Archive for the 'Drive Your Own Career Bus' Category

Empower Yourself for Career Success – Job Action Day Blog

Today’s post is in honor of Job Action Day, a blogging event organized by Quintessential Careersto encourage service-oriented articles and blog entries that provide workers and job-seekers with information, ideas and concrete steps that they can take to secure their futures — both in the short-term and the long-term.

Secure your future for the short- and long-term – a tall order in today’s turbulent, fast-changing economy. According to former U.S. Secretary of Education Richard Riley, the top 10 in-demand jobs in 2010 may not have existed in 2004. (Hat Tip: The Creative Career.) How can you thrive professionally when keeping up seems about as easy as holding water in your bare hands?

While there is much we as individuals cannot control (e.g., the stock market, whether or not the industry we chose for our career will thrive in tomorrow’s economy and if layoffs will be necessary in our company), careerists still have a lot of power. My advice for those who expect thrive in today’s marketplace…

Seize control of what you can! Don’t be a victim of circumstances. Drive your own career bus. Steps to take:

  • Draw your own career map. 
  • Design your vehicle.
  • Take the keys and start the ignition.
  • Don’t let fear drive you.
  • Back out carefully, but do get rolling…

Draw Your Own Career Map
Identify your goals. You can’t get anywhere until you decide the destination! Stop and evaluate. What characteristics and traits make you special? What are you (or do you hope to be) known for in your field?

Review trends and industries with career potential. See if there are matches between your skills and interests and the fields and organizations most likely to have opportunities. If not, consider re-focusing slightly without altering your dream.

When setting your goals, be open to the possibilities that new industries provide. Consider the glass “half full.” Instead of cursing a business with a shrinking job market, be willing to re-adjust, re-tool and re-train to take advantage of possibilities coming down the road.

Design Your Vehicle – Brand YOU!
Once you identify a destination, you need to drive there! Take the time and effort necessary to learn how to position yourself as the expert in your field of choice. Use all of the tools at your disposal to create a “vehicle” (your brand) that will drive you where you want to go. 

If you haven’t looked for a job in a while and/or aren’t tuned in to managing your “digital footprint” – what comes up when someone “Googles” your name – it’s time for a quick lesson in social media. The long and the short of it is this: an online presence is key to how people will perceive you. Presenting yourself well both online and in person will help open doors that seemed closed to you.

Dan Schawbel, Personal Branding Expert, suggests these steps to get you started: “Buy to secure your brand, make a video resume, start a WordPress blog, use Google Reader, participate (comment on blogs and link to them), get on Facebook and LinkedIn, network and more.”

The key is to become the “go to” person in your field. When you leverage your expertise online and become part of the social networking community, doors will open that you otherwise would never have even considered knocking on!

Take the Keys!
The key to a successful career is to network generously. There is nothing more important or more useful than networking. In our digital, Web 2.0 world, success will depend more and more on your ability to broaden your professional circles and to reach out to a diverse socio-economic group of people representing a mix of opinions and beliefs. Professionals who habitually introduce people who otherwise may not meet earn goodwill and reputations as valuable resources and colleagues. Become that professional to help you overcome obstacles to career success.

Start the Ignition – Communicate Your Value
Your ability to promote, communicate and connect your value to colleagues and superiors is crucial. Hone this “soft” skill – practice your writing, emailing, speaking, interviewing and presenting skills. Join Toastmasters. Make a point to learn how to communicate well. There is no doubt that the superior communicator in a field has the best chance to win the job. When you can articulate why your role is vital, you will certainly help secure your future.


Confidently Forge Ahead – Start Rolling
Adjust your rear-view mirrow, but keep your eyes on the road! Move forward with your plans knowing that you DO control your career. Is it as easy as reading these steps? No, but if you follow this plan, you will be on your way to managing your job hunt and/or your career with finesse and aplomb!


Have other ideas to help empower job seekers and workers? Please share them in the comments. I also invite you to review an updated list of Job Action Day participants and to visit their blogs.


You’d love to drive your own career bus, but it sounds like a lot of work? I can help you! Contact me at to discuss how to get your career bus moving in the right direction!
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Need help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services:

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Stressed At Work? Look for These Intangibles for a Better Work Life

Work presses your stress button? You are not alone. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or an MD) to figure out that work stress can cause health problems and a generally miserable life.

It turns out that employees need some very basic things to help them feel valued and committed to an organization, thus reducing stress and work angst. You may be surprised to find out that none of these basic core needs have anything to do with salaries or free massages at work! Click to read the rest at my blog on to learn more about basic stressers and the environments that may help you avoid them!

Starting a New Job? Evaluate and Acclimate Before You Try to Revolutionize Your Work Culture

Yesterday, I blogged about tips to help you in your first day (or week) of a new job. Today, I’d like to share some of my own experiences starting a new job right out of school. Getting started in a new job is always a transition – no matter how many jobs you’ve had. This is the article I contributed to Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Magazine, a publication I help edit…


My first job out of college was as an analyst on Wall Street. As I recall, from my perspective, our group needed help to become more efficient and comfortable.

Initially, my only suggestion that met with results pertained to our comfort. Our desk chairs looked like they could be props in a 1950s movie. Our boss ordered new ones when she realized that I was scavenging around the building to find a chair more suitable to a 14-hour day! (This demonstrates that suggesting a change that clearly benefits everyone can be a good starting point.)

I quickly noticed that my other suggestions met resistance. I was too new, inexperienced and unaware of corporate culture to expect changes at my request. Ill never forget the day my colleague told me that I asked too many questions.

Luckily, I realized before it was too late that I needed to slow down, re-evaluate and acclimate before I tried to revolutionize my group.

It is important to learn a thing or two before you can become an effective change agent in an organization not accustomed to transformations.

Make a good first impression. You know that you dont get a second chance to make a first impression. Work hard! Get there early. Stay late. Dont complain. Ever. Demonstrate that you care about a job well done. Offer to help your colleagues when appropriate. Volunteer to take on projects that no one else wants to do. You could wind up a hero by solving an unsolvable problem. Bonus: a heros ideas are usually well received!

Develop relationships. Youve heard it a thousand times relationships are key to career success. Before you try to convince your colleagues that you have a great idea, get to know them. Understanding what makes them tick will make it easier for you to persuade them to your way of thinking down the road.

Stop. Listen. Learn. Take it all in. Ask questions (but not too many!) Avoid jumping to conclusions. Learn about the decision makers and what they value. Try to determine why things are done the way they are. Whats the back-story?

Drink company Kool-Aid. Adapt to the corporate culture. Show youre a team player and that you appreciate what everyone has done before you came on board. Dont arrogantly expect to change something before youre invested in it. Demonstrate that you value the work, the people and the organization. Once youre fully on board, know the issues, the whys and the hows, you may be surprised by how easy it is to convince your colleagues to consider changes.

Stay tuned tomorrow for more tips to focus on to build good long-term rapport at a new job!

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Wish you had a new job to start? Get your resume in gear and start searching in a way that will yield results! I can help:

photo by Amber Rhea

More On Organizing for Your Job Search – Your Desk is Prime Real Estate!

Did you know that you own prime real estate? If you’re in a job hunt, it could be more valuable than beach front property in, say Maui! Didn’t know you were such a high roller? Your desk is your prime real estate. Being organized and productive are key goals for anyone involved in a job hunt. How it is organized may mean the difference between getting a job and not even remembering to follow up with an employer!
I know from personal experience how important an organized work space can be. Even the little things make a big difference in your day. I always seem to be looking for the same desk reference. Every time I look for it, it is somewhere else. Inevitably, I get annoyed that 1) I can’t find it and 2) I’m wasting my valuable time looking for it. Especially when it is a really busy day, I’ll start getting stressed and annoyed with myself that I can’t keep my reference handy!
I finally decided to ALWAYS keep it in the same spot – close by, but not in my way. It’s not rocket science, but I’ve already saved myself time (and sanity) by being able to just reach for it at a moment’s notice – no stress!

Yesterday’s post reminded us that a clean desk is NOT the sign of a deranged mind! If you are in the midst of a search or want to appear productive and valuable at your current place of employment, you’ll want to get your desk together. Here are some tips from Atlanta based professional organizer, Lauren Davidson, owner of Around Tuit Organizing & Productivity:

Sure-fire Ways to Organize Your Office for Job Hunting:

· Be a real estate magnate: Surfaces and storage within arm’s reach are prime real estate! Frequently used items “live” there: very active files, phone/PDA, a note pad, favorite pen. Floaters get lost, while items with a home are predictably found (think: always know where my___ is). Make the home convenient, and you have a winner.

· Keep your thoughts in one place: A job seeker’s best friend is a notebook that stays on the desk, to jot down anything from brainstorming to your daily to-do list. Not a pad, definitely not sticky notes. Just a plain, spiral notebook – you choose the color.

· Keep priorities in plain sight: In a standing file on the desktop, each job for which you are interviewing has a separate, labeled file. Applications awaiting a response are together in their own file. No-go’s in another file (those can go in a drawer if the visual bothers you).

· Take paper by the horns: Paper clutter is distracting and can be a source of anxiety. As a professional organizer, much of the paper clutter I see is caused by over-printing. Print out items you need to take with you, or that will no longer be readily available. Print out essential information you would not otherwise remember. Less printing leaves more room on your desk, in your file drawer and, dare I say, in your head.

Lauren says, “Getting rid of clutter makes room for life!” I agree!

Don’t underestimate the fact that being organized can impact your thought process and bring more calm to your hectic job searching existence! Spend some time getting yourself together. If the thought of making your workspace productive is overwhelming, hire someone to do it! You will not regret the effort.

Stay tuned for more ideas and products to help you stay organized for your job hunt!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Keppie Careers will get you organized for your job hunt and help you every step of the way! From a great resume to step-by-step job hunting assistance – Keppie Careers is here for you!

Photo by taminsea

Need a Roadmap to Drive Your Career Bus?

Since this week’s posts have been about managing your time and focusing on your job hunting goals, it is a good time to share information about a resource developed by my new cyber-friend, Jason Alba: Jibber Jobber.

Jibber Jobber is an online tool with both free and paid features. Need help keeping up with where you’re applying for jobs? Need to track when to follow-up with employers or networking contacts? Jibber Jobber is for you! This is how Jason describes some of Jibber Jobber’s features:

Jibber Jobber allows you to keep track of all of the information that you collect during a job search. Track the companies that you apply to. Track each job that you apply for, and log the status of each job (date first interview, thank you letter sent, etc.). Want to know where you sent your different resumes? Jibber Jobber can track all this and more!

But then you need to go a step further – work on those relationships. Jibber Jobber allows you to track the relationship with each person, log important information about your contacts, and manage the relationship as it is enhanced. Keeping track of these relationships, and proactively working on your network may be the most important thing you do to help you land your next job.

For an explanation of the differences between the free and premium services, click here.

In addition to creating Jibber Jobber, Jason is an expert in social networking and the author of the books, I’m On Linkedin, Now What? and I’m On Facebook – Now What? After following Jason on Twitter and keeping up with his blog, I recently had an opportunity to speak to him about his business and how he hopes to help people who need help organizing their job hunts and managing their contacts.

His goal is to “Help people who want to manage their career.”  In addition, having experienced a job loss that served as the impetus for starting this business several years ago, Jason hopes to help people understand what it means to manage their own careers. He uses his blog to help educate readers about career management and provides ideas, resources and inspiration to everyone who has a job and/or a career!

I’m sure anyone involved in a job hunt can benefit from investigating Jibber Jobber and by taking advantage of its great tools! Take a look at Jibber Jobber and let me know what you think!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

Need more help with your job hunt? Keppie Careers will assist you every step of the way! From a great resume to step-by-step job hunting assistance – Keppie Careers is here for you!

Photo by ChinCillaVilla

The Secret to Goal Setting and Driving Your Own Career Bus

I admit that I was a bit skeptical when I first read the hype surrounding the book and movie The Secret. However, upon reflection, I believe the ideas in The Secret can be useful and empowering to job seekers.

For those not familiar, The Secret involves the belief that the universe will send you what you ask of it. In other words, believe it and it will come. Entrepreneur, public speaker and business coach, Jane Pollak suggests actually writing down your goals and carrying them with you on a daily basis. She notes in her blog, Leading, “That act alone has made enormous differences for me personally as I continue to meet my goals.”

So, as we move deeper into the dog days of summer…Consider listing some goals and carrying them with you in your wallet. Take a look at them when you’re waiting in line or stuck in traffic. You never know – this type of focus could be the difference between achieving your goals and staying stuck! Drive your own career bus!

Keppie Careers will help get you unstuck! A job hunt is hard work, but we are here to support you every step of the way. Let us know how we can help you…Need a resume? Don’t know where to begin?

Photo by Steve Took It

Fight Age Discrimination in Your Job Hunt – Manage Your Digital Footprint

You thought social media was for the “kids?” Blogging, Twitter, Facebook…You don’t have time to engage online with a bunch of people – you’re busy with your job hunt! Think again!

Yesterday, I posted about the value of social networking for the job seeker. Then, as I usually do, I went through my blogroll to see what’s out there in the career space. Coincidentally, Marci Alboher’s blog for the New York Times, Shifting Careers, reminded readers of another great benefit of getting involved with social media such as blogging, Twitter, Facebook, linkedin, etc. It can help keep you looking young in a job market with a tendency to discriminate against older workers.

If you haven’t looked for a job in a while and/or aren’t tuned in to managing your “digital footprint” – what comes up when someone “Googles” your name – it’s time for a quick lesson in social media. The long and the short of it is this: an online presence is key to how people will perceive you. Especially if you are in a “young” industry that discriminates against workers over 40, appearing connected to new ways of presenting yourself (your brand, as it were), may help you open doors that seemed closed.

Take a look at Marci’s blog…It tells the story of a 49-year old entertainment reporter who remade her image by freshening up her appearance and wardrobe and creating a hip online presence that made her seem younger than would belie her 20 years of industry experience. She hired people to help her, which is a great idea, but Marci points out that asking fashion conscious friends and teenagers (your children or others’) for advice and information about trends and technology is another option.

The key factor is, no matter how much experience you have, it is important to keep up with what is going on in today’s job market. Video resumes, Wikis, video conferencing, Second Life, podcasts…Job seekers should be aware of these technologies and willing to use them! Be resourceful and aware – you may be surprised to learn that Web 2.0tools can be a lot of fun and helpful beyond networking and job seeking. (Be sure to let me know when you start using a Wiki to plan your next potluck!)

Facing discrimination in your job hunt? We can write your resume to make you look younger. Need help navigating social media and online networking? Keppie Careers is here for you!

If you want to receive free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt, Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you!

photo by Sarah Camp

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