Archive for the 'jobhunt' Category

Ask for What You Want At Work. Or: Don’t Ask for Orange Juice if You Want Grape Juice

Have you ever known someone who doesn’t ever seem to know just what he or she wants? I know someone like that. In fact, I know him really well. He’s my 2-year old. He is in a constant state of not knowing exactly what he wants. A typical conversation:

Him: I want peanut butter and jelly. On bread.

Me: You want a peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Can you ask in a nice way?

Him: No. I want a waffle. (He proceeds to start removing an apple from the refrigerator.)

Another typical conversation at our house:

Him: I want orange juice.

Me: What’s a nice way to ask? (Pouring orange juice.)

Him: Please! No, I don’t want orange juice. I want GRAPE juice. In a cup.

I think you get the picture. If I’m lucky, he changes his mind before I prepare what he initially requested, but more often than not, I’m faced with trying to convince him to eat what he originally wanted or starting over. If I had a dollar for every time I say, “Oh…I should have known that when you asked for orange juice (and took it out), it really meant that you want grape juice!” – I would be on some island somewhere – someone would be serving ME drinks!

So, what does this have to do with the topic at hand? What does it have to do with your job?

Think about it – Do you really know what you want? Are you like the 2-year old who is asking for orange  juice, but really wanting grape juice? Are you impulsive, asking for (or wishing for) the first thing that comes to your mind? Unlike my 2-year old, whose only real consequence for his indecision is needing to say a few extra “pleases” or being stuck with whatever he first requested, there are real consequences for professionals who either don’t know what they want or don’t know how to ask for it.

What to do? Stop and think! Tiffany Monhollon writes that you should “stop, listen and move.”

It isn’t always easy to figure out what you really want. It certainly isn’t easy to decide to make a major change in the hopes of accomplishing what you really want. It is worth it, though. Don’t let life, or your job, just happen TO you. Stop. Listen. Move. If you want grape juice – don’t just ask for it – do what my 2-year old does when he is really desperate and I’m taking too long – get it out and pour it yourself!

Realize that you are ready to leave your job? Subscribe for free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt! Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

Stress on the Job and Looking For Work: Tips to Manage

It seems as if every time I turn around, the economic news gets worse. More people are being laid off. Recent college grads are having job offers rescinded. Retirees are going back to work because their investments took such a hit. No question that this is a stressful time.

If you are lucky enough to be currently employed, but are in the midst of a job hunt, you have a whole different set of stress factors to manage.

Your career is your responsibility. If you look around and don’t envision yourself in the same organization for the long haul (or even for the short haul), it is up to you to take steps to find something new. No matter how difficult it is or how little time you have, if you don’t take the wheel, you can’t drive your own career bus. My colleague, Alphonse Ha at Tele-Ressources in Montreal asked me to share some tips to help the busy employee who leads a double life as a job seeker. This appeared on their blog yesterday, and I’d like to share it with my readers as well!

So, some tips to help the busy employee who leads a double life as a job seeker:

Do NOT – I repeat – DO NOT conduct your job search while AT work. Even using your employer issued computer on your own time is iffy. If you don’t want to be shown the door before you are ready, conduct your search on your OWN time. What? You don’t have any of your own time? That’s the reason you are looking for a job? Carve some out. Searching online job boards, blogs (!) and sending emails applying for positions from your company computer is risky. Just don’t do it.

Manage your time. You need to take a break from work. If that “break” also involves spending some of your “down” time prepping for a job hunt, so be it.

Invest in yourself. Hire someone to help you or put in the preparation that you deserve to ensure that you know how to look for a job and that your materials represent the best you have to offer. Do not sell yourself short by sending around a resume that isn’t optimized. The investment you put into your search at the outset will pay off for you in the long run with a shorter hunt.

Network! Open your eyes – networking opportunities are all around. Soon,  holiday parties will begin. Family get-togethers are in the offing. Take advantage of social situations to grow your network. Too busy for parties? Social networking (online) will fill in the gaps. I recommend a dual-prong networking strategy that involves in-person and online networking for full exposure. Investigate Twitter. Optimize your linkedin profile.

Keep connected and engaged in your current job, no matter how difficult it is. Sporting a positive attitude will help make you desirable to potential employers (and make it easier for you at work). Even if you have one foot out the door, don’t start acting as if you are already off the payroll. When’s a good time to tell your colleagues that you are looking for a job? When you give your notice! Turn to non-work friends for support during your search.

Gather information. If you interview for a job, be sure to ask about their timing. You want to know if they will be making a hiring decision soon or if you are the first of 100 interviews! Having information will help you manage your search. Ask questions that will help put you in the driver’s seat down the road.

Above all, recognize that the positive steps you take now to manage your own career will pay off in the long run. Don’t wait. Don’t let stress or fear get the best of you. Take the wheel and turn the key.

Ready to make a move? Subscribe for free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt! Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by Georgie Sharp

Is Your Resume Holding You Back?

If you’ve been looking for a job for a while, and you know that you are qualified, but no one is calling (on any of your phones!) What should you do?

I speak to potential clients who fit this category regularly. Clients suggest many possible scapegoats as to why the phone isn’t ringing:

  • Age discrimination.
  • My experience doesn’t exactly match their needs. No one will give me a chance to prove myself.
  • I’m trying to transition from non-profit to for-profit and they just don’t want me.
  • They look at my previous industry and discriminate against me because they don’t like (fill in the blank).

I would never tell potential clients that these factors have NOTHING to do with their hunt or that it is easy to overcome these possible roadblocks. However, when I review resumes from these job seekers, I usually identify fatal resume flaws that have nothing to do with age, experience or industry. Many times, it is clear to me that these job seekers are approaching their searches with resumes that are doing them more harm than good.

Some examples:

Age Discrimination. Many resumes appear old-fashioned and outdated. They include information that isn’t necessary (such as date of birth), but  omit key resume details (such as dates of employment). If the job seeker is “experienced” (read: older), an outdated looking resume only puts a spotlight on a factor that might be considered a drawback.

Lack of experience. Job seekers who don’t have direct experience in their field of choice make mistakes when they don’t attempt to address the needed skills and stick to a basic “this is the stuff I did” resume. Listing “stuff” isn’t going to cut it when you’re reaching for a job. Focus on those transferable skills. Look at your “soft” skills. Figure out what you have to offer and highlight it for the reader.

Transitioning. Consider how you describe your past experiences. If you are moving to a for-profit, use language that appeals to that employer. Always write for your target. I recently worked with a client to re-write a “non-profit” sounding job description using “for-profit” language. She landed an interview within 24 hours of sending the resume.  If you are applying for a job in France, you’d write your resume in French. Similarly, be sure to use lingo and descriptions that will make sense to the reader. Don’t expect them to translate it!

Industry Discrimination. I’ve worked with clients who believe their current industry isn’t an asset in moving to a new field. For example, a chiropractor who wants to work in accounting. It is easy to write a resume that makes accounting skills and experience the first thing employers will read. I’ve seen many resumes of job hunters who highlight the very information they think detracts from their candidacy!

So, if your phone isn’t ringing, don’t start assigning blame and throwing up your hands until you take a good, long look at your resume. You may be surprised at what you DO control in 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 via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a linkto receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Can’t figure out how to optimize your resume with key words? Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by friendly123

A Resume is Just a Resume?

Last week, a client asked me if I thought “a resume is just a resume is just a resume.”

No, I replied…I don’t think so! A resume is a reflection of the resume’s owner. It must represent what you have to offer and directly target the employer you hope to reach.

Just as you (hopefully) wouldn’t just walk up to a rack of birthday cards and randomly select one to offer a loved one, you shouldn’t think of your resume as inconsequential to your search. Even as networking and personal branding become more and more important in job search, it is still necessary and important to have a solid, well-designed and written resume.

I recently spoke to a potential client who explained that he didn’t have a resume of any kind. He had been able to land an interview or two based on well written letters to targeted employers. The jobs didn’t pan out, but I reminded him that, at some point in a hiring process, he probably would have needed to produce a resume, even as a formality, for HR.

So, while you try to network your way to a job, using every tool at your disposal, take a good, hard look at your resume. Many times, clients believe that they aren’t getting interviews because of a specific thing that cannot change. Their age. Their level of experience. Their field. All of these may be factors if you are not landing interviews, but more often than not, there is something specific about your resume that is holding you back.

Make sure that your resume isn’t the one everyone is calling home about – for the wrong reasons! You want to stand out, but not because you misspelled “Public” or forgot to list your contact information. Your resume shouldn’t be a laundry list of “stuff” you’ve done, at the expense of listing your skills and accomplishments. Make sure that your resume isn’t a 5-page autobiography of every computer program you have ever touched in the last 12 years.

Review. Revise. Re-envision what you have to offer. You’ll be better off!

I’ll be happy to give you a free resume assessment. Just email it to results@keppiecareers.com.

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 via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by abiznessdigital

Most Abused Resume Words

Key words are crucial for resumes. You want to be sure to hook your audience and entice them to want to learn more about you. However, sometimes, it is easy to fall into a trap of using a key word or phrase that is a little overdone!

The November issue of Real Simple magazine lists the following as the “most abused phrases on resumes and profiles, according to research by LinkedIn:

  • Proven track record
  • Problem solver
  • Faced paced
  • Due diligence
  • Cutting edge
  • Results-oriented

For women: attention to detail

For men: disaster recovery

This doesn’t mean that these words and phrases don’t belong on your resume. However, if you try Wordle (described HERE) and find any on this list as the biggest words in your resume cloud, you’ll probably want to re-work things a bit!

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 via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need a great keyword rich resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by gossamerpromise

How Important is Your Resume?

Every once in a while, career experts get ourselves all wrapped up in the raging controversy: How important is your resume? The question – is it key to your search, or, with linkedin and other online tools, is it as outdated as a rotary phone?

In the past, marketing guru Seth Godin’s post suggesting that if you are exceptional, you don’t need a resume, got everyone buzzing, and there is new buzz on the Career Hub site, with my colleague Deb Dib’s post on the subject.

I recently quoted executive recruiter Thad Greer, author of The Executive Rules, as saying that the resume is“probably the most important professional document you’ll have in your entire life.”

So, which is it? How important are resumes for job seekers?

If all job seekers fully engaged in the type of networking that enhances their ability to use the “pull, not push” job search methodology, it is true that the resume would become less important as a first-line contact point.

I advise my clients to participate in Web 2.0 strategies to “pull” interest from potential employers. LinkedIn has become the absolute “must have” online presence and Twitter is a terrific way to share information, network and yes, promote your “brand.” Facebook, when managed well, has a lot to offer as a third-line strategy.

For strong writers, I suggest (1) authoring a blog and/or (2) leaving smart comments on blogs related to your industry. These are terrific ways to showcase your knowledge and expertise.

Then, of course, there are all of the in-person networking strategies professionals should use to enhance their profiles in their fields.

So, if you are good enough at using these strategies (or, as Seth Godin has said – if you are exceptional), you may be invited to apply for or interview for a job before you’ve provided a resume. However, as noted above, most organizations will request a resume at some point in the process. The likelihood is that it will be at the same time they ask for you to apply. (As in – “We are very interested in learning more about how you can contribute to our organization. Please forward your resume to….”) As noted above, recruiters clearly need to see a resume.

Does all of this mean that the resume is less important? Ultimately, I don’t think so. While it may not always serve as the employer’s first impression, it is still key to support the positive view a job seeker needs to promote. The fact is, most people will still rely quite a bit on the resume if they want to get the call for an interview.

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 via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interview? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.

photo by zen

Win Free Career Coaching!

I wanted to let you know about a great contest that my colleague J.T. O’Donnell is running over at Careerealism. All you need to do is submit your career escape day dream at HER POST. You can also read more about the contest there!

What can you win? Something more valuable than gold for those thinking of making a job change – JT is offering UNLIMITED, private career coaching sessions until you’ve landed a new positions that “will no longer require you to want to indulge in career escapism.” Sounds like a great deal! Don’t miss the opportunity!

Wish you could leave your job? Subscribe for free up-to-date tips to help with your job hunt! Click here to subscribe to receive future blogs sent directly to you via email! Prefer to subscribe in a reader? Click here for a link to receive Keppie Careers’ feed sent to the reader of your choice.

Need help to jump start your search? We can help you with a successful job hunt. Need a great resume? Career search advice? Mock interivew? Visit Keppie Careers online for information about our services: www.keppiecareers.com.


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