Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Get Prepared to Tackle the Hidden Job Market

"How to Get a Job When No One's Hiring" is the topic of the article you'll find when you click on the title of this post. It is a very useful piece that everyone should read, because it will illuminate your job search even if you are finding desirable jobs posted on websites.

Key is the focus on you doing the legwork to identify companies for which you want to work. The adage "you won't get anywhere unless you know where you're headed" applies to job search as well as travel. Have a destination in mind and you can more easily map out how to get there.

Over the past week, several people have expressed fear that they are being too specific about their job goals. They worry about being locked out of potential jobs if they are too exclusive. I suggest that they will not hear about potential job unless they are more specific.

The "hidden job market" is one accessed by networking. It involves the jobs that are not posted on CareerBuilder or Monster or Indeed or Idealist. This market is one where people leave jobs and their position is refilled. These are not additional jobs or new headcount; these are mission-critical jobs that must be filled for the company to deliver its product or service. Often they are not posted publicly because the company does not want a deluge of resumes, or because they want to fill from within, or because they have a drawer of resumes already. Maybe the company works through a recruiter, who already has a stable of job seekers. For whatever reason, the only way you will find out about these jobs is by getting told of them by someone on the inside.

So how do you find someone on the inside? Well, the inside of what company? See, here's where you have to decide where you want to work. Then you can find people inside - through colleagues, friends, LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, JobAngels, recruiters - there are tons of ways to network into a place - once you know that's where you want to be.

Identifying companies for which you want to work starts with your Must Have List - what you must have in order to do a great job, happily.

1) Work you will do. What do you love to do? What gives you great satisfaction? What do you want to do again? What industry or subject area do you love, care about? In what field does your expertise and talent lie?

2) Role you will play. What position will you have in the organization or company? Will you work for someone? For yourself? With others? Be a leader or a follower? Do you like working alone or in a team?

3) Impact of your efforts. What kind of impact do you want your work to have? Does it need to matter to anyone other than yourself? What kind of company or organization do you want to work for? Is there any purpose/cause that will make it worth doing drudge work?

4) Physical environment. What kind of physical environment do you need to be at your best and do your best work? Also consider desirable locations, commuting time, and hours.

5) Colleagues, culture, emotional environment. What kind of atmosphere helps you do your best? E.g. start-up or established company? Competitive or supportive culture, or a little of both? Structured or flexible? What kind of emotional environment do you want? What kind of people? Do your values need to mesh with the values of your workplace and colleagues?

6) Compensation. How much compensation do you need to reflect your value to your employer, or to quit a temporary or maintenance job to work full-time for yourself? What’s your “I can live with it” figure? Your "want to have" figure? Are there other ways you can be compensated, such as time off, benefits, recognition, or travel?

Now that you have answers to these questions, you can start searching for companies in your target fields. Your Must Have List is a checklist against which to evaluate companies. And when you network your way into those 10-20 target companies, you also have a great set of criteria for deciding if a job is a good match.

The Must Have List is your "job description" and the basis for you interviewing the employer. It's the way to see if this is the "right fit" work for you.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Core Competencies

A recruiting firm based in England asked a pal to list her "Core Competencies" for a prospective top-level job, using these categories:

* Burning Drive for Results
* Strategic Dexterity
* Winning the license to operate
* Delivering through people
* Leading Others

Think about your own skills and abilities in terms of these competencies. In my experience, they are prized by employers on this side of the pond, also.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


One of many job search resources I found on Twitter. click title specifically for jobs in NY State

Culture Counts!

Culture counts when looking for a job. Good cultural fit and positive work environment are usually critical factors in whether someone will be happy in a job, happy enough to put in time and energy, and not suffer stress that can lead to personal and health problems.

It's a good idea to come up with your own "Must Have List" of the five or six things you must have in order to be most productive and satisfied with a job. These are 1) the actual work you'll do; 2) your role in the company; 3) the impact your work will have; 4) the physical environment you'll work/commute in; 5) the company culture; and 6) total compensation. Once you have that list, you can assess every job according to those criteria. "Must Haves" are exactly that - the minimum conditions you must have. Over time, I observe that people narrow the list down to a top 2 or 3 items - and usually, culture is right at the top of that list.

So how do you find out what a culture is like? There are different cultures within industries, and culture depends in large part on the top leadership. Reading about a company can give you clues as to what it's like. Google the CEO and COO names to see what the press says about them.

Likewise, job postings and descriptions give clues about culture. When a job description uses the word "team," it's likely they value people working together. A company that actually states its values has a greater likelihood of having done the internal work to come up with those values. (This is not guaranteed, however; Enron had a values statement...) If a posting says "must work well under pressure," chances are it's a very harried place where you can expect to put in a lot of overtime.

When you apply for a job at a company that seems to meet your minimum culture requirements, refer to your values in your cover letter. That way, the reviewer knows right up front who you are and can make an initial assessment about the likelihood of cultural fit.

In an interview, ask directly about the culture. "What's the culture like here?" is a great way to find out. If they can't answer clearly, chances are they haven't thought about it very much and it will be more of a "dog eat dog" environment. If there is a values statement, ask how it was developed.

If it turns out that you are not finding companies in your field that meet your requirements, maybe it's time to broaden your search outside your industry. There are many tech jobs in other industries, including health care which is still growing.

Finally, trust your gut! If it doesn't feel like the company has a culture you will thrive in, it probably won't. If you're desperate for a job, accept it knowing that you are making a compromise - and keep looking for a job that's a better fit for you.

Lawyers seeking work

While so many of the tools and advice here will help lawyers, the site reachable by clicking the title specifically addresses legal job search.

I've helped several lawyers move out of firm work and into staff counsel jobs, and even out of the legal field altogether. In fact the first people I helped with job search were two lawyers who HATED being lawyers.

One ended up staying a lawyer, albeit in a non-profit environment. The other is now doing contract law work while she works on developing her own business that has nothing to do with the law.

Several other lawyers have landed in my path, as well, all of whom are unhappy with the legal field. One wanted to work in the non-profit field, so we have together identified her strengths and transferable skills. Last week, she got an interview for a position as Volunteer Manager. We figured that if she could corral lawyers into a team, she could certainly do it with motivated volunteers!

I've noticed that there are two major issues faced by lawyers who decide they want to stop practicing law:

1) loss of prestige associated with being a lawyer; and,
2) reduction in pay

It takes quite a bit of time to come to terms with those realities. I've met a few who continue working as lawyers until they simply have had enough of compromising their values, sacrificing the rest of their lives, and feeling unfulfilled. Sometimes that takes six months, sometimes more than a year.

I think there's a career plan that goes into effect once one starts law school, and then there's a lot of debt that is incurred by going to law school. The career plan is that you graduate, get a well-paying, prestigious job with a big or medium-sized city law firm, work your buns off for several years, and then make partner. The high salary enables you to pay off your student loan and to live well during those few hours every week that are your own. It's a well-traveled path and it promises certainty and solidity. Other people understand that path, and it doesn't require a lot of thought and planning once you embark on it.

Leaving the field of law is MUCH riskier. I find it challenges people to rethink their entire life plan, and their relationship to the people in their life. Common concerns are:

* My parents and siblings have certain expectations and are so proud of me; I don't want to disappoint them.

* My friends have this kind of lifestyle; I won't be able to keep up with them.

* I knew what I was going to do with my life; now what on earth am I going to do?

* If I do something new, I'll have to start at the bottom; I'd feel so dumb!

Confronting these questions can take time, and requires patience. Eventually, people come to terms with what they REALLY want, what they really value, and the steps they are willing to take to achieve their dreams. There is life after the law, once you begin traveling the road to being satisfied with your life.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Voicing Your Opinion at Work, a la Beyonce

Watch the Saturday Night Live skit featuring Beyonce and a trio of guys who are supposed to be her backup dancers in her "Single Girls" music video. The article that comes up when you click on this post's title discusses how important it is for us to speak up when we feel something is going wrong.

I also observed that Beyonce did speak up and was ignored. That often happens and it can discourage people from voicing a dissenting opinion.

While it is important to keep giving one's opinion, it's also important for us as team members and leaders to listen to a dissenting voice. The minority opinion will at very least help refine and improve an idea for which the group is enthusiastic.

When I'm part of a team, I make a point of listening for the lone voice and asking for their reasons. Simply asking why someone has a different opinion or approach breaks the "group think" and creates space for a new idea. As the leader, I make a point to ask each member what they think, especially those people who haven't been talking.

Some personality types (per Myers-Briggs) sit back, observe, and then come up with their approach or response to what the group has been doing. If no one asks for or creates room for their participation, it can either come too late or not at all.

As a team member, I am responsible for offering my own opinion AND to solicit other people's opinions - even if the leader doesn't seem to want to hear them.

Non-Profit Tweets (on Twitter)

@nonprofitorgs polled Twitter users to gauge "How many Tweets do you think nonprofit organizations should send out per day?"

Out of 331 votes, 136 or 41% thought it should be just 1-2 a day. Another 128 or 39% thought non-profits should tweet 3 to 5 times a day.

I voted for 6-7 times a day, one of the 33 or 10% who thought so.

My thinking is that people all over the world use Twitter, as do people working in all US and Canadian time zones, and people working at all hours of the day and night. In terms of visibility, it is smart to identify your target audience and gear the number of tweets to optimally reach that audience.

"Really Creative Resumes" are...well...potentially dangerous

Click on the title and visit this blog site that shows off 30 of what they term "brilliant plus creative resumes." These resumes are the work of design students and professionals, presumable seeking work in the design field.

My question: did all these people get interviews? If so, then bravo/brava! If not, it might be well for them to do some research and find out what resume readers are like, what they look for in a resume, and what methods have been successful in getting a resume put into the “yes, interview” pile.

Their creativity is definitely thought-provoking and inspiring. It would be even better had they all met the business goal inherent in producing a resume - because they all do want to work someplace where their designs meet business goals. The business goal here is to get an interview.

Here's my critique of a few of them:

My experience is that resume reviewers (whether in HR or design…) have limited time and want to be able to see very quickly whether the person meets the minimum qualifications, as well as whether they have skills and a potential culture or personality fit. It is smart to do a lot of the reader’s work for them by keeping things simple. It is just not smart to create complex designs that require a lot of reading and decoding (e.g. #13, #19).

I thought #20 did the best job of conveying information in a smart, concise way - it’s easy for the reader to quickly grasp the creative concept and to read the relevant information. A weakness is the language the applicant uses to describe himself - he says he is "familiar with" various programs. A more powerful word is "Proficient user of xyz." Similarly, #4, #6, #12 and #15 used design to capture attention while also presenting clear, succinct information. I happen not to like white text on dark backgrounds - it is proven to be more difficult to read, and we want readers to easily grasp the key information in our resume.

I was intrigued yet somewhat dismayed by #10 and #24 - because I like graphic things that tell a great story. These graphics did NOT tell a great story. #10’s graph told me he didn’t know enough about key tools and areas, while #24’s graphs conveyed unpredictability and erratic performance. Not the message you want to send!

#16 combined some great and some questionable. He uses a clear format to give the basic resume information, and I like the cheeky attitude conveyed by the lined notebook paper. Yet, are doodles ever an appropriate thing for a resume? They convey a casual approach, a lack of seriousness toward work, that I think would at least subliminally turn off a design-based employer.

#8 has an interesting format and conveys vital information quickly and succinctly. I might argue that not all the information is important (e.g. objective - if you are applying for a job, we assume your objective is to get that job...). The most fatal flaw, however, is putting her name on the BOTTOM of the resume. People look at the TOP of a resume to find the applicant's name. This person just made it very likely that her resume will be buried in a pile, lost to view - simply because the reader has to work too hard to figure out whose resume it is. This does not demonstrate smart design to meet business goals.

A resume can showcase how the applicant harnesses their creativity to solve a business problem - something any employer would be happy to see. With a little bit of work, all of these could be real winners.


I am a big proponent of venting during your job search process. Venting is when you talk with someone trusted about all the obstacles, problems, fears, anxieties, anger, and frustration you feel and encounter every day and week. Venting is vital when you are under pressure - and a job search is definitely pressure-filled. Pressures are varied:

* Maybe you are worried about being able to pay your bills, keep your home, care for your children, replace worn shoes.

* Or maybe you're tired of the cycle of networking - seeing so many people yet no one has a job for you.

* And maybe you simply are out of hope for the moment.

I believe venting is very different than complaining. To me, complaining is blaming someone or something else for my situation. Venting is simply acknowledging that a job search is difficult work, stuff happens, I don't always like it, and I need to get it out of my head and body in order to move on.

Think about a pressure cooker: when a pressure cooker vents, it doesn't explode. Similarly, people in stressful situations need to vent in order to stay healthy.

There are many ways to vent the unpleasantness: talking, crying, whacking your pillows with a plastic bat, or writing. Seek out and use whatever mechanism is most jelpful and least harmful to you.

I observe that it is most helpful to people to vent to a sympathetic person who listens and doesn't try to fix it. When I listen, I do a lot of validation: "that does sound awful!" and "I am so sorry you are going through this." My approach stems from having gone through many down and depressed times in job searches; it never helped to have someone try to "fix me." What helped most was someone being kind when I was crying from frustration or hurt. Recent studies actually do show that crying with a sympathetic person is the most healing of all tears.

Usually the person talks him or herself out of the down state of mind; I rarely need to encourage them to focus on the positive. I can always tell that someone has vented sufficiently when they start looking at the bright side of things and begin to notice positive things.

@valueintowords, a job search coach on Twitter put it this way: "'venting' helps you to emerge from a cloud of negativity and regain optimism; this is important for job-search success."

She's right, as potential employers expect applicants and interviewees to be positive, forward-thinking, enthusiastic, and energetic. I've always thought it the supreme irony that we are expected to present our best self when we feel worst about our abilities. I think: "I'm unhappy where I work or I got fired or laid off - and you expect me to be up, up, up?" Well, yes, yes they do.

Venting is the best way I know to move through and past fear and depression into hopefulness and excitement about the future. So find someone who can listen to you sympathetically and objectively.

CAVEAT: Significant others rarely can play this role simply because they are so worried about you and have a vested interest in you being fully functional. Instead of putting further pressure on your SO, find a job or career coach who has worked with lots of people. S/he often is the best person to understand and help you process your venting.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Thank You Notes Matter!

To distinguish yourself from other candidates, always send a thank you note to the person or people who interviewed you.

Establish a personal connection through your note.

You are writing to a person who works in a specific place doing real things. So show that you know what they do. Refer to something raised during the interview itself. That will remind the reader about the interview. A shared experience is the beginning of a history together - whether you get the job or not. You never know when you'll run into the person again, or if they will have another job someday for which you'd be right.

Play as if you're on the new team NOW.

While writing the TY note, imagine you're in the job already. The reader wants to know that you a) want the job and b) will fit into the company. So think about what you'd be excited about doing there and then refer to it directly in the letter. Offer an idea or two about how you'd tackle an issue the company faces. You might even consider sending an attachment with some ideas, and in the cover letter, tell the person what and why you are sending it. Your enthusiasm will convey itself to the reader.

Use details to stand out.

* If your handwriting is legible, send a handwritten note on a professional-looking notecard (no kitty cats, please!). Handwritten notes that come in an envelope almost ALWAYS get routed to and then read by the addressee. If your handwriting is illegible, print. Last resort is typing. If you do type the cover letter, make sure you sign your name in blue ink (proof that YOU signed it), and jot a short note at the top or bottom saying "I look forward to hearing from you!" or "I have so many ideas to share with you!" or "I'm excited about the prospect of helping you reach your goals!" or something positive, personal and forward-looking.

* If you must send an e-mail, spend time on it and make your e-mail smart. while e-mail thank you notes are more and more acceptable, they can easily be dismissed unread. Make sure you put "Thank you and some ideas" or something like that in the subject line, to entice the receiver to actually read the e-mail. Do make sure you put at least "Thank you" or "Thank you for seeing me" in the subject line.

* Send it quickly! Have it postmarked the same day as the interview, or at most, the day after.

* Say "Thank you" instead of Thanks (and definitely not Thx!). While the culture may be informal and your interview collegial, you still do not work there and need to show some respect for that distance.

* Send a personalized note to every person with whom you had contact. "Personalized" means different words on each note. People do share notes with each other, and they will notice if you used the same language on each one. That will count far more AGAINST you than if you didn't even send a note. Including everyone means that you may secure advocates for you in HR or among other staff.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

On-line Job Search Tools

Wow - it's like an avalanche of tools on the internet to aid and abet your job search.


One article helps you "think like a recruiter" and recommends LinkedIn, ZoomInfo, and Jigsaw as places that recruiters will search if they are looking for passive and active candidates.

LinkedIn is the gold standard, in my opinion. Everyone I know is on it and it is the most comprehensive and well-known professional networking site. It's free to use in a pretty comprehensive way, and if you want to do more and connect with more people, you can buy an upgrade.

While some people are on Plaxo, it's not as well known and seen by some as duplicative of LinkedIn. Personally, I am on Plaxo and derive absolutely no benefit from it except sometimes to get a notice that a contact's birthday is coming up. I got annoyed by being asked to pay to send my contact a nice birthday card, and so didn't do it.

LinkedIn is pretty easy to use and there are great ways to use it to your advantage; use the search function to find my posts on the subject. And now you can enhance your presence on LinkedIn as it accommodates creating an on-line "portfolio" - upload writing samples via Box.net and presentations via Slideshare.com. It's a great way to showcase your work quality.

ZoomInfo is a place to treat yourself like a business and enter in basic information about yourself, your jobs and your education. You also get to upload a bio that you write yourself. It's fairly easy to use. One drawback is that to network via ZoomInfo, you must sign up for yet another site, Xing.com.

Jigsaw.com is quite confusing to me. It seems to be a site for sales professionals to generate contacts and leads, and as such may be a place for sales recruiters to find people. Nonetheless, I entered my basic information on it. I'll see what happens.


JibberJobber.com is a place where people can track all aspects of their job search. I just referred a coaching contact to it and will report back on her progress.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Shifting Perspective in Job Search

This week, my job search gang is singing a new tune: "Adaptation." Those without jobs are adapting to the continuing bad economic news and conditions, and adjusting their expectations. Some are now willing to say yes to a job similar to what they had, others are developing consulting brochures and actively following up on leads for short-term gigs, while still others are lowering their price. Essentially, they are coming to terms with their very minimum "must haves" - a useful process for identifying core values and needs.

Coincidentally (not), there are a few articles being tweeted on Twitter that address this very topic.

The first is on temporary job assignments. Pros and cons are presented. Basically, if you need money now, go for it. Don't expect it to turn into a full-time gig because 75% don't. Continue searching for a full-time job during the temporary one. If you have a full-time job, consider staying for a while, because the temporary job won't turn into a full-time one.

The next article concerns part-time work. Written in December 2008 - before the big job loss numbers appeared - this article basically says there probably is part-time work out there, if you are willing to work freelance and part-time. So expand your horizons, make a little money, and spend your two-three days off looking for full-time work. Or, cobble together a few part-time gigs to make a full-time one. Yes, you'll have to pay your own taxes and find health insurance. However, you'll also be able to pay for rent or mortgage, food, fuel, utilities.

Finally, Wall Street Journal Blogs and Wall Street Journal Careers discuss volunteering as a way for the out-of-work to keep busy, do good, and develop both new skills and networks. Bottom line: if you have time on your hands, do something to help others in a field you care about and may want to work in. Caveat: loads of people are trying to do the same thing, so you need to approach volunteering like a job search. Distinguish yourself from the others by finding something special you can do with a minimum of supervision. Get into the charity through another volunteer, especially a Board member.

I know a lot about non-profits and volunteering, so contact me for more suggestions on how to volunteer. Also go to New York Cares for information on volunteering in NYC and links to volunteer organizations throughout the country.

Employers Care ONLY About Their Needs

Yes, employers always care about their own needs. It's a little more extreme in this market. There's a growing sense of entitlement that's becoming more pervasive, according to my job-hunting gang. Employers feel more entitled to pick and choose candidates who:

* Are completely qualified and have relevant experience - Employers have so many applicants that they can afford to skim the cream, often by searching resumes using words taken from job posting and description.

* Connect the dots between their experience and the position - Employers are only interested in your past as it will affect their future. They need to see that you clearly understand what they want and need.

* Believe the employer and its purpose/product are A#1 tops - Employers want you to demonstrate a real desire to work at the job which can mean you must provide work product or other value during the interview process.

* Know and are known to people inside the company - Internal references provide evidence that you'll be a no-brainer fit within the culture

Here are some questions that you can ask yourself to make sure you are focused on the employer's needs instead of your own.

1) Is this a job to which you could add value? How so? Be very specific about translating your experience into the new position. Tell the employer a short story that shows the value you bring that other candidates may not bring.

2) How and why does your experience and training prepare you to do the same or more for them? Talk about how having done something in the past prepares you to tackle this specific responsibility at the new employer.

3) How does what you’ve done in the past make you the right person to enable the employer to achieve its goals? Is this the logical next step in your career?

4) Does my resume contain words and terms that appear in the job posting and job description? Does my cover letter contain language from the employer's website, showing I "speak their language?"

Your answers to these questions form the core of an effective cover letter. They also are the core of your elevator pitch to the people you network with at the prospective employer. And the answers can help you hone your resume so you emphatically have the qualifications and experience required.

Profile Examples

On a resume, I advocate having a profile. It appears just under your name and contact information, and is 3 to 4 lines long. Its purpose is to summarize your core value proposition - in other words,

* What you do really well and want to do again.
* What distinguishes you from other people.
* A dollop of your personality.

It's the thesis, the core concept that you will go about proving in the resume to follow. Everything you say in the profile can be substantiated when people look at your bullets of accomplishments. And when they meet you, you seem familiar because they caught a glimpse of personality in your judiciously chosen adjectives.

Here are profile examples (feel free to use any language here in your own profile):

PROFILE: Progressive, intuitive executive leader. Sound, resourceful decision-maker skilled at identifying and successful solving organizational problems. Strong analytical, organizational and long range planning abilities. Excellent communicator accomplished at establishing rapport and credibility among diverse internal and external constituencies.

PROFILE: Accomplished, entrepreneurial leader. Articulate, effective change agent. Gifted fundraiser and dynamic, engaging spokesperson. Practical, discerning visionary with track record of managing increased scope and complexity in diverse non-profit organizations.

PROFILE: Accomplished, strategic marketing professional able to exceed revenue goals and develop new audiences for world class non-profit institutions. Skilled in strategic planning and brand articulation. Strong, creative communicator with impeccable copywriting and editing abilities.

PROFILE: Resourceful, seasoned relationship-builder with deep knowledge of finance and operations of non-profit industry. Extensive, highly varied experience in leading teams and producing projects aligned with business goals. Creative, analytical and skilled communicator.

PROFILE: Insightful, creative producer adept at conceptualizing, developing and managing media projects. Intuitive team player, proficient at initiating and guiding complex projects. Experienced in hiring and supervising producers, crews, vendors and consultants. Resourceful, sensible, calm under pressure, and comfortable working with all levels of talent and leadership.

PROFILE: Experienced, entrepreneurial leader with track record of successful program start-ups and expansion. Exceptional manager and relationship builder. Skilled planner and effective change agent. Committed to finding win-win solutions, exceeding organizational goals, and enabling growth.

PROFILE: Engaging, results-focused human resources professional adept at developing and implementing efficient and effective organizational development and change management systems. Successful leader of collaborative teams that solve problems in diverse business and organizational conditions.

PROFILE: Collaborative, outcome-driven strategic thinker and social entrepreneur. Capable team leader who develops talent to “do more with less” and deliver results. Clear communicator who leads with respect, passion, and integrity.

PROFILE: Versatile, skilled team leader who develops creative solutions aligned with organizational priorities. Adept at planning and collaborating with external and internal constituents from all walks of life. Resourceful in managing complex projects under tight deadlines.

PROFILE: Results-oriented, creative manager with broad business acumen and talent for interfacing with senior leadership. Consistently strategic and energetic professional able to collaborate across divisions to assess processes, find solutions and achieve extraordinary results efficiently and effectively.

PROFILE: Strategic, growth-focused marketing and communications executive able to collaborate in challenging situations and improve bottom line results. Hands-on problem solver skilled in developing and implementing multi-platform initiatives to raise the institutional profile.

PROFILE: Motivated effective leader with strong track record in resolving legal and operational challenges. Hands-on practitioner of organization and management development methods. Proven track record in achieving operational transformations. Significant non-profit fundraising experience.

PROFILE: Strategic, deliberate leader able to create sustainable systems and generate results. Intuitive, candid manager with extraordinary capacity to leverage individual skills and resources for team results. Talent for building and maintaining relationships and community.

PROFILE: Dynamic communicator and outstanding relationship manager, skilled at working with diverse clients and staff in legal and financial realms. Motivated, resourceful and committed leader of complex projects with tight deadlines. Collaborative team member able to do whatever it takes to succeed.

PROFILE: Self-motivated, results-oriented fundraiser who exceeds challenging goals and increases revenue. Adept at identifying and appropriately cultivating new prospects. Multi-skilled, flexible manager able to work effectively with all from front-line staff to C-level.

PROFILE: Experienced, energetic leader with track record of significantly improving management and fiscal operations. Dynamic, engaging spokesperson, presenter, workshop leader, and facilitator. Skilled broker of consensus. Results driven capacity builder.

Exceptions to the 3-4 line rule:

PROFILE: Exceptionally effective, entrepreneurial leader with extensive capacity to attract and develop human and financial capital, build strategic relationships, manage transitions, and produce optimal results. Highly collaborative with broad corporate, non-profit, government and philanthropic network. Particularly skilled in turnarounds and strategic restructuring, cross-cultural environments, constituency-building, strategic direction and organizational alignment.

PROFILE: Dynamic, versatile marketing and communications professional with vision, leadership and tenacity to create and implement successful ongoing marketing and communication programs. Track record of establishing and promoting an effective brand and crafting programs that capture market share and achieve revenue goals. Strong ability to build and sustain new business relationships, adapt to diverse environments, and motivate employee loyalty.

Monday, March 9, 2009

LinkedIn as job search tool

LinkedIn is increasingly the place to network digitally. It's a place to see who works in places you want to work, and to be seen by people who may want to hire you or work with you. Here are some ways to maximize your impact on LinkedIn.

Be honest. Your LinkedIn profile is essentially your on-line resume. Everything you say on LinkedIn can and may be checked against a written resume. Make sure they are alike in all essentials: employer names, position titles, dates worked.

Spend time on your Summary and Strengths sections. These sections will be viewed first, because of how LinkedIn is set up. Put your best foot forward.

* Use the Summary to highlight your "unique value proposition" - what makes you stand out from the crowd, what you do really, really well, and what you want to do again. Remember, you will always be asked to do things outside your comfort zone or skill level so don't volunteer to do those things. Zero in on what you love and do best. This section should be written in paragraph form. You can have more than one paragraph. I recommend using two short paragraphs (3 to 4 lines each) instead of one long one. From my long experience writing successful direct mail letters (they made money!), I know that people skim paragraphs and tend to ignore long ones as too complex and "busy." Grab your reader's attention by using short, direct sentences and paragraphs.

In the Strengths section, list first the talents and skills you most want to use. People read the first 2 or 3 items and perhaps the last one. You can have 7 to 10 things listed. Use bullets to list them.

Create a key word-rich title. There's a place to describe yourself immediately under your name on your LinkedIn profile. Most people put their current job title down. In some cases, that's fine because those people may not be looking for a job. Sometimes your current title adequately describes what you want, as in "Major Gifts Officer,[name of organization]." People looking for a major gifts officer will search and may find you.

However, if you are not working now or you decide you want to change fields, this line is a great place to target the position and responsibilities you want. For example, if you want to work in technology in the financial services field in a senior position, you can say "Senior Technology Executive, Financial Services." That major gifts officer may want to say "Major Gifts Specialist, International and Sustainability Non-Profits" to attract recruiters who are looking for someone who can handle international fundraising.

Use the "JOBS" tab. LinkedIn has job postings, from the web at large and now from companies that post on LinkedIn exclusively. The great thing is that you can see if someone in your network works at a posting employer, from 1st to 3rd degree of connection. If the person is in your network, you can either contact them directly or get an introduction to them from your own connections. It's digital networking. I helped someone get introduced to Feeding America, whose husband was connected to someone who was connected to a friend of mine.

Get Recommendations! Some of the jobs posted exclusively on LinkedIn say they prefer candidates with recommendations. It is essential that you get as many positive recommendations as possible posted to your profile. LinkedIn makes it pretty easy, for they have a function through which you can request recommendations from people inside your network as well as those outside LinkedIn. For the people who are not on LinkedIn, you will want to send a separate e-mail explaining that you want a recommendation on LinkedIn, asking that they join LinkedIn for that purpose, and thanking them for their support in helping you. If you ask people who don't know you're looking for a job, expect to give them a reason for wanting the recommendation.

A very nice feature of LinkedIn's Recommendations is that you get to approve the recommendations before they are posted to your profile. If you don't like what people say, you can ask them to change it or ignore the recommendation completely. If you want them to change it, it's best to suggest to them how they might change it to better meet your needs. Most people are willing to do that. I did it for a friend, because she explained more fully why she wanted it and what she wanted me to stress.

Add a picture of yourself. Photographs help people feel they know you a little bit. In any job search, it helps to become familiar TO the people in your extended network. Your photo needs to be professional-looking. Wear clothing that you wear or want to wear to your workplace. Project the image you want a potential employer to see. Act as if the photo is going on an interview - because essentially, it is.

Remember this is a professional social networking site. This is a place to have only professional material. If you have a professional blog, put a link to it. Don't link to your Facebook or MySpace or Twitter or personal blog accounts. Don't include frivolous information. Include only positive and serious recommendations.

Use Applications as appropriate. LinkedIn has added many new applications that allow us to create on-line portfolios. For example, through the SlideShare application, you can add Power Point and slide presentations about your past work, how your skills match to a potential employer's needs, and perhaps additions to your resume that otherwise would make it too long.

By using LinkedIn, you can really increase your chances of getting a job you want. One of my friends reconnected with a past colleague and landed a job through him; she's been there a year already. While the economy is different now (worse...), it's even more important to use every tool you have to differentiate yourself.

Once you have a great LinkedIn profile, put a link to that profile on your resume under your contact information. This send several messages to the potential employer: you are a networker, you are digitally adept and confident, you are up-to-date with technology regardless of your length of experience and "seasoning," and you are transparent - no secrets. Those are powerful subliminal messages that will make you stand out from the herd - a herd that has not yet understood the value of LinkedIn.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

A Positive Attitude

Among my gang of job seekers and throughout the Twitterverse, this week's theme seems to be "being positive."

Tweeters, bloggers and columnists are united in emphasizing how important it is for people to develop and maintain a positive attitude during a job search. In fact, the consensus is that you'll be more successful in your job search if you can stay positive.

My gang asks "how do I stay positive?" Several are depressed, and all feel at one point or another that this process of finding a new job is frustrating and seemingly endless. It's really hard to have hope, and to just keep going.

We came up with some really practical suggestions for staying positive.

* Accept that it helps to be positive and to have hope. It's like that experiment where you frown and see how you feel, then smile and see how you feel. It's impossible to really smile and NOT feel happier. So choosing to look at the positive is a huge step.

* Vent your frustration and anger and fear and all your emotions. It's normal to feel all those things. By expressing those feelings, you expel them from your body and take away their power. Your feelings no longer are pushing you around without your consent. And you've rid your body and soul of those toxic sentiments, that will grow stronger and become corrosive to your spirit if they are shoved down and left to fester. When your feelings are expressed and outside of you, you can either cast them away as no longer relevant or you can work with them. By working with them I mean seeing if the feelings indicate that perhaps you need to take a new or different action.

* Take a variety of actions. For me and for many job seekers, having many irons in the fire is a fantastic stress reliever and anxiety reducer. Work on putting together a great resume at the same time you're checking the job boards for openings. Create a list of people with whom you can network and prioritize them, while you're drafting cover letters that market you. Set up and go on networking meetings while you are applying for jobs. Create a great LinkedIn profile. Edit your resume based on new information. Look into consulting work while you are waiting to find the right jobs for you. Go to networking events. Take a walk. Grab your laptop and go to a local cafe that has WiFi so you can check e-mail or go on Twitter.

* Get out of your home! Isolation is the danger of being out of work. It is very seductive to turn on the television or sit at your computer all day. And that is usually what leads to depression. I know folks go to Starbucks and local coffee places at regular times, simply to have a routine. It happens that they then meet people in a similar situation, and networking happens naturally. One man I met is a writer who inspired me to really get into my blogging - in part because he overheard me helping others with their job searches. Because of him, I'm following my passion. The point is to stay part of the world. Seeing other people during the day helps one keep a positive attitude, which helps one persevere - and a job search is all about perseverance.

* Do things you really love to do. While it's "a full-time job to look for work," it's also a rare opportunity to spend time pursuing a dream or exploring things that you thought might interest you but never had time to do. Allowing yourself to do some fun things does two things: 1) you have fun, which is always a good thing for staying positive; and 2) you may actually find that you could turn your hobby or passion into paid employment. One woman I know is now running writing workshops, after being laid off from a senior management consulting firm. She loves writing and decided to help others write, while making a little money. It's a start of something that could grow bigger - or not. The point is she's using her skills and following her passion while she searches for a job.

* Find a confidant. This is someone who can help you reframe things, keep things in perspective, and help you think through your process and any hard decisions. For many people, this is a career coach. For others, it might be a really good friend. The goal is to find someone who is willing to listen to your process and your venting, able to ask questions to help you establish your own priorities, and trustworthy enough to challenge your negativity.

* Be kind to yourself. Some days are just hard. That's OK. Tomorrow you'll feel different. Most of us are able to pick ourselves up, dust ourselves off, and start all over again (yes, you can break into song now). Sometimes, all we need is a little break from the grind of looking for a job. That's good, normal, healthy to give ourselves. It's nothing to be afraid of. The danger comes if you find yourself unable to get out of bed or make those phone calls or send those e-mails, no matter how hard you try. Those are signs of depression, and there are great treatments for depression. Doctors and psychiatrists are the people who can help you with those.

* Read about other people's experiences as well as positive blogs, columns and tweets about job search. Reading can give you great ideas about what you can do, provide some perspective about what job search is like and what to expect, and get you outside your own head. It is a way to reduce isolation as well as to gain inspiration for taking that next step that WILL lead you to your next job.

* Trust that you will find a job. Because you will. The guy who wrote that great book What Color Is Your Parachute? (buy it!) says job search is like this: "NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO....(on and on for a whole page of NO)...YES." Eventually, you will find the right job for you. And it probably won't be what you expected. You might have to make some major shifts along the way in terms of what you'll accept, how you live, what you want. No matter what, though, you will get a job as long as you keep going, taking the next step.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Cover Letter that Got an Interview, and How it Began

This cover letter got an interview even though the person had no direct contacts at the organization. Some may think it a little long, yet in this case it was appropriate. The position is a very senior one, so the person needed to convey how her abilities, talents and passion were the right match for the potential employer's work. Key elements that work:

* enthusiasm for the position and the organization's mission
* clear evidence that the person is familiar with what the employer does
* specific attention to possible things that might put her out of the running
* relatively short paragraphs
* use of more powerful words
* encouraging reader to go to the resume

To Whom It May Concern:

I am enthusiastically submitting my resume for your consideration for the position of Director of the [organization A].

This position will fully engage all my experience and skills and is a challenge for which I am very well-suited. Much of my experience in [location A] is extremely applicable to [location B]. I have always loved [location] and decided to relocate this year. Now, I believe this position is the perfect opportunity for me. In fact, every person with whom I spoke while recently in [location B] suggested that the [organization A] was exactly the kind of place I should work. In December, I met with [person] and was extremely impressed with him and the work of the [organization A].

As you will see from my resume, I have many years of experience in community development, both in the not for profit and public sectors and often in partnership with academic institutions and local chambers of commerce. I’ve been a leader, manager, fundraiser, planner, advocate, and more. As Director of the [organization A], I would weave together this wealth of knowledge and skills to benefit [location B] and its communities.

From my early days as a housing organizer in [location C], I’ve embraced an inclusive philosophy of community building that begins with the needs of communities, and then relies on a broad spectrum of resources and stakeholders to secure desired outcomes. In my experience, these include grassroots organizations, engaged universities, policy advocates, local business entities and politicians. I’ve worked successfully with a wide variety of such groups to produce sustainable community development.

Based on my myriad experiences, I gained enormous respect for universities situated in urban environments, such as [organization A], that are engaged in those communities in ways that mutually benefit the community and the academic institution. For example, I had the good fortune of working closely with the [organization B] in [location A] where I shared in and witnessed a number of very successful community/university partnerships. It’s very exciting for me to contemplate the possibilities of building on [organization A]’s considerable history and reputation for working on the most relevant issues of the day.

Throughout my career as a leader and manager, I’ve focused on building and strengthening external and internal relationships. I have considerable experience securing both operating and program funds from foundation, corporate and government funders. Internally, I’m committed to building and maintaining a strong organization that has a clearly articulated mission and universally embraced goals and objectives, that maximizes the skills and energy of all staff, and that operates transparently.

I have much more to say about why I believe I am the right person to lead the [organization A]. I welcome the opportunity to share my ideas, enthusiasm and credentials at an interview for the position. As it happens, I already plan to be in [location B] from [dates] and will make myself available to meet with you. I can be reached by email or at [phone number].

Thank you for your consideration. I look forward to hearing from you soon.


[full name]

This is where the letter began life - pretty good, but a little wordier, longer paragraphs, a bit awkward in the beginning.

To Whom It May Concern:

I am enthusiastically submitting my resume for your consideration in the search for a new Director of [organization A]. In a recent networking trip to New York, I had the opportunity to meet with [person] and was extremely impressed with [person] and excited to learn about the work of [organization A].

My many years of experience in community development, both in the not for profit and public sectors, often in partnership with academic institutions and local chambers of commerce contribute to the experience and skills I can bring to the position. While most of my employment has been in [location A], I have always loved [location B] and have long desired to relocate. I have no doubt that there will be exciting new challenges, but also strongly believe that the lessons I have learned should have considerable relevancy in [location B].

From my early days as a housing organizer in [location C], I’ve consistently embraced an inclusive philosophy of community building that begins with the needs of communities but relies on a broad spectrum of resources and stakeholders to secure desired outcomes. Effective community building harnesses not only the energy of grassroots organizations who seek neighborhood change, but often benefits from the support of engaged universities, policy advocates who lend strong research and legislative savvy, local business entities and politicians who can secure for example, access to land, government funding and regulatory changes that are all necessary to the development or other change that residents are seeking.

In my management capacity, I have had considerable experience securing both operating and program funds and enjoyed serving as a liaison to foundations, corporations and government funders. Internally I’m committed to building and maintaining a strong organizational infrastructure that maximizes the skills and energy of all staff and operates not only transparently, but with a clearly articulated mission, goals and objectives that are universally embraced. Lastly in relation to this position, I have feel very strongly that universities that are situated in urban environments with many challenges and opportunities have a particular responsibility to be “engaged” in those communities in areas that are of mutual benefit to both the community and the academic institution. I have had the good fortune of working closely with the [organization B] at [location A] where I shared in and witnessed a number of very successful community/university partnerships. I would be happy to share some of those experiences with [organization A].

Hopefully you will be impressed by my enthusiasm and credentials and offer me an interview to further discuss the position. I will be in [location B] from [dates] and can be available to meet with you in person. I look forward to hearing from you soon. I can be reached by email or at [telephone number].

Thank you for your consideration.


[full name]

Do wacky tactics really help you stand out in the job search?

This article is split on this - 52% of marketing managers dislike off-the-wall tactics BUT 46% of advertising managers say it's OK "provided the style doesn’t detract from the information."

The point is to make sure you stand out in a way that's appropriate for the job you want.

Whatever you do needs to communicate to the employer how what you have done relates to the open position, and how hiring you will enhance the employer's ability to achieve their goals and mission.

Remember that you are communicating with a person, and not with an organization. All cover letters need to be written with a person in mind. Cover letters can be a little folksier, more colloquial than a resume.

That's what direct mail writers do, and what I did successfully for many years raising money for City Harvest and other non-profit organizations. I worked to convey our work in a personal way, so that it touched the person reading the letter.

So your cover letter is your chance to convey a little personality. Here's a great quote by Arlene Vernon, an HR consultant, trainer and speaker, from this article:

Every so often I get a glimpse of someone’s personality and sense of humor by how they write their cover letter. I have to admit...I appreciate that they’ve gone out on a limb to set themselves apart from the others. And I am sure to read their resume somewhat slower than the 30 seconds I skim for primary content...[but w]hen it comes down to selection, I still base it on work history, writing skills (cover letter), length of tenure in jobs and job knowledge when selecting who to connect with.

You also can include something in your resume that might stand out as well.

* I remember putting in a resume that I helped launch ZooDoo, a compost product. It definitely got people's attention and was usually one of the first things someone asked about.

* Recently a client got an interview, and the person asked her almost immediately about her job years ago as a steelworker in Chicago.

A little personality and quirks can make you more interesting - as long as you meet the basic qualifications.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

We Don't Need College For All Jobs

Dr. Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D., is one of the nation’s leading occupational experts and co-author of the book 300 Best Jobs Without a Four-Year Degree. This brief article provides a link to buy the book and learn about more than the 10 listed below:

* Veterinary Technologists and Technicians
* Medical Assistants
* Social and Human Service Assistants
* Physical Therapist Assistants
* Environmental Science and Protection Technicians, Including Health
* Preschool Teachers, Except Special Education
* Environmental Engineering Technicians
* Court Reporters
* Bill and Account Collectors
* Vocational Education Teachers, Postsecondary

All require some education - a 2 year degree or special training - and all are expected to be growth occupations.

Salaries vary for these positions, and some areas of the country pay more or less for the same occupation. Check them out as a way to get on the road to a career. You can be fairly quickly making some money, supporting yourself, seeing if the field is one you want to stay in, and then going to night school to move up the ladder into higher-paying jobs.

Twitter and Job Search Advice

Twitter isn't just for social networking, it's for free and really valuable job search advice. I've connected with some fantastic career coaches, recruiters, hiring agents, and journalists who offer advice, encouragement, reality, and easy-to-apply tips. Here are some examples from the last 1/2 hour on Twitter:

Job search tip: Instead spend the day checking your network to find people who might be able to refer you.


Salary: Offer range that swings by 10K. Tell them your salary req varies based on benefits and other criteria (ie commute, etc.

Career Blogs + Alltop = Easy way to get great advice. I suggest checking out jobs.alltop.com, New Jobs listings from all over the Internet, and career.alltop.com all the Top Careers News.

Free sample of Personal Branding Magazine

Set up your Twitter account today - it takes about a minute. If you visit my Twitter page (click on blog post title), you can follow me and see who I'm following. Plus you can search for people who post on job search.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Job Search: Leave No Stone Unturned

I've had very rough job search times - once I looked for 2 years. Looking back, it seems that the jobs appear just in the nick of time, just when I need them. I have given in to despair and panic and bitterness - but only for a little while, because what real choice do I have but to keep looking? I surrendered to the search process as being a slog through mud or finding my way on a fog-cloaked path - one step at a time with no view of the final destination. Yet I knew there would be a final destination - as long as I continued on the path, step by step.

I believe in the "leave no stone unturned" school of job search, having launched my first job search when I was just out of graduate school in 1981. That was the last great recession, with job losses and unemployment much higher than we have now. My mother kept bugging me to get a job, and didn't seem to understand that there weren't any to be had. So to keep her off my back, I just kept looking and looking and looking. I took all sorts of temp jobs - back then, they did exist, and I was very young and inexperienced.

Gradually and after some weird temp jobs, I got it into my thick skull that I needed to take my father up on his offer to connect me with his colleagues. I had hoped not to need my father - that was my "I can do it myself!" kneejerk just-out-of-school response to his help. However, I learned that accepting his help did not make me less able. I was still the one who had to meet with people, I was the one who had to sell myself to others, I was the one who had to do the impeccable followup. If he was willing to recommend me to someone, I realized that he believed in me. He would not risk his reputation on me otherwise. Thus began my first networking experience.

Through that process, I learned that I needed to say "yes" to absolutely every person whose name was suggested and who was willing to meet with me. Initially, I felt obligated to say "yes" so as not to offend folks or embarrass my father. Eventually, I saw that I had no idea where the road of referrals would take me. Every day was like taking off onto a path completely covered by fog; I could see only one step in front of me and had to trust that I'd see the cliff edge in time to stop and take another turn. Each day was terrifying. But I took action despite the fear. That's not to say that I didn't despair and cry and worry - I did. But I had no choice except to carry on, regardless of my feelings.

As I said earlier, it probably would not look anything like what I thought it would look like - and in fact, it did not. I spent about four months networking, meeting with this one and that one, who passed me on to another person, who passed me onto someone else, etc. Eventually, I met Sanky Perlowin who knew of a small non-profit that had just received a grant to start a direct mail program and needed someone to staff it part-time. I applied and after going through the interviews, got the job. It was for 3 days a week in the heart of the then-devastated and dismal South Bronx, paying just $10,000 a year. This was in 1981. The job came just in the nick of time, when my last temp job had dried up and I had nowhere else to look. Of course, during the interview process I kept networking. I kept turning those stones over until I had the job sewn up. In the process, I learned to trust that by taking the actions, I would get to a positive result.

My job search really never stopped after that, because I was constantly updating my resume and going on informational interviews, applying for interesting jobs. That's probably why I do this now - I've been working at job search for almost 30 years!

When I worked for the City of New York, I wanted to leave after two years. The work was fantastic as was the ability to affect people's lives positively. But the culture was horrible - back-stabbing was the least of it. I learned that I didn't play well in highly competitive situations. Again, there were lots of tears and lamentation, as I applied for job after job and didn't get interviews, didn't get called back, didn't get offers. For two years, I looked. It was the most demoralizing period of my life - worse even than the first job search!

Hindsight being 20/20, I see clearly that I was not meant to leave just yet. There were lessons for me to learn, including one of the most important of my life - that what matters is the quality of my relationships with other people, not getting things done. Apparently, I had to become a different person in order to move on to a new kind of work.

Again, I had to surrender to the step-by-step job search process. I kept networking, applying, interviewing, looking in the newspaper, writing cover letters, updating my resume, complaining, crying, applying...on and on. Once again, I became willing again to "leave no stone unturned." I told everyone that I was looking, asked for informational interviews, handed out my resume to anyone who would take it, and stopped caring if my boss knew I was looking.

Then in the summer of 1993, it was becoming clear that Mayor Dinkins would probably lose the Mayoral election. As an appointee, I would definitely be out of a job. Yikes! I became frantic for a while. But that feeling didn't serve me, and after a major outburst and crying jag, I had to put worry aside and concentrate instead on the steps I was taking. One step at a time. I recontacted everyone I knew or had ever met to say I was looking for a job, preferably as an Executive Director of a non-profit organization. Very few people responded to me. One who did, however, told me about the position at City Harvest. The minute I heard about it, I wanted the job. It was perfect for me!

First, however, I had to get past the recruiter, who was very tough in our initial phone conversation. I persuaded her that I had what it takes, and she put me forward as a candidate in October 1993. I blew the interview with the Board committee because I was so afraid and put so much onto the interview. The recruiter told me that I was her candidate and to sit tight. I sat tight, and didn't hear anything from November to December, except an occasional "sit tight."

I continued to apply for jobs, getting more and more nervous as Dinkins lost the election, the new Commissioner was named, and it was clear that she would fire all Dinkins appointees. Finally, in January 1994, I was tired of waiting around for this job that I really, really, really wanted. I thought it would help my search to close off this one loose end. But when I called to tell the recruiter just to take my name out of the running, she wasn't in. I decided it would be rude to leave a message.

That, it turns out, was a very good decision, for on Monday the recruiter called me to say that City Harvest's Board of Directors wanted to see me again. I was shocked and delighted. When I saw the Board committee the second time, I walked in knowing that they needed to hire someone and why shouldn't it be me? I realized that they wanted to like me, so I didn't have to be nervous, just myself. Also, I asked my Higher Power to come with me. If I was meant to get the job - which I REALLY wanted - I would. I aced that interview and then went to meet with the staff. That went extremely well, as I asked them what they were looking for in a leader. Apparently, no one else bothered to ask them that. And I had a final interview with the Board Committee to go over a few loose ends. Then the Board Chair called me to offer me the job. I started on February 28, 1994, about a month after I had wanted to just end the waiting by taking myself out of the search.

Later I learned that the Board had offered the job to another person who had turned them down. The recruiter urged them to see me again, even though they thought I was too young. The City Harvest job was perfect for me, and I was there for 11 years building it from practically bankrupt into a multi-million dollar organization with national stature.

Obviously, I was not meant to leave my City job until I got the City Harvest job. Looking back, I see that I needed to learn some lessons. Too bad I couldn't see them while I was in the process. The lessons were many: Keep going. Surrender to the process. Have faith. Eventually there will be the right position. What choice is there, anyway? Until you hear a "no," you're still in the running. Just because you can't stand the wait doesn't mean it isn't worth waiting. Waiting may be your only choice for some things. Vent as long as you need to and then get back to work. Worry doesn't appease the gods, it just makes you more worried. Being committed to yourself and your intentions and goals is the antidote to worry.

I read today that having a mentor means allowing someone else's hindsight to become your foresight. I hope that my experience of just taking one step at a time and not giving up can serve to give you some perspective.