Is Your Resume Speaking Their Language?

resume-speak-their-language

No matter where I roam, I am a Hoosier. I was raised on Bobby Knight’s coaching and weekend show, Reggie Miller ruling the court, watching the Indians on 16th Street and lighting of the world’s largest Christmas tree to name a few.

First and foremost I am just going to say, people are people. I meet and enjoy conversations with amazing, kind, good people all over the country. There is no judgement that one location is better than the other.

We now have an office in Tennessee. I have learned to manage the travel and scheduling, but had the most fun learning and observing the subtle differences between the two locations.

Although, we do have one thing in common: we all love Peyton and claim him as our own.

The biggest difference between the Midwest and the Mid-South to me has been the nuances of language. Although I still cannot figure out why it is standard to write Midwest as one word yet Mid-South is typically a hyphenated word.

I quickly discovered a uniqueness in the Mid-South, at least in my area, name calling. Name calling in the Mid-South is meaningless. A different kind of name calling.

I have been called sweetie, sweets, baby, baby doll, babe, honey and hon. Oh yeah, and sweet thing.

My boyfriend and I were at a local spot getting a pop when I heard, “Hey, sweet thing!”

In both the Midwest and the Mid-South the intent was to get my attention.

Now, where I am from, there is a certain connotation that comes with someone yelling that out. If I were back in the Midwest, I would have had a much different reaction. It would have been an insult to my boyfriend, and me, in a really bad icky-ish pick up throwaway line.

Not in the Mid-South, I just turned around. Not that I naturally assumed that I was the ‘sweet thing’ in question, but there was no one else around and I took a chance they were not yelling it out to my boyfriend.

Mr. Sweet Thing then asked me where I got my boots because his wife would look really good in them. I have to give him credit, they were awesome boots. One of my favorites, the pair I call my pirate boots: knee high black leather, fold over top, dangling charms, pointy toe with three inch heels.

When I told him a store in Indiana he said that stunk because he really wanted to get them for her and thanked me.

I learned that hearing any additional name within a sentence is not a personal thing, it is simply a word: thank you sweetie, good morning baby doll, hon can I help you, here babe let me get that for you, have a great day honey. Regardless of race, religion, size, shape – those little words are stuck in sentences.

I am used to hearing words, just a word without major meaning, stuck in somewhere in a sentence, in the Midwest you can here bro, brother, brah, buddy, dude, bud. It is not uncommon for men to use these types of words when speaking to each other, the Mid-South just happens to give the ladies their own list. Thanks y’all!

What does this have to do with resumes? Certainly not a suggestion of adding these words in there! No, no, no, it is all about the language nuance.

When reading open position postings, are you picking up on the nuances?

When you read about the company, are you getting the feeling of the atmosphere or environment? Does the company or position sound like it is a nose to the grindstone, all out, hard core performance only matters or a relaxed, collaborative place that encourages new ideas and growth?

Listen for the intent, do not just read the words.

When you read the job description, listen to your inner voice in putting together a picture of the opportunity, company and environment. When you read a novel, you form a picture of characters in your head based on the words the author uses; this is the same concept.

Once you get a feel for it, dig in for their important words; there are two sets: key words and descriptors. Use both to speak their language.

Descriptors are the words they use to describe activities or items. Do they use words like drive, propel, encourage, maximize – words that inspire action, excitement? Jot down words or feelings when reading to be able to match their level of descriptors.

Key words are word important to the position and duties. Jot them down as you come across them. A resource to quickly and easily check the most used words in any document is TagCrowd.com. Simply copy the text, paste it in the box and click “visualize”. Tada! A word cloud of the most used words.

Here is the word cloud for this article:

tagcrowd-example-within-article

Prior to the picture, there are 713 words. ‘Midwest’ was used 5 times, ‘pick’ twice and ‘words’ 13 times – just to give you a reference for the visual rating. Pick was identified with various endings.

Most people read the posting and primarily focus on the duties, then writing their resume filled with prior job duties to try to match up with the job. This is a mistake, they are missing critical areas and opportunities.

For the next opportunity you see that sounds like a great match, read it over several times to help your resume speak to them:

  1. Read the job duties for alignment with your value and what you want to do.
  2. Read the requirements to identify your qualifications.
  3. Read it all the way through to get a ‘feel’ for the environment listening to the nuances of how they describe factors throughout the entire posting.
  4. Pick out keywords and their important words.

Once you have this information, go back to your resume and communication and adjust:

  1. Emphasize the value you bring to the expected duties.
  2. Highlight your matching qualifications.
  3. Use their descriptors or similar to speak their language.
  4. Utilize keywords throughout your resume.

Taking a little extra time and ‘listening’ to what is written will help you demonstrate that you are the best candidate to the prospective employer in a way that they can hear you. And sweetie, that can be the difference that gets you the interview.

 

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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. 

 

How & Where to Best Use Keywords for LinkedIn Profile SEO

LinkedIn Profile Keyword SEO

Optimizing a LinkedIn profile is critical for job seekers. But what if you are perfectly content in the position that you have, what is the benefit for you?

The benefit is the “what if”.

What if you were offered an opportunity to more of what you love, for more money, maybe in a desired part of the country? What if you were asked to serve as a consultant or expert on an intriguing project?

You may not be looking for these things, but wouldn’t it be nice if they came to you?

Recruiters are looking for the best talent, they do not limit themselves to only the truly available candidates – they look for passive candidates. They leverage LinkedIn because it can provide results quickly and effectively.

According to The Undercover Recruiter, 97% of all HR and staffing professionals are using LinkedIn in their recruiting efforts.

The question then becomes – how can I be found?

Keywords

The right keywords in your profile, using them often and to your advantage.

What Are Keywords?

These are the words that are important in finding that which we search. If you are looking for a certain position, the words you use to search that are relevant for the position are keywords. They are buzzwords, jargon and industry language. It is how the industry or companies describe the job, profession or duties.

Keywords are critical in Search Engine Optimization to filter through search engines, social networks (LinkedIn) and applicant tracking systems (ATS) and resume databases.

Where Should Keywords Be Used?

The most effective sections in LinkedIn to use keywords are:

  • Headline
  • Summary
  • Job Titles in Experience
  • Experience
  • Recommendations
  • Skills

It has been suggested that extra weighting is given in LinkedIn search algorithm for keywords in the Headline, Experience Job Title and Skills sections.

Before we get to how to best use the keywords, let’s get a foundation of what they are and how to find them.

What Keywords Should Be Used?

The keywords that you use will depend upon your industry, job, experience, qualifications and where you want to go in that next level.

Keywords are also how you describe what you do.

In January of 2015, many articles published lists of the top 10 buzzwords for 2014, which was a variation of the following:

Motivated, Passionate, Creative, Extensive Experience, Responsible, Strategic, Track Record, Driven, Organized/Organizational, Effective, Expert, Innovative

Soon we will be getting the lists of what was overused in 2015. Although somewhat helpful, these lists tell you about the previous year, not forecasting for this year and what to use now.

I think there is a bit of subjectivity in the lists. If organizational is in your title or instrumental in the value you provide – use it. If you are a recognized expert, then say it. Yes, many people may overuse the term expert; however, if you demonstrate it in your context then you are perfectly fine using the word ‘expert’.

Determining the Right Keywords

There are several sources for mining effective keywords.

Talk It Out

You are a great resource that you might be discounting. Try this exercise – sit down in front of a computer and type out a conversation that you would have with someone unfamiliar with your job. Describe to them what you do and how you do it. Include people or groups that you work with and how you work with them.

From this ‘conversation’ you can mine several possibilities.

Search For That Job

Do a search on your own or previous job. Pay attention to titles, products, services, job responsibilities, certifications or degrees listed in the requirements or responsibilities.

Job boards are a great resource to mine for keywords. Indeed.com is a very robust job board and easy to navigate. It also has other tools on the website that can be helpful – more on that in a bit.

Scope Out Your Competition

Do a search on LinkedIn for those doing the job you are doing or the job you want to be doing and mine their profile.

The top searches will have certain items in common; pay attention to not only the words, but how they are used.

Power Your Research

Once you have blocks of text, now is the time to synchronize your research and condense it to the most effective keywords.

Copy and paste the text from your internal conversation, competition and job boards into a word cloud application. Tagcrowd.com is a phenomenal site that takes the information you paste and creates a visual word cloud highlighting the most important and often used words.

Below is a screen shot of a word cloud from a project manager position found on indeed.com:

Get Geeky With It

You can take your search one step further on Indeed.com and see how certain keywords are trending.

Go to Indeed.com/jobtrends
– Type in the terms you want to compare; use quotes around the words and separate with a comma
– Click on Find Trends
– The graph will show historical information on how those words have been used in job postings, how they are trending and how popular they are recently.

Below is a screen shot comparing Information Technology with IT, as an example.

How to Use Those Keywords

Remember, these keywords are impactful in describing your brand and the value that you add to an organization, team and clients.

Headline

This prime real estate has 120 characters to benefit from – use it to your advantage. Go beyond your title and company and utilize keywords that make an impact for you, your brand and your value.

Instead of “Information Technology Director, ZBC Company

What about: “IT Director Leading Global Enterprise Growth Strategies – Improves Quality – Strengthens Productivity & Efficiencies

That packs a little more of a punch!

Summary & Experience

Use those keywords to tell not only what you do, but how you do it.

The summary is not the place to list your current job as a series of job duties; it should tell your story. Your experience section should follow suit – do not list a bullet point list of what you were hired to do; tell the reader what you did.

If you were involved in a Six Sigma project and it had an impact, let the reader know. Simply stating ‘Six’ Sigma is not enough. It is putting keywords into your profile, true, but it is not painting a picture.

Instead, try: “Instrumental in implementing Lean Six Sigma processes that significantly improved processes resulting in a 46% decrease in costs for xyz.”

Reflect back on the top LinkedIn profiles of your peers or of those holding the position you seek to get an idea of how to communicate your value.

Job Titles in Experience

Your job title must match up on your profile to what is used on your resume and what the company listed; however, you have 100 characters to expand on that to create a more complete, and impactful, picture.

Financial Analyst

Becomes:

Financial Analyst – Asset Management, Market Analysis, Trend Forecasting, Profit & Loss, Auditing

And that is 97 characters.

Recommendations

When requesting recommendations, forgo the boilerplate template that is provided and create a personalized message. Use keywords when asking for a recommendation to encourage the responder to do the same.

“Joe, as you and I worked together at KDI Company and you are familiar with my skills in trend forecasting, corporate auditing and asset management, I would greatly appreciate if you would write a recommendation for me that I could post on my LinkedIn profile.”

You have not only politely asked for a recommendation, you have given a road map of what you want to highlight!

Skills

Select from the skills provided by LinkedIn ones that best support you, your value and your brand.  Remember, the right key words in your skills section have been said to have extra weighting in the LinkedIn search algorithm.

You Can Plan and Prepare but You Can Not Control

Preparation and planning are wonderful things.  They make us feel in control, in charge, confident and sometimes invincible. 

Then your dogs pee in the middle of your ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.  More on this later.

Keys to successful interviews, client presentations, performance reviews or speaking engagement hinges on preparation, this I do not argue.

What happens when it does not go exactly as planned or anticipated? 

That, my friends, will set you apart. 

Those are the golden opportunities, not horrific destruction of careers!

It is in those moments that you can truly shine. 

I believe that when glitches happen, it is life giving you an opportunity to show what you are really made of, why you are the person for the job.

Technical glitch during a client presentation or a speaking engagement?  No problem, you know the material, you are passionate about what you do!  See this is the opportunity to genuinely show your expertise and commitment by landing the plane without the aid of technology!

In an interview and you say the wrong thing or go down a rabbit hole?  Grab this opportunity to show grace under pressure and humor in guiding the conversation back to the original point and establishing yourself as a cool-as-a-cucumber prospect with quick wits able to turn a potentially bad situation right back around to point.

Those moments happen in the everyday world of business, not just the major milestones.  Can you be prepared for these unexpected flubs?  Not really, but you can recognize that they happen and allow yourself some slack in just going with it the best you can.

Odds are, when you are relaxed and let your natural expertise guide you, you will end up looking better than had everything gone exactly as planned.

I took a two-month hiatus from speaking and workshops to focus on a new coaching program.  Not being in front of crowds for a while, I let my guard down about life’s flubs. 

Lucky for me, I have dogs to remind me that these little opportunities are always present. 

This past weekend I accepted my son’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge and we planned it out.  He came by to video it for me, I prepared two checks (one for ALS and one for American Cancer Society), we picked a spot in the backyard and planned the shooting before the rain came. 

The video, it seemed, went off without a hitch.  Mission accomplished.

My son wanted to see my reaction, so we watched the video.  What we saw instead were two of my dogs peeing all over the place and the third one trying to get the ice out of the bucket. 

There was no way I was going to allow my son so much pleasure in dumping another bucket over my head, so we just posted it as is. 

What followed was several private messages and some on Facebook all praising the pups for absolutely stealing the show.

Apparently, they knew what they were doing. Watch the video by clicking here:

ALS Challenge upstaged by dogs

I did not shine or be brilliant, I got upstaged by peeing dogs.  But because of this, the video was seen and shared more than it probably would have been without them.  I am hoping this translates to not only additional support for ALS, but also the American Cancer Society (near and dear to my heart).

Thank you puppies for the reminder of life’s unexpected flubs and giving me a good laugh.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

Brand Strategist & Career Coach

Certified Professional Resume Writer

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Waiting for the Perfect Opportunity and Missing the Right Opportunity

Having and Option and ChoosingWhen I was a little girl I wanted to grow up to work in the legal field, have five children (four boys and a little girl), live in a mountain top house and be surrounded by lots and lots of animals.

 

I did get my degree in Criminal Justice; gave birth to one son but have two step-sons, a step-daughter and many adopted sons; and I have a pack of dogs.

 

Had I held out on these childhood dreams I would have missed the wonderful blessing in my life.

 

I worked in the legal field – it wasn’t for me.  As I grow older I want water rather than mountains.  Not only because to me it is a more peaceful view but let’s face it – sharks stay in the water, mountain lions and bears come out of the woods!

 

In job searching I find there are two quandaries that many choose – waiting for the perfect opportunity or jumping on the first thing that is offered.

 

Getting that interview after a long dry spell can be invigorating and make you feel like you are back in the game, that someone sees value in you again.  But what if it is the wrong job?  You know it isn’t right: the work isn’t what you want to do, nor is the pay, location or hours yet it has been so long since you have been offered a job.  The fear of never finding the right job creeps in and takes over.

 

The other extreme is not applying for jobs because they miss one element or do not meet every single one of your requirements.  You want the perfect job in every way and are not going to waste your time applying for anything less.

 

What is a person to do?

 

Find your balance.  Not just in the job searching, but in yourself.

 

You should have certain criteria in that next position but that list should be a guideline not an elimination checklist.  Sometimes it is easier to have a “no” list rather than a “must” list.  That way if the job does not contain your absolute nots than you will be more open to receive it and apply.

 

A bit of honesty and truth here: you may not be ready for your perfect job just yet.  Perhaps you do not have enough experience or acquired the skill set necessary to succeed.  Keep your eye on that perfect job but allow other opportunities to serve as stepping stones to getting there.

 

What you might find is one of those stones takes you in a whole new direction which is even better than your perceived perfect.

 

Let’s face it – we don’t always know what is best for us!

 

In finding that balance you also give yourself permission to accept the fact that you are worth a good opportunity, not just what is presented to you.  If you know it is not the right job do not take it unless it is extreme measures.  If you need income now and that will help you family than yes, you do what is best for your family – while you continue to be open to the right opportunity.

 

The ironic thing is when job searching it is most beneficial to be flexible in your thinking and opportunities.  However more often than not people are instead paralyzed by fear or unrealistic expectations that keep them confined in the job search hell.

 

Find your value, what you ideally want, what is acceptable, what you do not want, create a balance and let this be your guide.  Remain open to all sorts of opportunities and believe that each step is taking you to just the right place – and it will.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Why Are We So Adverse To Communication?

mouth taped shutI had an interesting conversation yesterday.  The homeowner of the house next door told me that the renter had mentioned that our dogs are digging holes under the joint fence to see each other.

 

Really?

 

I looked along my fence and low and behold there was a little hole (apparently my dogs weren’t trying very hard because none of them could fit through, maybe those dreaded bunnies could).  So I told him I would fill it in and place something in front of it.  Problem solved.

 

But all day I just couldn’t understand or get a handle on why the renter never said anything to me.  We are on friendly terms and it wasn’t that big of a deal.

 

Here’s a little back story – a couple of renters ago had a 20ish son who rescued a small husky.  She was adorable and quit timid, yet she took to my girls immediately.  She used to dig holes constantly under that fence and wind up in my yard to hang out with them.  She eventually got so comfortable with us that she would come in the house and take naps in my family room.  I would put a note on the neighbors door to let them know if she wasn’t in the back yard she was hanging out with us.

 

They constantly filled in the holes and put rocks in front of them but she was quite determined.  It was no big deal.  I let them know in a friendly manner what she was doing and we remained on friendly terms.

 

When I talked to the homeowner yesterday he also inquired about the property line (his wife got very upset with me years ago because she insisted the privacy fence wasn’t on it) and I told him that in fact it was.  The previous owners pulled all the land maps or whatever they are called and put it right on the line.  He looked at me and said, “so she is also cutting half your yard?”  I told him yes and just smiled.  Again, no big deal.  If she wants to cut half my side yard when she cuts hers more power to her.  It isn’t enough for me to get upset about or raise a stink about.

 

So why not just tell your neighbor that you think the puppies are trying to play under the fence?

 

Because we are adverse to communication.

 

I believe it is for one of two reasons.

 

One – Fear.  You don’t want someone to be mad at you for saying something.  So instead of just saying something in a polite, friendly way we avoid. Avoidance is a wonderful thing.  We built this whole thing in our mind of how it can go in the worse possible way and we just don’t want that so we don’t say anything.

 

Two – PA.  We do not say anything yet hold a grudge behaving in a purely passive aggressive manner in that any communication following – even if it is “have a nice day” is met with anger, resentment or other negative emotions because, well, darn it they should be a mind reader and know that it bothered you.

 

Neither one is healthy.

 

If you want something new, a change or an end you must speak up for yourself.  Approach it in an open manner stating the issue in a non-threatening but factual manner and see what happens from there.

 

You could be rejected.  Ok, at least you tried and you know.

 

You could be met with anger.  That is not your issue.  You handled it with grace and as an adult so you are not to take on their negative reaction.

 

You could get what you want.  Who knew!

 

Speaking up is far less painful than all the thought and worry we put into it.  So often the other party has no idea of what you intentions or desires are and once you tell them they gladly comply.  They don’t even think twice about it.  So why are you stressing yourself out?

 

Over and over again I have seen in work situations where two employees want additional opportunities to grow and learn; one gets them and the other doesn’t.  The only difference: the first asks.

 

People are not mind readers, if you can’t do it why do you assume others can?

 

Actions are not enough, they can be misinterpreted.  You may be putting in a lot more hours at work to “tell” your boss that you deserve a chance to do more.  But what if your boss is looking at it as though you can’t get your work done during normal business hours?

 

No one knows everything that you are doing.  Even the best bosses don’t know every single action their employee takes so do not assume that they somehow know that you have been taking on a few more things.  That falls under the category of mind-reading.

 

Just spit it out and move on – life will be so much easier!

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

Do You Look At or Listen To Advice?

monkey no seeYesterday I was on the phone with a business partner discussing an opportunity in another state while my son was visiting.

I wasn’t sure what he was doing during the call other than keeping the dogs occupied, which I appreciated; but it turns out he was listening intently.

I found this out after the call when he sat down across from me and said, “Do you mind if I give you a little advice?”

Alrighty then.

My 20 year old son is actively searching for a job and looking forward to college in the fall. I’m a coach of all things pre-employment. See the irony here?

But there is one thing I know about my son – he is extremely intelligent and insightful, so I welcomed his feedback.

It was good.

Completely relevant and sound.

Oftentimes we don’t listen to what we are told because we are too busy looking at the person that is giving it and dismissing it before we have even given it a chance. That whole judge a book by its cover thing.

I know my sons gifts and I also know that he is my biggest supporter and protector so anything he would have to say would only be in my best interest. It allowed me to listen with an open mind and have a conversation with him.

When someone offers advice before you judge if they are worthy think first about their motives.

Is it being offered to help, for your best interest and in a positive way? Then listen. No matter who it comes from. It is a gift and you should take heed.

Everyone has something to contribute but often we do not allow others to do so because we think they can’t possibly understand. Well, if that were the case wouldn’t you have it all figured out already and not draw the attention of someone who wants to help? Think about that for a minute.

When someone gives advice and it is actually received you give a gift back to them – appreciation and validation. There is no better feeling than appreciation so not only are they helping you but you are helping them.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
http://www.CareerPolish.com

Do You Have More Than One Worth?

apples and orangesYou probably define yourself in two different ways but do not even realize it.  Most people don’t.

 

I can ask someone what they want in life, in a career, in a relationship in any area of their life and they can normally give me an idea.  What is important to them, how they want to be treated, how they define their ideal, what makes them happy, what they will not tolerate are all things that they can at some point define.

 

However, when you compare this to their actual life, career, relationship or area of their life it is in direct conflict.  Perhaps they want to be healthier yet they do not exercise in any way and eat a very unhealthy diet.

 

Maybe they want to pursue certain opportunities yet they do nothing to move forward from either getting more education to just reaching out to people to initiate steps to create relationships or avenues for growth.

 

They want a solid, healthy, supportive and happy relationship yet they are in a relationship that fails to make them happy on all levels.

 

It is the “not ideal but good enough” scenario.

 

What you are actually doing is saying to the world that you desire what you want but only deserve good enough.

 

That is not good enough.

 

If what you desire makes you happy than that is what you deserve.  Period.

 

Stop settling.

 

It is not better to feed bad habits when you crave to be healthy.

It is not better to feel unappreciated or underutilized rather than go after the job you really want.

It is not better to be with someone to eliminate lonely rather than be alone.

 

It takes more strength to hold out and go after what you really want rather than settle for what is convenient.

 

Convenient does not equate to fulfillment.

 

Sometimes I catch myself thinking, “it shouldn’t be this hard!”  But then a voice in my head (I am assuming it is my grandmother or dad) says, “why not?”

 

If everything came easily I wonder if I would appreciate it as much.  I doubt it.  When I work hard at something and I accomplish that goal I feel on top of the world.  Exhilarated, triumphant, ten feet tall and bullet proof.  Convenient doesn’t feel like that.

 

So it is hard for a reason.  Sometimes the hard part is waiting and passing up on the easy.  That sucks.  When little tests are thrown your way in the middle of your journey.  You have been working really hard at what you want to accomplish and an opportunity pops up.  It isn’t ideal, it has hints of what you want but you know it isn’t the whole package.

 

Ah, temptation.  I could stop now and settle for this opportunity or say, thank you.  But no, I choose to keep pushing forward for the whole enchilada, a bite is not enough.

 

I spoke at a group yesterday and there was one gentleman there who just made my day.  He is in a specialty field and has been working hard at making connections, pursuing leads, keeping positive and keep going.  He has some opportunities and is in a holding pattern; yet he took a job as an “in between”.

 

He needs some income.  He could have looked at is a failure that it is a much lower status that what he had been doing, but here is the impressive part: he looked at it as having some fun.  He said he is making a few bucks, getting some exercise and being able to do something while he keeps moving forward.

 

Sometimes you have to take a pit stop – and that is all they are, a pit stop not an ending of the destination.  He recognized it, chose to look at it as a positive and while still looking at the road ahead.  That is why I know he is going to land on his feet and be a positive inspiration to his new company and coworkers.

 

Get your values in alignment.  If you want certain things in a job, career, relationship or in your life then stand firm and own up to the fact that you are worth it.  You deserve it so don’t settle.  Period.

 

It may seem the stronger your values and commitment the harder the road; that only means the sweeter the reward.

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

http://www.CareerPolish.com

Barbie Dolls and Basketballs

heel and basketballYou need to choose, make a choice, decide, pick A or B – make a decision what you want to be, which one thing do you want the most in your career, relationship, life.  Hurry up, figure it out, eliminate all other options so you can move forward.

Bull.

That’s the message I hear over and over again; no matter what the age or experience – you need to choose as though you need to eliminate all things over just one.

Bull.

Why can’t you have it all?  Why can’t you have this and that?  Why does it have to be one thing at the cost of all others?

I say you can, or at least you should try, without – and here is the kicker – guilt.

It is not wrong to want to appease all sides of yourself.  You don’t have to be just the analytical one or just the creative one or just the leader or just the team player – you can be a lovely kaleidoscope of everything that you are – and are meant to be.

I was talking to a woman yesterday who had it in her mind that she had to decide on a career path that encompassed either element A or element B.  When I asked her about looking for something that combined factors of the two it literally shocked her system.

She went silent, asked if that was possible and then began to cry.  She said she had only been known for one thing or the other and didn’t know who she should be because she wanted to do both.

Be you.

I was very fortunate to grow up in an environment that didn’t label me as being a girl so I only got Barbie dolls.  I think there were some in the house but they were my sisters, I never really played with dolls.  I was at the elementary school playing basketball and handing on the monkey bars.

I was a girl who grew up without girl limitations.  I had my choice between Barbie dolls and basketballs.  This led me to grow up to be a woman who traded those in for power tools and power shoes.

Oh yes, I have my own set of power tools and I know how to use them quite well.  I put in my own laminate flooring, build a wall of bookshelves and various other things using my very own table saw.

And I’m a shoe whore.  I love my girlie shoes, all colors and designs, at least three inch spike heel with pointed or open toes.  I rock the pump and I love the smell of cut lumber.  But not at the same time.

We can be all things inside, just not at the same time, but in degrees, waves and segments.

When looking for that next step in the job or career market leave yourself open to looking for things that appease all sides of you.  This is when you will ignite passion, deepen commitment and really offer value.

It is okay if these things do not make sense to anyone else – they don’t have to, they are not you.  If you find people trying to discourage you from finding something that has a combination of your elements because “it doesn’t exist” or “that doesn’t exist” just tune them out.  Odds are they are coming from a negative place because they didn’t or don’t have the courage to expand themselves like you are trying to do.

You go do you – whatever that may be – just do you.

You define it, you go after it and you make you happy.  When you find that right combination of Barbie dolls and basketballs or power tools and power shoes then it will bring out the best in you.   It is the best gift can you offer to yourself, your clients, your coworkers, your company and your family?

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

 

Want A Better View – Clean The Window

clean the windowAs I was sitting here this morning wondering what thoughts are going to pop out of my head and onto the paper today I looked out my window.  I didn’t notice the view beyond but the “puppy art” splayed all across the window itself.

Puppy art is what I call the nose smudges, spittle from barking and paw marks that my pups artistically leave for me on the windows throughout my home, office and car.

My dogs inspire me in so many ways.

It is a bit overcast today, storms are moving in but right now the sun is peeking out now and then and everything is alive and green from the rains yesterday.  It is beautiful and serene.  Unfortunately, I had to get past the puppy art to see this.

That’s when it hit me – everything is right there.  We can see it, we can feel it, we can touch it if we look out the window.  It is not a matter of making major moves – I don’t have to go to another location to see these sites, it is a matter of making a minor change or action.

Clean the window.

Once a goal is established or a thought is generated or a passion discovered we often think we have to do some miraculous overhaul to achieve it.

Not necessarily.

I don’t need to move across the state or even go outside to see or get a better view of a beautiful dogwood blooming or the daffodils swaying in the breeze – they are right there.  To get a better view I have to clean the window.

Your window is all the mind junk you have littering and blocking your view.

Clean it out.

Dog smudge = I can’t.  One spray of cleaner and some paper towels = I can.

Spittle = I’ll fail.  Another spray of cleaner and the same paper towels = I’ll learn from it.

Paw Prints – I’m scared.  Squeeze of the trigger and a little wiping = I’m excited.

One final spray of cleaner and a final polishing and the view went from “I just don’t know” to “oh hell yes!”

When a negative thought or paw print appears on your window today immediately take out the cleaner and wipe it away and replace it with a positive.  In no time flat you won’t even see the window but instead focus on the beautiful view outside.

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

You Are Not Going To Please Everyone

Alone in a CrowdJust get that through your head right now.  No matter if you are job searching, building a business or just  living every day life: you are not going to please everyone.  Ever.

Don’t even try.

Just let it go.

Once you complete embrace that thought then you can focus on the matter at hand.

What is going to make you happy?

What a trite little sentence – huh?  When someone asks me this I have to fight the overwhelming urge to reply with something sarcastic like, “rainbows and butterflies and sunshine”.  It is a hard battle but I normally win.

I used to think that making it all about me made me selfish.  After all, I am a mother, a daughter, an aunt, a friend and so on – it is my job and duty to think about everyone else and make sure they are happy, safe and secure.

On the list of priorities my son and family were at the top and I fell somewhere near the bottom after the dogs.  Somehow it gets ingrained in us that we are low on the list.  This is especially true for mothers.  Once we give birth that “last on the list” instinct kicks in.

But then I realized, if I am miserable than how can I best serve anyone else?  How can I tell my son to do what makes him happy if I am not leading by example?  How can I encourage my friends to go after their dreams if I do not do the same?  Isn’t is just some big repeating example of “pot kettle black”?

Yes, it certainly is.

So I stopped.  I stopped the world and locked myself away and had a long, hard look at where I was, who I was and what I was doing.  Was what I was saying really match up to what I was doing?  No.  Was I living true to myself, in making myself happy?  No.  I vowed that it was time to change.

Then I became afraid.

What if I alienate someone by putting myself as a priority?  What if I hurt someone’s feelings?  What if they think I am selfish or I miss out on helping them because I am being selfish?

Those are called reactions and those are things that are out of your control.  The bottom line is by being happy as a person individually you bring more value to those you love.  You are allowing for all the positives in your life to start with you and this allows you to serve as a megaphone for others.  You increase the good for everyone else to allow them to see and feel that positive in you and be able to bring it into their own world.

If someone alienates you then perhaps they were more concerned with their own welfare and not yours.  If you hurt their feelings because you are trying to be happy then how did they see you in the first place?  Being selfish – damn straight, but in a positive way; and when you are happier you will be able to help them even more.

Your family and friends may not approve of the job that you are going after or the business that you are running; but if it makes you happy than isn’t that what they should really want for you?  Isn’t that what you want for them?  So why shouldn’t you want the same for yourself?

You may loose contacts, associates, friends or family in putting yourself and your happiness first.  You are not going to please everyone.  But remember, it is the quality that counts, not the quantity.

Start today, do one small thing today just for you that makes you happy.  Treat yourself to a foo-foo coffee, or a new book or a new toy.  Say no to a request for your time and give yourself that time uninterrupted.

Just do one small gesture just for you.  You will probably feel lighter, happier, more relaxed and a little bit of peace; which is a much different feeling than when you are trying to please everyone.

What small gesture will you do for yourself today?

 

 

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW

www.CareerPolish.com

 

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