To Advance in Your Career – Show the Dynamics of Change in Your Resume

Dog writing resume

Recently I lost one of my best buddies.

Luke on guard
Luke, my personal protector

Luke became a part of my family almost a decade ago and was my constant companion and the court jester of the office.  He was also my personal guard dog. Any time someone came into our home or approached me outside of its confines, he would stand in front of me blocking potential danger and letting the world know, he was my protector.

Our little family of furries is adjusting.  My remaining male dog, Bandit, has now taken on a new role – my personal bodyguard. Anywhere I go, he goes.  On walks he now does not venture more than 10 feet from me. In the evening he watches the boyfriend and inserts himself on occasion just to let him know in that dog way, “I’m watching you buddy, I’m her protector now and I got this.”

Bandit has also changed in that he responds quicker, is more attentive and puffs up in a grandiose style when walking with his mom.  He has assumed Luke’s job as my primary protector.

How does this relate to a resume? It is all about writing forward.

You want to write your resume to where you are going, not where you have been. If that next desired position is the next wrung up on the ladder, write toward that.

What if you do not have direct experience with those required tasks, you ask? Take those tasks and break them down to the skill set necessary to complete the task. What is needed in order to do the job that you want?  List those skills, for example, communication, problem solving, certain applications, presenting, leadership etc.

Now use those skills as the framework when writing where you have been – i.e. you current and past positions.

Bandit has assumed the role of my primary protector, but he is not the alpha in the pack. That place is still held by our 11 year old Great Pyrenees / Yellow Lab mix.  But if he were applying for the alpha position, he would take the qualities it takes and demonstrate how he has performed them in the past. He would use the change in his environment to demonstrate those skills.

When there is a change in your work environment, take a moment to reflect how this has impacted you. Have you been asked to step up and do more, take on additional assignments, lead certain components of projects?

If your boss asks you to take on additional responsibility, you can easily transition that into your resume by stating that you were depended upon or requested by executive leadership to assume those duties which align with parts of the next step position.

It is more than okay to give the parameters of what is going on relative to the changes in what you do. In other words, tell the story. It is important to paint the picture of having to take on more stuff, in addition to your own, to demonstrate your flexibility, dependability, adaptation and work ethic. It shows you are ready for more.

happy office puppy
Bandit assuming his new status as bodyguard

Bandit might write, “after departure of primary protector, immediately assumed all duties and responsibilities for continual safety and security without downtime.”  He could say “maintained 100% customer satisfaction in vermin extraction while assuming the duties of full protection detail eliminating the need for a new full time bodyguard.” (You could say until a full time bodyguard replacement could be found, but no way will that happen in our house.)

Change is not always easy or fun, yet it can provide key experiences that will help you advance to where you want to go next – as long as you show the dynamics of the change and how it prepared you to take that position now.

 

 

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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

Why is Everyone Honking

DC TrafficIn less than six hours in DC I had a realization – there is a lot of honking going on here.

It did not matter where I was, walking or driving, there was a lot of honking.  The first couple of times I jumped and looked around, thinking I was perhaps jaywalking and they were taking that very seriously.  Even when driving I made sure I signaled, took off when the light changed and yet, still a lot of honking.

I do not think that I got honked at, but I started to try to figure out who was honking and why.  I am not used to all this honking.  The thing is, I could never figure it out, on either count.  Lots and lots of honking but no change in movement or traffic patterns.  Just honking.

I think people were honking just to be honking.  As though there used to be a reason to honk, but there is not anymore yet they got so used to honking that they just cannot help themselves from honking.  It is a honking explosion in our nation’s capital.

When I lead workshops I hear a lot of honking.

My job is not going anywhere, I do not like where I am, I want another opportunity, it is time for me to leave – a lot of honking to wanting to move on in a career or job.  But no movement.

We get used to honking about our jobs.  There are a couple of types of honking – the long, annoying ones and the short tap-tap honks.

They don’t appreciate me, they are holding me back, my coworkers are lazy or get all the credit, my boss is a jerk – those are the bad honks.  The honks that are long and laid out there as soon as the light turns green before you can even move your foot from the break.

People ignore those honks and quite frankly cringe when hearing them.  You are putting a wall around you with those honks not only alienating yourself at work, but with your network.

The short tap-tap honks are the polite “just a friendly reminder the light is green” honks.  These are the I want to get another position, but I am afraid to leave or try; I do not have the chance to grow in this position or company, my job is being merged into another and it is no longer satisfying.  These are the “I really want to change lanes but am stuck” honks.

When people hear you give these tap-taps they are probably encouraging.  Listen to them.  It is what you need.  If you do not head someone offering advice or assistance those tap-taps turn into long, annoying honks that no one will listen to any more.

The bottom line is this: we get used to honking so if you are looking for encouragement do not honk about it, just ask.  People will wave you into their lane if you just put your signal on and follow the road safety rules.  The honkers are not happy drivers, be a happy driver – stop honking and go after that new job or opportunity!

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

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

Your Value + Your Voice = Visibility

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

–Lisa

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

Is the Resume Dead?

chalkboardplayNo. Well, how is that for an easy blog read today?

As with most things, there is an ebb and flow, an evolution, a transition a change in course with resumes.

As my son would say, back in the day resumes represented a much different aspect in moving in, moving up or moving on in your career. Then, resumes were all about you and began with statements such as, “I am looking to join a company where I can use my skills and abilities to help a company excel and grow in my career.”

A list of job duties was then listed after each position on your resume. A cut, dried, simple and basic document all about you; what you want and what you were hired to do at current or previous positions.

Often, a resume was not even needed. You followed a trade or school path, it lead to an entry level position and it evolved from there. A career could be made in the same company, position or industry for your entire job life.

That was back in the day.

Now there are much less defined roads and more detours.

Resumes now are not about you, they are about them. Your resume represents a selling statement to the prospective employer answering their most important question: “What can you do for me?”

Not to be unkind, they do not care what you want. It is a buyer’s market, they can afford to be choosey, selfish and all about them.

Telling them what you were hired to do is no longer effective because being hired to do a job does not mean you did it or did it well. Bullet points have evolved from duty driven to value driven. What value did you bring to the organization, team, company or clients in doing what you did?

There are those that will argue that resumes are a thing of the past or unnecessary because networking is such a vital aspect of career transition or expansion. I agree with the networking aspect, it is critical in moving in, on or up; however the resume still plays a critical part, as well.

Not just for them, more importantly it is a critical component for you.

The resume is the basis of every other aspect of your career plan; whether that is breaking into a career, a new industry or the next level.

Your resume is your selling statement. You have to know what you are selling, the benefits, features and value before you can sell it. Bright and shiny only lasts so long in grabbing someone’s attention, to keep it you have to sell them on it.

This is what preparing a resume is about: defining your branding or value statement.

When you know your value and all the elements of which come into play you can then craft an effective LinkedIn profile, an elevator pitch, networking strategy, job search blueprint and business communications. The resume feeds and defines all of these factors; it is the foundation of your career home that you are building.

Your resume is your playbook from which you have numerous routes you can call depending on the score, the time and the opponent. Having a robust playbook allows you depth to draw from when the game changes.

You are not a one dimensional value provider; what you offer to a company extends beyond one skill set. An effective resume will showcase all of these different elements into a story that makes sense of the whole package. These are the different routes.

Let’s say for example you are in sales, toying with the idea of leaving your current employer and are attending a networking event. You meet someone at a company that you are very interested in and strike up a conversation.

Your current company is all about the numbers without cohesive plans of expanding into new territories or deepening current relationships. Know your shtick, give it, get the sale, get out and move on. You can knock the ball out the park with this and can speak fluently to a prospective hiring manager with another company with the same mindset.

But let’s say this company for whom the person you just met has a different mentality. They are solution-based and focus on the relationships to build the sales. Once you pick up on this in the conversation, it is time to change routes. Now you need to call the plays about your expertise, success and ability about relationships and solutions.

Having prepared your resume, you know this material backward and forward. You have identified and demonstrated it in your resume and therefore are able to recall and present it in a networking conversation easily.

Having never addressed these aspects in a resume, you do not have the background material or a comprehension of how to demonstrate rather than make generalized statements. You may have seen the play run, but you haven’t practiced, haven’t taken the hit yourself or made the catch. It sure looks easy to catch that ball; but it is a whole different story when it is coming right at you, along with big guys determined to make sure you miss it, drop it or get dropped as soon as you do.

One of my happy dance moments in working with my clients is when they tell me that they now get how skills A, B and C all interact, play together to create and deepen their value – it all makes sense and they can speak to it in different capacities.

You may not feel the need to prepare a resume to give to a prospective employer or even move up in your current company. However, I would strongly suggest that you prepare one – not for them, for you. For you to effectively educate yourself and rediscover your value and all that you have to offer. This will allow you to effectively position your branding statement anytime, anywhere under any condition.
Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Brand Strategist & Career Coach
Certified Professional Resume Writer
http://www.CareerPolish.com

The One Super-Powerful Key to Getting What You Want

Luke's BallDo you have a goal, maybe a dream or some desire that you want but have no idea how to achieve it?

Something you really want yet instead of seeing the path on how to achieve it, all you can see is that it seems so far away.

This is not uncommon and it is not an indication that you are failing in achieving this goal.

You just need to employ this one super-powerful key to get what you want.

Before I share this, let me first say it is not complicated.  No 14 steps, no complicated system, nothing that entails mantras, changing your entire lifestyle or howling at the moon.

In fact, it is so easy my pups do it.

The key: ask.

That’s right, simply ask for what you want.

Bold, right?

Might I go as far as saying it is daring.

So often we look at something or envy others and say to ourselves, “I want that.”  But that is as far as we go.

We give plenty of reasons (or excuses) as to why we cannot have it.  Perhaps we think it is too good to be true, we are not ready, we are not worthy or we are too afraid to admit or go after what we really want.

This could be a new job, a new connection, a reconnection, an introduction, an invitation, learning a new skill or improving upon an existing skill.

No matter what your “it” is, the thing that is preventing you is the thing that is the key to achieving it: asking for it.

Start asking.

Ask someone in a position similar to what you want for their time.  Ask them how they got there, do they have any suggestions or advice.  Ask a company what they are looking for when recruiting a certain position. Ask a mutual connection for an introduction.  Ask your lost connection how they are and if they would like to meet for coffee. Ask for help from someone who is an expert at the skill you wish to improve if they would assist you, mentor you or teach you.

The things that frighten me the most are the things I do not ask for.

When I was about 4 my mom took me to her work and I met her co-workers, one of which had a candy jar on her desk and asked if I would like a piece of candy.  To which (according to my mom) I replied, “No, I would like two, please.”

When I was 14 I asked my dad to show me how to hot-wire a car.  Don’t ask me why.  My dad just calmly looked at me and said no.  My little mind told me there was no harm in asking.  Although I think I had my dad worried for a bit.

The bigger things in life, I did not ask because of fear.

Afraid of looking stupid, afraid of being told no, afraid of rejection or afraid that once I gained this thing or knowledge then I would not be able to employ it, keep it up or comprehend it.  Something about fear of success or fear of failure.

I realized one day that being safe in not looking stupid or being rejected or whatever laundry list my little voice in my head gave me kept me safe in an unsafe place.  I did not grow, I did not expand, I did not learn – I remained stuck in my uncomfortable safeness.

I’ve looked stupid, I’ve been rejected and I have forgotten more than I have learned.  But I keep asking.

I keep learning, I keep meeting new people, I keep achieving goals in my persona and private life.

Start with asking, then the doors start opening up.  It is the first step.  It also provides a commitment.  Once you have asked, you have said it out loud, you have confirmed to yourself that you truly do what it.  Once you take that first step, the next comes easier.

The picture attached to this blog is one of my pups, Luke.  Luke is the happiest dog I have ever known.  He is a master of asking.  He is never sidelined by rejection.  If he asks me to play ball and I tell him not now, he spits the ball at me and goes and plays with another toy.  He leaves the ball with me so when I am ready, ten we can play.  He does not see “no” as an uncompromising “never”, he sees it as a “not now”.

For a dog that has not figured out in five years that every time I go into the shower I will not get sucked down the drain and will, indeed, reemerge; he sure is smart.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

 

 

You are an Example to Yourself

When did we start expecting perfection from ourselves?  When did we start believing that mistakes and failures were fatal?  When did we get so darn uptight?  I’m perplexed.

 

I am a human full of flaws which put together tell the story of me, my growth, my value, my lessons and my life.  I am very fortunate that I had a very supportive environment growing up; my parents were realistic enough to know that they did not create the perfect child in me.  I obliged by proving it several times over.

 

I was the youngest of three.  My brother was the brain and my sister was the social one.  Then there was me.  I didn’t fit into a category.  This is where my dad was such a major influence on me.  He taught me to use power tools, how to change a tire, how to bait my own hook, the importance of knowing being honest and respectful, as well as above all else, being a girl was not a factor in anything I did.  Not taking anything away from my mom at all.  She served as an example of many of the lessons he taught.

 

My brother patiently mentored me with my school work, especially in math.  We both loved math, but it came easily to him and I had to learn how to crack its code.  There is a definiteness about math.  He allowed me to make mistakes and never made me feel stupid for doing so, then steered me back on the path of mastery.

 

I tried to take these lessons with me as an adult, mother and coach.  When my son was younger I made a huge mistake at work.  That night I told him about it because it was important to demonstrate two things: mom isn’t perfect and it isn’t always the mistake but the corrective action that is important.

 

This week I attended an event where I had the pleasure of hearing Dr. Rob Bell speak.  He teaches mental toughness training for sports, business and life.  Early in his presentation he used an example involving golf.

 

Let me set the record straight – I am not a golfer.  I was married to a golfer and seemed to only be invited to go when the weather was horrible and his golfing buddies didn’t want to go in that kind of a mess.  The day I chipped in for a birdie was pretty much the end of that.

 

The point of the story was about a mistake Dr. Rob had made and the ripple effects.  Not being a golfer I didn’t participate in the groan that was heard after he mentioned his mistake, but I was still as engaged.  Why – because he made himself the example without demeaning himself.

 

By the way, Dr Rob gave a fantastic presentation and I highly recommend you visit his website to learn more about him (www.drrobbell.com) and while you are there be sure to check out his newest book!

 

Self-depreciation is charming to a point.  Self-slamming is uncomfortable and unnecessary. 

 

We all make mistakes.  I find we are much easier on others in accepting their mistakes than we are for ourselves. 

 

Knock it off.

 

Give yourself a break, will ya?

 

Next time you screw up, and you will – we are all human, try something a little different.  Tell the story out loud.  Not to yourself in a bashing kind of way.  Instead, as though you were talking to your child, your best friend or your spouse.  How would you tell the story to someone that you either want to serve as an example for or someone that loves you unconditionally?  We tell those that love us our failures because we know they will say it is ok, we will do better. 

 

Start saying that to yourself.  “It is ok, you will do better.”

 

What did you learn from this?  How can you improve it right now?  What can you do in the future to make sure it doesn’t happen again?  What other surprise lessons were learned from this?  There are often hidden treasures for us that we just need to open our eyes to see.  Once we discover them it is quite amazing how much we can truly learn from one mistake or failure.

 

Abraham Lincoln’s mother told her family on her deathbed to be kind to one another.  Yes, be kind to one another and be kind to yourself.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

3 Things To Do To Move Forward In Your Career

confidenceAre you ready to take that next step in your career?  Whatever that may mean for you – a management or senior level position, a bigger producer, increase your own business as an owner – are you ready but do not know how?

 

Let me share the most powerful idea for you to implement in three easy steps to get you there:  be that position.

 

Well, that just sounds too easy doesn’t it?

 

And you may be asking, “Ok, Ms. Smarty, how do I be a position that I am not?”

 

I’m so glad you asked, because this is where the three steps come into play:

 

 Think like the position.

Speak like the position.

Act like the position.

 

The first thing you have to realize is if you cannot see yourself in this role then no one else will.  Period.  This is how you see yourself in the position and ultimately position yourself to take it over.

 

Think

Let’s take for example you want to be a bigger producer or a manager.  From this moment on stop thinking in terms of your current role and start tackling everything you do with this question:

 

“How would a big producer/a manager think about this?”

 

If you have a lead you need to contact, how would a producer prepare for it, make the call and handle the discussion?  If there is a project at work that you are a part of – how would a manager approach the project, handle their part, communicate with other members and carry out their responsibilities?

 

Start thinking in terms of that position.

 

Plan your day as though you were in that position.  Set goals, make action plans and strategize from the perspective of that position.  It will take practice so you must commit to it every day with every task.

 

Speak

Start paying attention to how people in your desired position speak; not only to others but to themselves.  Study them and emulate them.

 

You probably are not going to hear a leader in their industry say, “Gee whiz, I wish I could do that, but I don’t know that I can.”

 

No sir, they are confident.  Take on their confidence.  If you do not have anyone around you that you can study and emulate then do some research.  LinkedIn is a great resource to find people who are in the position you want to be – go find them, talk to them and study them.

 

Start talking to yourself as this position.  Do you think big producers doubt their value or ability?  Stop doubting yours.

 

Start saying things to yourself like, “As a manager, this is how I am going to handle it.”  Or “As a top producer I am going to land that account.” You do not have to say it out loud, just to yourself to affirm your commitment of being that position.

 

Actually – do not say it out loud at first.  Because this is going to feel new to you and maybe a bit awkward and if someone else hears you they may instantly give you a look or make a comment.  You do not need the negativity or distraction.  Who cares what anyone else thinks – this is your goal – so do not give them an opportunity to squash it.

 

Act

Years ago I worked downtown Indianapolis and the City Market was a thriving community, especially during lunch.  I was still in college and had an administrative job so I was pretty much a meek little bystander.

 

But, boy, I would love to go to the City Market to eat my lunch and watch.  I would watch all the business people coming and going.  I would watch how they carried themselves and interacted with others.  After some time I would learn who different people were and among them who was successful.

 

They all had some common characteristics.  They dressed the part – not saying $3,000 suits.  The were polished and professional looking like they could walk into a board room at any moment.

 

They carried themselves with confidence and self-assurance.  They seemed to flow.  I never saw them self-conscious about how they walked, what they were wearing or their personal space.

 

They were kind and open.  They smiled at the cashier, said hello to people passing by and even if not engaging did not put on the sense of walls.  They were comfortable with themselves and those around them.

 

Take pride in your appearance, you may not be able to afford a thousand dollar suit; however, you can wear nice, professional cloths and make sure they are pressed, appropriate and in top shape.

 

I once told an intern who wanted to start looking for a permanent position that it was time she wore big girl shoes.  She was adorable, young and age-stylish.  Meaning she wore what most young people wore at the time – one of those things being big, clunky platform shoes.

 

I told her to look around at the women who were in positions she wanted to be and notice how they dressed – starting with their shoes.  Then next day she went to a local store and bought three pairs of “grown up” shoes and came into my office for a review.

 

I had her walk around in them, seeing which ones felt more comfortable and to notice how she felt walking in them.  She decided on a conservative yet stylish pair of black pumps.  The next day she wore them to work – not changing anything else about her wardrobe – and received many compliments about how nice she looked.  She then began modifying her look to the professional side rather than the age-trendy side and people took notice.  When her appearance changed, she gained confidence and started acting the part.

 

When handling a conflict or situation at your current job take a moment to think about your desired position would handle it.  Would they stress out about something minor, would they be more collaborative, would they be more goal oriented or would they be more action oriented?  Start acting the part.

 

Once you think like the role you want, speak like that position and act like it then you  – and others – will see you as that role.  From there it will be the most easy and natural transition to owning that position.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Advancement or Career Change – Write to Where you Want to Go

confidenceHere is a dilemma faced by many of my clients: they want to “go to the next level” but do not know how to get there due to where they are now or have been.

 

That sounded a little confusing so let me break it down and then give you secret to conquer this.

 

Where do you want to go:

 

  • Change directions in your current field?
  • Secure a position at the next level?
  • Break into a new industry?

 

What do you think is holding you back:

 

  • Stuck in the same type of position for some time?
  • Stuck at the same job?
  • Stuck in the same industry?

 

There is a reason that I asked the second question the way I did: what do you think is holding you back because these things really are not the biggest culprit.

 

So what is really holding you back?

 

You.

 

Not intentionally, but in most cases you are presenting the box that is holding you in.  As I have stated many times, your resume is the foundation of your entire job search/business building strategy.  That is where it all begins.

 

Look at your resume and see if it has any of the following:

 

  • A career objective stating what position you are looking for including the words or phrases with any semblance to helping a company grow and expand.
  • Bullet points giving your previous and current employment that looks as though it was copied and pasted from the job description.
  • No mention or reflection of you what-so-ever throughout the entire resume.

 

That is what is holding you back.  If that is your foundation than this is exactly what you are communicating – your past in a lackluster, “what I was hired to do” way.

 

Now for the secret: write to where you are going not where you have been.

 

Let that sink in for a minute….I’ll wait.

 

When you write your resume you want to write it for the position you want rather than where you have been; write for the position you are targeting rather than detailing a past that does not match with that position.

 

You want the reader to see you in that position and in order to do that you have to paint that picture.  Do not leave it up to them to connect the dots.  Why?

 

  • They won’t
  • They don’t have time
  • They don’t care unless you tell them to.

 

Here are a few tips on following the secret:

 

  • Write your career objective all about them: you need to tell them who you are, what your value is and how you are the solution to their problem.  You have to tell them why they care about what you bring to the table and why they want to talk to you rather than anyone else.  (They don’t care what you want)

 

  • Know the job.  What skills, abilities and assets are most important for the organization and your success in that role?  Go beyond the widget knowledge – dig for aspects such as communication, organization, relationship building/management, budgeting, prioritization, collaboration, leadership, team building etc.  (Stop looking at your titles and what you were hired to do and look at what you actually did and how you added value)

 

  • Review your past experiences in terms of the new position.  What skills, value and abilities translate into the job you want?  If it calls for leadership where have you demonstrated leadership in the past?  It isn’t always the technical skills that translate rather the transferable skills that cannot be taught or they do not have time to train you on.  (You can learn the details of a widget but brining a strong skill set based on past success is invaluable)

 

  • Re-write your professional experience with this new perspective demonstrating your past as a progression or building blocks to that next position.  Demonstrate your mastery of the vital skill sets where you have been to align yourself with that new position.  (The job market is not the stock market – past successes are an indicator of future success)

 

It is your responsibility to paint the picture for the hiring manager of you being able to immediately assimilate yourself in that new job, provide value and succeed.  In order to do so you must be able to prove it – start with your resume than it will translate to your networking and interviewing.

 

If you effectively communicate and demonstrate yourself in that role – why would they possibly hire you for the position?  If you don’t see it neither will they.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com