Sunday, August 30, 2009

Improving Your Resume

I received this e-mail from a woman who is revising her resume. I'd sent her some suggestions, including putting a list of CORE CAPABILITIES under her PROFILE. In response, she said "I have included below the top section of a friend's resume. Let me know what you think. I am thinking that it may be distracting to have a multitude of expertise items."

My first response was "I don't like it." Keep reading to find out why.


● Global Assignments ● Project Management ● Strategy Development


Creative and progressive executive with globally-focused expertise acquired in world-class professional services organization. Broad general management experience with proven track record for coordinating high-level operational, strategic, and administrative assignments. Has reported directly to the Global CEO, operating at the most senior levels of organizations interacting with key decision makers and successfully liaising with matrixed teams.

Well developed project management experience, strong analytical skills, and creative problem-solving capabilities, with reputation for getting things done. Superior communicator with excellent interpersonal skills, a team player, high personal integrity, and a solid record for handling complex cultural issues with diplomacy. Legal and business degrees, fluent in English & French with work experience in Canada, France and the US. Selected accomplishments:

* Co-founder of two major global industry practices
* Key player of Global Benchmark Survey that included and assisted 1000 manufacturers in 25+ countries
* Impacting over 100 countries, identified and promoted 130+ recommendations to achieve cross-border operational and logistical improvements
* Developed 3-year business planning process for the North American Region (12 countries)
* Lead person in development and roll-out of 3-year global strategy for world-wide organization

Here is my response:

Re your friend's resume, it's a very corporate style that I don't see very often in the non-profit field. It could be appealing to people who have a very corporate background or who are looking for a corporate type person.

In the CORE CAPABILITIES section, I think that three columns with no more than 3 items is the maximum people can handle reading. Make your own list and then ask two or three trusted people to tell you the skills that jump out at them from your resume. You can then choose what skills you want to highlight. They should be skills you love using and want to use again, and that support your achieving your intention for work.

Many of the points made in your friend's upfront summary can and should be made in a cover letter. I guess my bias is to letting the reader get to the meat of the resume very quickly, which is where you worked in what capacity and for how long. Too long a summary can be frustrating.

Because of this, I don't usually like a core capabilities list. It works really well in some industries, such as IT, because they are looking for such a list of buzz words and care less about where/how long you worked. Most recruiters, however, are looking for substance pretty quickly. They'd rather see an accomplishment in the context of a specific position.

Finally, we can and have and will continue to improve your resume. However, I'm not entirely sure fixing the resume is the entire answer. More important is you becoming more specific about the kind of work you want to do and in what context. Your resume can then be tailored to help you get that kind of work.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Working with Chronic Illness

I just read a great post about someone who has medical issues and also wants to work for pay Almost 50 and Minimal Work Experience. JT & Dale give excellent suggestions including a referral to Rosalind Joffe, a career coach who specializes in helping people with chronic illnesses (

As someone who’s also dealt with chronic illness, I have to add my two cents worth.

It is essential that you be honest with yourself about how much you can work and what kind of work is best suited to maintaining your optimal health. Perhaps that means part-time work and/or working from home one or two days a week. Maybe it means asking for non-traditional hours so you are commuting during a less crowded time.

Your job needs to enhance, not detract from, your health and life. If you tire yourself out by taking on more than you can handle over the long term, you could be out for long periods of time. That is counter to your goal of success. In addition to causing resentment among your colleagues, prolonged absences probably will result in you being "restructured out of a job" before too long.

You want to succeed. Therefore, lay the groundwork for success. Set appropriate expectations right from the start by being honest with yourself, your potential bosses, and later, your co-workers.

I know from personal experience that most people appreciate such honesty and are then able to pretty quickly appreciate the value you do bring to the team. What they don’t like is feeling misled and then having to adjust their expectations downward. And I don’t like disappointing myself by taking on so much that I can’t deliver on my promises. It makes more sense for me to have modest goals and then exceed them once in a while.

You know your body and its limits better than anyone else. You know what 100% is for you. And you also know what you need to do to do your 100% best. The biggest temptation I've had is trying to perform at someone else's 100%. That is a recipe for disaster, however. Success happens when I operate at my 100% and do what I need to ensure that I can sustain that 100% performance over time.

Get a job, any job??

Yes, you need to pay the bills. In that sense, any job is a good job.

My experience is, however, that the more targeted you are in terms of the kind of job you want, the more likely you are to get it. I have seen people desperate for a job finally get one when they decided exactly what they want to do. It may seem counterintuitive, but here's the cycle I've witnessed time and again:

* You decide what's really in your heart and soul to do for work - most specifically, the skills and talents and abilities you most want to use again. Doing your "must have" list for a job will give you the chance to be really specific; a guide for creating your Must Have List is on my blog following this post.

* You formulate a concise "intention" statement that clearly communicates what you want to do, and you can easily say it to people without any "ums" or uncertainty. It's your 30-second "elevator speech." You can write it in e-mails to people, who then see exactly what you want to do.

* You start talking to people about your intention. The specificity helps people think of CONCRETE possibilities. They hear your sincerity and passion, and it is contagious. They think of people who are connected in the industry. You talk to everyone about what you want to do because who knows? Your dry cleaner may know someone who knows someone.

* You indicate that you are open to doing pro bono or volunteer work. You take on some volunteer work, simply because it keeps you involved in practicing your craft. This goes on your resume, keeping it current. It also puts you in the world of work, raising your spirits and giving you something to talk about with others. You also are now able to network naturally, in the course of doing your volunteer work.

* You update your LinkedIn profile to add the pro bono work, so your network gets an update and you may come to someone's attention who knows someone who knows someone.

* Maybe you also create a brochure advertising your services as a consultant. Every time I've helped create consulting brochures, they get job interviews and in two cases, jobs, within a few weeks. I think it's because they've gotten very specific about the kind of work they are willing to do as a consultant, what kind of value they will add as a consultant, and the kind of clients they want to work for.

The point is that you are IN ACTION, committed fully to getting exactly what you want. Maybe it's the "power of intention" or the Law of Attraction or simply you are energized enough by your decision that things start to fall into place.

* You see a job posting, write a compelling cover letter - because it has passion and intention behind it - and get the interview.

* You meet someone for an informational interview and s/he offers to introduce you to someone higher up in their company or key at another company, or offers you some freelance work as a try-out.

* Someone tells you about the perfect job, you go in and nail the interview because you are passionate about using your skills and adding value to the employer - helping them reach their goals.

In sum, while I support you getting work to pay the bills, you'll probably have to do almost the same amount of work to get anything as you will to get something targeted.

I recommend doing the small additional bit of work to target your search, get your energy up and your momentum going. All your efforts will be toward a specific goal which has to be more effective than spreading them out across a huge spectrum of possible jobs.

If I travel somewhere, I use a map. The same principle applies to job search. Know where you want to go and it will be infinitely easier to get there.

Your Must Have List

This is a list of 5-6 aspects of a job or work that you MUST have. This is not “want to have.” This list is of the things that you must have in order for you to be satisfied and content in your work, the things that will make it possible for you to be excited to start the day when you wake up every morning.

You’ll want to have a “must have” in most or all of these categories:

1) Work you will do
2) Role you will play
3) Impact of your efforts
4) Physical environment
5) Colleagues, culture, emotional environment
6) Compensation

1) Work you will do

What do you like doing? What gives you great satisfaction? What industry or subject area do you love, care about? In what field does your expertise and talent lie? What do you want to occupy yourself doing for work? What are your skills, talents, preferences, likes and dislikes? What brings you joy? What can you lose yourself in so time flies? What are your hobbies?

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? Being visible or behind the scenes? Playing the same kind of role consistently, or do you like to move around? Do you prefer to have a single focus or are you happier with a variety of tasks? Do you want to be someone others depend on or free of responsibility for others?

3) Impact of your efforts

Does your work need to matter to anyone other than yourself? Do you want to make a difference? If so, what difference do you want to make? Does it matter what kind of company or organization you work for? If so, what kind of company? And what impact will it have? Is there anything that will make it worth doing drudge work?

4) Physical environment

What do you need to be at your best and do your best work? Do you need privacy, light, quiet, noise, open floor plan, a desk and comfortable chair, no desk and always being outside? There are many variations – only you can decide what kind of physical environment you thrive in. Also can be about location, commuting, hours.

5) Culture and colleagues

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? What kind of atmosphere helps you do your best? Fast-paced or laid-back? Lots of deadlines or little pressure? Competitive or supportive, or a little of both? Structured or flexible? Formal or casual? 9-5 or varied? Task or mission focused? Start-up or established organization/company? Close supervision or self-direction? How much time do you want to spend working?

6) Compensation

What’s the bottom line dollar pay or salary that you can live with? A figure that covers your basic needs and then some? A figure that makes you feel valued and not resentful? You can have a "want to have" figure that’s higher than your “live with” figure. Are there other ways you can be compensated, such as time off, benefits, recognition, or travel? 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?

After answering these questions, try to boil down your responses to short phrases of one to five words. You know the intention behind each phrase, and can explain them to people when you tell them what you want.

As you go forward in looking at potential jobs, it is probable that one or two of these items will rise to the top of your list as the most important variables for you to have your best work experience. That will help you decide whether to accept a job or not – if it doesn’t meet those top “must haves,” it’s likely that you won’t last there very long.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Market Yourself in Thank You Notes

Always send a thank you note after any kind of interview, phone or in person. It's a chance for you to reinforce your skills, your ability to meet the responsibilities of the position for which you're applying.

Use the opportunity to reiterate your interest and amplify some point from the conversation that perhaps you wish you had addressed further, or that the interviewer seemed to pick up on and like. Stress how you are able to use your abilities and skills to resolve some challenge in the new position.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Pre-Interview Suggestions

A few people are having interviews in the next couple of days. Here's some of what I suggest as interview preparation:

1. Remember to focus on what you provide of value to solve his problems - that's what he is interested in. I always say "employers care about your past only as it relates to their future, i.e. shows how you can help them achieve their goals." So, when you tell stories about past projects, relate key learnings and skills to potential projects and clients at this firm.

2. Breathe. Before and during the interview. Take your time answering questions. Have a conversation. Repeat the content of the question at the beginning of your answer. This does three things: demonstrates that you are listening to the person, reinforces that you are answering the question asked, and gives your mind time to organize your answer.

3. If you are asked a tough question, you can use the above techniques, as well as saying "that's a great question." It flatters AND buys you time. Always strive for a "charge neutral" response, meaning no indication that you are uncomfortable with the question and its topic. Also, you can give a quick answer and then follow up with a question like, "I actually wondered about XYZ in relation to that. Is that an area your company is investigating?" The principle here is to turn the conversation quickly back to the employer.

4. At the end of every answer, return to discussing the job at hand. You are always directing the conversation toward how interested in, qualified for, excited about, curious about, and committed to the job being discussed. Your past experience is evidence of how well prepared you are to add value and solve the employer's problems.

5. Anticipate questions and rehearse your answers prior to the interview. Think of an actor going into an audition. S/he prepares an audition piece as well as preparing mentally and emotionally. You are going into a similar situation. Common questions are "why are you interested in working for this company?" "Why do you think you can do this position?" "Tell me a difficult situation that came up and how you dealt with it." "Why should we hire you?"

6. Remember you are interviewing the employer. Your goal is to find your "right fit" work - work where you feel useful, valued, and aligned with your talents and purpose in life. Develop your "Must Have List" as I discuss in other posts, and then assess the position and employer using those criteria. Come into any interview with your list of questions to see how well the job matches your must have list.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Real Life Advice for Networking

I had the amazing opportunity to help a former employee from City Harvest, who is now looking for a food service operations job. He has so many skills and abilities, and now has the marketing materials to let others know about them - resume and stories about accomplishments.

Now his task is to get his information in front of the right people. He wants something very specific, and there simply are not many job postings for his specialty (university food service operations). In other words, it's time for NETWORKING! Here's some of what I recommended:

There is what I just heard called "the retail approach to job search." In this approach, you are looking for a fluke opportunity. Identify companies for which you want to work. Find the name of someone fairly high in the company, preferably someone in an operations slot. While HR can be helpful, it's not my recommended first stop. If an operations leader wants to hire someone, HR will make it happen. If HR wants someone hired, it could happen but it probably won't be a very happy supervisory relationship - unless HR is an amazingly loved entity (rare indeed!).

Then draft a letter and introduce yourself to that person. Follow up with an e-mail or call to say “I hope you got my materials” and keep periodically following up, because those positions are fluke positions. The point is to be somewhat known if and when a specific job opens up. Of course, it's MUCH better if you can say "so and so suggested I introduce myself to you." The person may be predisposed to talk to you.

Thus, that's the second thing to identify: who do you know, who do you remember.
For example, you started thinking about your old boss. What about past vendors? Food donors from City Harvest food donors. Other old bosses? Those are the people to whom you say, “I’d appreciate your advice and guidance in my job-search. Where could I go, what kind of jobs do you think would be good for me?”

You're not asking them for a job, you're asking them for advice and guidance. That’s easy for someone to give; who doesn't want to give advice?

Put together your natural network. Who are the people you know who would help you immediately? Identify the easy ones first. Then you make concentric rings outward, with the next group being people who might be a little more difficult to reach out, who require a little more courage and preparation. Write them an e-mail that says “I'm writing to you to ask for your advice and guidance in my job-search. I’m looking for blah, blah, blah. I'm hoping you can give me 20 minutes of your time. I'll come to you.” Go to them if at all possible, because in person is better. And then you must say “if I don't hear back from you, I will call you in a couple days to set something up.”

It's very rare for people not to respond, so if they don't get back to you, they’re probably on vacation or very busy. Simply e-mail them again.

The third thing you can do is ask people at the big food service companies for an informational interview. You say “I want to branch out of the side of the food service business that I've been in and learn more about what they do.” They may not be hiring. You'll get into their presence & consciousness, though, and you'll be ‘top of mind’ when/if a job comes up.

Very important: reach out to the muckety-mucks. I can tell you that the bigger they are, the more likely they are to help somebody who has the chutzpah to get in touch with them. I always helped people who got in touch with me, simply because they did. It was impressive. Plus the bigger people are, the more one's ego likes to hear “I'd like your advice and guidance.”

Talking to a lot of people will help you narrow down what you want to do. Part of the process of networking is gathering more information. You have some ideas but you don't know enough yet to narrow it your intention very specifically. You know what skills you want to use which is good.

Because your basic question is "Where can I use these skills?," you will benefit from informational interviews with people who can help you direct those skills. “I'm looking for an opportunity where I can use XYZ skills in an environment where they are growing, that's entrepreneurial. I am very interested in contract food service, catering, special events.” You want to give people a little bit of flavor of where you want to work so they can start thinking of people they know, “I know somebody at so-and-so and I know somebody here and I know somebody there you should talk to.”

Find some reason, piece of news or hook with which to open your communication. For example, you could say “I see so-and-so is no longer there. Hope everything is working out for you. I'd love to come by and just get your feedback on my resume, as I'm looking. I’m not asking for a job, simply your feedback and guidance.”

People like it when you're not asking them for job; it makes them feel free and you’re not putting them on the spot. Obviously, it would be great if you got a job, but that's not the reason you want to make connection. You want to reconnect in order to get feedback on the resume that you have now. And you want to talk a little bit about ideas you have about branching out and expanding, and to talk about the skills that you want to use. Part of what you want to do with these people is remind them what you can do so they’ll feel comfortable referring you on to other people.

Go after both food service and non-profit. If you don't know exactly what your “right fit job” is, go after everything. The right fit will come to you.

In other words, do everything. Leave no stone unturned. I know that the more actions you take, the quicker you get to where you want to be.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Career Change at the Movies

Linsey Levine, MS is a fabulous CareerCounsel[or] who posted this great article from another Career Coach, Meg Montford. I'll be going to the movie VERY soon (especially since I'm known as Julie and Julia). I love the article because it provides some guidance for identifying what you love to do and then pursuing it.

I saw "Julie and Julia" yesterday and agree with this article by Career Coach and colleague, Meg Montford.

Career Coach Chatter
"Julie & Julia" - A Script for Career Transition
August 10, 2009

"Julie & Julia" appealed to me on many different levels: I love to cook, I love Julia Child's personality, but as a Career Coach, I most love the process of career transition demonstrated in the movie. Seeking a purpose to her life as she felt stuck in a mundane job, modern day Julie set a goal to cook her way through Julia's French cookbook in a year - and blogging about it every step of the way. Her blog took on a life of its own (as blogs can do) and propelled her to job offers from media and publishers. Voila! No more mundane job - hello new career!

Responding to the question every Career Coach asks a hopeful career changer, "What do you really like to do?", Julie Child tells her husband, "Eat!" In a parallel universe we watch Julia Child engineer her own career transition from stay-at-home wife of a diplomat to a professional French chef student that leads to teaching and then to writing her renowned cookbook - half a century ago. With determination and commitment to the process, she keeps pursuing her cookbook dream despite publishers' rejections. She networks (as does Julie) with people who can help her.

The first ingredient required to start any career change process is self-motivation. Julie and Julia did not quit, despite the many obstacles thrown into their way: spouse relocation, unsuccessful cooking attempts, negative comments from others. Instead, they stay focused on their goals, fearlessly trying new things and thriving with the support of those who truly cared.

What really grabbed my attention in the movie was how powerful the blog became as a vehicle for skyrocketing Julie's career transition. Many times a week I discuss blogging with my career coaching clients. Want to get a new job? Start a new career? Then get known on the Internet! That's the first place hiring managers and recruiters look today to learn more about you before scheduling any job interview.

If you don't have a presence on the Internet, you are at a disadvantage - almost as much as if you have a negative presence on the Web. Blogs get indexed quickly so Internet surfers can find them soon after you post. Blog about your career passions spotlighting your knowledge. But if blogging just isn't for you, at least create a professional profile on LinkedIn, the most popular online hot spot for career changers and employers alike.

"Julie & Julia" is a movie everyone who desires a career change must see. Besides its obvious appeal that showcases Meryl Streep's character acting, this movie provides a blueprint for orchestrating your own career change. Watch, listen and enjoy. And take away all its tips to help YOU find the career you really can enjoy.

Bon appetit! (Change your career with confidence!)
Meg Montford

Purpose is the reason you are here on the planet. It's not how you're going to fulfill your purpose - that comes later.

I suggest you write what you think is your purpose using as many words as come out. Then pare down, pare down, pare down to the pith of "I am here on this planet to ..." Aim for fewer than 20 words, preferably 15. It means making choices and understanding what each word means to you very deeply.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Resumes That Work

Columnist Deborah Wheatman lists Four Reasons You Aren't Getting the Interview and one of them is a boring resume.

Here are some ideas for making your resume an effective marketing document - marketing YOU and your abilities to a prospective employer.

Your resume is a marketing document. Its job is to position you to get your "right fit" work. Thus, its content is crucial. It must convey to potential employers exactly what you have to offer them, as well as the results you are likely to produce for them based on your past record of accomplishments. Here's how to do that.


To begin, I advocate putting a profile at the very start of the resume, just under your name and contact information. A profile is not an objective (of course you want a job), nor is it a litany of your skills (boring!). A profile is a succinct description of who you are in the workplace.

Your profile presents your unique value proposition – what you love to do and are good at doing, the skills you want to use in the future, and the attributes you want to highlight. Your profile also will capture your personality through a judicious use of adjectives. In sum, your profile conveys the substance and flavor of who you are in the workplace.

In some ways, the process of creating the profile is more important than the final product. Developing it gives you the chance to think carefully about your "unique value proposition." In fact, the reader will usually catch the first five or six words of the profile and then move on to Experience. They might come back to it but even if they don't, the profile will make an impression. It says that you've thought about and know who you are.

Everything you say in your profile must be backed up by your accomplishments, which are listed under each employer and job. Essentially, the profile is the thesis that you then go on to prove with concrete examples. It also is useful as a way to ensure that your resume is internally consistent in terms of the message you intend to convey.


The first thing read by a prospective employer is the name of the company for which you worked. Then they usually will glance at the title and years worked - some will read title first while others read years worked first.

Here's the order of information that I recommend for the basic information:

* Employer's name first, in bold, followed by its location, not in bold. Use the city in which employer is/was located. Only include the state if the city is not immediately recognizable e.g. Wareham, MA, or is easily confused with something else, e.g. Springfield, MO vs. Springfield, IL vs. Springfield, MA. Otherwise, New York or Boston or Chicago or Los Angeles is sufficient.

* Dates of employment, not in bold, on the same text line as the employer's name and location. The dates should be tabbed over so they are on the far right of the page, preferably lined up with the right side of your address block.

If you worked at the company in more than one position, put the complete block of time over the far right. Next to each position title you can put in parentheses the dates you held that position. For example, Vice President, Sales (3/02 to 7/05).

Job titles can either be grouped together if your job responsibilities were substantially the same with the most recent encompassing the previous responsibilities plus more. If the jobs were substantially different, I treat each one as a separate job under the same employer.

* Title of your position, in bold and italics, directly underneath the employer name and location.

My experience is that most readers go through the entire resume once just glancing at employer, years and title. If all seems to be complete and consistent, then they glance at education to see if you have any degrees. So make sure you have no huge holes in time, and no major typos!

Only after that first quick read will they go back to look at individual jobs, starting with your most recent one first. After rereading your employer's name and title, usually readers will move to the body of the entry. Here's what it should contain:

* a brief paragraph describing your job
* bullet points that highlight your accomplishments


In a four to six line paragraph that starts on the line directly underneath the title of your position, briefly describe the company you work for and your job responsibilities. Say "Led all communications and marketing efforts for Fortune 1000 technology firm (STOCK SYMBOL)" or "Oversaw day to day operations for 45 year old non-profit teaching literacy to adult New Yorkers" or "Managed entire recruiting and on-boarding process for 300 person homeless services agency."

Use as many numbers as possible to give readers a good idea of the scope and depth of your responsibilities. For example, say "oversaw $3.5 million advertising budget" or "supervised team of 12, with four direct reports."

Readers' eyes are drawn first to numbers, then to CAPS, then to bold. Italics are rarely an eye-catcher, so use them only to indicate the title of an article or project, not for anything substantive.


Bullets are for accomplishments. I recommend limiting yourself to 5-7 bullets for your most recent job, 4-5 for your next most recent, maximum 2 for the next most recent and none for the oldest ones. Quantifying these bullets is important. Those are the things that will get you the interview. The interview allows you to fill in more detail and also to talk about accomplishments that weren't listed.

Here are my tips for great accomplishment bullets:

* Lead with the results and impact of your work, when writing accomplishments. Use active, directionally positive words like "increased," "improved," "advanced," "optimized," "enhanced" and "expanded."

* Use numbers as much as possible, especially with dollar signs and percentage signs; they are real eye-catchers and speak to many employers' focus on the bottom line.

* Split the accomplishment into "what" and "how": the impact or result, and how you achieved that result. For example, "Increased revenue year over year by 80%, through redeploying sales team."

* Ask “so what” to get to the impact of whatever activity you want to include. If you want to include it, it’s probably important but only if you can somehow tie it to an impact that is somehow measurable – as in “increased” and “improved” and “enhanced” and “expanded” – or gives clear evidence of major responsibility, as in “directed,” “led,” “managed,” “launched,” and “created.”

* Brevity is best. Limit each bullet to one, maximum two lines.

* Give leading information to cause the reader to ask a follow up question. Remember, the point of a resume is to get you an interview. The interview is where the reader can ask you to explain how you redeployed the sales team and why that resulted in 80% revenue increase.

* Only include things you really want to do again – similar or greater scope of responsibility, the type of work or project, specific skills you really want to use again, or attributes you want people to notice.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

"Staying 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.

* Allow yourself to 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.