CAREEREALISM Career Advice & Job Search Magazine Tue, 25 Aug 2015 13:06:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 6 Careless Mistakes To Avoid On The Resume Tue, 25 Aug 2015 05:50:08 +0000 Think you know everything about resume writing, and have yours ready to go? Take another look to see if you’ve made any of these careless mistakes.

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Think you know all there is to know about resume writing, and have yours ready to go? Take another look to see if you’ve made any of these careless mistakes. When you’re anxious to apply for a job you think you’re the perfect match for, basic things on the resume may be overlooked. In the rush of things, the following may happen:

RELATED: Need to write a resume? Watch these resume tutorials!

1. You forget to update your contact information.

When it comes time to update the resume, the first thing most job seekers think about is adding details on the last job they held and any new skills gained, but they forget about basic details like contact information. Make sure your resume includes a phone number and email address you regularly check. If you’ve moved, make sure to include your current address or the new City and State.

2. You don’t provide enough details on your last job.

Your resume may have gotten you through to your last job, but it’s going to need updating to get you a new job. Think about major successes and accomplishments from your last job and highlight them on your resume so employers can see what you’re capable of. If you’ve been promoted, outline that on the resume. It helps employers to see you have something of value to offer and that you’ve continued to advance in your profession. What you want to avoid is simply listing a generic job description to your last job.

3. You don’t update your Skills or remove old certifications.

Each new job experience hopefully provides you with new skills, so make sure it’s added to your resume. And if you have dated information like certifications for certain programs listed, check that it’s still relevant to include otherwise it’ll just look like you have outdated skills to offer.

4. You use abbreviations and acronyms only you may know.

If you’re going to use abbreviations or acronyms, make sure they are popular enough that even the HR person will understand it. Every organization is different, so what may have been common lingo at your old job may not apply with other employers. Many employers are also using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to help filter through resumes that come in and they will search for keywords. You want your resume to include the popular terminology that will be searched, so don’t just stick with abbreviations and acronyms – spell it out, too. For more tips on formatting your resume for the ATS, read: “5 Resume Formatting Rules For The ATS.”

5. You keep adding to your resume, but you don’t remove irrelevant jobs.

If you already have a resume in place to work with, that can help save you a lot of time. The problem arises when job seekers add to the resume, but forget to remove the irrelevant jobs. Employers are typically looking to see your last 10-15 years of experience, so anything beyond that can essentially be taken out for most professions. Also, carefully rephrase old information where appropriate so that it comes across as more relevant to the new employer or remove it if it’s irrelevant. Another area you need to carefully review is the Education section. When you first graduated and were looking for a job, it was okay to try to impress employers with your GPA and relevant course work. However, once you have 5 or more years of experience under your belt, there’s nothing more you need to include on Education other than the school attended, degree received, and any other relevant certifications. It’s not even necessary to include the year you graduated because you’ll be giving away your age.

You name your resume file inappropriately.

If you’re sending your resume as an attachment, make sure it has an file document name like “JohnSmith-WebDeveloper.doc” Unfortunately many job seekers send out their resume document without considering the file name like: JohnSmith2009 (was that the last time you updated your resume?); JohnSmith-ABC Company (did you just reveal the name of another employer you applied to?); or JhnSmiht (are you showing how careless you where you can’t even spell your name correctly?). You want the hiring manager receiving your resume to be able to identify you from other applicants, so present a recognizable and professional file name for your resume. Please also avoid sending the resume file as “MyResume.doc” because it’ll probably be the 100th resume with that file name that the hiring manager has received that day.

It’s the things that seem obvious that get most people in trouble on the resume. Make sure you’re not making any of these careless mistakes!

Write a great resume in 15 minutes!

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Don Goodman

About the author

Don Goodman’s firm was rated as the #1 Resume Writing Service in 2013, 2014, and 2015. Don is a triple-certified, nationally recognized Expert Resume Writer, Career Management Coach and Job Search Strategist who has helped thousands of people secure their next job. Check out his Resume Writing Service. Get a Free Resume Evaluation or call him at 800.909.0109 for more information.

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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3 Habits Of The Ultra-Successful You Probably Don’t Do Tue, 25 Aug 2015 05:40:03 +0000 You want to be successful, but if you don't have the right habits and mindset, you'll never get there. Here are three habits of the ultra-successful.

The post 3 Habits Of The Ultra-Successful You Probably Don’t Do appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Did you know that Hillary Clinton charges $300,000 for a University speech?

RELATED: Need some career advice? Watch these career decoder tutorials!

Granted, she works an ungodly amount each day (I’ve read that she starts the day at 4am and is in the office until 11pm)…

But aside from having a ridiculous work ethic – which you may or may not want to model – what is it that gives super successful people an edge?

And how can you become more successful… without working harder and putting in longer hours?

Well, after working for a couple of the top entrepreneurs in the world for a few years and studying the habits of successful people for the past five or so years, here’s what I’ve found:

3 Habits of the Ultra-Successful You Probably Don’t Do

Habit #1: Morning Success Ritual

Most people haven’t consciously designed a routine in the morning with the goal of making them as strong and energized as possible throughout the day.

Ultra-successful people have.

They’ll devote an hour or two each morning – first thing – to taking care of themselves.

Here’s just one example of an excellent morning routine:

  • wake up (and get out of bed immediately)
  • drink a glass of water
  • do 20 mins of exercise
  • shower and eat
  • 20 min meditation/prayer/visualizing/journalling… (whatever works for you)
  • 10 min reading something inspiring

So think about what you could do every morning that would help you feel more energized, and give you a boost throughout the day.

Try it out for a week, and see how powerful this is. Then, imagine the impact it could have on your life and career if you practiced it for a month, six months, a year, or more.

Habit #2: Master Your Mindset

There are a few things that are certain when it comes to your mindset affecting your life and the results you get:

Fear paralyzes you and prevents action.

If you truly believed that you wanted (and deserved) something, you’d have it already.

And if takes time, practice, and discipline to conquer the tricky, damaging thoughts that are holding you back… so you can unlock your true potential.

Ultra-successful people know this, and they actively work at improving their mindset every single day.

I know this sounds a little airy-fairy, so here’s a practical example from Arnold Schwarzenegger himself:

“When I first came to America (in 1968), I didn’t have big calves. In 1969, I visited Reg Park at his home in South Africa and stayed with him for a while. He would get up at 5 a.m. to train. So Reg, being my early idol, I got up at 5 a.m. to train with him. The first thing he did every session was 10 sets of calf raises. His calves were a huge 20 inches. I looked at them and said, ‘I want calves like that.’

So he put 500 pounds on the machine and started his first set. I screamed, ‘Five hundred pounds! I’ll rip my Achilles!’ He told me, ‘When you walk, with one foot in midstride, the other foot is supporting 250 pounds, so both feet can support a 500-pound workload. To really make the calves grow, you have to go up to 1,000 pound calf raises.’ I said, ‘No way!’ In one year, my calves grew two inches. They grew so quickly that some people began to say I had gotten calf implants…”

Had Arnold never conquered that belief, he may not have the massive muscles we all love him for today.

Habit #3: Carefully Choose Who You Spend Time With

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

– Jim Rohn

The simple truth is that our environment impacts us more than we realize – and particularly the people we spend the most time with.

So, ultra-successful consciously choose to find ways to spend time with people they want to be like.

I’ve heard of some people splitting their time three ways:

First, with mentors, or people you aspire to be like (if not in person, than through reading or courses).

Second, with peers on your level.

And third, with people who aspire to be like you (so, acting as a mentor).

Each type of person adds value to your life, and helps you grow and achieve more success.

Obviously, most of us spend the most time with people at work. If that’s something you want to change, then the best place (in my opinion) to find a job with the most inspiring people possible would be the GameChangers 500 list of the world’s top For-Benefit companies.

Incredible organizations like Recyclebank, Google, and TOMS shoes are on there…

And if you want to get their attention and get the job, then check out the free video I put together alongside the founder of the GameChangers 500.

Traditional job-seeking approaches are a big red-flag with this group of companies, so you can find out what works right here.

Best of luck!

Take our Career Decoder quiz!

This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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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 /

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3 Ways To Get Discovered On LinkedIn: The Thought Leadership Strategy Tue, 25 Aug 2015 05:30:13 +0000 It’s time to consider how best to share your thought leadership content on LinkedIn. There are three ways I recommend job seekers should consider.

The post 3 Ways To Get Discovered On LinkedIn: The Thought Leadership Strategy appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

So, just what is thought leadership in the context of a job search? Let’s start with a few sample definitions.

RELATED: Want to enhance your LinkedIn profile? Watch these LinkedIn tutorials!

The term “thought leadership” was first coined by Joel Kurtzman, then Editor-in-Chief of Booz& Co’s Strategy & Business Magazine. Wikipedia defines a thought leader as “an individual that is recognized as an authority in a specialized field whose expertise is sought and often rewarded.”

Daniel Rasmus described thought leadership a little differently in his Fast article, The Golden Rules for Creating Thoughtful Thought Leadership, “Thought leadership should be an entry point to a relationship. It should help start a relationship where none exists, and it should enhance existing relationships.”

Michael Brenner noted in his LinkedIn post, “What is Thought Leadership? Why You Need It. And Steps to Get it Right,” that “thought leadership is about becoming an authority on relevant topics by delivering the answers to the biggest questions on the minds of your target audience.”

Brenner raises a good point in that demonstrating thought leadership is ultimately about answering relevant questions. Which leads me to the reasons why thought leadership is worthy of a job seeker’s time – because demonstrating your expertise on key issues in your industry can help attract recruiters and hiring executives to your candidacy.

Think about it this way. If your candidacy is the proverbial needle in a haystack, then to get the attention of recruiters and hiring executives you need to somehow clone yourself to make it easier for them to discover you. Thought leadership is the perfect solution. Done right, this strategy helps your target market to find you, to get to know you, and to validate your knowledge when compared to other candidates. That’s no small thing in a market in which there are three unemployed persons for every job opening and 250 applicants for every corporate job posting (for the full infographic see

Okay, so maybe you understand why thought leadership is important for job seekers to consider. But why is it important to do so on LinkedIn? Well, if that’s the #1 place where recruiters and hiring executives are looking for candidates (and it is), then it makes sense to focus your initial thought leadership efforts on LinkedIn. Don’t limit yourself to this social media site, however; consider adding Twitter and other valuable sites such as Quora as your comfort level with thought leadership grows.

Before we review the key ways to build thought leadership on LinkedIn, I’d like to reference some key points Brenner made in the article I referenced earlier. He suggests that thought leadership needs to focus on five key elements. His ideas deserve a full attribution in this quote “translated” to relate to job seekers:

  1. First, identify the questions that recruiters and hiring executives are asking themselves about prospective candidates. Identify as many as you can and prioritize them.
  2. Second, strategize ways to answer those questions across multiple formats and channels in a way that adds value to your audience. Start with the most important questions and work your way down the list. All you have to do is have the right content to answer the basic questions.
  3. You have to “give to get” so share your expertise generously.
  4. Make your content interesting to rise above the boring and overly promotional content that is bombarding your audience. Educate your audience while entertaining them in the process. Tell stories. Use examples.
  5. Invite recruiters and hiring executives to participate in your content. Interview customers and other key stakeholders or curate content from other sources while adding your own perspective.

Once you’ve laid the groundwork in this way, it’s time to consider how best to share your thought leadership content on LinkedIn. There are three ways I recommend job seekers should consider:

LinkedIn Status Updates

Use the status updates feature found on your LinkedIn home page to share thought leadership content. Ask relevant questions. Solicit information and opinions. Promote blog posts and articles written by others while commenting with your own unique perspective. Remember, if you use Twitter, you can link that account to LinkedIn so your status updates are pushed to both social media sites at the same time. Otherwise you can publicize your status update to the entire LinkedIn membership or just your network. I recommend choosing the whole LinkedIn membership if possible because your exposure will be magnified significantly.

LinkedIn Groups

First, join as many groups related to your career brand as you can. Stay active in the best groups and contribute to the discussions started by others. Begin launching your own discussions and/or share resources and ideas. This thought leadership strategy is similar to the status update strategy except it’s more focused – only the members of each group will see your discussion posts. Since recruiters sometimes “troll” these groups for candidates, this strategy will help you to stand out from the crowd.

LinkedIn Profile

You already know that a brand-focused, key word-driven profile is critical for social networking success, right? To showcase your thought leadership in your profile you’ll need to do a few extra things:

  • Embed several key words relevant to your thought leadership in your profile headline.
  • Use your summary to showcase the impact your thought leadership has had on your current/past employers. Be specific and use quantifiable facts.
  • Add your thought leadership topic areas to the skills list you have embedded in your summary and each position.
  • If you blog or author articles or guest posts for online sites/publications, list those in your profile and include links to each one. If you use key word-rich titles for your posts and articles you will automatically be adding more key words to your profile.
  • If you’re reluctant to blog or want to and don’t know how to start, consider guest blogging an effective way to get your feet wet. Learn how guest blogging can bolster your career brand and extend your thought leadership reach.

Thought leadership is a powerful self-marketing strategy for those who use it wisely. Not only can thought leadership help you to get discovered by recruiters and companies – it can also help recession-proof your career long-term and sustain your income. As ThoughtLeadershipLab says, “Thought leaders are the informed opinion leaders and the go-to people in their field of expertise. They are trusted sources who move and inspire people with innovative ideas, turn ideas into reality, and know and show how to replicate their success.”

LinkedIn AcceleratorThis post was originally published at an earlier date.

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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, 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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Is Your LinkedIn Profile A B-Movie Or A Blockbuster? Mon, 24 Aug 2015 05:50:15 +0000 You want to do the same thing that movie makers and authors do: engage the person viewing your materials. Learn how to do this with your LinkedIn profile!

The post Is Your LinkedIn Profile A B-Movie Or A Blockbuster? appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Human beings are wired to love stories. U.S. moviegoers spent more than $10 billion at the box office last year, and readers spent about $29 billion on books. But even if you’re not much for the movies and can’t remember the last time you read a book, you’ve probably eagerly absorbed hundreds of stories over the past year. We soak in the stories behind our favorite sports figures (or celebrities), chew over the details of a compelling court case or real-life murder mystery, and click on the touching accounts of people who have triumphed over adversity or have made a difference that pour into our news and Facebook feeds.

Related: 4 Reasons You Might Not Get Recommendations On LinkedIn

So what does that have to do with LinkedIn, or with careers for that matter?

As a career-minded individual, you want to do the same thing that movie makers and authors and TV newscasters want to do: engage the person viewing your materials. And even better, make them think about you long after their brief perusal of your profile, just like a terrific blockbuster movie makes you want to discuss it as you’re leaving the theater… and when you get back into the office on Monday morning.

“But—” you might be thinking “—most blockbusters are fiction, and I can’t make up my career history. I have to stick to the facts!”

And it’s true… you do have to stick to the facts. (At least if you care about your reputation or keeping your job!) But you have a lot of freedom in how you present those facts. And if you find a way to tell a compelling story alongside the facts, you will make a memorable impression on anyone who reads your profile. Research has proven that when we hear a story, the same parts of our brain are activated as if we were experiencing the events first-hand. We then look for ways to relate the story to our own experiences, giving us a connection with that story or storyteller.

So, would your LinkedIn profile be considered more of a B movie or a blockbuster? If it’s not very memorable, how do you as a job seeker or someone building your brand start telling stories?

Identify turning points.

Think over your life and work experiences, and those events or thought processes that set you on a different course than you’d been headed, or changed your approach to life, work, or the people around you.

Start with the story elements.

(i.e. plot, characters, setting, conflict, resolution, and the moral of the story). What happened? Why? How was it resolved? What did you learn from it?

Figure out the “fit.”

Of all the turning points and the “stories” you thought of, are there any that reflect some key characteristics or attitudes that are in line with the image or brand you want to project? Do they represent you and who you really are at this point in time? Keep 1-2 of the best-fitting stories to work with, but keep in mind that even your leftover “story ideas” may make great answers to interview questions.

Write it rough.

Briefly include all of the story elements, making a special effort to articulate how this experience or event changed you or your approach for the better.

Refine till it shines.

Experiment with rewording your story, rearranging sentences, or reworking it so that it sounds like you and is relatable. Most importantly, pare it down to its essentials. You are working with a piece of prime real estate in your LinkedIn profile, and you don’t want to take up all of your room with one story.

So what does storytelling actually look like? Here’s one of my personal stories as an example:

“It is possible to achieve your dreams! For years, I was unsure of what I wanted for my career. I had an eclectic career path, searching for that ‘right fit.’ I dreamed of owning a business, and writing for a living, but didn’t know how to achieve that.

A career coach helped me see what was possible. Coaching can provide the same direction for you.”

All of the basic storytelling elements are there—characters, conflict, resolution, plot, and moral—but it’s told in my voice and has my unique spin. For most of us, storytelling takes a bit of practice (and a lot of revision)… but connecting with your viewer makes it oh-so-worth-it!

Please feel free to reach out to me with any questions.

LinkedIn Accelerator

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Kristin S. Johnson is a TORI award-winning, 6-times certified resume writer, job search coach, and social media consultant. Her approach is cutting-edge, creative, and kind. As owner of Profession Direction, LLC, she works with professionals and aspiring executives across the country.


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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Why Your Network Isn’t Going To Help You Mon, 24 Aug 2015 05:40:44 +0000 Are you unhappy with your current career? If you're looking for a career change, your current network won't help you. Here's why, and what you can do.

The post Why Your Network Isn’t Going To Help You appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Fresh-faced graduates receive the same advice from every podium speech they hear before going up to the stage to pick up a piece of paper they spent four years earning and haven’t started paying for: Do what you love, be happy, always wear sunscreen, and success is about building a network around you.

QUIZ: What Kind Of Networker Are You?

So, you go about building a network of friends, colleagues, old professors, or high school teachers. And of course, you gravitate towards like-minded folk. People in your industry or who have helped you understand that what you’re doing is what you want to do for the rest of your life. People who will remind you the degree that probably put you in debt for the at least the next fifteen years wasn’t a waste of time.

But then you hit a moment, three years down the line, or five, or maybe twenty.

And you realize you aren’t happy.

This isn’t what you wanted, and it took trying the career that you’re in for as long as you did for you to realize it. And sometimes that happens. It’s in our nature to change.

Sometimes that change is big, and the job we want and the job we’re in are two completely different things. And at that point, you need to scrap the majority of that network you spent years building to pursue something new and fresh.

You need to build a new set of like-minded people in the career you want to go into.

It may feel like you’re 23 and awkward all over again, but if this new career is what you want to do, the process is worth it.

Build A New Network

One of the greatest obstacles to changing careers – or change in general – is that we get trapped by the strictures of our social circle. That social circle includes your network.

If you’re a lawyer, the network you’ve built for yourself over the years undoubtedly includes other lawyers.

The lawyers in your support system will probably ask you why in your right mind you wouldn’t want to be a lawyer. They love it, so you should love it, too. You were happy a month ago – nobody can change their mind that quickly. And if you’re in a career that is tedious, mind-numbing, and dull, your support network will be even more vocally against your realization; misery loves company, after all.

The people that you’ve spent years spiderwebbing between can’t help you learn, grow or understand life in your new career because they don’t know it themselves and the knowledge they have is the same as yours: slim to none.

You need to get away from the yes-men and parallel thinkers that your current network is made up of to find people in your field of interest and work with them.

Your Old Network Knows Someone

You’re not quite starting at the bottom of the ladder when taking those steps towards a new career.

Outside of delicious holiday dinners, this is one time your extended family can be quite helpful – that uncle who seems to know everyone will probably know someone who is in the industry you want to go into.

And while you may need to scrap the people in your network, don’t burn bridges. Their own network could put you in touch with the perfect person.

Nothing will be of more help than talking to a real person who has firsthand experience in the profession that interests you. Ask around for anyone in your circle that knows someone – or knows someone who knows someone; use six degrees of separation to your advantage.

You need to find a way into the industry any way you can. Attend any type of event related to that industry and let people know your intentions. As crazy as it may seem, tell anyone who’ll listen what you want to be doing in their industry. Don’t hesitate to mention your own interest in what they do.

While industry events can be extremely useful to you, blanket events like the ones put on by the local Chamber of Commerce are likely not worth your time – a lot of the foot traffic at those events are people who are doing nothing but selling themselves. They’re probably not interested in helping you out.

Time is your new precious commodity. When working to break into a new industry, spending your time wisely is critical. Like in-person events, recognize that social networking sites can be massively helpful, but also a massive waste of time if not used well.

Use the social network that works most effectively for your networking purposes, whether it’s Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or something else entirely.

Spend time researching people in your desired industry with whom you have something in common – did you attend the same university? Work for the same company in the past? Have the same babysitter growing up? Live in the same city? Be fearless and reach out to people whom you share a common link with. While it may feel like reaching out to a cold contact, common ground warms a connection quickly, and you’ll have something to talk about in the beginning.

During my unhappy career as a financial advisor for Wall Street giant Morgan Stanley, I went to an Indy car race and noticed that a former middle school classmate of my brother was racing in it.

That second, I decided I would be working in the racing circuit someday and knew he would be my way in. I introduced myself, and exactly one year later, I was a P.R. Director in the Indy Racing League.

Your Network Isn’t About You

These connections you build are your new network. Each relationship is intrinsically unstable at the beginning because you initiated it, asking for a favor. While asking for a favor is a way to build trust within your professional network, you need to strike a balance between give and take to maintain the relationship.

When I met my new race car driver acquaintance, two weeks after our first meeting I drove all four hours from Tampa to Miami, and told him I just happened to be in town for work; I asked if he’d like to go have lunch.

There was no work. I went there just to meet him. Eventually, a friendship grew and a few months later a working relationship started.

While not everyone has the ability to drive eight hours in a day to create a nonthreatening situation and meet up with a person, smaller ways of creating balance in the relationship so you don’t come across as a potential competitor are as effective.

Things as simple as taking someone to lunch or buying them coffee are enough to make someone share their knowledge. People love talking about their successes and have great nostalgia for the lessons they’ve learned.

Most importantly, listen – you’re not this person’s rival, you’re there to learn from them.

You won’t learn anything while you speak, and most of your connections spend their days listening to other people. Be humble and grateful for the experiences they’re sharing with you.

You’re building a network around you that will be invaluable through this career change and into your new career. Be the person that people want to help: respectful, humble, and confident.

Create relationships not just for the immediate take but for the long term benefit to you both, and you’re on your way to a successful new career.

Take our Career Decoder quiz!This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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Alex Simon

About the author

Alex Simon is a career reinvention coach and speaker. Often referred to as “a master at breaking into sexy and exciting careers”, he has promoted world title fights, managed Indy 500 race car drivers, worked for a Wall Street giant, and is the subject of Starsuckers, an award-winning documentary on the pursuit of fame. Check out his website, follow him on Twitter, find him on YouTube, or add him on LinkedIn!



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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4 Best Tools For Creating Online Portfolios Mon, 24 Aug 2015 05:30:39 +0000 As a job seeker, it's important to have a solid portfolio. However, the kind of portfolio you want to establish is dependent on the field you’re in.

The post 4 Best Tools For Creating Online Portfolios appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Anyone who is on the lookout for a new or different job knows how important it is to have a solid portfolio. However, the kind of portfolio you want to establish is dependent on the field you’re in.

Related: 5 Benefits Of Creating An Online Portfolio

An artist, for example, is going to have a very different one from a sales manager, whose portfolio will look very different from an executive’s. Knowing and understanding what tools are available to you will help you make the most of yours. Remember, everyone has a portfolio – you have to make yours stand out.

Choosing Correctly

Okay, this isn’t so much a tool that you can actually use, but it should be the first thing that comes to mind. This article can’t cover everything, but most importantly, it can’t tell you what will work best for you. Many portfolio tools work wonderfully for traditional jobs – advertising, business, sales, and anything artistic lend themselves well to these tools. However, some positions require more complex documents and, as such, a more delicate hand.

A job with the government, for example, can be difficult to acquire, and the job requirements are often far from traditional. Receiving some help with these, such as using a federal resume writing service, will increase your chances significantly. If you’re applying for a traditional job though, the following tools are great platforms for your unique portfolio.

1. Pinterest

If your work involves any sort of tangible objects, Pinterest can work for you. Wedding planners, artists, photographers, sales managers and executives, crafters – this is a great platform to let people see what you do. This is especially good for freelancers or business owners who are looking to drum up clients, especially if your clients are end-users. This is a difficult site to use if your work is mainly text or audio. Music producers and writers may have a harder time making use of this site, since you can’t pin audio or plain text (yet).

2. Instagram

Have you heard about the women who decided to Instagram their daily yoga practice or their best outfits? Suddenly, they exploded in whatever field they had chosen to showcase. Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is slightly different in that there is less of a chance that you’ll face direct competition and you can essentially create a visual “lookbook” of the work you’ve done and the progress you’ve made.

3. Carbonmade

Carbonmade is perfectly made to showcase an artists’ designs. Unlike Pinterest, you can’t just pick and choose images to share, and people can’t take your work. You’re encouraged to upload your own, and the site is wonderfully designed to showcase images and videos. As a free site, it offers not only encryption services, but it is specifically designed as a portfolio site, so the people who are viewing your work are other working professionals. Think of it as the LinkedIn version of Pinterest.

4. Visualize.Me

For those of us who have less artistic jobs, or at least jobs where it may be more difficult to showcase your actual work, Visualize.Me is your new best friend. If, for example, you work as a programmer or network designer, it may violate your contract to make specifics of your work public knowledge. With this site, you can skip that contract killer while still making your value easy to understand for those that may lack the technical expertise. Essentially, this site allows you to create a visual representation of your career – including everything from education to recent job titles, as well as your interests and hobbies.

Since you’re looking to start an actual portfolio, it is important to look beyond LinkedIn, which is pretty much an online resume. It’s still useful and very important to have, but it doesn’t allow you to showcase the same variety of talents that some of these other sites do. Remember – a picture is worth a thousand words, so let your work speak for itself.

Write a great resume in 15 minutes!This post was originally published at an earlier date.

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What’s My Brand? Why It’s Important To Know Sat, 22 Aug 2015 05:50:52 +0000 Seeking feedback from trusted peers and mentors about how you are perceived is a good way to find out about your current brand.

The post What’s My Brand? Why It’s Important To Know appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

When thinking of a company like Apple, immediately their brand comes to mind: imagination, creativity, and design. When thinking of Oprah, immediately things like openness, authenticity, and personal dialogue come to mind. And Nike? Athleticism and victory.

Related: There’s No ‘I’ In Personal Brand

Although those are globally known names and brands, each of us also has a unique brand we carry with us every day. Our brands are our own personal slogans or words that describe each of us, and what we do. Even if you don’t think you have a brand, you do. It is what people think of you and the work you do regardless of whether you agree with it or not. Your brand is the conversation going on about you while you are not in the room. The question is: do you know what your brand is and are you managing it?

Seeking feedback from trusted peers and mentors about how you are perceived is a good way to find out about your current brand. Once you know how you are perceived, you can take steps to manage that perception. You can choose to build upon the perceived brand or change it. That is the beauty of a personal brand – it’s yours to create.

For example, there was a young leader who wanted to advance his career inside a large corporation. He found out, although not intentionally, he was branding himself as a “reserved, thoughtful, hardworking, and quiet leader.” He wanted his brand to bring up thoughts of a “charismatic, dynamic leader” who was also “hardworking and thoughtful” so he needed to change the current perception. He needed to build and portray his brand as a charismatic, dynamic, thoughtful, and hardworking leader.

The best way to do that is to embody your brand. This young man had built his brand by default. He was not conscious of it nor was he trying to come across in any particular way; however, there was still a brand attached to his name and it was based on how he was behaving and how he was perceived by others within his company. The message here is to be aware that even though you may not think you have a brand, you do. And, if you want to advance and develop your career, it is a piece that should be managed so you are coming across in the exact way you want others to perceive you.

Be aware of your brand in all that you do. Make an effort to exhibit it at all times. Just like Apple, Oprah, and Nike. Everything these organizations do and everything they produce promotes their brand.  And, all you do should promote your brand.

Promoting it is not difficult if the brand is true to who you authentically desire to be. The young man in the above example needed to practice being more dynamic and charismatic instead of quiet and reserved. Quiet and reserved were his default but dynamic and charismatic were his passion and true to who he wanted to be so that is how he began to brand himself. He began to embody the traits of a dynamic and charismatic leader and he focused on portraying them in all he did. Doing so changed the perception of him, just as he wanted.

What is your brand? Are you aware of it and are you managing it? Are you embodying it in all you do?  Hopefully the answer is yes because your personal brand is a very important piece of successful career growth.

LinkedIn Accelerator

This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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How To Handle Illegal Interview Questions Sat, 22 Aug 2015 05:40:03 +0000 Unfortunately, job seekers have to deal with illegal interview questions all the time. Here’s a list of what can legally be asked and what’s illegal.

The post How To Handle Illegal Interview Questions appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

In a perfect world, candidates would only be asked questions that are 100% legal. Unfortunately, job seekers have to deal with illegal interview questions all of the time. It’s very easy for an interviewer to go into those illegal areas without even realizing it. Sometimes, interviewers are untrained and don’t realize the error of their ways, and sometimes they just mess up.

Related: Interview Hack: Document Everything!

Either way, candidates should know their rights and responsibilities about what can and cannot be asked in an interview. Here’s a brief summary of topics that may come up during an interview, what can legally be asked, what can’t, and how to handle illegal interview questions:

Family Status

Legal question: Do you have any responsibilities that conflict with attendance or travel requirements?

Why this question is legal: The position requires the person filling the job to have regular attendance and the ability to travel. This question pertains to the job duties.

Discriminatory questions: Are you married? Do you have children? Are you pregnant?

Why these questions are illegal: The questions have no bearing on whether or not the person can perform the job.


Legal question: None.

Discriminatory question: What is your race?

Why this question is illegal: The EEOC protects people from discrimination based on race. A person’s race does not impact one’s ability to do a job.


Legal question: None.

Discriminatory questions: What church do you attend? What is your religion?

Why these questions are illegal: The EEOC protects people from discrimination based on religion. A person’s religion does not impact one’s ability to do a job.


Legal question: What is your address?

Why this question is legal: Prospective employers may ask a candidate’s address to correspond with the person during the interviewing process.

Illegal questions: Do you own your home? Do you rent your home? Who lives with you?

Why these questions are illegal: A person’s residence has no bearing on whether or not he or she will be a good employee.


Legal question: None.

Discriminatory question: Are you male or female?

Why this question is illegal: The EEOC protects people from discrimination based on gender. A person’s gender does not impact one’s ability to do a job.


Legal question: If you are hired, can you provide proof that you are at least 18?

Why this question is legal: Some employers are only able to hire candidates who are legally adults. If this does not apply to your workplace, you shouldn’t ask this question.

Discriminatory questions: How old are you? When is your birth date?

Why these questions are illegal: The EEOC protects people from discrimination based on age. A person’s age does not impact one’s ability to do a job.

Interviewers are allowed to ask candidates if they have ever been convicted of a crime, but they may not ask if they have been arrested. The interviewer should inform you that the conviction will be considered only as it relates to the ability to do the job.

For example, many positions require security clearances. Depending on the type of convictions, a candidate may have difficulty in obtaining a security clearance.

An interviewer may also ask if a candidate can show proof of eligibility to work in the United States and if the candidate is fluent in any other languages other than English. However, the candidate may not be asked if he/she is a U.S. citizen.

If you’re in an interview and the interviewer asks you a question that you know is illegal, try to steer the questions back to something that’s a little more job-related. In most cases, interviewers aren’t intentionally trying to ask illegal interview questions, so a friendly reminder may be all that’s needed. If you still feel uncomfortable after the interview about the questions you were asked, be sure to share this with the recruiter or HR professional who arranged the interview.

Write a great resume in 15 minutes!

This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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60 Seconds Of Networking Advice Sat, 22 Aug 2015 05:30:17 +0000 You've heard it before, "Network in order to optimize your job search." There are a myriad of ways to begin networking so keep the following in mind.

The post 60 Seconds Of Networking Advice appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

You’ve heard it before, “Network in order to optimize your job search.” How exactly do you go about networking? It depends on the way you build relationships and the industry you are targeting.

Related: 5 Tips For Better Super-Connecting

Is the industry you seek employment in best penetrated online or offline? It’s not as difficult as it seems.

We are all human and we all want to help each other. The idea is to get in touch with as many people you can (in the right channel), make a connection, gain their trust, cultivate the relationship, and earn a good lead. It is as easy as pie!

There are a myriad of ways to begin networking, whichever route you embark on keep the following in mind:

  • Be aggressive but polite.
  • Get your creative juices flowing – think outside of the ordinary.
  • Employ all strategies available to you (in person, online), even if it makes you uncomfortable. You will soon be comfortable in your new zone.
  • Value every contact you come across whether they provide you a job lead or not. Engage, listen, and help them too!
  • Keep track of whom you have met, where you have met them, and keep notes on what you most remember about them.
  • Follow up and thank everyone that attempts to help you.

Think positive, keep at it, strategize, and you will find a new career!

LinkedIn Accelerator

This post was originally published on an earlier date.

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Rosa Elizabeth Vargas | Resume Branding Expert

About the author

Rosa Elizabeth Vargas is a job search strategist who is triple-certified as an (MRW) Master Resume Writer, (NCRW) Nationally Certified, and (ACRW) Academy Certified Resume Writer. Additional qualifications include job search coaching and social media consulting.


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

Photo Credit: Shutterstock

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9 Great Ways To Answer A ‘Stupid’ Interview Question Fri, 21 Aug 2015 05:50:08 +0000 You can never be over-prepared for any job interview, and that includes being ready to answer strange questions such as this: What animal would you be?

The post 9 Great Ways To Answer A ‘Stupid’ Interview Question appeared first on CAREEREALISM.

Why do interviewers ask strange interview questions like, “What animal would you be?” They want to throw you off your game and get candid answers (they know you’ve practiced good answers to interview questions) and they really want a peek into your personality and thought process. Hiring you is a risk, and they want to make sure they make the right choice.

Related: 5 Strategies For Overcoming Interview Nerves

There’s no such thing as being over-prepared for any job interview, and that includes being ready for questions like this one. It’s actually a pretty good pre-interview exercise—thinking about the qualities necessary to do a job well can help you focus your thoughts on how to better answer all your interview questions.

All job interview answers should tie in to your ability to do the job—so when you think of an animal, think about the qualities or functions you can attribute to it that would be great for this job. Keep your answer simple and brief. Name the animal, and then give one or two qualities that you see in the animal that also describe you. (Don’t let them draw their own conclusions.)

Here are nine great animals to choose (and eight to stay away from):


These are strong, intelligent, fast-moving animals who are great working alone or as part of a team.


Ants are the ultimate hard worker and team player. They can be good for jobs requiring repetitive work, but they are also known for planning ahead—remember the fable about the ant and the grasshopper?


Monkeys are energetic and quick learners.


Chimps are famous for their intelligence and their group dynamics. They work well in groups, are team players, are clever, and are socially sensitive (which translates to emotional intelligence).


Elephants are strong, intelligent (they have a great memory), and group-oriented. They are also strong and unstoppable.


Man’s Best Friend is best-known for its extreme loyalty and protectiveness. A dog might be a good choice for someone in a support role.


Super-intelligent and intuitive dolphins could be a good example for problem-solvers.


Be careful with this one—an eagle could be good if you are in sales or in a leadership position, because you can say that they are aggressive hunters, or they can see the big picture from up there, but an eagle could be seen as a negative if you’re interviewing for a job that needs you to be a team player.


Lions are great for leadership roles. They are strong, commanding leaders.

What animals should you stay away from? Any animal that has negative qualities associated with it.


Cats are independent, but they are also known for not giving a darn about you as long as they get what they want.


I personally like whales a lot—but when associated with personality, people tend to think fat, bloated, or slow.


Snakes are sneaky and inspire fear—maybe a great thing for a mob boss or drug dealer, but not you.


You set traps and wait for your prey to get stuck so you can eat it alive? Great.


You may love pigs, but the associations with it are lazy and messy.


Cows are slow and vulnerable.


Chickens are not smart animals.


Foxes are smart but sneaky. Ask the chickens.

A fun way to end your answer is to ask them what their animal would be. It could give you your own clue into the personality of your potential future boss.

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About the author

Career Coach – Peggy McKee is an expert resource and a dedicated advocate for job seekers. Known as the Sales Recruiter from Career Confidential, her years of experience as a nationally-known recruiter for sales and marketing jobs give her a unique perspective and advantage in developing the tools and strategies that help job seekers stand head and shoulders above the competition. Peggy has been named #1 on the list of the Top 25 Most Influential Online Recruiters by HR Examiner, and has been quoted in articles from CNN, CAP TODAY, Yahoo! HotJobs, and the Denver Examiner.

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

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