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

 

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Enhance Your Career By Using LinkedIn As A Match, Not A Flamethrower

Strike a Match on LinkedIn

 

I love LinkedIn. I am a huge fan of a platform that allows you to communicate your brand with so many enhancements to build business relationships. It is a critical and effective business tool.

Yet, with any tool, the key to success is knowing all the features, capabilities, limitations and most importantly how to use it.

  • The features include a great profile, experience section, headline, profile picture, groups and more.
  • The capabilities are the ability to convey your value and voice in a single site.
  • The limitations are the character limits and layering of options.

I am a DIY kinda girl. I like laying flooring and building things. I have a garage full of tools so how about we use these for an analogy.

Let’s say that you want to use LinkedIn to make connections and secure a new position. It is like laying tile.

If I were going to lay tile, I would make sure I have enough tile to cover the area, spacers, grout, sponge, water and a saw. I have measured out the area and laid my pattern. I have pre-planned and assimilated all the necessary equipment and items for the job, just like you have filled in your LinkedIn profile  within the parameters showcasing your voice and value.

But, if you are a DIY-er like me, you might notice that I left one little thing out – what kind of saw. What if I had a jig saw? You can’t lay tile with a jigsaw – you need a tile saw. (I guess you technically could – but that is an argument best left to Bob Villa.)

My point is just because you have a tool doesn’t mean it is the right one for the job – translation for our example: just because one method of using LinkedIn has boosted results according to one person does not mean it will work for you. Like email blasts.

This morning I received a very polite opening letting me know that the sender had gathered my information from my LinkedIn profile. They then proceeded to give me quite the narrative of their career highlights, including attaching their resume, with the request to pass on their information to our hiring manager in hopes of finding out more about our company. They are looking for a high level IT project management position.

They may have gotten my information from LinkedIn but they sure didn’t read anything else besides my email.

This is a case of using LinkedIn for career advancement like a flamethrower instead of a match. I do not recommend blasting an email such as this blindly to hundreds of people on LinkedIn. At best, it is annoying.  Be selective, research the companies and people. Find connections and then use LinkedIn as a match to strike up a conversation. Flamethrowers burn bridges, matches ignite relationships.

 

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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

 

Thanksgiving – A Time To Create Your Own Personal Sales Force

thanksgiving-family

I remember as a little girl having huge family gatherings for Thanksgiving with extended family that I only saw once a year catching up around enough food to feed an army.

It was fun, although what I remember most is a slice pumpkin pie hidden under mounds of whipped cream. Maybe that is what I enjoyed the most.

I realize some may be dreading this tradition tomorrow, but to that I say: why not use the opportunity presented if you are looking for a job?

Immediate, extended family or friends will probably try to make polite conversation and ask what you are doing now. Instead of dodging the question or answering with, “I’m looking for a job” generic gloss over, why not transform your family into your personal sales force?

What exactly is your own personal sales force?  It is your people identifying potential opportunities and selling you or bringing the information back to you to follow up on.

If you tell your family that you are merely looking for a job and Great Uncle Ed says there is an opening as a road kill cleaner-upper, are you going to jump on that?  Probably not, although, hats off if you do, someone needs to do that thankless job. Thank you road kill cleaner-uppers!

This is the critical part: you must translate what you do and what you are looking for in a way that your family understands it.  If they get what you do and what you want they will more easily recognize it when they hear it. This, in turn, makes it easier for them to sell you to others and/or bring back the opportunity to you.

The first thing to do is to understand exactly what it is you do – not in a job, but in terms of value.  What value do you provide to others?  This does not mean a title.  Titles are only given value by those who hear them which is based on their own experience.

In other words, if you work for a mortgage company and second cousin removed Gertrude just had her home foreclosed, you might just get a turkey leg hurled in your direction if you tell her you  are a mortgage broker.  She won’t know what you do, but she will associate you with the not so nice experience she encountered.

Back to the critical part – if you family understands your value, they can sell you any time anywhere, as demonstrated by my son when he was in high school.

Between football practices he brought a buddy home to raid the fridge and hang out.

His friend asked what I did and my son replied, “she helps people get jobs.”  Cringing out of sight (because that was not at all how I would say it and felt like he didn’t get it), I let the conversation continue.

Which was a good thing because then, the magic unfolded.

His friend asked how.

Boom baby! 

He got it. He presented it in the perfect way – for his audience to ask a question.

He then explained that I work with them doing their resumes, help with interviewing and ‘all the stuff that helps them get a job’.

Then next day his friend’s dad called and hired me.

My cousin is a tech genius.  I am clearly not.  He had to explain what he did to me in a way that I got it, which included using simple examples that related to my personal or business life without using technical jargon.  I was not offended, I was relieved because I finally got what he did and was not afraid to ask about it anymore.

It is not necessary to know the exact job you want.  Giving your family some parameters with this is helpful.  For example you may tell them that you have worked mainly in banking but would not mind going into brokerage or insurance.

Or simply tell them that what you do could be in a lot of different areas so you are not looking for one industry.

Relax on be perfect and fine tuning a pitch. You are not on a job interview or formal networking event. This is honest to goodness labored over turkey, stuffing, and all the fixins here people, not networking chicken!

Talk to your family and friends. When you explain what you do, it is okay to ask them if it makes sense to them.

The more they know the more they can help, and isn’t that part of the whole family thing?

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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 on the right side. 

 

Write Your Resume Because Your Mother Said So

mom-because-i-said-so

 

When my son Jake was growing up, “because I said so” was not – in his mind – a valid reason for a request.

He was, and is, stubborn, intelligent, quick witted and a challenge-any-establishment-kind of kid. As he gets older, I can appreciate these qualities, most of the time. Of course there are still times that I have had enough of the challenge and the old, “because your mother said so” comes out signaling an end of discussion.

What I found most helpful when dealing with my son was to explain, in a manner which he understood, the why emphasizing the benefit to him.  Of course, there was normally another benefit, but that was hidden behind the ‘him’ reason because, quite frankly, that is the only reason he really cared about.

For example cooking.

All my boys learned to cook.  It was a requirement. Once a week they were responsible for planning and executing a meal.  Not a pop tarts with a side of mac and cheese meal, a real meal.  I taught them how to budget and shop for the necessary food; prepare and serve; and clean up after the meal.

My reasons were it gave me a break from cooking meals and eliminated any whining about what was for dinner. I also did not want to hear years later from a potential daughter-in-law that her husband never cooks.  That would be on her because my boys were going to learn to fend for themselves.

The reason I gave them: girls really like a guy who can cook and cooks for them.  Worked like a charm.  Of course, years later my son told me I was right, girls loved that he could cook; and his friends were also quite impressed with his budget/cooking savvy.

So what does this have to do with your resume?  A slightly odd parallel, but one nonetheless. You are learning to fend for yourself in writing your own resume.  During job searching and networking, people really like a person who knows their value, how they can contribute to others and can communicate it clearly for them to understand.

That is the baseline of your resume – to discover and be able to communicate your value – even if no one ever reads it.

Your resume is the baseline for everything for career transitions, whether looking for a change in industries or moving up in your current profession.  You have to know what you are cooking, what ingredients go into it and how to present it before anyone is going to be daring enough to take a bite.

There is a lot of preparation that goes into a meal. You have to know what ingredients you need, have a budget for the food, plan cooking times knowing some items will take longer than others, understand what seasonings or add ins are going to make or break each dish.

That is your resume.  A detailed look at what you have done in the past knowing the intricacies that make you unique and valuable.

Simply giving a description of what you were hired to do in the past is like opening a can of beans and plopping it in a bowl and calling it a side.

Start breaking your position down into pieces. Start with a general statement: what did you do?  Let’s stay with the cooking theme, and I am going to be very generic on this as it is an attempt at a fun example.

  • What did you do? I was a cook.
  • What does that mean, what did you do as a cook?  I prepared food.
  • How, what was involved? I had to get all the ingredients, plan and prepare the meals.
  • Who did you work with? I had staff that helped prepare and order.
  • How did you work with them? I oversaw some to make sure we had an accurate inventory and when to order; I worked with others making sure they got their items prepared at the right time before and during the dinner rush.
  • How did you do that? I met with the order staff weekly to go through all the items, plan meals and prepare orders. The assistants I trained them on how to cook, prepare and present food.
  • Who did that benefit and how? Our customers – they had good food; the company – it made more money; me – it gave me more time; my staff – they did better at their jobs, more efficient and more skills so they got better reviews and some moved up into better cooking positions.

Go deep to start having the ‘who did you work with, how, what did you do and what was the benefit’ conversations.  This will reveal your value and allow you to translate that to a document that will be easily understood by the reader.

But what if no one ever reads it, like I said before? Not a problem.

Once you detail out your value, you will be able to communicate it to any audience.  The parameters of the format above are similar to the behavioral based interview style The STAR Method: Situation, Task, Action, Result.  Most interviews are behaviorally based.  Having completed the resume exercise you will be fully versed and comfortable answering behavioral based questions.

When networking you will be able to answer the question ‘what do you do’ from a value perspective which will generate much more interest than responding with simply your title. You will be able to translate your value in a manner that your audience will understand which will engage them.

Writing your resume is a great exercise to rediscover and reengage with the things you love to do, what ignites your passion, what drives you, what is fun for you to do and what you do best.  It gives you a little spark and jazzes you by remembering that you are pretty darn good at what you do. It helps you better communicate with your network or potential employers so they can clearly understand your value and see how it would benefit them – translating to wanting to have you on their team.

If those reasons are not enough for you, write your resume because your mother said so, or at least because Jake’s mom said so.

 

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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 on the right side. 

 

 

The Infestation of Fleas in Your Job Search

 

I have three dogs.  Three spoiled, indoor and office dogs.  If you call our office you might, just might, here a glimpse of them, although they are pretty well trained to know the sound of the phone triggers quiet time on their part.  That might just be the only way they are trained.

 

Being in the office every day and quite spoiled any other time, they see the great outdoors only to take care of nature calling and brisk walks in the neighborhood. In other words, these are not the hang outside all day kind of dogs.

 

I have not had a problem with fleas in years. 

 

Until this week. We are house sitting and in the evenings they have been enjoying the most beautiful backyard.  Of course they are forced to because I am greatly enjoying the overhanging trees, abundance of flowers, soothing sounds of the pond and many sightings of squirrels, hummingbirds, butterflies and more.  Forced because these spoiled little things will not go anywhere without me.

 

The other day I noticed one of my dogs scratching and doing the quick turns on his rear end with a quizzical look.  I did not think much of it because this is the same dog that gets frightened every time he passes gas.

 

He started scratching a bit more.  Then another one started scratching a little. Pretty soon it became a scratching party. About this time, while sitting outside, I happened to look down and noticed little black jumpy things lingering on my socks.  Uh oh.

 

As an over-analyzer, I immediately took to Google to learn all I could about these nasty little creatures.  Turns out, this beautiful yard is not only a heaven for me, but for fleas, too.  Awesome.  Off to the store I went – flea treatments for both the dogs and yard.  Yippee.

 

How on earth can such little jumpy things cause such distress?  Seriously, they are miniscule; and yet, wreaked havoc on my poor puppies – and me.

 

Now that we are comfortably enjoying some quiet time in the peaceful oasis, the connection to job searching hit me – doubt is fleas.

 

When first job searching you might start full of confidence, hope and positivity.  After sending out a resume or two the first flea jumps on: a flicker of doubt. It is easy to brush that one off and think it is your dogs getting werided out by his own farts, but then a bit more time passes and another couple fleas/doubts jump on board.

 

Things start to turn from a mild irritation Maybe they didn’t receive it to an annoying scratch I keep sending them out and not getting a response to a full on infestation Am I not good enough, am I over qualified, am I underqualified, I know I can do this – why are they ignoring me, I am getting responses to jobs I don’t want but nothing on the ones I do, am I too old, do I not have the right experience or education, what is wrong with me?

 

It is time to get the flea removal stuff.  And it stinks, but it is worth it.

 

First treatment – every time another flea/doubt jumps on or bites, recognize it and kill it immediately.  Am I not qualifiedsquash!of course I am!

 

Second treatment – look at your environment, this is your branding materials: your resume, networking communication, LinkedIn etc. Remove all fleas/doubt in those.  Make sure your resume is speaking to your value, not your duties.  What did you do, how did you do it, how did others benefit – this is the ROI of hiring you that potential investors (employers) want to see.

 

Third treatment – keep repeating the first treatment while reaching out to your network to convey what you are looking for in a way that they understand, identify for you and connect to you.  If they are not in your industry, do not confuse them with industry jargon. Ask for help and advice, yet use what feels right to you. Research ‘flea eradication’ and you will get a multitude of suggestions, but not everything is going to work for you.

 

Fourth treatment – stop trying to treat things that are not there.  Some products boasted that they killed certain other bugs – guess what, we don’t have them in this area.  Applying for jobs you do not want is a double whammy.  It feels twice as bad to get rejected for something you didn’t even want in the first place!

 

Fifth treatment – give yourself a flea bath, i.e., take time to relax and keep things in perspective.  Hiring is not always a one day deal.  There is a lot of time and money invested in finding quality candidates and it is during this process that time stands still.  Remember to relax, treat yourself and keep killing any stray fleas/doubts as soon as they pop up.

 

These little suckers do not start in a hoard, they build up to infestation just as doubt does.  Recognize it, treat it step by step and soon your confidence will be back and the right offer will be presented to you.

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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. 

Help Your Network Help You Get The Job You Want

 

nyc-subway-7

I had never been to New York City until this week.  All I can say is – I am going back.  I was there two days, walked over 20 miles and barely scratched the surface on things to experience, see and do.  I will not even start on the food, let’s just say it is a good thing I put on over 20 miles on the sneakers or I would come back looking like Violet from Willy Wonka after the bubble gum incident.

The trip was fantastic and we were so proud to say we were getting the hang of the subways.  We spoke too soon.  The last train back to the hotel after a full day of experiencing and we were exhausted.  We knew the station we needed to get off on so instead of plotting it out ourselves, we asked the subway expert for instructions.  We needed to go to Flushing.

Flushing Brooklyn that is.

It is not where we ended up.

We went to Flushing in Queens.

For anyone familiar with New York City, you are welcome for the laugh.  For anyone not familiar, these two places are, according to Mapquest, about an hour away via subway. They are not close.  There was a bit of backtracking before we were headed in the right direction.

I was not upset at the little impromptu adventure added to our trip, after all, who could I get mad at?  We asked for instructions for Flushing – we just did not specify – so we left it up to whomever we were talking with to fill in the blanks.

This is what can happen when job searching.  If you simply tell your friends, family and network that you are ‘looking for a job’ they might send you to Queens.  How do they know you want Brooklyn and not Queens if you do not specify?  It is not their fault, you left it way too open and allowed them to fill in the blanks.

To be honest, you do not want just any job.  I saw several people this week working tremendously hard at jobs I would not want to do or could not do.  Do you want to be the guy in the shop that cooks the ducks that are still staring at you as they roast?  How about the one stocking the local mart with the live frogs on the end cap?  Or a delivery driver in the heart of NYC?  Oh heck no!

You need to be specific when speaking to your network, yet speak in a language they understand.  When buying Dragon Fruit at the Asian market, we found unique ways of communicating as we had a very limited shared communication platform.

Use words that your network can relate to and more importantly, understand to repeat.  Do not simply leave it at a title or industry.  The only thing your network knows about titles or industries is this: what they have personally experienced or heard from their network.

Leaving it to simply an industry is much too vague.  Information Technology, that means nothing.  The possibilities within that industry are endless. Do you work on a help desk, system programming, analytics, accounting, sales – what do you do?  Then explain it in a way that relates to your audience.

Think of from their eyes. If you work with the help desk in some capacity, think about how they would interact with you or your department.  Perhaps saying something like, “You know when your company updates a system and the next morning you’re completely frozen out….I’m the guy/gal that makes sure that doesn’t happen.”

Give them something they can relate to and repeat to help you get to the right station in life and not wandering around for another hour stopping at every unrelated stop along the way.

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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. 

Not Looking For A Job Is The Perfect Time To Prepare For a New Job

cleats - preparing resume for new job when employed

As a parent, I think we all have that one saying or phrase that absolutely drives our kids crazy. If you would ask my son I am sure it would be ‘you lack of planning does not constitute an emergency on my part’.

He would ‘forget’ about projects, deadlines or responsibilities and somehow it would spill over to me. Finding 24-hour stores to buy poster board or other supplies; finding cleats that would fit him, were the right color and would actually last past two games at the last possible minute or completing forms on the way to school.

He would get in quite the tizzy about the impending deadline and be frustrated with me because I did not alter my speed in helping complete the impending doomed task.  This is when the phrase would come into play.

He did not like the fact that I did not take on the urgency of the situation.  He asked me once why I did not and I told him because, quite frankly, it was not mine.  He knew, even without specific deadlines, that preparation was needed, yet failed to plan and prepare.

You do not do 2-a-day practices not knowing you are going to need new season cleats.  C’mon.

Maybe your job has been stable, given you the opportunity to learn something new – yet you  know you are going to want to leave. You are not quite fulfilled or you see a change in the industry or company that does not sit right with you.  Perhaps you are content, it is good enough, although if another opportunity comes up you would certainly entertain it, even though you are not looking.

You are at 2-a-days.

You are actually preparing for the next step in your career even if you are not fully aware of it.  There is one missing piece – what if that opportunity does come, out of the blue – then what?

Are you fully prepared?  Can you translate what you are doing to what you want to do?  Can you communicate effectively how you can easily move from one position to the next?  In other words: is your resume and interview prep ready?

I hope so.  Your break can happen any time, ready or not, it can happen.

I do hear people say that the resume is dead.  No, not really.  You see, it not only serves as a document that companies keep on file for their official records, as a means to introduce yourself to the right audience – it serves a greater purpose.

It helps you identify and communicate the  most important aspect of you as a contributing employee: your value.

What do you bring to the table?  It is not your current job description or any job description for that matter.  Those things are what you were hired to do.

Your value is what you do, how you do it and how others receive benefit from it.

You manage a team.  Yawn.  What does that mean?  What kind of manager are you?  Do you bark out orders, give numbers then keep locked in an office demanding quotas be met?  Or are you the roll-up-the-sleeves-in-the-weeds with your team get it done, motivating, mentoring manager?  Saying you are a manager does not give the slightest inkling into your value.

Oversee a budget.  Boring.  What does that mean?  Compile reports. Snooze. What information is included, where do you get it, how do you put it together and who uses it for what purpose?

Translating value into a resume is not just for the reader – it is for you.  When you compose a resume that is value driven demonstrating rather than stating you get the benefit.  This is your sales statement.  Before you can sell any product you have to know it inside and out.

Putting together your resume gives you the complete information about the product – you; the benefits, features, strengths and return on investment.  Knowing this information you can ace interviewing and networking by being able to adapt your sales statement to any audience.

When you try to put together this tools critical for career progression at the last minute it will most likely turn out like the 11th hour school poster board project.  Is that how you want to present yourself to an ideal opportunity that just fell in your lap?

If you are not actively looking for a job now is an ideal time to start putting your resume together.  There is no pressure or deadline that is breathing down your back.  Also, hiring a professional resume writer at the 11th hour is not going to guarantee success.  Many do not do immediate turn around because we understand that an effective resume is not simply translating your job duties into pretty bullet points within 24 hours.

Start now.  Take an old job think about what you did, how, who you worked with, how you worked with them and how they received benefit by you doing what you did.  This is the foundation of value.  You then have plenty of time to review, add, edit, tweak, evaluate, walk away, tweak some more and have a baseline ready.

That way when an ideal opportunity appears – or a worst case scenario (downsizing, mergers, closings etc.) all you have to do is a bit of tweaking and can engage immediately.  As Henry Hartman so eloquently said:

“Success always comes when preparation meets opportunity”

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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. 

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 

 

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 ★