CAREEREALISM http://www.careerealism.com Career Advice & Job Search Magazine Thu, 18 Sep 2014 05:15:26 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 This is weekly program whether career expert J.T. O'Donnell reviews skills and techniques needed to succeed in your career. She also answers question live from our views. Tune in Tuesdays at 1pm ET on www.careerealism.com to join our weekly Career Q&A! CAREEREALISM clean CAREEREALISM info@careerealism.com info@careerealism.com (CAREEREALISM) Career Q&A with J.T. O'Donnell CAREEREALISM http://www.careerealism.com/home/jtodonnell/careerealism.com/wp-content/uploads/powerpress/CTV_Podcast_Image-01.png http://www.careerealism.com Would I Hire Me If I Were You? http://www.careerealism.com/would-i-hire-me-if-i-were-you/ http://www.careerealism.com/would-i-hire-me-if-i-were-you/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 05:15:26 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=6134 Before you send your resume to every opening you find, you should ask yourself whether YOU would hire YOU if YOU were the hiring manager. Here's why.

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As an HR professional, I cannot tell you how many resumes I have received from candidates that were so unqualified, so out of reach, so uninteresting to me as a hiring manager that I had to look twice to see if I was putting them in the right pile for the right job.

Related: How To Turn ‘Fired’ Into ‘Hired!’

Introspection is a critical part of your job search. Before you send your resume to every opening you find, you should sit quietly and ask yourself whether YOU would hire YOU if YOU were the hiring manager. If you feel like you are close, than go ahead and submit, otherwise…

Does My Background Meet Your Needs?

As I consider my credentials, I look at the job description to determine if my background represents a good fit for the position. According to the description provided by your company, it seems (at least on paper) that my qualifications fit. I possess the core competencies, which include leading a large team, managing complex projects, and drafting processes and procedures to streamline the operation.

My efforts have been instrumental in adding a new revenue stream for my employer, which is also highly important and relevant. Having been recognized with industry awards, I demonstrated excellence in my field. From the looks of things, my background is a clear match; so I expect that, once I submit my resume and cover letter, I will be invited in for an interview.

Do I Have Experience In Your Industry?

I have applied my skills in a few industries. I spent some time in manufacturing; but it was several years ago. I have utilized my talents in financial services and retail – all with great success. I am confident that my previous industry experience complemented by my other work will enable me to make a contribution.

Since I understand how many companies and industries operate, I can use a diverse set of skills to drive change for your company. I will sell myself to you  – believe me. Even though my direct relationship with your industry is somewhat dated, it’s there. I will highlight those relevant experiences toward the top of my resume so you see them immediately. Also, my history of being promoted will definitely show you that I am more than capable of doing the job.

Do I Show Commitment?

I am sure that, during an interview, I will clearly demonstrate my level of commitment to my position, staff, and employers. But, since we have not yet scheduled a meeting, I will go with “Yes!” Yes, I show commitment.

How you ask? Well, my promotion in each of my roles to positions of increased levels of responsibility is one example. I have also indicated that I am focused on the growth of my staff. Many of the people that have worked under me have also been promoted, and several of them have worked for me at more than one company by their own volition; I am known for providing exceptional training, and supporting the development of others.

Do I Demonstrate An Interest In My Community?

I have a family and other personal responsibilities, so while I would like to say unequivocally yes, I cannot. I do volunteer some of my time to a local shelter where I dispense meals to the needy during the holidays. I really enjoy the work and being able to help others; of course if my time allows I would be more than willing to do other things to give back to the community. In the past, I have raised money for charitable causes, including cancer research.

I look at this letter and think, yes; I would definitely interview this candidate. If he is as good in person as he looks to be on paper, then perhaps we have a winner! It is very difficult to identify, attract and hire the right candidate.

In part, this is because people apply for things that they are not qualified for; they submit resumes and cover letters for opportunities that are completely outside the scope of their experience. If you take the time to really evaluate your own credentials and that of the position for which you are applying, your job search would be more focused and more fruitful.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

How Hiring Managers Make Decisions
How To Write A Cover Letter That Will Get You Hired
Why Your Experience And Education Won’t Get You Hired


Debra Wheatman | Certified Professional Resume Writer & Career Coach

About the author

With 20+ years as a strategic career advisor, Debra helps clients obtain highly desired interviews for competitive positions, including preparing results-oriented resumes, and providing guidance centered around interview preparation, salary negotiations, and overall career management. Visit her website at Careersdonewrite.com!

 


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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How To Manage Without Being Mean (Is It Possible To Not Be Pushy?) http://www.careerealism.com/manage-mean-how/ http://www.careerealism.com/manage-mean-how/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 05:03:15 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=37382 If you’re new to your management role and haven’t quite gotten the swing of it yet, you’re in luck! Find out how to manage your team without being mean.

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Think about the worst boss you ever had. Remember what it felt like to go to work every day, knowing you had to report to someone who didn’t value your contributions and didn’t respect you as a person.

Related: #1 Key To Becoming An Effective Leader

Now, think about the best boss you ever had. The person who was tough but fair, and who made you feel like your work mattered.

Reflect back on your performance under both of those people. Where did you shine and where did you struggle? Chances are astronomically high that you did a better job under the supervision of the person who believed in you, encouraged you, and managed to your strengths.

Most of us falter and underperform when we’re constantly being scrutinized by pushy people – be they micro-managers, passive aggressive malcontents, or flat-out bullies.

It’s something we understand intuitively: effective managers bring out the best in us. They understand that we have great work ethic, and that, if we’re in the right job, with the right resources, we will accomplish great things. They support us, challenge us, and help us get back on track when we fail.

If you’re new to your management role and haven’t quite gotten the swing of it yet, you’re in luck! The world of work has never been more focused on leadership development, and paradigms are shifting. The best part is, there isn’t one right way to do it. You get to define the leadership style that works best for you.

Don’t Manage. Lead.

Did you notice that we’re now talking about leadership instead of management? That’s not an accident. If you want to be effective, let go of the belief that you have the power to manage other people’s behavior. You don’t. What you do have is the power to coach, inspire, support, and lead.

Yes, there will be times when you have to be directive, but they should be few and far between. Rather than giving orders, focus on the innate strengths and talents of the people on your team, and do everything in your power to develop them.

Embrace the theory (Theory Y, to be exact) that people are self-motivated, ambitious, and possess self-control and treat them accordingly. The vast majority will rise to the occasion. The ones who don’t are either likely in the wrong role or have things going on in their lives outside work that are keeping them from giving 100%.

Solicit Input From Your Team

If you believe that the people who work for you want to do well and have an internal drive to succeed, go solicit their input on issues big and small: projects, departmental policies, or who’s organizing the next pot-luck. Even if you already know where you want to go with a project, asking for participation in the process increases buy-in, and that’s what you ultimately want.

You could have the best idea in the world, but your team isn’t going to implement it well if you’re constantly forcing your agenda on them. None of us like having decisions foisted upon us; our natural reaction is to push back and exert whatever autonomy we have. When you involve your team, they get to have their voices heard and you have an opportunity to address their concerns. And who knows – they might make your good ideas even better.

To take it one step further, you can ask each person on your team how they prefer to be managed, and what you can do to be more helpful to them. (This requires that your people have enough self-awareness to know what they truly need, and that you have thick enough skin to take it.) By having these candid conversations with your direct reports – and then following through on your commitments – you lay the foundation for relationships based on mutual respect.

Explore Your Style

There are dozens of leadership styles that have been documented and researched. Now is a great time to start exploring. You may find that you prefer Situational to Servant or Transformational to Charismatic, and that’s totally fine! The consensus among management gurus is that no single style is best 100% of the time. And contrary to popular belief, you don’t have to be a “born leader.” This is absolutely something you can develop over time and with practice.

Evaluate the material out there and decide what feels best for you. Try new techniques. Be strategic about the styles you use. Stretch and grow. Trust your gut. You’ll be able to tell when you’re leading effectively. And your employees will thank you for it.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

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5 Ways To Make Your Employees Feel Motivated And Rewarded


Kim Eisenberg

About the author

Kim Eisenberg, MSW, has been helping people create rewarding career paths for the past 10+ years. She blends her expertise in corporate career services and organizational leadership to deliver business savvy, strengths-based coaching with an emphasis on transitioning fields or making the leap to entrepreneurship. Schedule a free consultation with Kim here.

 

 


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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LinkedIn Profile Review: Sean [Aired 9-16-19] http://www.careerealism.com/linkedin-profile-review-sean/ http://www.careerealism.com/linkedin-profile-review-sean/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 16:54:47 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=40394 This week J.T. reviews Sean’s profile and gives him great feedback on what he needs to do to optimize his profile. Don’t miss out on this informative episode of LinkedIn Labs. Want your profile reviewed live on air? Please submit your LinkedIn Lab profile along with why you should be picked to lindsay@careerealism.com. If you... Continue reading

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This week J.T. reviews Sean’s profile and gives him great feedback on what he needs to do to optimize his profile.

Don’t miss out on this informative episode of LinkedIn Labs.

Want your profile reviewed live on air? Please submit your LinkedIn Lab profile along with why you should be picked to lindsay@careerealism.com.

If you can’t wait until the next LinkedIn Lab, you can view our past episodes in our LinkedIn Lab Archives.

 

 

If you’d like your profile reviewed like the lucky recipient in this video, check out our “LinkedIn Level Up” service over on CareerHMO.

If you’d like an evaluation of your LinkedIn profile, resume and cover letter, check out “Am I Money?,” which is a service our sister site CareerHMO provides. (CareerHMO is also owned & operated by J.T. O’Donnell.)

If you subscribe to CAREEREALISM TV below, you’ll get emails about all of our upcoming episodes of both LinkedIn Lab and our guest webinars! (Don’t worry. If you’re already signed up for our daily email list, you won’t receive duplicate messages.)

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5 Dream Office Must-Haves For CAREEREALISM Media http://www.careerealism.com/dream-office-must-haves/ http://www.careerealism.com/dream-office-must-haves/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 14:26:24 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=40376 This summer at CAREEREALISM Media, our team needed some extra space to spread its rapidly growing wings. Here are our dream office must-haves.

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There’s nothing better than having an office you love. We spend many of our waking hours at work, and the comfort of knowing it’s a place we like to be is unbeatable. Whether it’s the security of a cubicle landscape, the team-building open concept space, or a work-from-home station, it’s important to recognize the type of office where you feel most at ease.

This summer at CAREEREALISM Media, our team needed some extra space to spread its rapidly growing wings. We wanted to feel confident that we could tackle any project in our new digs, and knew that the right space would foster creativity and a connection with our team.

With some searching and some luck, our team found a newly renovated space that met all of our dream office ‘must-haves.’ Here are the five features that won us over:

1. So much room for activities!

This building has as much character as space for our expanding team. With an open floor plan on each level, our team is able to collaborate easily. Large built-in desks give us each our own work station and more counter space than we know what to do with (knick-knack shopping anyone?!). Not to mention, we share our office with our sister-company, CareerHMO, which now has more space for its headquarters. A stellar conference room, complete with high ceilings and big windows, is one of the office favorites for best room.

So much room for activities

Courtesy of tumblr

2. A new studio.

From CareerHMO coaching office hours to CAREEREALISM YouTube video series, our new studio has space enough for multiple sets, props and lighting, and a handful of stars (AKA staff members or interns we’ve bribed into being on camera). Each set is unique, and they can change daily. Today alone, one corner features a computer, desk, and artwork while another holds bar signs and a surfboard bar. The opportunities are endless.

studio

Courtesy of Giphy.

3. Fun space.

Teams that play together, collaborate well together. That’s how the saying goes, right? CAREEREALISM’s new home has enough nooks (and turrets) that we’re still discovering places to brainstorm a month after moving day. Our very own “CAREEREALISM Café,” as we have lovingly named our break area, ensures that we are never without coffee or a place to hang for lunch. With the inside of our office complete, it only makes sense that the surrounding area sets the bar high. A big lawn for office parties or picnics and a giant parking lot as our playground (in case you missed it, Nick won our first annual chair races) complete the picture. Oh, and can you say roof deck? We’re in.

Fun Space

Courtesy of Giphy.

4. Our quaint “hometown.”

CAREEREALISM has been headquartered on the New Hampshire Seacoast since 2009. As a team, we wanted to stay in the same area. This final dream office ‘must-have’ was checked off the list when we moved just down the street in downtown Hampton, NH. Just because we’re a growing company doesn’t mean we have to be in an enormous city. With over 2 million website pageviews monthly, we’re happy to reach our audience from our location by the beach! Don’t even get us started on all of our neighboring restaurants. Our biggest problem in the office is deciding where to get team lunch on Fridays.

What do you want

Courtesy of tumblr

5. Room to grow.

Our new office, like our company, is bigger than ever. It’s an exciting time for us as we expand our services and staff. With a growing team, we need the kind of office that offers every addition an awesome workspace of their own. We knew we found a winner with this office, and we’re looking forward to staying for a long time to come!

Room to grow

Courtesy of Giphy.

Get To Know Us!

Does this sound like the kind of company YOU want to work for? Get to know us! Check out our CAREEREALISM Workplace Culture page. Also, be sure to check out our video below!

Related Posts

3 Secrets Of A Successful Online Business
11 Top Traits For Employees At CAREEREALISM
How To Make A Big Impact With A Small Company


Want to show off all of the great qualities of YOUR company and target the best job candidates?
Find out how.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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3 Secrets Of A Successful Online Business http://www.careerealism.com/successful-online-business-secrets/ http://www.careerealism.com/successful-online-business-secrets/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 13:58:55 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=40374 Want to learn our secrets to our successful online business. Okay! Here are three things that have been important factors in the company’s success.

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We’re CAREEREALISM Media (nice to meet you!). Not familiar with us? Here’s a little background:

Our company started way back in 2009 in the home of our founder and CEO, J.T. O’Donnell. It consists of two major sites, CAREEREALISM.com (free, online career advice magazine) and CareerHMO.com (virtual career coaching service).

Our goal is to help job seekers connect with great employers. We’ve been recognized for our efforts on sites like Forbes, AOL, Fast Company, and Mashable, among others, and we’re growing every single day.

What started out as a small career advice blog out of a living room five years ago has become a cutting-edge resource for professionals all over the world. Each and every day, we work hard to stay at the “tip-of-the curl” when it comes to content.

Now that you’re up to speed, I bet you want to learn our secrets to our successful online business. Okay! Here are three things that have been important factors in the company’s success:

1. We constantly push the needle forward.

Innovation is a major part of CAREEREALISM Media’s success. We’re always looking for new, more efficient ways to both monetize our Internet-based business and serve up great, quality content to our audience.

One of our most prominent initiatives has been our cutting-edge content marketing efforts. Since the very beginning of CAREEREALISM Media, we have been using storytelling as a way to both create and curate quality content for our readers, as well as monetize the online magazine.

Since then, we have expanded these storytelling efforts to help connect talent with great companies. We call this Employment Branding. Today, the idea of branding companies to better meet the needs of job seekers is gaining in popularity, and we’re proud to say we were among the first few to realize its importance and initiate strategies around it. Now, we work hard to perfect the process and create better ways to connect talent with employers.

2. We hire based on potential, not just experience.

Fun fact: Five of the seven full-time employees of CAREEREALISM Media are in their mid-20s! And for most of us, this is our first full-time job.

We make a point to hire for potential, not just experience. Many of us didn’t have much work experience when we first joined, but we were hired based on our drive, fresh thinking, and passion for the industry.

As a result, we’ve built a team of innovators who constantly look for new ways to achieve our goals.

3. We’re not afraid of failing.

We always joke about how we need a “Fail Bell” in the office so whenever someone messes up or makes a mistake, we can ring the bell.

Sounds kinda brutal, right? Well, it’s actually a really great concept. Here’s why…

We’re encouraged to go big. If we make a mistake, it’s okay, because we didn’t let the fear of failing stop us from giving it all we got.

That’s just the way we think here at CAREEREALISM Media. We’d rather try to create something amazing and fail rather than not try at all. Why? Because each time we fail, we learn. And each time we learn, we’re one step closer to achieving our goals.

Get To Know Us!

Does this sound like the kind of company YOU want to work for? Get to know us! Check out our CAREEREALISM Workplace Culture page. Also, be sure to check out our video below!

Related Posts

5 Dream Office Must-Haves For CAREEREALISM Media
11 Top Traits For Employees At CAREEREALISM
How To Make A Big Impact With A Small Company


Want to show off all of the great qualities of YOUR company and target the best job candidates?
Find out how.

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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3 Little Career Secrets Of The Ultra-Successful http://www.careerealism.com/career-secrets-ultra-successful/ http://www.careerealism.com/career-secrets-ultra-successful/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 06:08:42 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=40363 What's the secret to success? There are actually three! So, what are they anyway? Let’s get into the three little career secrets of the ultra-successful.

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Two simple questions for you:

  1. What’s the biggest thing holding you back from achieving everything you desire?
  2. What’s your greatest asset in life?

Related: How 20 Seconds Of Insane Courage Got Me My Dream Job

Now, here’s the interesting part… They’re exactly the same thing:

You.

You are your greatest asset, and funnily enough, you’re also the one standing in the way of achieving your wildest dreams.

So, in this article, I’m going to give you three small things – that when used together on a regular basis will help you:

  • Increase the value of your greatest asset in life… You.
  • Release the unconscious behaviors that are holding you back

Sound good?

The 3 Little Career Secrets Of The Ultra-Successful

Great. Let’s get into the three little career secrets of the ultra-successful:

1. Continuous Improvement Through Education

“Rich people have small TVs and big libraries, and poor people have small libraries and big TVs.”

― Zig Ziglar

The wealthiest people I know have invested in themselves far beyond a typical education.

They spend tens of thousands of dollars on education each and every year. Why?

Because they know that their biggest asset in life is themselves. Therefore, it makes sense to continually invest in the improvement of your greatest asset… doesn’t it?

2. Work With Great Mentors & Coaches

I’ve heard that Tiger Woods – one of the best in the world at the game of golf, has five coaches.

Five!

The beauty of working with great mentors and coaches is that you’re tapping into the wisdom of other successful people who have been where you are.

They’ve faced the same challenges, searched for the same answers, and sought the advice of their own mentors and coaches along the way.

Bottom line: A great mentor or coach is worth their weight in gold, and working with them is one of the fastest ways available to accelerate your success.

3. The Power Of The Master Mind

Have you ever sat in a “hot seat” where five or more smart people with similar goals give you their best solutions to your most challenging problem?

Sounds powerful, doesn’t it?

That’s why Napolean Hill, author of the famous book Think & Grow Rich, says this:

“Analyze the record of any man who has accumulated a great fortune, and many of those who have accumulated modest fortunes, and you will find that they have either consciously, or unconsciously employed the “Master Mind” principle.”

- Napolean Hill

The Master Mind group is one of Hill’s 13 principles of success that he shares in this must-read success book.

Now that we’ve covered the three little secrets of the ultra-successful, take stock of where you are right now:

  • Are you continuously learning?
  • Do you have a great coach or mentor?
  • Are you part of a mastermind group filled with peers you respect?

If the answer is “no” to any of these questions then consider taking steps to build these 3 success secrets into your life.

It’ll take a bit of time, but each of these elements independently can change your life.

Together, they’ll make you unstoppable.

If you’re interested in a one-of-a-kind solution combining each of these elements, then feel free to join my community of like-minded success seekers by subscribing here.

You’ll get access to a free video with more great job seeking tips, and I’ll let you know when I release my solution.

Cheers to your success!

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Ryan Niessen

About the author

Ryan Niessen is a keynote speaker and co-creator of The Gateway Method: a simple, proven way to gain inside access to the world’s best employers and get your dream job. Connect with him on LinkedIn or Facebook.

 
 


 

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

 

Debby Wong / Shutterstock.com


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3 Tips For Writing A Successful Cover Letter http://www.careerealism.com/writing-successful-cover-letter-tips/ http://www.careerealism.com/writing-successful-cover-letter-tips/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:50:52 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=40365 When you sit down to write a cover letter, keep in mind the following points. They will help you write a successful cover letter that will get callbacks!

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Job seekers without a flair for writing and storytelling may find it painfully difficult to put together an impressive cover letter. The most common way they start their cover letter is with words like, “I’m very pleased to submit my application.” But do you realize just how awfully stiff these words sound to employers?

Related: 4 Inside Secrets To Writing A Great Cover Letter

A cover letter is your personal introduction to the employer. It has to communicate your professional journey so far, or how you acquired the skills that you’ve listed in your resume. In the recruitment industry, narrating a story and driving home a point is considered a “very good” practice, really. You can also mention common contacts, crack a mild joke, and carefully build the interest of the person reading it.

But before telling you how to do that, let’s find out what a cover letter is, and why it is so important:

What Is A Cover Letter?

According to the most common definition of a cover letter – it is a document sent with the resume to provide additional information about your experience and skills. It tells what qualifies you for the job and why prospective employers should hire you.

It’s your chance to impress the reader and build a connection with him or her, which is why having a readable and honest cover letter will be the window to your dream job.

3 Tips For Writing A Successful Cover Letter

When you sit down to write a cover letter, keep in mind the following points. They will help you create a nearly perfect cover letter.

1. Keep It Short

First things first, never exceed the cover letter by two pages!

Experienced recruitment professionals time and again give this advice to every job seeker – never write lengthy cover letters because no one has the time and patience to go through lengthy text that’s not relevant to them.

As a general rule, larger the company, the less important a cover letter becomes. The only exception to this general rule might be when you are applying for some very senior positions at a big company.

Unless you are eyeing such posts, keep it short and sweet.

2. Write A Striking Introduction

The very first lines of your cover letter should blow the reader’s mind. If they don’t, you’re application is going in the recycle bin, and that’s for sure!

Don’t make it abstract by starting with something like, “I’m a highly skilled salesman with proven experience….”

So what? Every person claiming the position will say the same.

Instead, make it a little more striking by saying something like this:

“I see that market sales have dropped drastically in your industry. I have 12 years of experience in international marketing in the same industry, and I’ve been able to increase sales at the last two companies where I worked.”

Now that’s a killer opening for the employer. You’re making the same claim as above, but it sounds to be true.

Alternate Way Of Starting The Cover Letter

Not everyone will have prior experience or an experience to brag about.

Statistics have proven that less than 10% job seekers get selected by responding to Internet ads. Most of us get jobs through personal contact. Maybe you went from company to company on your own, or your friends and family recommended you a position.

If this is the case, begin your cover letter by saying something like, “XYZ recommended I get in touch with you about the sales job at your company….”

Again, you’ve given it a personal touch, and chances are you’ll be recognized for that.

3. Write A Career Summary That’s Tailored To The Job

Now that the biggest hurdle of introducing yourself is past, you may elaborate more upon your skill set and career path.

After the introductory lines, write a small summary about your career, tailored to fit the needs of the company you’re approaching.

In the next paragraph, lay out your accomplishments (again only the ones relevant to this job).

And, in the last paragraph, say when you’ll get in touch, or ask for an appointment or interview dates.

This is a guest post.

Related Posts

5 Parts Of A Cover Letter (A.K.A. How To Write A Good One!)
How To Write A Hot Cover Letter
7 Cover Letter Mistakes You Make When Applying Via E-mail

 

Photo Credit: Shutterstock


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Focus – A Critical Skill For Job Seekers http://www.careerealism.com/critical-skill-job-seekers-focus/ http://www.careerealism.com/critical-skill-job-seekers-focus/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:44:25 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=40361 In a world where job seekers are presented with thousands of pieces of “job hunting” advice, the need to develop the skill of focus is critical. Here's why.

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In a wired world where job seekers can be presented with hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of “job hunting” advice daily, the need for job seekers to develop and use the skill of “focus” is critical.

Related: 3 Things HR Looks For In An Employee

We’re confronted with the “Paradox of Choice” in almost every area of our lives. On television, there are hundreds of shows being broadcast at any moment, with online services and on-demand programming, it leaps to the thousands.

While some fast-food restaurants have maintained simplicity (i.e. In ‘n Out), the selections at most are seemingly endless. Waffle House claims there are 3.5 million ways to order their hash browns. Most of us who have visit a casual dining restaurant have been confronted with one where the menu is ten or more pages of options. And the “Paradox of Choice” (Barry Schwarz, Ecco, 2003) teaches us that too many choices often leads to a serious limitation to our ability to make decisions.

In the job hunting world, this factor is not new. I’ve been critical of books arguing for the “1000 Best Interview Questions” for years. But it’s now experienced the “wired explosion” with new suggestions for resume formats and cover letters. I was schooled in job hunting techniques by some key mentors. One of them was Bill Needler (founder of The Job Forum) who was known for clearly stating: “50% of all job hunting advice is wrong – the problem is we don’t know which 50%)

The evaluation of best resume formats or “the three things you must know about…” is probably an endless debate. The objective here is to recommend an important strategy for surviving this “wired explosion” in the job hunting world – simply stated, FOCUS.

The need for “focus” is being recognized as a critical skill in the business community. Daniel Goleman, the leading authority of Emotional Intelligence (EQ), recently published a comprehensive examination of the subject, stating very strongly:

This can be boiled down to a threesome: inner, other, and outer focus. A well lived life demands we be nimble in each.  For leaders to get results, they need all three kinds of focus. A leader tuned out of his internal world will be rudderless. One blind to the world of others will be clueless. Those indifferent to the larger systems within which they operate will be blindsided.

(Focus, Daniel Coleman, Harper, 2013)

It is easy to see how this applies to job seekers, awareness of strengths and accomplishments (internal), of the marketplace and teamwork (others), and of trends and organizations (outer).

All the available information means people have to work harder to consume it, categorizing information, sorting facts from opinion, and putting everything into context. Unless we take the time to do that, and have the skills to do it well, we could actually be less knowledgeable. 

(“Managing the Information Avalanche,” Ron Ashkenas, Harvard Business Review, March 6, 2012)

The message from Ashkenas is even more on target for job seekers – “the skills to do it well.” The good news is that he provides some key action steps for job seekers:

  • Focus on a few key indicators.
  • Differentiate opinion from data.
  • Examine trends and patterns.
  • Periodically look at the ecosystem.
  • Use information as a basis for dialogue.

As strategies for your job search, these steps translate perfectly. You can’t be tracking dozens of website, blogs, and Facebook pages for tips of your resume format. Identify 2-3 goods sources and give yourself the time to go deeper with the advice from this sites. There’s more opinion than data on job hunting techniques – and that’s OK – but make sure you see the recommendations backed by research knowing even that will be countered by other research.

The world is overrun by identifying trends in this “wired explosion.” One example is the innovative approaches suggested for resumes (e.g., visual resumes). It’s important to carefully examine trends that may impact your job search. If this trend continues, how does this affect you? What if it’s just a fad? What if your “innovative” resume turns off more potential employers that it attracts?

The larger world of careers, jobs, and the economy are always factors to be considered. Right now there are on-going, sometimes fiery debates over the “skills gap” and “living wages.” Do these issue impact your job search? For many, the answer is “definitely.”

And finally the easiest piece of advice for all job seekers, “use information for dialogue.” Make sure your strategies, your resume, your prepared answers to possible interview questions, are something you’ve discussed with colleagues and, if possible, with a knowledgeable adviser.

Focus involves having an effective radar system to know what you should be monitoring for your effective job search. It includes awareness of what’s important both today and in the future. And you can’t put “everything” on your radar – limit your radar to some important resources for the various aspects of your career search.

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How Meditation Can Help Your Job Search
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Jim Schreier

About the author

Jim Schreier is a management consultant with a focus on management, leadership, including performance-based hiring and interviewing skills. Visit his website at www.farcliffs.com.

 

 


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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6 Easy Steps For Building A Defined Personal Brand http://www.careerealism.com/building-personal-brand-defined/ http://www.careerealism.com/building-personal-brand-defined/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:11:47 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=37597 In order to be successful, you need to have a defined personal brand. We can get a really solid start in easy six steps. Ready? Let’s go!

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A lot is being made of building a personal brand lately. And no matter the circle, it really is a good idea to have a clearly defined personal brand. This is especially true if you are in the midst of growing your career, or finding a new position. What isn’t so great is that developing a brand sounds like a very lofty idea that is not easily executed. It sounds hard, but I am here to tell you: It really isn’t all that hard.

Related: 5 Ways To Boost Your Professional Profile With Social Media

We can get a really solid start in easy six steps. Ready? Let’s go!

Step #1: Define your brand

The first thing you should probably understand is how to define a personal brand. I happen to subscribe to this definition:

It is the intersection of your reputation, your aspirations and who you really are as a person and a professional. Think about it this way: In terms of reputation, look at what are you known for? Or what does everyone come to you for? In terms of your aspirations, what do you hope to achieve in your career and in your personal life?

And finally, you overlay your reality. For me, I am an innovator who is passionate about creating happy experiences for job seekers. So, what’s yours? Feel free to make a diagram like above for yourself; it may help refine your position. Once you have this dialed, it’s time to spread the word on your brand.

Step #2: Tidy it all up

Chances are, you are very active in social and now that you have defined your personal brand, you need to go into all of your profiles and update the information to reflect your newly defined personal brand. Your profile text should be very relevant to who you are and your pictures should also be “on brand.”

Step #3: Create and curate great content

One of the easiest and fastest ways to build credibility in your personal brand is to create and curate really great content that supports the things you stand for. For many, it is finding great articles that are in your area of expertise and sharing those out to your networks.

For example, I am passionate about creating great job seeker experiences, so I curate content from a number of sites dedicated to helping people get the most out of their career and their workday. The key is to pick a few focused areas to solidify that branded position among readers and followers. Use a RSS reader like Feedly.com to aggregate news from all the blogs you read so you can go to one place to see all the news you may want to curate.

Step #4: Make new connections

Use LinkedIn Groups and Twitter to create new connections. Join groups on LinkedIn that are aligned with your brand and then, start posting your great content there. But, be sure you respond to any comments that your articles may generate.

In addition, you can also join a weekly Twitter chat to network with new people on Twitter. You can find weekly Twitter chats by going here and seeing what might align with your passions. If you choose to get involved in a Twitter chat, be sure to actively participate, use the hashtag of the chat and follow people who are interesting. This is a great way of growing Twitter followers and establishing your brand. Plus, a company or two has been known to use Twitter chats to identify talent to connect with, so they may also lead to job opportunities.

Step #5: Try your hand at guest posting

As you start to find your voice in this conversation, don’t hesitate to reach out to a blog you follow and ask to provide content. Many times, bloggers are looking for content and are happy to give you some space. Make sure when you are pitching a story idea that it is not overtly promotional and that you have a distinct point of view on the subject.

Step #6: Be sure you can back it up

So, you have a brand and your social profiles are beautifully aligned. You contribute to the conversation in your area of expertise. But, make sure that above all, you can back it up. Make sure that if someone comes across your work, it validates you position. Remember that time that Las Vegas said it was for families? Yeah, that didn’t work because they couldn’t back it up. So, be sure that you have the experience to back that brand up.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Tracey Parsons

About the author

With passion and an innate curiosity, Tracey strives to push the envelope to create great experiences for talent. Tracey has been developing digital, mobile and social solutions for nearly 20 years in the talent acquisition space. Currently CredHive’s CEO, she is dedicated to changing the way hiring is done to create a more level playing field for talent. Visit CredHive to learn more.

 


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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6 Ways To Figure Out What You Want In A Job http://www.careerealism.com/want-job-figure-out/ http://www.careerealism.com/want-job-figure-out/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 05:09:38 +0000 http://www.careerealism.com/?p=37541 How do you figure out what you want in a job? Let’s face it, this kind of insight doesn’t grow on trees. Here's some help from a career coach.

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One of the most common questions I hear from job seekers and career changers is how to figure out what they want to do next. Let’s face it, this kind of insight doesn’t grow on trees. Sooner or later, most of us need a little help to clarify our job options and redirect our long-term career plans.

Related: 5 Dynamic Ways To Reinvent Your Career Path

Before considering how to figure out what you want in a job, let’s first delineate what you need to know about a job in order to evaluate it as a potential match. You need to know what level of role it is (professional, management, executive, and so on), the scope of the position (its key functions and responsibilities), the industry(ies) in which it can be found, and the types of companies that hire people to do that work. This is the level of clarity needed to apply for jobs, write resumes, and perform effectively interviews and is part of the process of defining a realistic job search strategy.

If you have deeper questions about what kind of work, you should be doing or think you may need to change careers altogether, then you will find it helpful to dig deeper. For this deeper career excavation, you will need to identify your personal meaning and pleasure indicators as well as your strongest skills.

Of these three, your skills are usually the easiest to identify because they are the most obvious. Most of us can fairly quickly identify at least some of the things we’re good at doing. If you need more help discovering your most important skills, you may want to consider completing a skills identification exercise.

Career pleasures, or likes, are easy to identify for those occupations and fields you’re aware of but next to impossible to clarify if your awareness of career fields is limited – which is exactly why career assessments can be helpful. A career coach can be a great ally in this process, too, since an experienced one can shortcut your research and exploration dramatically by showing you possible life directions based on the patterns of your likes and dislikes.

Career meaning is the toughest of these three to identify on your own, though values assessments can point the way. Reflecting on the career choices you’ve made to date can streamline your exploration and aid you in focusing on the career options most likely to be of value to you.

The intersection of these three elements is the classic career satisfaction goal because ultimately a great career choice is one that creates meaning for you, gives you deep pleasure, and takes advantage of your strongest skills.

So, how can you figure out what you’re looking for career-wise? There are six primary pathways to career clarity. Which ones are best suited to your personality, timeline, and budget?

PATHWAY

DESCRIPTION

TIMEFRAME

INVESTMENT

Books & Internet Resources Richard Bolles’ classic What Color Is Your Parachute is a how to guide for figuring out what you want to do with your work life. Other great options include Do What You Are, Strengthsfinder 2.0, and The Pathfinder. There is a wealth of free information about careers available on the Internet as well. Do-it-yourself career exploration takes longer than working with a professional. This pathway could take 1 to several years. Ranges from free to $25.
Journaling Figuring out what you want in a job requires self-reflection. As a self-reflective activity journaling can be a powerful ally. Introduction to Journaling shows participants how to leverage the power of introspection and introduces topics such as values clarification and career journaling. Journaling is another DIY approach, but when pursued with a firm structure it place is likely to require less time overall, though it still may require 1 to several years. Ranges from free to $99.
Career Assessment There are a wide array of options available, from instant online tools and quick checklists to validated and researched personality and career assessments such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, DISC, Career Key, and the Strong Interest Inventory. Varies from instant feedback to custom reports available in 1-2 weeks. Generally the longer the turnaround time for results the more in depth those results will be. While results may be available rapidly, figuring out how to use them usually takes longer. Ranges from free to $500+.
Unpaid Work Options such as internships, job shadowing, and volunteer work all allow you to sample occupations and careers before committing to them on a semi-permanent basis. Each also offers some exposure to and experience with key skills. To collect skills and experience via unpaid work generally requires a minimum of several months to yield insight and connections. Free
Paid Work While not always advisable, it is possible to try occupations on for size AND get paid to do so. The downside is that if your choices are random this will produce a great deal of chaos in your work history and will limit your ability to land great jobs later on. When leveraged as part of an overall career plan, though, this option can yield great insight for kinesthetic learners. As with unpaid work, this pathway generally requires months to years yield the needed insight and experience. Free
Career Coaching 1:1 and group coaching options provide structure and guidance for career exploration. These programs vary widely in their content, so look for someone with strong credentials and experience. Group options are generally time-limited and last from weeks to months while 1:1 coaching is ongoing and may stretch from several months to a year or more. Ranges from hundreds of dollars for a short-term group program to thousands of dollars for long-term 1:1 coaching.

 

Although you can leverage full-time work as a means to figuring out your overall career trajectory, this option is really the costliest of the six pathways. I’ve seen many professionals who kept trying different career options by landing different jobs in different industries over a period of several years. The problem is that this many job changes creates chaos in the resume and makes landing a great job much harder to do.

That is why, if your budget allows, working with a career coach will likely yield greater insight and momentum than pursuing career exploration on your own. Many coaches offer group programs that give you a structured program, accountability, and direction at a fraction of the cost of working with a coach 1:1.

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

Related Posts

5 Signs You Chose The Wrong Career Path
9 Ways To Be Happy In Job You Don’t Like
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Cheryl Simpson | Executive Job Search Coach

About the author

A 15-time, award-winning resume writer, Cheryl Lynch Simpson serves mid-career to senior executives as a credentialed resume writer (ACRW), LinkedIn strategist (COPNS), and Get Clear, Get Found, Get Hired (G3) coach. Like her advice? Check out her website, ExecutiveResumeRescue.com for a complimentary copy of her popular Polish Your Profile LinkedIn presentation, or follow her on Twitter!

 


Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.

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