Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Appearance Matters

I Googled the phrase "appearance matters" and came up with 6,520,000 results. Then I searched for "appearance matters job" and got 43,400,000 results. The first several pages are devoted almost exclusively to the topic of how appearance matters in job interviews.

One study showed that appearance mattered even more for applicants with less-than-stellar resumes. Here's a quote from the abstract:

Results indicated that attractiveness had no impact when the quality of the application was high but that attractiveness was an advantage when the application was mediocre. When the résumé quality was average the attractive applicant was evaluated more positively than the control, no photograph, applicant; an attractive photograph boosted the evaluation of a mediocre application. (emphasis added)

The lesson? Do the best you can with what you have. Use the various tools to help you put your best face forward.

* Dress professionally. Suits. Ties. Pressed shirts. Pantyhose - without runs - with a skirt (unless it's summer, and then shaved legs - if you don't want to shave your legs, wear pants!). No stains. Demure colors. Check to see how people in your industry dress, especially the people you admire in top spots.

* Be well groomed. If you can, get a professional haircut. If you color your hair, get a touch-up. Eat a breath mint before the interview. Some makeup helps women. If you have dry or flaking skin (man or woman), use some moisturizer. Give yourself a manicure - men included (polish optional).

* Have a professional-looking photo on LinkedIn. You can take your own photo or have a friend do it. A face shot, full-on preferably, with a plain background is best. This is critical because employers and recruiters often look at your LinkedIn profile before deciding whether to interview you.

These simple things will help you make a positive first impression.

Source: Watkins, L. M. and Johnston, L. (2000), Screening Job Applicants: The Impact of Physical Attractiveness and Application Quality. International Journal of Selection and Assessment, 8: 76–84. doi: 10.1111/1468-2389.00135

Friday, November 26, 2010

Social Media Musts for Job Finding

Everyone says that networking is the best way to get a job. I agree. And social media is a critical part of networking in today's job market. Here are the ones my clients find most useful:

1) LinkedIn. Your profile is critically important to your search.

Recruiters use LinkedIn so much these days. LinkedIn actively markets its search capacity to recruiters inside and external to companies. Using specific criteria and key words, a recruiter can narrow the pool of potential candidates from thousands to 20 or 30 people who most closely meet the employer's needs.

If you know what you want to do, makes sure your profile reflects this. Use key words that match:

* your core skills and abilities
* the impact you've had
* your special expertise including language skills or global experience
* relevant certifications (LinkedIn just added that area to profiles)
* training
* charitable work

- basically anything that makes you stand out.

To know what key words are in vogue, read as many job descriptions as you can for jobs you might like, and pick out the phrases and words from the "Responsibilities" and "Qualifications" sections. Include those words and phrases in your profile.

NOTE: make sure your LinkedIn profile matches your resume in every respect. ANY misalignment can be read as lack of integrity by a recruiter or employer.

Recommendations are essential for a complete LinkedIn profile. There is some consensus that these are valuable "soft references" even though it's clear that you'll only put up positive ones. The reality is that if enough people say enough of the same kind of things about you, it's likely to be accurate. The general idea is "if it walks, talks and acts like a duck...chances are it's a duck."

2. Facebook. Facebook is a double-edged sword, in my opinion.

Most people use Facebook for personal connections - old high school and college buddies, far-flung family and friends, etc. That makes it a great place to do personal networking - telling your network that you are looking for your "right fit" job. Periodically post what you're looking for, updates on your job search, and ask for specific help ("does anyone know someone who works at this target company?").

Because it's such a personal networking site, I believe the best kind of Facebook profile is a private one, where you are circumspect about what you put up. There are true stories of people who didn't get jobs because of Facebook content, and there is growing concern that advertisers and enterprising people can get to your Facebook profile despite privacy settings. So make sure you would be proud to show your boss anything that is on Facebook. Delete possibly damaging posts and pictures. Start an account that is purely personal under a nickname if you must put up random, odd, or questionable things.

I'm aware that there are a lot of entrepreneurs and companies who are using Facebook to promote their businesses, using the business pages now available on Facebook. If you start your own business page, keep in mind that it is linked to your personal account, which makes it difficult to separate business and personal.

3. Google Profile. This emerging forum is gaining traction as Google moves farther into Facebook and Twitter-like applications (like Friend Connect and Buzz).

You need to control what is in your Google profile, because that profile will show up when any employer does a Google search for your name. I say "when" an employer does that search because they will do it as a part of their search process. It's quick, easy, costs no money, and captures a ton of information about you very quickly. They may do it before deciding to interview you or after they've seen you in person, as a reference check.

Google yourself and see what comes up. If you have a Google account, you might see at the bottom of the page your name and a profile link. Click on that and you can see what is in your profile and you can edit it. You also can search for http://www.google.com/profiles/YOURNAME and see what comes up. If you don't have a Google account, you might want to get one so you can create a profile.

4. Twitter. Twitter is definitely useful for job seekers and people navigating the world or work and careers, as a source of great current career and job search advice. I suggest as a rule to create an account with your own name; it's digital real estate and as such you should claim it.

Follow people who provide content you find useful. They may or may not follow you back; it doesn't matter. There are also some job posting services connected with Twitter including TweetMyJobs. you can find job postings by searching the hash tag #jobs, #tweetmyjobs and #jobangels.

If you post on Twitter, make sure you are tweeting professional-sounding messages. This is an amazingly public forum and you need to present yourself as someone who provides value, learns the "rules of the road" and abides by them.

These are the big social media forces today to be concerned with, as far as I can see from my work with clients and what's current in the blog and Twitter worlds.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Guest Post: Hop Aboard the Slow Career Movement

I'm thrilled to have Noël Rozny from myFootpath.comdoing a guest post today. She touches on very relevant points and provides good guidance. Enjoy!

There was a lot of unpleasant fallout from the recession: people lost their jobs, their retirement savings, their businesses, and their homes. But even as the economy and the work force are still struggling to their feet, workers across the country are benefiting from an unexpected by-product.

In her article, Some Workers Moving Off the Career Fast-Track, Eve Tahmincioglu describes what she calls the “Slow Career Movement” that has sprung up as a result of the recession. Similar to the Slow Food movement—which prompts individuals to think more carefully about what they eat, where it comes from, and what impact it has on the environment—the Slow Career movement is a trend that Tahmincioglu says gives workers a chance to re-examine their work/life balance.

The result, she says, is that many who were laid off during the past two years are using the opportunity to chase long-forgotten dreams, open their own businesses, and redefine what career success means to them.

Did your ears perk up when I said “long-forgotten dreams?” Is there a passion or drive you’ve hidden away somewhere that is screaming for attention? Now may just be the time to explore it. If you’re not sure how to get started on the road to a “slow career,” here’s how.

Step #1: Identify Your Passion
The first step to a slow job is figuring out what truly makes you happy. Forget what you went to college for, what your parents told you is a respectable profession, and your 20+ years experience as an accountant manager. What do you really want to do? If you could go back and start over again, what dream or career would you pursue?

Step #2: Set Expectations
As Tahmincioglu described in her article, many slow job-seekers are leaving corporate America because they’re tired of long hours, unbearable stress loads, and a complete lack of free time. So as you consider making a switch, write down a concrete list of what you’re looking for and what you’re willing to sacrifice. Are you looking for flexible hours, a more creative career, the opportunity to work from home, a chance to be with your family? What are you willing to give up to get these things: a guaranteed salary, paid vacations, and other corporate perks?

Step #3: Perform a Self-Evaluation
Ok, so now you know that you really want to open your own art gallery or start a gourmet pie company. What are your skills in this area? Have you been working on your knowledge and expertise through side projects or freelancing? Do you need to take some classes to get yourself where you need to be?

Step #4: Start Researching Your New Industry
If you’re thinking about dipping your toes in an entirely new industry, you need to do some research first. What are the industry trends? What’s the average salary for the position you’re seeking? What’s the business climate like for your new profession?

You can find out by embracing social media: look up your industry leaders, find their websites, read their blogs, and follow them on Twitter. See who’s on their blogroll, who’s commenting on their posts, and who’s following them on Twitter (and who they follow). Before you know it, you’ll have all the information you need to get started right at your fingertips.

Step #5: Establish Your Identity
Ever heard the phrase “fake it ‘till you make it?” If you’re going into a brand new industry, you need to start building a brand for yourself within this field. Even if your work experience is in something completely different, you can start making a new name for yourself by building a blog, setting up a LinkedIn profile, and getting some business cards made. Use these tools to showcase your expertise and passion for your new field. Trust me, they’ll come in handy as you start looking for jobs or to build your client base.

Step #6: Go!
Once you’ve got the right job skills, industry knowledge, and personal brand, it’s time to jump into your new career with both feet. Start knocking on doors: network, make connections, and job search. Yes, it’s scary, but so was the recession, and you survived that, didn’t you? What do you have to lose besides your own happiness and personal fulfillment?

Noël Rozny is the web editor and content manager for myFootpath.com. She’s thrilled to be in a position where she can help students of all ages find the degree program, career or “slow job” that’s right for them. To read more, visit the myPathfinder career and education blog.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Job Search is Emotional

Every day, I talk to people who are coping with the emotions of job search. It helps them to acknowledge their feelings about the search. And there is a lot to get emotional about!

Here are some common emotions and causes:

* you get excited about a conversation, a job possibility, a posting that seems exactly the job for you

* you get depressed because you didn't get an interview after working so long on that cover letter

* you are hopeful because you sent in a great cover letter, you have a contact at one of your target employers, you finished your resume, someone gave you a great recommendation on LinkedIn

* you are frustrated by how long an employer takes to get back to you, that you haven't found more jobs that appeal to you, that you have to personalize every bit of correspondence, that you missed a typo in a cover letter or your resume

* you are happy because you nailed that interview, you got called for a second interview, you applied for a great job, you know what your Core Value Proposition is

* you are afraid to apply for a job, of running out of money, of having a phone interview or an in-person interview.

The list could go on and on. The point is that many emotions come up during this process. In my own job searches and now that I coach people, I find it very useful to express those emotions. Through experience, I have come to firmly believe that unexpressed emotions are blocks to our reaching our goals. And it's SO easy to remove those blocks, simply by talking about them with someone trusted.

For me, the primary issue in my job searches was that I often was down on myself and my abilities, yet had to present myself in the most confident, upbeat way to convince an employer that I was exactly the person they wanted. So I talked to people about it. I didn't keep that inside. I exposed it to the air and came to see that my self-doubt was a lie and I didn't have to believe it.

With coaching and support from friends, I became very good at presenting my best self - first by "acting as if" and later by focusing in on what I was most passionate and enthusiastic about. By paying attention and getting feedback from friends and coaches, I found that I got energized and therefore contagiously convincing when I was talking about my successes, focusing always on positive aspects of even my weaknesses, and relating my experience to the vision I had for the position and the company.

Emotions happen. Express them and then let them go, so you can get on with the process of finding your "right fit job."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

What Employers Do With Your Application

So many recruiters and HR people blog about what they look for when someone applies for a job. It is a great source of information for the determined job seeker who wants to be a job FINDER.

I read those blogs and I talk to people who are hiring. Of course, different companies and different industries have their own processes, and recruiters play a key role in shepherding candidates through the process. Yet there is a lot that is common.

1. Hundreds of people apply for a single job. Most of the applications will be ignored because a) the person sends a form cover letter instead of personalizing it; b) the applicant does not have the required skills or experience; c) there are typos in the cover letter and/or resume.

The remaining resumes get a more careful read. Most people separate them into three piles: Yes, Maybe,and No. "Maybes" only get considered if enough of the "Yeses" turn out to be duds - or you have an insider tell the reviewer that you are amazing and they need to talk to you.

2. A small number of applicants are worth talking to on the telephone. These are people who, on paper, appear to have the basic qualifications. Perhaps they also have a little something extra - a compelling cover letter that explains why they want to work for the company and what they will deliver, a resume that presents their abilities really clearly, a great LinkedIn profile with a number of recommendations that hit consistent themes, or an insider who pulls them to the top of the pile.

The phone interview is pre-screening for the real interview and is intended to weed people out. Most employers do phone interviews now. It saves a lot of time and resources, because they will know who is worth bringing in for a fuller conversation. Often, someone from HR or administration will conduct the phone interview. Rarely, the person to whom the position reports will do these interviews. Most phone interviews cover these basics:

a) do you know your resume and your own qualifications?
b) do you know what the job is and who the company is?
c) can you speak intelligently about yourself, your experience, and why you are right for the position?

There sometimes is a question or two that screens for culture fit, particularly if you are switching from a large to small company and vice-versa, or from one field to another (e.g. for-profit to non-profit).

Sometimes the phone interviewer will ask about your salary range and rarely, will disclose the salary range for the position. This is intended to eliminate people who want "too much money."

3) Employers invite a small number of people in for in-person interviews. The number can range from as few as three to as many as eleven or twelve. It depends on the quality of the applicant pool and the degree to which the job requires a great personality fit. If the position is one that has to interact with lots of people, internal and external, it's likely that the employer will want to see more people.

In-person interviews can take a few forms. Usually, the position's supervisor is the primary interviewer. It can be one on one, or sometimes the HR person sits in. At times, it is a group interview with other members of the work team.

This is the interview where you will be carefully questioned about your skills, experience, understanding of the position and company, desire to work there, and how you would handle certain scenarios. People who haven't done their homework will generally be eliminated at that point. The "chemistry" is important at this stage, as well, and people are eliminated who really don't "click" with the interviewer or don't seem able to adapt to a new culture.

4. A much smaller number of people get one or more follow-up interviews. These are the people who meet all or most qualifications, sound like they could hit the ground running and deliver value quickly, who appear to be suited to the organization and its culture, and who are most enthusiastic about working for the company. It is generally at least two and no more than five people.

Follow-up interviews are intended to find the person who will get an offer. At this point, the company wants to hire someone so they are looking for someone to rise above the other candidates. Perhaps they already have identified a front-runner and want to validate the choice.

There can be some intermediate steps, especially in large companies, where candidates are invited to take personality or technical skill assessments or to meet potential co-workers. If money has not yet been discussed, it is usually brought up during this period following a successful in-person interview.

The person to whom the position reports will almost always be in these follow-up interviews. Often there will be others from the team. The final interview usually is with a very senior person, who needs to sign off on the hire. At this point, the candidate(s) are already completely acceptable to the person hiring.

5. It's expected that the job offer will be accepted. In today's economy, employers expect that they can get their top candidate, without giving a lot on salary or other compensation.

I hope this is a helpful outline of the general hiring process in today's job market. Please feel free to add your own observations!

Friday, November 12, 2010

"Must Have" List

I created this list to help people zero in on what they want in a job or work. When you know what you want, it is far easier to develop a plan to get there.

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? Do you prefer to have a single focus or are you happier with a variety of tasks?

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? How much time do you want to spend working? 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?

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? You can have a figure you request that’s higher than your “I can live with it” 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.

In a tough economy, it's great to have 51% of your "Must Have" List met. Employers have their own "must haves" and they are more likely to demand that potential employers meet 100% of their list - no matter how unrealistic that is. In a good economy, we can aim for getting 75-80% of our "must haves" - the same as an employer will get.

The goal, after all, is for your "right fit" work to be the fit of your skills, abilities and talents with the needs, requirements and opportunities of the job or work you get.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Leave No Stone Unturned

I hear some people saying they don't want to apply for a specific job because they don't think they really want to work at the specific workplace. Maybe they've heard negative things about it from former employees, or they think it's too big or too small, or for some other reason.

Yet they identified the job as something of interest. There was an element in the title or job description or both that attracted them.

Now, if someone says they don't want to apply for a job because the pay is much too low or it turns out that they don't have at least 50% of the required qualifications, or it's in a city to which they will not move - then by all means, don't apply. That wastes your time and the employers'.

However, if there is no concrete reason not to apply, then I urge people to go ahead and apply.

Applying for a job is beginning your end of the conversation. It is not a commitment to accepting a job. It is simply the start of a possible longer communication and maybe relationship. Your application is your expression of interest in what the employer has to offer, and indicates your willingness to engage with them.

It is helpful to think about the reasons you ARE interested and focus on those. If you get an interview, you will have an opportunity to gather more information about the job and employer. Prepare for the interview by creating your own "must have list" of what you must have in order to do your best work. Most people "must have" a certain role and perform specific kinds of activities, work in a specific kind of culture and physical environment, get a definite compensation. Having your own sense of how and where you do your best work - meaning where you are happiest - allows the interview to be two-sided. You are checking out the employer just as they are checking you out.

You won't have that opportunity if you never apply. So go for it! Make your application the strongest it can be by following recommendations on preparing a fantastic marketing-style cover letter and resume. The worst that can happen is you don't get called for an interview. In that case, the job wasn't for you anyway.

Leave No Stone Unturned
Today's economy is relatively uncharted territory for most job-seekers, so abandon the idea that your road map is sufficient. It is NOT. So get off the beaten path, venture into the unknown, try something a little beyond your comfort zone. My philosophy is that if something comes up in your path - whether someone suggests doing something or a wacky idea floats through your brain - it is there for a reason. So take a couple of steps to follow up on it. You'll know soon enough if it's right or not for you - either because you get a big fat "no" or because the path turns too rocky and difficult (a sure sign it's not a road to keep following), or because you gather enough information to see that your minimum "must haves" won't be met.

Engage in what I call the "leave no stone unturned school of job search." Do EVERYTHING that occurs to you and is suggested by others. This is not the time to say "oh, I don't think that will work" or "I don't think I'll like that job." How do you know, until you get the interview? And you don't know where an opportunity or idea will lead you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Resumes that Market You

Your resume is a marketing document. Its job is to market YOU and your abilities to a prospective employer. The goal is to position you to get your "right fit" work. Your resume must convey to potential employers exactly what you have to offer them, and the results you are likely to produce for them based on your past record of accomplishments.

Different industries have preferred formats and content, including academia, IT, business consulting and engineering. Yet much of what makes a compelling resume is common across all fields. The format and content I suggest can be a starting point for everyone, even if you later need to customize your resume or CV for a particular industry or job.

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.

Some people include CORE COMPETENCIES. This section summarizes your tool box of skills,expertise and specialized abilities or knowledge. It needs to contain key words common to your industry and your target positions so your resume will be selected by any computer program searching for key words (e.g. on LinkedIn or within a company). You can use bullets or not. It looks pleasing visually when they arranged in 3 columns. I suggest limiting the number of items in each column to 5 or fewer, to make it readable.

Some senior level people have a section called KEY ACCOMPLISHMENTS. These are stories that highlight and summarize some of your major achievements, and indicate the scope and impact of your work. Identify three or four accomplishments of which you are really proud. They need to show different aspects of your ability. For example, one story could show your facility with numbers or complexity, another could showcase how you work well with others and team, another could demonstrate how you deal with crises, and the last could focus on long-term payoff of your planning and disciplined execution.

Write out each story and then come up with the headline or punchline. This is the core result and the behavior that led to the result. The best headlines tell a pretty complete story even if someone doesn’t read the whole story. When you write your story, remember that numbers really help tell the story. And the shorter and pithier the story, the easier it is to get someone to read it.

Usually, reviewers find it much easier to read a chronological listing of your EXPERIENCE. Sometimes a functional resume makes sense if your industry is more focused on your technical abilities, as in IT. Yet most people will want to connect what you did with when and where you did it. Do the work for them by providing a chronological resume.

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!

For each job you've held, include a brief JOB DESCRIPTION that indicates the scope of your responsibilities, and then bullet points that highlight your ACCOMPLISHMENTS.

The job description takes four to six lines to summarize the company you work for, your job responsibilities, and the scope and depth of your position. 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 that teaches literacy to adult New Yorkers" or "Managed entire recruiting and on-boarding process for 300 person homeless services agency." Use numbers when possible. For example, say "oversaw $3.5 million advertising budget" or "supervised team of 12, with four direct reports."

Bullets are ONLY for accomplishments. ACCOMPLISHMENTS are the results of your work, the impact you had, the "so what" of your responsibilities.

* 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 measurable and/or directional – as in “increased” and “improved” and “enhanced” and “expanded” – or gives clear evidence of major responsibility, as in “directed,” “led,” “managed,” “launched,” and “created.”

* You can have 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.

* 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."

* Be brief. 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.

EDUCATION comes after EXPERIENCE. List the most recent degrees first. Any continuing education comes after the degrees.

Other sections that can be useful in positioning for a position are:

VOLUNTEER ACTIVITY - especially helpful if you want to work for a non-profit organization or a civic-minded company.

AFFILIATIONS that show you active in your industry, community, and profession.

PUBLICATIONS if you have published anything relevant to your desired work.

PUBLIC SPEAKING or PUBLIC SPEAKING/MEDIA APPEARANCES - a useful section for anyone with such experience who wants a leadership or spokesperson position.

Which sections to include depends on what your target job is and what will best build the case for you as highly qualified to do that job. So use your core value proposition and your Must Have List to guide what you include in your resume.

Manifesting Your "Right Fit" Job

I believe that you can find your "right fit" job when you know what that is. When you know what you want, it is so much easier to get it.

Every time I wanted a new job or area of responsibility, I did the work to specify what I wanted to do. I created a "Must Have List" specifying the skills I wanted to use, the area in which I wanted to work, the role I wanted to play, the impact I wanted to have, the culture and environment (including physical) I wanted to work within, and the compensation I wanted.

Every time I did that, I got what I wanted. It usually didn't come in the form I expected - it was usually better!

Some think of this as manifestation. Here are 5 steps to manifestation that I have found to work all the time.

1. Clarify your intention. (Your Must Have List)

2. Make sure it is unencumbered by conditioned responses. (Any doubts or fear)

3. Begin to take action in the direction of your intention. (Align your resume & cover letter with your Must Have List)

4. Properly manage thoughts that are contrary to your intention. (Banish doubts and fear when they arise)

5. Allow the Universe to arrange the details. (Detach from any specific outcome)

Give it a try and see what happens.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Power of Your Attitude

Today, I was speaking with someone who has a voice inside her head that questions whether she'll ever find that "right fit" job. She also has a voice that compares herself negatively to other people.

These are the voices of fear. And they are lying to her.

She can choose to believe them and feel terrible, or to shut them off and feel better.

At a conference this weekend, a speaker suggested that when we feel fear, we instead say: "No, no, that's not fear - that's excitement!"

Fear is about wanting to return to the past, to the comfortable and familiar, to survival. It says "the future is unknown and therefore scary. I can't control it. So let me just stick with what I know."

Excitement is about looking forward to what is to come. It says "I wonder what's coming up? I'm curious and interested. I know it will be good!"

Looking forward feels so much better than looking back. Notice how your body feels when you're in fear or looking forward. How would you rather feel?

Focusing on your own path and what you can do feels way better than focusing on what other people do.

Comparing myself with other people usually makes me feel worse about myself.

Focusing on my own actions, abilities, contacts, possibilities - well, I just feel so much better and more powerful.

William James, the pioneering psychologist, said "The greatest discovery of this generation is that a human being can alter their life by altering their attitude."

I have so much experience with how changing my attitude both makes me feel better and produces better outcomes.

If you're feeling terrible about your job search, look at your attitude and how you talk to yourself. You DO have the power to change that, and that can make your job search so much more successful.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Determination to get Your "Right Fit Job"

What if you were absolutely determined to get that one job? The one that sounds so great in the ad and posting. The one that appears to be exactly what you want - using your unique combination of skills and abilities. The one that would pay enough. The one that could put an end to your job search and begin your next phase of work.

If you were totally determined to get that job, what would you do differently than you are doing now?

Maybe you'd put your heart and soul into writing a cover letter, doing everything you can to convince the reader that YOU are the exact person they seek.

Maybe you'd ask your best buddy to look over the letter to make sure there are no typos or grammar errors.

Maybe you'd double check your resume to make sure it is exactly what you want to represent you at your very best.

Maybe you'd leave no room in your brain for a "well, it's OK if it doesn't come through" - because it isn't OK. It stinks, really. And you can survive that feeling. You also can take comfort from the FACT that, if you don't get an interview, it's really NOT your "right fit job." Because if it were, you would have gotten the interview.

Maybe you'd be confident and comfortable in the interviews, because you really know it's exactly the right job for you. Maybe you'd envision yourself in the job already.

Maybe you'd have some ideas about how you'd tackle the job, and your vision for what you could make of the job, the impact you'll have in and on the company. And maybe you'd tell them those ideas in the interview.

I've had several experiences where I've been completely determined to get the position I wanted. The first time was freshman year in high school, when I was determined to win a spot on the flag twirling/color guard squad. And I did. The next big time was when I wanted an internship for the Smith Project on Women & Social Change. And I got it. Then I wanted to be a teaching assistant my first year in graduate school, even though it would be a first. I had no option: either I got the TA position or I couldn't afford to go to graduate school. So I pushed and persuaded and came up with all sorts of extremely logical and artful reasons I could do the job and they should give it to me. And I got it.

I took those early experiences into the work world and succeeded in getting jobs that were exactly right for me. I put myself in my cover letters and engaged in conversation in the interviews.

I can also tell you that there were times when I initially thought it was the perfect job and got myself interviews - even to the very last round - and then something didn't sit right or I got some doubt in my mind. Needless to say, I didn't get those jobs. And that's OK, because something better was on its way every time.

So...what if you were completely determined to get that job? What if there were no option but to get it? What would it feel like? How would you behave if you weren't afraid of going for it?