Are you a job-seeker looking for something different?

October 6, 2011

If you are like many job-seekers that I work with on a daily basis, you are frustrated with the job market.  Who isn’t?  The economy certainly is not rebounding as quickly as any of us would like and many are finding the number of opportunities for gainful employment are becoming fewer and fewer…

So, what’s your option?

Well, for many becoming more entrepreneurial has been the answer.  Now, this option is not for everyone, but it could be.  Have you checked out my interview with a serial entrepreneur?   CLICK HERE to read… or you can WATCH a really cool video  about one guys journey in starting a business.

You may also want to work through these 5 concepts that my good friend John Spence brought forth in his recent blog, you can read the entire article here, but in the meantime, here are the highlights:

1. If you really want to be a serial entrepreneur, you have to create a mindset of looking at everything through the lens of: “What is the business idea here? Where is the pain in the marketplace, the frustration, the opportunity? What can I do to build a product or service that will take away the pain or take advantage of the opportunity?”

2. Once you start creating dozens and dozens of business ideas, the next step is to be brutally honest in assessing which ones are truly viable. In other words, what will people actually pay for?

3. Now that you have filtered all of your ideas down to a handful that truly represent a great business opportunity, the next step is to build the best possible team you can put together to take your ideas and turn them into products and services.

4. You’ve got a handful of super cool ideas, you’ve built an amazing team of highly talented people… now it all comes down to the last piece of the equation which nearly every entrepreneur struggles mightily with… Disciplined Execution.

5. Last but not least – if humanly possible never give away ownership.

So many of these concepts can also be put into place if you are going through the job search process.  So, do any of you have additional suggestions?


The Secret to Success…

August 25, 2011

Job-seeking, like any other activity, requires you to really focus on being successful.  But if you are like many, you struggle with what “success” actually is!  This video will help you define what success looks like FOR YOU and how YOU can achieve it!

Apply the ideas that John illustrates and tell us how you have applied these tactics in your job search!


Talking Salary in an Interview…

July 7, 2011

Interviews are never easy. No matter how many you’ve been through there is always that uncomfortable feeling, the nerves & feeling like it’s all about “not” selecting you for the position.  The interview process is leaving a trail of very disgruntled job seekers in its wake.  It is so difficult not to take job rejection personally.

This makes it even more uncomfortable for someone when they’re interested in talking about compensation in the interview.  I am not trying to put the cart before the horse, but it is important (in the immortal words of Steven Covey) to begin with the end in mind.  The end of the interview process is obviously the discussion surrounding compensation – both salary & benefits.  You have to know what it is that you are seeking in compensation.  We have some responses from people who want what they want and refuse to take less…

…Also as far as the compensation question goes I usually try to say that I am quite flexible and that I’m sure if the fit is right between my skills and the needs of the employer then we should be able to agree on a suitable number.

I mention that the whole package, health care benefits, 401K, etc is a part of the discussion, not just a single salary number. If none of that works, then I push back and give a wide range (the lowest I would consider) to a fairly high number and say that their location may also affect the range (if you’re willing to move to a higher cost of living area, etc). Hope that helps! – Marcia J.

This is an example of a job applicant taking the power into their own hands and refusing to be pushed around by a company that believes they can get cheap workers because of the recession. Another strategy is to back load your contract…Read to learn how to bring it up….

A group that I attend had this discussion the other day and someone came up with one suggestion that was pretty good. “Over the last “X” years my salary has consisted of a base and incentive that allowed me to make “$XK”. I want to find a position that will enable me to make that same amount in some sort of mix of those components.

In that way you allow them to back load with a bonus that is set up to let you earn more money. You do have to make sure that you have the bonus clearly spelled out and that it is not capped etc. Just one suggestion. – Pam N.

These are both good options for talking salary.   You need to have a clear-cut and definitive strategy for talking salary in the interview… if not, you might get the short end of the stick!

Land the Interview Coaching


It’s tough out there…

May 23, 2011

Everyone knows it’s tough out there finding a job.

At the same time, every week another group publishes new statistics.
Job growth is up, unemployment dipped, open job postings have risen, and so on.

But there’s only one statistic that counts.  The statistic of you.  

Are you working or getting good chances to work if you want to?

Have you been looking for awhile or are you recently in the job market and worried about your prospects?

Doesn’t matter where you live, what industry you are in or how old you are, searching for work can be daunting.  You have to make looking for work, your ‘work’.

I think looking for work is a skill too.  There are things you can learn to increase your chances.

  • Skills to make it easier to target a good job.
  • Skills to handle the interview.
  • Skills to network to find the hidden jobs.
  • Skills to negotiate your salary, and skills to position yourself as the top candidate.

There’s a site I came across while searching on Google that might just be the best bundle of skills teaching I’ve seen in this area.  Take a look by clicking here.

You also need to register for the F’REE WEBINAR!  This is a great way to start developing the skills that you need to get ahead in this job market!

CLICK HERE to register for the webinar!


Dumbing Down Your Resume

February 23, 2011

by Randy Wooden at The Wooden Group

Perhaps you’ve read my February 13, 2011, article in the Winston-Salem Journal.  If not, here’s a somewhat controversial take on adapting your resume to meet the job requirements.

You’ve sacrificed time and money to earn your degree, perhaps adding a master’s degree or better. You’re not only proud of your achievements, but employers should value your efforts.

But wait. You’ve lost your job and, perhaps, are perfectly willing to take a step or two backward to not only stop the financial bleeding, but to re-energize yourself.

We’ve been taught a résumé should make you look as strong as possible. But in some cases, your résumé can be too strong. It can make you appear overqualified for the job you seek.

So should you dumb down your résumé? And what does dumbing down mean?

Dumbing down typically refers to your education. Dropping a master’s degree from your résumé when the employer doesn’t require a graduate degree is appropriate in a tight market. The same can apply to your experience and accompanying job titles.

Deciding what to keep and what to drop can be tricky. Is there an accepted trade-off between, say, a master’s degree and years of experience? Employers have differing opinions.

Here’s my rule of thumb. Consider what a job is likely to pay given its requirements. Is a degree “preferred” or mandatory? If preferred, then drop the master’s and just list your bachelor’s degree.

Consider your years of experience and your job titles. Consider dropping jobs prior to 1995 from your résumé, particularly when the requirements are five to 10 years of experience. Do your job titles seem to match the job you’re interested in? If not, consider altering your title to one more in line.

What if you’re self-employed? As the owner and president of The Wooden Group, I’d list “Sales Manager” on my résumé. Or “Operations Manger” or “Marketing Director” or whatever role I needed to reflect my relevant skills.

Résumés are as much a reflection of your work history and achievements as they are a game of matching key words and educational requirements. If you’re too “heavy” on experience or education, you may be able to perform the job with your eyes closed, but most employers won’t consider you for fear that they can’t afford you or that you’ll leave once you find a higher-paying job more in line with your experience.

The immediate goal is to get an interview. And, assuming you don’t have a contact to bypass the screening process, your résumé needs to match the company’s requirements. At least once you’re in person you’ll have your chance to explain your situation. But by including all your experience and education on your application you likely won’t get that chance.


Applied Online? Now Get Your Resume to Rise to the Top of Their Pile!

February 1, 2011

By Kathy Bernard, Get a Job Blogs & Workshops

Ever feel like you are sending your resume into a pit of no return when you apply for a job on an online site? I’ve found a good way to get your resume noticed by the hiring manager or recruiter after you apply online. It involves using www.LinkedIn.com, so if you aren’t registered on this important free business networking site yet, establish a profile there as soon as you can. Then invite all of your friends and colleague to connect with you there. The more LinkedIn connections you have, the greater access you will have to an extended network of your first degree connections and all of your connections’ first and second degree connections.

Once you are on www.LinkedIn.com and have established connections, use the search box to try to learn the hiring manager and/or recruiter’s name. Do so by using the drop down menu to “Search People” and then type in the company’s name. Search through the results to find the people with the leadership or recruiting titles you seek.

Contact these people through one of these means:

  • If they are a second degree connection (if one the people is a friend of one of your first degree LinkedIn connections), click the button “Get introduced through a connection” and follow the prompts. This will allow a friend of yours to send your message to the person. Alternatively, you can send a regular email with your resume to your friend and ask him/her to forward your resume to his/her connection and put in a good word for you.
  • Send the hiring manager or recruiter a LinkedIn “Inmessage” (this requires a monthly LinkedIn upgrade cost)
  • Try to find the person’s email address on Google by putting the person’s name and company name in the search box and seeing if his/her contact information comes up in the search findings. (Their contact information might be in a directory, for example).
  • If you can’t find the person’s email address online, but the job requires you to apply by emailing (for example) Bob Brown at bbrown@blank.com, you now know the construction of email addresses at that company. So if you learn the hiring manager is Becky Thatcher at the same company, you know that her email address is probably bthatcher@blank.com. Use that knowledge to send her a personal email and attach your resume.

Of course another option is to try calling the company’s main switchboard and asking for the name and email address of the recruiter or director of the such and such department.

Taking these approaches has worked well for me because they show potential employers that I am proactive and resourceful. Personal approaches also appeal to recipients’ egos because they know I sought them out specifically. So start emailing key people after you apply online … after all, it could help you Get a Job!


You’re qualified … but so is your competition. Here are simple ways to make your resume stand out!

January 10, 2011

by Kathy Bernard, Get a Job! Tips blog online.

I spoke with three job seekers this past week who were all well qualified, but all three had the same lament: Nobody was calling them for job interviews. I looked at their resumes and was impressed with their educational background and experience. I also figured out why they weren’t getting calls.

Here is what I learned and how you can use the knowledge to make sure your resume stands out above the rest.

I realized they weren’t getting calls because their resumes didn’t portray them as the most qualified candidates. Could your resume be letting you down? Carefully study and improve your resume with these thoughts in mind:

1. Does your resume reflect how uniquely qualified you are for each job opening? Don’t be lazy or complacent! Diligently modify your cover letter and resume to convince each hiring company you are the best person for the job.

2. Does it include power words and quantifiable results? Don’t just state what you did, show why it mattered.

3. Does it use keywords that were mentioned in the job description? Remember, many recruiters run resumes through a keyword search program, so if you don’t have the right words on your resume, you will automatically be rejected.

4. Is it clearly written and easy to read? If it is filled with jargon or acronyms only people in your past company or industry use, revise the information to be meaningful and impressive for a more general audience.

5. Is it interesting and succinct? Recruiters wade through hundreds of resumes. If you bore or confuse them, they will simply move on to the next one.

6. Does it show that you are qualified for the open position? If your job history has not adequately prepared you for the job, prove you have the abilities through other means, such as by emphasizing your educational background, showing relevant volunteer or freelance experience, or by including examples to prove your expertise.

7. Does it list your qualifications in order of importance and relevance to the job you seek? This sounds like a no-brainer, but if you are an administrative assistant wanting to be a communicator, put your communications experience on top and minimize your admin experience.

8. Is it attractive? A well designed resume makes ample use of white space particularly around the margins and in between sections. Feature no more than two, easy-to-read, typefaces. Make sure type is not too large or too small. Use bullet points to cleanly organize information. Use boldface and italics to draw attention to important elements, but don’t use either excessively.

9. Is it error free? Is your past job history information up to date and correct? Use spell check to check your spelling and grammar, but also review it carefully to make sure spell check didn’t incorrectly “fix” a word. The funniest spell check “miss-fix” I’ve seen was when Microsoft Word fixed the word “position” on a resume to be “prostitution!” Don’t let such a mistake happen to you. Check your job application messages before you hit “send.”