blank.  (By the way, it works for men, too).

That never will probably get you a raised eyebrow, followed by an “Oh, really” and then the fun begins.  Never and always are pretty much banned in our house.  My boyfriend and I are challengers – give us a challenge and we will make it our life’s mission to do it.  Give us a ‘never’ or ‘always’ and we will mentally rehash over two years of our relationship to find that five second interval that proves the other wrong.

Communication is the most important tool we have, yet it can easily be turned from a tool to a weapon with just one word.

The weapon can provoke or harm your audience.  With one little word you can completely destroy someone’s confidence in themselves, or you; deflate their attitude or progress; cause them to be defensive or completely shut down in listening to you altogether.

Some of the words that create such chaos include: ever, never, always, but, only, guess, try and might. These are just the beginning pack of words, but enough to get you started in being more cognizant in how you use them.

“Did you ever finish that report?”

“You never answer my calls”

“You did a good job, but…”

“You only had to do this task”

“I guess I could help/attend…”

“I can try to help/be there…”

“I might be able to…”

In the above examples, the underlying message is disappointment, disengagement and insincerity – to name a few.  Is that really the message you want to convey?

Just by being a bit mindful of the small little words we throw into our communication we can keep peace, harmony and momentum while still getting our original or intended message across.

‘But’ is my personal most hated word.  When you use but in a sentence it completely invalidates everything before it and puts the receiver immediately on the defensive.  If you think someone did a good job and there is a bit more to do, try saying it in a different way:

“You did a good job on this project, now let’s try making these tweaks and it will be fantastic.”

“You did a great job; however, this part missed the mark a little, what do you think we can do?”

“You did great and we are almost there we just need to tweak these two parts…”

Your message of ‘there is still work to be done’ is conveyed without losing the positive message.  The receiver will be more inclined to listen to ideas, take direction and keep momentum in completing the task because their effort was recognized, appreciated and clear direction was given for what is next.

Removing small little words that create big conflicts sure makes life easier for everyone.  And just for the record, I really would not suggest doing the experiment mentioned above, to make your life easier, just take my word for it.

 

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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 coaching and practice firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

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 above