Resume Confidence Gets Results:

“Two days after receiving my final resume from you I applied to a non-profit that I’ve always admired.  36 hours after submitting the resume we rewrote together and cover letter I received an email expressing interest in interviewing me!

The bigger thing here is that I have sent out hundreds of resumes over the last 3 years with only 2 responses.

I’m aware that you did the resume writing that got me in the door, and your process allowed me to line up with a better version of me — I never felt great about my resume before and that energy went with it when I applied for jobs.

This time, I was confident (just as your company name implies) and I’m already further ahead than I’ve ever been. Thank you Shannon!! ”

Teri – Non-Profit Director/Coach, Vienna, VA

Pay it Forward at Work

 

April 24, 2014 is National Pay it Forward Day. From the official website, Pay It Forward Day is about all people, from all walks of life giving to someone else and making a positive difference.

 

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While it’s true that what goes around comes around, the catch is that what you put out there will usually not come back to you from the same person or exactly the same way you gave.

Networking and helping each other out are key to business and career success.

Here are a few ways to Pay it Forward in our work:

— Mentor a student or new grad formally or informally on good work habits, job search strategies and protocols. If you’ve never had a job, or very few, it really can be intimidating to know what is expected (and easy to do the wrong thing). I still remember my mom preparing me for my first interview at 14, and, how the interviewer, her friend & boss, graciously led me through it – what a gift I still remember 30+ years later!

— Become a champion for the best employees in your spheres—both below your paygrade and equal or greater than yours. What manager doesn’t want her boss to hear that her subordinates think she’s doing a great job (and yes, there IS a way to do that without seeming like a kiss-a$$ or opportunist! It’s all about the tone, timing, and intention, and keeping it compliment and compliment only, not tied to any requests or anything to do with you or your work)

Read the rest of this article here, at Transformation Magazine (page 18)

Calling All Friends – the Networking Letter

 

A broadcast letter is a networking tool that helps you let your group of friends, family, and business contacts know that you are looking for work, and asks them to keep their eyes and ears open for opportunities for you.

 

It also helps them know what you are looking for and a summary of your skills so they can better understand what would be a good fit for you.

networking

 

Here’s a brief outline of a broadcast letter:

 

Purpose: To ask family and friends for help with your job search

 

Contents of the letter:

  • Greeting with a personal statement
  • Where you are now
  • Where you have been/what you have done
  • Where you want to be/what you are looking for
  • Ask for help
  • ‘Close the sale’

 

Click here for a sample networking letter written by a past client, “Jane”, used with permission.

 

The NBC Evening News gave the statistic that “Jane” eludes to in her letter -  that 5% of jobseekers have success responding to the ‘want ads’, while 2/3 of jobseekers using networking strategies find jobs via their contacts.

The specific stats may vary, but the truth doesn’t – networking/referrals are by far THE best source of job leads.

 

If you haven’t already, write and send your own personalized broadcast letter today.  I am happily available to assist you with ideas and wording if you’d like assistance.

 

The Waiting is the Hardest Part

Every oak tree started out as a couple of nuts who stood their ground.”  – Anonymous

 

Ever feel like holding out for the right job is a little crazy?

 

Your unemployment is running down, your bank account has sprung a leak, your confidence is heading south, and yet, you persist in insisting upon ‘the perfect match.’

 

No?  Maybe you just want ‘a job’, something, just about anything – as long as it’s available NOW, or yesterday.  Either way, there’s a waiting game.  Job searching usually involves more than a comfortable amount of patience – and persistence.

 

The way I look at it, if you’re going to be waiting anyway, you may as well wait for what you really want.  I’d rather search the mall for two days for the perfect black dress pants than buy the first pair I find on sale that are a bit too big or slightly unflattering, and thus feel uncomfortable wearing them during my presentation on Monday.

patience

We get tired of renting movies on Friday night and start dating the neighbor’s son, even though his interests don’t really match our own.  Hopefully, before this relationship goes too far, we realize aren’t as satisfied as we want or imagined we’d be with a partner, and eventually, we break up, clearer now about our needs in relationship and renewed in our resolve to find those qualities in someone new.

 

Things can work in a similar way when we are ready to transition from one job to another as well.  Whether we are standing our ground for the right interview outfit, the right company, or the right companionship, we can begin to feel a little nutty waiting, wondering, searching – yet not finding.

 

Feeling this way myself lately – impatient with a similar process, I put water on to boil for a relaxing cup of tea.  I just needed to stop trying to force something to happen, so decided to call it a day on my work.  I pulled out the last bag of chamomile, and on my Celestial Seasonings box, I encountered the following reminder. “Persistence” said the bold red title banner:

 

Genius is only the power of making continuous efforts. The line between failure and success is so fine that we scarcely know when we pass it  . . . How many a man has thrown up his hands at a time when a little more effort, a little more patience, would have achieved success?  As the tide goes out, so it comes clear in . . . A little more persistence, a little more effort, and what seemed hopeless failure may turn to glorious success.  There is no failure except in no longer trying. There is no defeat except from within . . .”

 

These fine words from Elbert Hubbard remind us that a key element to maintaining our resolve, and our faith, is our belief, both in ourselves, and that, in fact, success is eminent.  Intertwined with these believes is a core assumption that we deserve, and are worthy, of getting what it is we say we want.

 

I do believe we need to ‘keep on keeping on’, as Bob Dylan says in his song, ‘Tangled Up in Blue’.  Somedays, we go through the motions, just for the sake of going through the motions. There are tasks, they need doing, so we do them. Other days, we are inspired, hopefully, positive, and excited as we pursue new ideas or new opportunities with renewed optimism and faith.

 

Sometimes, though, as we continue our efforts, I believe we need to make the effort to stop trying quite so hard. Avoid the feeling of forcing things prematurely.  Finding the balance between ‘due diligence’ and overdoing it is an art form, I think. Similar, I’m sure, to the fine line between failure and success that Mr. Hubbard mentions above. This idea of “making something happen’ seems unwise to me.  I’d rather do my legwork, my follow up, my best effort, and then relax, let it go, and trust that I am enough, I’ve done enough, and the right thing – job, pants, boyfriend, what have you – will come in due time.

 

The task before us is very urgent, so we must slow down.”  – Buddhist saying

 

Quick Reference Guide to Your References

Eight Simple Rules for Rockin’ References

 

1)      They do NOT belong on your resume. (Have them on a separate document including: minimum 3 professional contacts, possibly 3 personal, and all should have phone number, email, how you know that person (“relationship” – former co-worker, former client, etc.) and for how long.  Addresses may be required so have that available somewhere, too, just in case.

2)      Always ask someone first before using them as a reference.  Surprise factor & awkward “Ummm”ing and excuses to get off the phone, unreturned contacts, etc. will NOT help you win the new job – or keep up your network.  Some folks may WANT to help you, but won’t be allowed by their employer remember, so ask even if you know they’d recommend you if they could.

3)      Contact your references ahead of the interview to give them the heads up. Call ahead of time, some employers call your references before you even get home from the interview! Give your references the job title & general duties so they are prepared for the phone call when it comes. You can even supply your references with information you’d like them to share with the potential employers.  Many people appreciate getting some direction from you on what they should say. And, most employers will be impressed if your references say “Oh, good, I’ve been expecting you, Sara told me you would be calling.”

 

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4)      Make sure your references have a copy of your resume (same reasons as above – they’ll be better prepared)

5)      Remember to ask them to post a recommendation for you on LinkedIn, too.  Do this BEFORE you’re job searching in earnest, or the updates may alert your current employer you are looking!

6)      Have a variety of professional references, not just former bosses, but colleagues/peers and clients, too, if possible.  These give a more well rounded perspective on you & your abilities.

7)      Stay in touch with your references.  The only time they hear from you shouldn’t be when you need this favor.  Try as you can to offer them something in return – send a useful article, offer to be a peer or subordinate reference for them, right them a recommendation on LinkedIn, etc.  Think win-win!

and last but not least ….

8)  You REALLY don’t need (shouldn’t put) “References available upon request” on your resume.  They know that.  Save the space for sharing accomplishments instead.

 

 

Dealing with “Rejection”

 

 ”Do not waste yourself in rejection; do not bark against the bad, but chant the beauty of the good.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

 

Why didn’t I get that job? The interview went so great!”

“My resume is PERFECT for their job description – why haven’t they called? It’s been months!”

“I know it’s a financially based “layoff”, but it sure feels like I got fired . . . “

It is as inevitable in job searching, as it is in life, that sometimes we are going to feel unwanted, not appreciated, passed over, or flat out DISSED by some experience or person in a way that feels unfair, unjustified or just plain confusing and hurtful.

I know you know what I’m talking about. These things happen. Sure has to me, anyway.

Doesn’t it take at least SOME of the sting out of the experience to realize it’s just a part of the normal way of things?

Okay, maybe it’s only a minimal comfort, but, as many writers, actors, inventors, salespeople, daters, and other ultimately successful folks remind us, if you aren’t getting ‘rejected’ (or simply told ‘no’), you aren’t putting yourself out there, if you aren’t risking some of them not working out.

As author Lisa Alther shares, “I wrote for twelve years and collected 250 rejection slips before getting any fiction published, so I guess outside reinforcement isn’t all that important to me.”

And many of you are familiar with the failure to success stories of many now famous people – Michael Jordan not making his high school basketball team and now acclaimed artists such as Van Gogh not selling any paintings for years and years.

But I get it, you’re not trying to be famous, nor can you wait until you die for your creative genius to be appreciated!

I used to tell teenagers I worked with: “You have to ask for what you want. You may not get it, but you definitely won’t get it if you don’t ask.”

The same is true here – you have to apply for jobs you want, which you may or may not get—but you sure won’t get offered a position you don’t apply for in the first place!

And what I’ve learned through multiple personal and professional “rejections” is this – to learn to look at all the circumstances in our lives that take a different turn than we wanted or expected and decide that something as good – or maybe even better is in store for us. That becomes our ‘silver lining’, so to speak, not only the ‘better thing that comes’, but the wisdom that comes with knowing this to be true.

It'll Happen

And, from a practical perspective on job searching and not getting jobs, or sometimes not even a response to a resume, remember the following things about perceived job search “rejection”:

  •  Sometimes it’s about who you know: You are one of many candidates and you have NO IDEA who has applied and what their qualifications are. Maybe the hired candidate is the neighbor of the company President’s brother; maybe they hired an internal candidate and the posting in the newspaper was just a legal requirement, etc.

These situations may seem unfair, until it’s your son’s friend’s mom who gets you an interview with her company, or an old boss finds out you’re looking and invites you back —see?

  •  Most final hiring decisions are about ‘fit’, not just qualifications. They are looking to balance and compliment their existing team and employees. They may already have a stellar writer or quiet, methodical organizer to keep everyone on track & what they really need is (fill in the blank with some equally admirable quality that isn’t your strong point.)

This is not anything AGAINST your qualifications or character as a person. You might fit great, but someone else may simply fit better. This happens all the time. Remember, when you do get the job, someone else is wondering why they weren’t hired, after all, the interviews went so well . . . .

  •  Companies can be mysterious and illogical sometimes . . . kinda like people. They may post a job then not follow up on interviewing candidates for months; they may decide not to fill the job right now afterall; they may decide to hire a temp for the time being, they may shovel off that job’s duties onto some overworked current employee — WHO KNOWS. (true story: a current client of mine was expected to do the job of *5* people that were laid off before him!)

All you can do is send in your customized resume and attention getting cover letter (how to’s here) . . . then LET IT GO. Continually do your best work, stay true to yourself and what you REALLY want in your life and in a job, and trust that things work out.

Write me when you are in doubt. Call a friend in your support network for a reminder as needed. And remember, as I said in Who’s Interviewing Who, you are deciding if you want THEM, too, and who wants a company that can’t see or appreciate your obviously outstanding qualities? Right? No, you want to go where you are truly wanted and valued!

Meet each seeming rejection with the attitude of:

 ”Well, I guess that wasn’t the right fit for me, and something else as good or even better is coming my way.”

It is. You are ready, and when it arrives, you will truly believe that all of the above was true.