Resumes – It Is Not Their Job To Care, It Is Your Job To Make Them Care

bored professionals

Once upon a time, it was standard format to have an opening statement on your resume stating what you want.  It went something like, “Amazing professional looking for the opportunity to grow and contribute to a progressive company….”

The problem with that today is twofold: The people reading your resume do not believe that nor do they care what you want.

It is not their job to care about what you want.  It is your job to make them care about what you offer. The focus of this article is that opening paragraph or lead of your resume.

Your resume is not really all about you – it is about what you can do for them.  Put yourself in their position: they have a boatload of yahoos applying for the position that you are perfect for – how are they going to find you?

You have to prove yourself.  You need to grab their attention by speaking their language and driving right to what is important to them and how you are the solution to their needs.

This opening paragraph needs to grab them and their interest to continue to read the rest of your resume.  To identify your value and peak enough interest for a conversation.

When I write resumes, this opening is the last thing I write.  I do a comprehensive analysis, review and composition of the work history to get a full understanding of my clients’ value.  I know in detail and have provided in demonstrative form their value.

Now I know what I am selling about them.  I know their value.  From that I can write to that in a condensed, attention getting manner.  It is the summary of the whole.

When writing your opening, analyze yourself and what it is about you that you are selling.

What do you bring to the table?  What are the most important qualities, skills, attributes that you bring that are of most value to them?  What sets you apart?

Often I see an opening stating that the individual has 15 years’ experience – is that the most important element?  It could be an important contributing factor, yet length of time in an organization or industry does not equate to quality or value.  What did you do in those 15 years, how is that a benefit?

That opening paragraph is your answer to their most important question: ‘What can you do for me?’

Do not let them assume.  It is not enough to say you are familiar with something, knowledge of it or have managed it.  You are assuming that they know that means you are good at this thing.  Telling the reader that you have managed a large group of people or locations does not mean you are good at it.  It means that was what your job was, not your value.

What was the value of you managing these people or locations?  How did you do it?  Who benefited and how – the individuals, teams, clients and company; was their improved performance, morale, communication, commitment, quality, service, revenues, opportunities – and what did that translate to?

Tell the reader not only what you do but why that is important.  You can manage a team but why is that important, what was the value?  Start with the meager ‘manage team of 50’ and integrate the value: aligned the company vision with short and long term goals engaging the team; reduced turnover, improved performance, realized year over year record setting profits, streamlined processes for reduced costs, increased efficiency and improved customer satisfaction.

Do not hold back here, you are selling yourself so go for it.  If you have that very common and huge stumbling block of that little voice in your head saying you are bragging, put the proof in the pudding.  Instead of saying “I’m great at this” and leaving it at that – which is a bragging type perspective; tell them what you do, how you do it and the value received.

When you simply describe what and how you do with the benefit included you are no longer bragging, you are explaining.  This is also demonstrating.  Therefore it sounds confident, not cocky, and you can relax because you are simply telling the story of what you do and how.  It helps shut that little voice in your head up. You are describing and demonstrating not bragging and stating.

You have the goods to go after this position, now it is your job to prove it to the reader.  Think about what is important to them, demonstrate it by describing what you do and the value it provides others and you are well on your way to that conversation about when can you start.

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

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

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles – click the “Yes Please!” button ★

Is Your Mouth Cutting You Off From Your Network?

covering mouth

It fascinates me how it really is a small world. I really do think there is something to the theory of six degrees of separation.  It is fun discovering the connections with people that you meet.

These connections can help forge strong networks and connections.  People in your network remember you because of something shared.

Sometimes the connections are made by one party but not in a good way.

Years ago, I had a young man ask for time to conduct an informational interview.  He was very eager to enter in the financial industry, and to please whomever he was sitting in front of at the time. He had transferred from another state and had talked to someone in banking before speaking to me (I was in investments).

When discussing the differences between banking and investments he said he talked to a woman in the other state, but she didn’t know anything about the industry. I asked what bank and he told me and the woman’s first name and title.

As luck would have it, he talked to my best friend, which I casually tossed out there.  The interview ended shortly after, he was a bit at a loss for words having insulted my best friend – and not being honest because that woman knows more about the industry than anyone I know.

You never know who knows whom. People should really keep this in mind when networking.  You may think people from a certain town are back-water hicks, but for goodness sake, do not say that out loud!  Insulting other people is not a way to align yourself with someone else.

Neither is assuming they are idiots. I was at a networking event once and met a financial advisor. He liked to dictate conversations and let everyone know how important he is and so much smarter than his audience.

A friend and I were talking to him, well, listening to him talk about investment strategies. At one point, he paused and looked at me and said (in a voice you would use with a young child) “I can explain the difference between stocks and bonds to you later if you need.”

My friend about choked on his drink, he knew my background.  I smiled politely and told him that it would be very kind of him but I do have an idea of the difference between the two.  I tried.  I really tried to give him an out in a very polite manner.  But he was having nothing of it.  He persisted that investing could be very complicated for someone not in the industry so I really shouldn’t assume I know enough to make any decisions or know the difference.

That was it.  I said I should know the difference since I am a former manager and compliance offer having held my 7, 63, 65, 9, and 10 and I also know about insurance having held my 26, Life & Health and Property & Casualty.  (I was licensed as a stockbroker and manager in both investments and insurance).

The point is this – treat everyone in your network with respect. Our backgrounds make us unique, not put us at a disadvantage or beneath anyone else.  There is pride in our past. Being disrespectful of a person’s background or upbringing does not align you with ‘the right people’ it alienates you from people.

Celebrate differences and focus on what you have in common and how you can help others.  That will build strong bridges that lead to incredible opportunities.

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

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

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

 

2 Questions That Should Define Your LinkedIn Profile

two

I get asked a lot about how to write a LinkedIn profile.

  • What should I say?
  • How long should it be?
  • What if I don’t want anyone to know I am looking for a job?
  • I’m not looking so how should it sound?
  • What should I include?
  • Should it sound like my resume?
  • How much stuff should I put in the profile?

These are all good questions; however, there are two questions that should be asked before any others:

 Who do you want to read your profile?

What do you want them to know about you?

Although these are the foundation of your summary; most people cannot answer it.

They caught a case of analysis paralysis.  There is an overwhelming amount of information available on how to write your LinkedIn profile we have forgotten the why.

The why is the who and what – who are you targeting and what do you want them to know. The answers to those two questions help you answer all others.

Let’s say, for example, that you want someone to know that you are a sales rock star.

Who do you want to know this – is it potential clients?  Or perhaps, although not actively looking for a job, you would not mind high level decision makers to take notice.

You have a good place to start – rock star. What else?  Dig here.  Ask yourself ‘what else” about five more times.  This will help you create a stronger, more personal representation of who you are – not just what you do.

So, what else?

  • You are competitive and like to win (still compete running marathons)
  • You like challenges (seeking out new markets and making a name for your company)
  • You like helping other people (help coach the new guys when they come on board and sit down with your clients to come up with solutions instead of selling them a product)
  • You can’t get enough information (always reading new content, attending training or coaching to improve your skills, going back to school, taking classes on woodworking because it has always interested you)
  • You coach little league and volunteer at the humane society

The things you want people to know about you go beyond your professional skills  – they incorporate your personal strengths.  Who you are as a person and how that translates to making you a rock star.  LinkedIn is a step beyond the resume, a peek behind the curtain so to speak, for people to see you, not just your career.

Now that you have some what’s to tell, let’s turn back to your audience.  I want you to think like them.  Why is it important for them to know these things about you?  Why would they care?  In our example, being competitive, striving to continually improve yourself, giving to others as a solution provider or mentor are all strong qualities of top performers and leaders. Giving back to your community shows you have a good balance in life and further rings true the giving back to others and helping.

You also want to put the proof in the pudding – give some accomplishments to complete the value statements.  If you provide solutions to your clients, that equates to money.  Making money for a company and helping your clients make money is good.  This is something they would want to know.

Once you know who you are speaking to (who you want to read your profile) and what you want them to know about you, it will become much easier to have that conversation.  Your summary is a conversation – a one-on-one conversation with the person reading your profile.

Click here for a quick synopsis and basic formula for writing a LinkedIn profile that supports where you are while showcasing yourself.  Although the article speaks to writing a profile looking for a job while employed, this formula is a good foundation to begin any profile.

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

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

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

How Do You Explain You?

how to you explain you

One of my favorite quotes and guiding principles comes courtesy of the great Albert Einstein:

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.”

This is something I learned from my dad.  Heaven help that man, he was ‘blessed’ with a very curious daughter who liked to ask a lot of questions – most of them “why?”

He had an amazing teaching capacity being able to translate the complicated into something a young mind could grasp, understand and replicate.  This is how I learned to use power tools before jr high, the delicacy of baiting a hook and driving a stick shift – in about 20 minutes.

He knew the key for me: explain the why while describing the how.

Knowing your audience, understanding their language and explaining something simply was how he helped me move mountains.

When you are staring at the mountain of career change, it is important to remember these three key elements, which bears repeating.

Know your audience

Understand their language

Explain simply

The first two are the easier of the three to accomplish.  If changing industries – do your research; if you are advancing in your current field – rely upon your expertise in the field.  You will be able to identify the decision makers, what their challenges are and make the correlation to your strengths and accomplishments demonstrating you and the value you offer as a solution.

Explaining simply is hard.

We have a tendency to use too many words.  As an Executive Resume Writer – I know of what I speak.  I do it, too. Ask any of my clients and they will tell you that when I send them their working draft I give the caveat – this is too long and too wordy.

I do it intentionally.  I want them to get the full effect, to see all the words to comprehend the concept.  The next step is the fun part – we rip it apart. We tear through all those words and simplify.  We cut to the core, cut to the chase, cut the crap.

I could do this on the first draft, but I like them to see it this way for a couple of reasons: we like words, we feel like we get a better understanding of words.  Seeing too many words also makes you realize that there are too many words.  This strengthens the process.  If we started with the cut to the core they might feel we missed something.

The other reason is that my process is a collaborative process.  My clients have skin in the game; the more they are engaged and are a part of the process, the more they engage and own their tools.  This leads to them loving them more and utilizing them more effectively.

When people ask you what you do – are you explaining it simply enough?  After thirty seconds, you lost them – it is not simple enough.  Do they ask questions, are the engaged and want to know more?  If not, it is not simple enough.

One way to help simplify how you describe you is to think about how would you explain it to a child?  Think teenager or preteen.  Old enough to grasp things but with a short attention span.  We all have short attention spans when it comes to asking others what they do, kids are just not as good as faking it as adults.

If you can explain it to this age group and they get it – you are spot on. Not only will they understand, they will be able to repeat the information, i.e. sell you.

Years ago in between football practices my son brought a buddy home to raid the fridge and hang out.  I overheard the conversation and I knew I was spot on in how I communicated to him.

His friend asked what I did and my son told him I help people get jobs.  At this point I wanted to jump in and correct him because that made me sound like I do recruiting or placement (which I do not).  But something held me back and I listened out of eyesight.

This is when the magic unfolded.

His friend asked how.  Tada – my son phrased it in a way for his audience to ask a question.

He explained that I work with them in re-writing their resumes, help with interviewing and all the stuff that helps them get a job.  Alrighty then.

The next day his friend’s dad called and hired me.  Bingo – my son explained it in a way his audience could understand and sell me to others.

Using big words, industry jargon or a whole host of fluff does not impress or improve your message – it dilutes it.

Explain it simply and people will connect.  This is how you start moving that mountain.

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

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

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

 

 

Too Many Bumps On Your Career Path – It Might Be The Driver, Not The Road

Alone in a Crowd

I have an acquaintance that I run into now and then.  Over the past couple of years, all interactions have been a series of phases retelling of the evolution of a continual job search.

Phase one: Each new position starts all bright and shiny.  This is the one, much better than the last. Here he can really do what he does best, it is a great fit. Here they appreciate him.

Phase two: There seems to be a problem with communications.  His boss just doesn’t get him.  His coworkers are not appreciating his talents and contributions. It is not his fault, he is just direct and they do not appreciate it.

Phase three: His boss or coworkers are either conspiring against him or total jerks.

Phase four: It had been decided it was not a good fit and he is searching again.

There are managers who stink and ungrateful, attention-sucking coworkers – but not at Every. Single. Job.

With each trip on this merry-go-round a phrase pops into my head: “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves.”

Cassius is eloquently telling Brutus that it is not the environment or fate that is preventing them from stopping Caesar from becoming a monarch, it is themselves.

If there is a pattern emerging in your career path, perhaps it is time to stop looking externally and look a little closer to home.  Like home.

Often times these patterns develop unconsciously.  Perhaps we took a position just in dire need of a job and the position is something that we feel is not ‘worthy’ of our skills or abilities.  This builds resentment.  This spills over to how we treat our coworkers, leadership and clients.  This leads to the end and taking another ‘have to’ job.  The cycle continues and worsens.

Or maybe we had great success working in a certain environment which embraced the more abrasiveness in our personality.  Fast forward to another position and no one gets the warm and fuzzies and we justify our behavior with, “this is just the way I am.”  In other words you are telling people suck it up, they should accept you for who you are.

These are just two scenarios and for these – not so much cupcake. I am all about accepting people for who they are – unless they are abusive, abrasive or just plain mean to others.  Then they are buttheads and no one is obligated to like them.

As far as the first scenario, no job is beneath any person. Period. I had a job once where a dog drooled on my head – and that was a good day.

I am a direct person, I do not have a poker face.  I was once told by a manager that everyone could look at me and know that I was having a great day….and if I wasn’t. The conversation got worse from there.

I had to learn to tone it down.  To take other people in consideration.  They may have mistaken my message and I had to stop blaming them for it.  I had to do the hard look at in the mirror and realize perhaps they misunderstood due to the delivery, not the content.

I went through the gambit of total people pleaser to brash directives.  Looking back gives me whiplash.  I felt that no matter what I did I was wrong.  The hardest thing I had to do was shut up and listen, then ask.  I talked to coworkers, the ones that we normally had strained conversations.  I was honest and asked for honest, constructive feedback.  It was not easy listening to what they had to say, but I needed to hear it.

I learned to be true to myself and honor others around me.  In any position you have tremendous amount of value to offer an organization and people around you  – yet here is the key – you are not an island.

It is important how people perceive your message, it is critical how you communicate and treat others.  Just because you have an obnoxious personality does not mean others have to get used to it.  It means you need to learn to adjust so others can get to know you – not your brashness – and be able to benefit from your value and you from theirs.

Know your strengths and style then learn modifications to help use those as positives.

Here is an example of a small modification that made a huge difference.  I ask a lot of questions.  Being a direct and somewhat blunt person, this could be taken as challenging authority or disagreeing.  It was – a lot.

I learned to preface questions with buffers like, “Just so I make sure that I understand this completely…” or “I think I am clear on this, but I want to make sure…”

There are times that I start with, “I am not challenging, I agree, I just want to make sure I am on the same page…”

Taking your audience into account during your communication makes a world of difference.  Not everyone is going to get you or what you mean because they are not you.

If you can identify that the fault is not in the stars, take that next step and ask for feedback.  It may be brutal, yet remember this – people will not offer this insight if they did not see something in you worthy of wanting to help.  Constructive criticism is help.

You may gain insight to be able to make a slight adjustment that will make a world of difference.

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

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

★ In order to be kept up to date on all my articles click the “Yes Please!” button 

Humility Is Noble – Until It Costs You The Job

tape over mouth

Across all professions and positions, there is one dreaded sentiment that comes up most often when I talk to people about writing their own resume– right after “I hate writing my resume”.

Bragging.

No one wants to feel like they are bragging.  It feels showy, uncomfortable and untrue.  Fighting against this feeling leads people to under-play their strengths, skills, abilities and leave accomplishments flat.

It can set it early in the process.  You write a great bullet point or sentence and think it is great; but then you hear that little voice.  You know the one in your head that says, “Well, don’t you think you are all that and the bag of chips?”

Oh no, scratch that sentence or bullet point, it is bragging.

Yet here is the catch-22: if you do not tell the reader how awesome you are, no one else will.

So how do you convey your strengths and wonderful qualities without feeling or sounding like you are bragging?  You simply tell your story – in a demonstrative manner.

Simply stating the facts does not convey the depth of your value.  It can also leave the reader critical because those that read resumes read far too many that have been fluffed or padded.

“Increased sales 42% in one year.”

Great – but how?  The critical reader may instinctively challenge this with thoughts of “were you given an additional territory? Were sales just really low the last year? Did you take over someones book of business?”

That statement is missing the how which gives it the impact.  Demonstrate the how by asking yourself a few questions:

  • What did I do?
  • How did I do it?
  • How did it add value?

In answering these questions you can begin to demonstrate the how to increase the impact of the what and demonstrate your value.  This is not bragging, this is explaining a process that lead to a result.

If you tell your story, it may sound something like this: “I uncovered a customer need with our current clients; I used parts of our marketing campaign to introduce a secondary product, which was undersold, and increased sales 42% within one year with existing customers alone.”

Now that is a statement.  You can then whittle it down to a more concise bullet point that makes impact, demonstrates your value and solidifies the result. It also shuts down that little voice in your head. That statement will show you are a thinker, a problem solver, a doer and you get results.  Isn’t that what you want the reader to know?

How will they know unless you tell them?

Think of your resume as the pre-interview.  Sit down and have a conversation with that blank document and begin to tell your story.  Filling in the how gives the reader a greater understanding of the value you bring to the table and make the accomplishments more impactful.  It also leads to great conversations during the interview.

Stating the how is not bragging, it is simply telling your story – and that is the purpose of your resume – to tell your story in a way you want the reader to understand it.

 

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

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

Don’t forget to click the “Yes Please!” button to get all the latest articles on our site!. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It Is Okay Not To Like Your Job – And Kid – Once In A While

You know how people with more than one child talk about their kids like, “Susie is my little angel, she gets straight As, lettered in every sport, has a job, volunteers at the shelter and still does all her chores without me asking.  Betsy is my other child….”

I had one child by birth, that child is that ‘other child’.  He is intelligent, charming, empathetic, caring, funny, kind, giving, brave, with a strong sense of honor – he is also sarcastic, bullheaded, argumentative, stubborn, impulsive and never saw trouble that didn’t have his name on it.

That one gave me grey hair, sleepless nights, weight loss and many moments of questioning my sanity.  I love that boy. The picture above is his  – dare I say – sarcastic “I don’t want to get my picture taken and this is my forced happy smile just for mom!” smile. Yeah, love that boy. I don’t know where he gets that sarcasm.

One day when he was a teenager – his most challenging period – he was being quite the horse’s patootie.  I had enough for one day, looked at him and said, “Child, I love you more than life itself –  yet right now I do not like you very much.  You need to go away from me.”

Needless to say this threw him a bit.  He responded with, “You’re my mom, you’re supposed to like me.”

I explained that no, that was not a requirement and that you can love someone but not like them all the time.  If they are being disrespectful, argumentative and just a plain jackass then no, you are not required to like them just because you love them.  Just like when I would put the hammer down on rules, he did not like me at that time.

It is okay not to like your kid every now and then. It does not mean you are a bad parent or failing.

My mom once told me God makes them teenagers so you want them out of the house.  True, so true – at least in our instance. There are moments that I am more proud of that boy than anything it overwhelms me; and then there are times that I understand why in the wild they eat their young.

It is a relationship and with most relationships there are ups and downs.  The lasting, meaningful relationships are not always filled with rainbows, sunshine and lollipops  – there are moments in between the joy and happiness that are ‘what they heck was I thinking’ moments and ‘if I drove to another state, would anyone come looking for me and make me come back?’

Your job is a relationship.  It has the same ups and downs as any other relationship.  There are days that you love it, could not imagine doing anything else.  Then there are days that you wondered how you got sucked into this vortex of darkness.

It is okay not to like your job every now and then. It does not mean it is a bad job or you are in the wrong place.

If you are thinking about leaving your current position, you need to stop and ask yourself where you are in the animal kingdom.  Are you in a temporary phase of relating to the new male alpha lion chomping on helpless lion cubs -or- are you the circus elephant that has been chained up his entire life?

Is this a temporary phase or a consistent pattern? Do not throw away stability or, for the most part, a happy relationship because of a temporary phase.  Deciding to leave your job is a big decision, do not make it irrationally based on a bad day or week.  Those pass and you have the ability to lessen them and make them better.  Do you really need to own this bad day? Isn’t there enough good that you can just let it go for today?

Remind yourself that is okay not to like your job every once in a while, it helps you appreciate the overwhelming amount of good that is there the rest of the time. You will love it again tomorrow, once you get a little space.

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

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

You Are Not An Old Dog Stuck In A Career – You Can Learn New Tricks

old dog learning new tricks

I was at a party last weekend and had a wonderful conversation about dogs with a fellow guest.  Us dog people can sniff each other out in a crowd.  I mentioned that I had hired a trainer to train me on how to train my dogs and he was quite interested as he had a pup or two that could use some guidance.

Near the end of the conversation a light bulb went off and he remarked that my dogs were not young.  No, they are not.  My boys are both 7 and the little princess is over 10.  And yet, they took to the training.

I do not know where they phrase, “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” came from.  After my training experience, I have concluded it was coined by a person who was not trained to train their dog and therefore their dog did not respond.

Too often during our career journey this phrase pops into our heads when we feel stuck.  Unable to move forward or even laterally into a new position or company that would better benefit us.  Perhaps we use it as a consolation phrase to make us feel better.  It is an excuse.

We can learn new technology, skills, systems or even ways of thinking at any age – it is our will to do so that is the determining factor, not our age or length of time in a position.

I am continually motivated by clients that have completed advanced training, education or even a complete jump into a new career after years being stuck in a box.  That is courage and it is impressive.  The one common denominator with all of these amazing people is this: they had a desire that they turned into action.

They wanted more, better or different.  They realized it was not going to materialize out of thin air where they are so they went after it and did it.  Sometimes it is to advance their careers, other times it was to expand their own capabilities without a direct correlation to their career.

Not all knowledge is going to serve as a means to propel your career – if you want it, go for it anyway.  Setting and achieving that goal gives you a sense of accomplishment and pride that is irreplaceable.

To learn new tricks does not always mean formalized certification or education.  Sometimes the best tricks you can learn are free.  You have a wealth of knowledge and experience all around you in your network.  Look around at your circle of influence, alliances and friends.  Explore your connections on LinkedIn.  Then take the most important step – ask.

One of the best ways to increase your knowledge is to simply ask.  I have a wonderful alliance of women that I see frequently and we combine exercise with expansion.  If any of us have a question, problem or contemplating a new idea – we ask the others.  We discuss our businesses, marketing, opportunities, experiences, thoughts, failures and stories.  This is a mobile MBA program in business!

In the world of knowledge, we are all very young pups with a lot to learn.  Let’s start by asking.

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

I help people get from where they are in their jobs to where they want to be in their careers.

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

 

7 Insights To Help You Relate To The Readers Of Your Resume

looking over a stack of paper

I am a very curious person.  As a child one of my favorite words was “why?” My father had a tremendous amount of patience as he would explain things to me.  If we were building something it was never a matter of ‘do x then y’.  I had to know why we did x then y, what happens if we did z first.  I want to know the causes, effects and possibilities.

My father taught me if you understand why you are doing something you can do it better. Apparently, I really took this to heart, apologies to all who know me.

I also incorporate this in my teaching style.  I like to explain the whys of what I do so my audience better understands and can adapt their actions for greater personal success.  I also incorporate it in my articles.  When writing about writing resumes I try to explain why you want to use value-driven demonstrative bullet points rather than duty statements and other points.

For your resume there is another why that is an important factor: how the person reading it reads it. How they approach it and read it is another why on how you write your resume.

So just for a few minutes, let’s take you out of your resume process and think about the people who are on the other side of that black-hole void of submission.

Caveat: to recruiters and human resource professionals, please know I mean no disrespect in the following.  I am simply explaining in a manner which I believe would be most understood by the greatest amount of people.  I am going to use examples and thoughts that I believe most people can identify with.  I really am on your side, even if I do not sound like it.  I do not envy your job.

It is not an exaggeration to say that one open position can generate easily 300+ resumes submitted.  Think about that – how would you like to review over 300 of pretty much the same thing for one position?  How about if you were trying to fill more than one position?

They do not have a lot of time and that is going to impact how they do a cursory review. This is why it is important to write towards how they are going to read and understand your resume.

1. Scanning like a ninja

With so many resumes to review, they have to adapt a system that allows them to quickly surmise if you fit the first cut.  I correlate this to a teenager’s mentality.  I had a house full of teenagers as my son was growing up so this I am very familiar with – and survived. This mindset looks something like this:

  1. If it looks hard to read, I don’t want to read it so I will not give it a lot of attention
  2. Just tell me what you want me to know, don’t make me work for it
  3. If you leave out information, I will fill it in in a snarky way
  4. If you don’t tell me I am not going to ask
  5. I will take it as it is written – not assume more
  6. I will only believe half of what you say

Do you blame them?  That is a lot of reading they have to do – on top of the rest of their job.  As far as the teenage mentality – think about if you have/had a teenager and you tell them to clean their room.  In my house what I said and what the interpreted request was were two different things.  I had to spell it out, in detail and assume nothing.  Do not leave anything to chance.

2. What do you want?

Some companies post multiple positions simultaneously.  It is not the recruiter or HR person’s job to determine which job you want or what is best for you.  You should know this and convey it so they can start evaluating you for that role immediately.

If you do not tell them, they are not going to take the time to help you figure out your career path.  Next resume.

3. Did you read the qualifications or even know what we do?

Listing the position that you are applying for as a title to your resume is not enough to convey an exact match.  You have to demonstrate that you have the qualities to succeed.  In other words – talk the talk and walk the walk.  Incorporate key words, phrases and industry important facts/successes into your bullet points in a meaningful way that demonstrates your expertise.

4. Everyone’s successful at managing

They are already facing a daunting task of getting through 300 resumes, do not put them to sleep.  Using vague phrases like “successful at managing” “oversees department” “X years of experience” tells them nothing of value.

HOW do you manage or oversee?  That is what will set you apart.  Years of experience is good, however, it is not the most important quality.  Just because someone has done a task for 10 years does not mean they are good at it.  What if they have been doing it wrong all those years?  WHY is the length of experience a benefit or give you an edge?

5. Sure you did

Listing that you were number two in sales last year is not really helping your game.  If they read that one or two thoughts could immediately pop into their head:

“What, out of three?” / “Did someone give you a book of business?”

That is the snarky teenager filling in the blank. Tell them HOW you achieved those goals and further define them to show their importance.  If you were number two out of four, maybe not such a great thing; however, if you were number two out of hundreds, well then, that is something.  Of course, if they really want to get snarky, they could ask “why not number one?”

6. Why do I even care?

Everything on your resume should support and further your value.  There should be no fluff that does not serve a purpose.  If you have a bullet point that states that you compile and distribute reports their first response could very well be, “why do I care?”

Determine the value of everything you do and convey it supporting yourself as the ideal candidate for the job.  Otherwise, what is it doing on your resume?

7. You expect me to believe that?

Don’t you even dare try to lie on your resume. It is unethical and it will be exposed.  You will lose all credibility and a job.  These poor people read hundreds of resumes, their bs meter is finely tuned.  If you compose an executive summary and list of expertise that rivals a CEO yet have just begun your career journey as an assistant to the deputy’s assistant junior team member – it will not add up.  You may try to say, well, it is just a little stretch.  Nope, it is a lie.

You have a story to tell – yours – and there is a lot of information to convey.  It is a daunting task trying to convey all that value in an impactful way in two pages or less. Yet writing your resume is not all about you.  You must consider the reader in your writing style to make sure your message is seen, read and understood.

Keep the above thoughts in mind and do a review of your own resume from this perspective.  It will make you improve your branding, communication and the chances of getting past the first round review.

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

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

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

Set Achievable Goals by Asking This One Question

 

I am an avid reader and process junkie.  I love discovering new articles with tips and tricks to help improve any process in my business or personal life.

I have lists created saving articles into classifications from home improvement, organization, writing, networking, goals, exercise, healthy recipes, dog obedience – and my bookcases, well, they are a cornucopia of books to inspire, take action or reflect.

There is a common theme with all the different categories: at some point during the process you must make a goal.  From there you can create a plan and then the helpful books and articles help you define and execute this plan.

I have a neurotic side that dedicates itself to the latest project with full vim and vigor and yet, so many of those goals die a slow death with those impressive action plans gathering dust or sadly being discarded.

I could not figure out why and it would frustrate me to no end.  I am a somewhat intelligent person, one who is able to create plans and follow them through.  I am resourceful, creative, committed and yet – too many goals were in the goal graveyard.

Why?

And that is when it hit me, the irony of it all – that very question is the reason.

I had always missed the why.

When I would start out with a new project or goal, I had a why in mind: I want to organize my office.  Why – because it is distracting to work in chaos.

That is not really the why. It was the first why that I never went beyond.

You see, I was exercising the “pot kettle black” rule.  When working with my clients determining their desired next step, I guide them through a version of the five whys.  The first answer to why is normally a conditioned response or barely scratching the surface.

To find the real reason, you must continue to ask why until you get to the root cause driving the desire for change.  On first blush when looking for a new position a client may say they want more money.

When diving a little deeper it may be revealed that the money aspect is not coming from them, but an expectation put upon them by friends, family or the industry.  After a few whys it may be discovered that the real reason is they want to focus on a certain aspect of their job, change jobs completely or take a new direction.

We do not dedicate to ourselves in finding the real why.

The one question we need to ask – what is the real why?

Organizing my office is not about controlling chaos.  It is about appreciating what I do and creating an environment that supports me, my work and feeds my creativity.  It is about respecting myself enough to create a sanctuary that I deserve to do the work that I love.  It is about not feeling guilty for doing something for me, making a space that is not conforming to an office expectation; rather creating an all about me space.

The real why is always there, we just have to dig to get to it.  What we often find is that is a purely selfish reason.  And that is the rub.

I want to create an office just for me.  Of course, this makes sense, it is my office, my business – it should be all about me.

Not so fast.

We are told that making something all about ourselves is bad.  Bad, bad, bad.  Selfish.  Egotistical.  We need to think about others.  How might it affect them?  What would other people think?

Stop it.  Stop that thinking right now.

You have a right to be selfish.  To have goals that are all about you.  Let me cut to the chase – if you cannot provide for yourself, make yourself happy – how on earth are you going to best support others?

You can pull that off for a while.  Sacrifice what you want and make everyone else happy and that can continue for some time.  Everyone else is all hunky dory because they are happy that you are taking care of them.  Yet, how do you feel?

Resentful, unfulfilled, not aligned with who you really are or want to do?  We are programmed to think of others and that thinking of ourselves first is selfish, wrong, taboo.

Let me just throw this out there, while I am at it: if you put yourself first and someone tells you that you are being selfish – listen to their reason on why you are being selfish.  Is it because you are not longer putting them first?  Forgive me for pointing out the obvious, however, why is it okay for them to be selfish and put themselves first and expect you to do the same but when you put yourself first (not asking them to do so) you are the bad guy.

That does not seem quite right to me. Yet we want others to tell us it is okay to think of ourselves first. We crave permission to do for ourselves.

I hereby give you permission to think only of yourself and what you want for you. You are not a bad person for doing so, you deserve it so do it.  Do it now.

What is a goal that you have?  Why do you want it?  Now dig deeper, why do you want that first response?  How will it make you feel, what benefit is it for you, how can it improve any quality in your life for you?

Finding the real why in your goals is transformational in two ways.

First – it gives you a real, deep rooted reason for the goal.  Something that has emotion, passion or real desire behind it.  With those types of strong feelings driving a goal, you have a greater chance at success. Your goal will transform from a have to or must to a want to and will.

Second – once you start pursuing this goal with those strong emotions as a driver, you will most likely find that the relationships with the others that you were supposed to be thinking about first, improve.  You are happier which leads to you being in a better place when dealing with them.

Positive feeds positive.  You may be more relaxed, more driven, more open, more free to express yourself or go after something that will truly transform your life.

This will have ripple effects on different aspects of your life.  Going after a degree will give you more confidence, which means you may take on more challenges at work, which allows your boss to see you in a more positive light, which leads to more opportunities, which may lead to a new position, which may include a better salary and better benefits, which may mean more opportunities to do more for your family – it is a positive cycle.

If I continue to set goals based on outside expectations, they will fill up the graveyard.  I have no real connection to them, no stake in the game. It is easy for me to give them up. But when I have a real, deep rooted reason – no matter what it is – that is when I get it done.

Now, I could be wrong and all full of happy hooey.  However, what if I am on to something?

What would it feel like to take one goal, just a small one, and try this process out?  What harm could it do to sit down and write out five or more whys until you get to a reason you were not even expecting?  Worst case scenario, you have another action plan gather dust and goal end up in the goal grave yard.

Best case scenario – you reach that goal, feel great about yourself, experience a positive effect on other aspects of your life and are ready to take on another goal.

My experience in this exercise is this: find out your real why and you discover the key to making it happen.

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

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