Archives for December 2014

Your Attitudes About Work Can Shape the Career Path of Others

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Photo courtesy of Mississippi State University Libraries on flickr open source.

As a career coach I have met many clients who are unhappy with their career choices. I worked with a gentleman who made a decision to work in business. Business isn’t his passion, but it provided him with stability and good pay. As he got older, he realized he hated his choice. Being a businessman was not something he was passionate about, and it showed. Even so, he believed it was impossible to pursue a career that made him happy and to also earn a decent living wage. It was how his own father lived his life. These were the values he was brought up with and it is ultimately how he ended up working. He internalized these attitudes and they ended up becoming an absolute truth for him. My client wanted his children to live a more fulfilling life, but he was caught between the importance of a pragmatic career choice and one based on personal passion. As a result, he always told his children and younger peers that a stable career was more important than a fulfilling career.

We all know people who made a career decision based on their own generational beliefs that were formed from their life experiences, and the experiences of the generation that preceded them. The majority of us don’t second guess our career decisions, even if we are unsatisfied with them, and it is all too easy to pass our beliefs on to others.

Here’s an example of someone caught between the crossroads of a pragmatic career choice and their dream career:

We all have that friend who moved out to California to become a movie star, right? I do. He was 35 and considered it the last and biggest push he could make so that he’d always know that he gave it his best effort. I’m sure some thought of him as foolish, but I could not have been more proud. It didn’t even matter what the outcome is or will be. As long as he could make a living out there doing any variety of other things, he could continue to audition, build his portfolio and make connections. Until…

He found out that he has a baby girl on the way.  He’s scared. Not only was he never really sure if he ever wanted kids, but he’s still trying to figure out how to take care of himself. His biggest fear, however, is that this is the end of his dreams.

So, he has some big decisions to make in the next year and for the rest of his life. What would your advice to him be?

Chances are good, between us all, that he will get some very conflicting information, and that some advice would be well-intentioned, but potentially unnecessarily detrimental to his future. Furthermore, what he decides to do, and how he feels about it, talks about it, and lives it will make a huge impact on his daughter’s future.

How we advise him isn’t really as much based on what the BEST thing to do would be, but rather what our dominant paradigm is about work. As per my last article, “Are you martyring your dreams?” I wrote about how we shape the next generations’ attitudes about work, mostly unconsciously.

The actions and attitudes of one generation of workers can greatly influence the next generation. Personally, I do not want my children to ever feel limited about their work choices and commitments. My daughters are young, and are forming the next generation of workers. So, what about those of us already in the workforce? Thanks to longer life spans there is an incredible amount of generational diversity in the workplace. Four generations now work together and each of them brings their own attitudes to the job. Each generation also has its own perceptions about the previous and next generations. For example, Millenials are technology savvy, but entitled and lazy. Generation Xers are poor team players. Baby boomers and Traditionalists are slow to adapt and adopt new technologies. These perceptions are largely stereotypes, but each generation does have their own beliefs and values about work that informed and shaped their career decisions.  So, what are the attitudes of these different generations? How do our attitudes shape our own beliefs about work? And how do they shape the future of the workforce as a result?

First, let’s start with some common generational scenarios that lead to personal attitudes about work:

Gertrude was born during the great depression and remembers growing up during difficult times. She learned to save her money, hold on to what possessions she had, and generally respected authority. At work she was extremely loyal to her company, gained a great deal of experience, valued stability, and stayed there for much of her working life, putting in regular 9-5 hours. Her lifelong commitment paid off when she eventually made her way into upper-management. Her managerial style was direct and top-down. She preferred to talk face-to-face with her co-workers and subordinates, and would only settle on a phone call if she absolutely had to. Eventually, she became the CEO of the company and retired after more than 40 years of service. Gertrude’s beliefs and life experiences taught her that she needed to work hard, to be cautious, have lifetime loyalty to her employer, and that seniority is important to career advancement. Work is about picking a career, choosing a company to work for, and staying there until retirement.

Ronald was born at the end of World War II. His generation is one of the largest in American society and thanks to its size greatly influenced the direction of the country. He grew up during a time of prosperity, unbridled optimism and a rapidly changing political and social landscape. Ronald was raised to respect authority figures, but thanks to the changing nature of the country, he did not blindly trust the previous generation. Like his father, he believed the right course of action in a career was to pick a company to work for and to expect to stay there for at least a decade. He worked long hours, was on-call during the weekends, was loyal to his employer, and eventually made his way up the career ladder, thanks to his hard work. He essentially lives to work, believing it to be a priority over his personal life. A 60-hour work week didn’t matter, because he had something to show for it. Unlike his parents, Ronald has no plans to fully retire at 65. Ronald believes work is fundamental to his identity and self-worth. He puts in long hours at the office because it is how work “should” be done, and can’t understand why his younger peers aren’t willing to do the same.

Angela was born during the Regan Administration. Her parents worked hard, but they were eventually divorced. She grew up with everything she needed, but had less than her peers with married parents, whom she felt a great need to impress to be accepted. In short, her life growing up wasn’t easy. Her mother worked seven days a week to make ends meet. One day, the job her mother worked at for well over a decade laid her off, and she watched as her mother was forced to take a lower paying job. When she entered the workforce she was determined not to work as hard as her mother, and she was skeptical about staying with the same employer for life. Angela knew working hard was important, but she refused to “live to work.” She found a job with flexible hours that allowed to her work from home, and she isn’t afraid to change employers in order to seek career advancement. Angela grew up with a cynical attitude toward lifetime employer loyalty. She saw first-hand how easily an organization could layoff a longtime worker to make its bottom line. She placed an equal value on the workplace and her personal life, one was not more important than the other. Angela also values independence in her decision-making at work, and is willing to change employers to suit her needs.

Tobias was born during the end of the George H.W. Bush Administration. For the entirety of his young life, Tobias has been surrounded by technology. He doesn’t remember a time without the internet, barely remembers a time without cell phones, and is more at ease talking to friends on Facebook than face-to-face. He is young, highly educated, ambitious, and extremely confident in his own abilities. His parents worked long hours, but they were constantly there for him. Tobias was used to being praised for everything he did growing up. In his eyes, talent often triumphs hard work. It doesn’t matter how a project gets done, just as long as it is done. Life isn’t about working all the time. Unfortunately, he was dealt a harsh blow thanks to the Great Recession. Good paying jobs that match his skillset aren’t as easy to find. He has a lot of college debt, his standard of living isn’t as high as his parents, and the idea of organizational loyalty for life bores him. In other words, spending one’s life at a company doing rote tasks does not appeal to him. Tobias is optimistic. If he gets tired (or laid off) of one job, he can move on to another. He’s flexible, adaptable, and believes strongly in the personal brand he has built through social media. Despite Tobias confidence, he’s found it isn’t very easy to find a job in a field that uses his degree.

What are the generational differences on work attitudes?

In the scenarios I painted for you, Gertrude is from the Traditional generation, Ronald is a Baby Boomer, Angela is a Generation Xer, and Tobias is part of the Millennials. Each generation’s attitudes toward work are shaped by their life experiences and their differences are vast. In general, the older generations (Traditional and Baby Boomers) place a high value on company loyalty. Decades ago, it was common to expect to work for one employer for all (or much) of your life, and to retire from the same employer. Imagine the huge factories that used to dot the landscape of the Northeast and Upper Midwest. For example, a person could work for and retire from Ford (as an hourly employee or salaried management) and live a reasonably comfortable life. The hours were long, but working hard meant you could easily afford to provide for a family, and own lots of expensive possessions. Even a job in the corporate world (throughout all levels), meant long hours and good pay. It didn’t matter if a person worked up to 80 hours a week and rarely saw his or her family. Hard work and long hours were good for the family and society in the long run. The reward was a comfortable retirement could be that could be earned between the three pillars of pension, social security, and personal savings.

Younger generations of workers (Gen Xers and Millennials) grew up rarely seeing their parents, or seeing the stressful effects of long hours at work. Corporate downsizing, high divorce rates among parents, long periods of time without supervision at home (because of the many hours parents had to work), and the rapid rise of new technology caused this generation to seek a better work/life balance. Generation Xers in particular began to question the “workaholic” culture, and placed a value on flexible hours at work. Spending 10 to 12 hours in the workplace isn’t as appealing, nor is working at one company for the entirety of their lives. For many workers, staying 3 to 5 years at a company is a long term commitment, opposed to parents and grandparents who stayed with companies for 15 to 35 years. They want their identity and lives to be meaningful, and not completely attached to their career. Millennials often see their positions at a single employer as ephemeral, and have no qualms about leaving employers after short periods of time. Technology has always been a way of life and thanks to its immediacy, the generation can be impatient. Younger workers don’t believe in slowly working their way up to powerful positions. They are more apt to bypass the work ladder, and expect to take on higher management positions at younger ages with the help of a mentor.

Our beliefs shape our attitudes

Think about your own beliefs and career decisions. How were they influenced?

As we grow up there are three pivotal junctures in our life that shape who we are. From birth to 7-years-old, we observe our family, internalize their actions, and interpret them to be the correct way to live. For example: “Daddy works 10 hours a day and doesn’t like his job. That must be the way all grownups work.” From age 8 to 13 we begin to look outside of our family for role-models to influence our value decisions. “When I grow up I want to be a famous singer!” From the age of 14 to 20 we are influenced by our peers. We use our peers and society to test out our beliefs, to make decisions, start to finalize what kind of person we’ll be, and what our career will be. “Maybe I’ll be a computer programmer, it seems pays OK, and I don’t hate it.”

These major junctures in our life can even influence us in more subtle ways. We could tell a 4-year-old that life as an adult isn’t about fun, but it has to be spent working all of the time. That would become part of their identity, potentially. Or perhaps the young child would grow up, and revolt against this advice, being influenced in the opposite direction. Either way, we would use that advice to define us, and that’s when our strengths emerge, but it is also when a lot of untruths about ourselves are defined. The “truth” you know isn’t potentially true. We don’t have a looking glass into the future.

Going back to our formed beliefs and attitudes, how would you advise someone else in terms of their own future career decisions? Would you tell them that a pragmatic career decision is more important than a passion-driven choice? Let’s return to the example of our father-to-be.

As a member of the older generation, would you tell him that work isn’t supposed to be fun, and is only a means to secure a stable financial future? In other words, should he give up on being an actor and pursue a more stable career because he now has a child to consider? Or as a member of a younger generation, would you tell him not to settle for short-term work beneath his abilities, even if it meant a financially difficult life? I.e., don’t take any job if it’s not related to acting, because of your pride. These are the generational truths we believe in, and that we unconsciously believe should define us and others. Perhaps our beliefs about work and the future workforce need to be brought to the surface and reexamined.

The future will not be like the past. We can predict certain things about the future, but we don’t know what the future will bring. It is possible in the future that 85% of the jobs that graduates will be going for in 15 years from now don’t exist right now. Paul T. Corrigan has stated in his article “Preparing students for what we can’t prepare them for,” that the top ten in-demand jobs in 2010, didn’t exist in 2004. So how do you advise people in their career? How can you tell someone now that their best chance at a job is to settle for possible decisions determined by beliefs, rather than facts? An administrative assistant may be a decent career now, but it may not exist in the future, or may only pay a fraction of what it once did. There’s little authority in guiding people towards a “viable” career path. I’ve found the happiest and most productive people are those with a career driven by their passions. That is the most viable career path.

There was something that my older supervisor told me when I still worked as a recruiter: “Refute your biases.” And while she was mostly taking about refuting biases about people, I think it’s applicable to our attitudes on work. The whole reason I wanted write this is because all too frequently I see people making important career decisions on arbitrary feelings, untruths and things that aren’t real. Think about how different our attitudes would be if we made career decisions based on facts and passion, instead of ingrained beliefs.

Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Teach Your Children

1970

Turn that attitude into gratitude: A momentum-generating motto

Photo courtesy of ram reddy - "Celebrate the New Begining | 2009" (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

Photo courtesy of ram reddy – “Celebrate the New Begining | 2009” (http://bit.ly/1AZ2Rtz).

The title of this article is among the many maxims that I have begun to recite to my daughters in the quest to set them up for success. While I’ll take full credit for making this a “thing” in our household, the concept is not really original. You can find this advice among ancient Hindu scriptures, woven into Iroquois culture, in the bible, and at any personal and professional transformation seminar.

I often speak to real estate investors at REIAs, or Real Estate Investment Associations. At these meetings I discovered a few investors with an extremely positive mindset. They believed in the phrase, “Celebrate All Wins.” The phrase comes directly from Than Merrill, the CEO of FortuneBuilders, one of North America’s largest real estate education companies. “Celebrate All Wins” recognizes building a business isn’t easy, and it is important to always take a moment to celebrate victories and positive achievements. Every time those achievements are reflected upon it creates a positive reinforcement loop that helps build momentum. The beauty of this mindset is that it can be applied to every aspect of life, including your quest to elevate your career.

Do you take the time to celebrate the little victories in your life? Forming this habit means celebrating your victories all of the time. Start by celebrating victories at night, then at night and in the morning, then three times a day, and then whenever you think about it. It will lead to being in a grateful and successful mindset MOST of the time. Reflecting on positive outcomes is an important counter-balance to negative emotions. Studies reveal that people are often more likely to remember bad life experiences over good experiences.

I’m sure that in you own job search you can relate to this. You’re more likely to recall those days where it seemed like nothing went your way. You may have had a hard time gathering references, or perhaps you botched a crucial interview. Too much of a focus on negative outcomes can cause our attitudes to change for the worst, and impede our personal progress. Slowly the thought, “I’m having a hard time finding work,” can turn into “I’ll never find a job.” By celebrating the little victories, you can empower yourself in your job search. This empowerment leads to JoMo, or Job Momentum. It is going beyond simply looking for job opportunities. JoMo is having several viable opportunities in play at the same time. It is the benefit of having choice, once again feeling empowered, desirable, and having negotiation leverage. JoMo comes from capitalizing on the achievements you celebrated during your job search.

Let’s start with some common goals and tasks. Make a note of why they should be celebrated:

-You achieved your goal of gathering 200 meaningful professional connections on LinkedIn. Many users on LinkedIn only set up a few dozen connections, or barely visit the site at all. If you’re actively maintaining your profile, and are taking the time to add professional connections, you’re far ahead of the curve.

-You found ten contacts in various target companies, who you can research. You take it a step further by researching them, sending them an introduction, and invitation to speak about how you can help their company. Then, even having five conversations and identifying two job opportunities among these contacts would be huge. You used your skills to get in the door for two viable opportunities.

-You had a goal to send out four highly-targeted résumés and custom cover letters for the week and you did it. Researching a company and crafting a résumé suited to that company takes time. A lot of people blast out the same résumé to multiple employers without bothering to customize them. You stood above the competition by learning all about your potential employer sent them a personalized résumé. In my professional opinion, job seekers need one effectively branded résumé aimed at their ideal employer, and a custom written cover letter that follows our “secret recipe.”

-One of your network contacts came through with a job lead. In the past you simply put these leads on the “to-do list” and never got around to investigating them. This time you didn’t let that lead go by the wayside. The biggest network in the world won’t do you any good if you never act upon the information you’re given. Taking the time to investigate a lead is a big step forward.

-You took the time to reconnect with a few old professional friends via personal messages and added them to your network. Both professional and personal friendships can be neglected over the years. Reconnecting with old friends can be a euphoric experience. Getting those old connections into your job network? It is nothing short of awesome as your network grows a little larger. When you’ve let your network go stale you may feel like recharging it is daunting, but it doesn’t take long. Everyone understands the tendency to let life get in the way of friendships. Small gestures make big differences and you can see momentum grow very fast with your past personal network, which will give you good energy to tackle your future professional network.

 [Click to tweet this article: http://ctt.ec/bjG9t]

-If you had prior job rejections, you made it a point to get feedback, so you’ll know where to improve in the future. It can be a humbling experience to ask why you were rejected. The majority of job seekers will never inquire about their rejection and may make the same mistake again. Learning where you went wrong in the hiring process is a huge achievement. I hear many job seekers complain that they ask for feedback, but get something generic, something they believe is a lie, or feel as though the real feedback is being withheld. All of this could be true, but it could also be energy-sucking speculation. Congratulate yourself for making the effort—remember—it’s the small victories that we have to look for and celebrate.

You get to choose how you celebrate, but some ideas include dancing, treating yourself to YOU time, making a small celebratory purchase, getting to watch your favorite show, upgrading your plain coffee to a peppermint mocha, or taking a bubble bath. It really doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to revel in your sense of accomplishment and FEEL the sensations associated with it.

Keeping track of the numerous little victories in your job search can have a positive and sustainable snowballing effect. Imagine this: All of the job search achievements you keep track of are a fist-sized snowball. Because it is so small it is very difficult to push. At the start you have to get down on your hands and knees to keep the snowball moving. Despite the difficulties, you refuse to give up.  When you discover another achievement you keep the ball rolling. As you keep going gradually the snowball grows larger and it is easier to push. Before long, that snowball is the size of a boulder. These are all of the achievements you’ve counted and celebrated. You can actually stand back and marvel at how well the task you’ve set out to do is progressing. Keeping that momentum going no longer means getting down on your hands and knees, now it only takes a gentle push.

Instead of looking at the future tasks with dread, you’ll remember your victories and vigorously tackle your next job opportunity. Keeping the achievements you’ve accomplished in mind, you’re ready to take your job search to the next level. You have a sense of purpose, you know your foundations are strong, and you know you’re going above and beyond the average job seeker. Where discouragement has stopped others, you see nothing but opportunity. Every day is a new day filled with numerous little victories. Adding grit, or sheer determination, to your outlook on life can also enhance your job search. In my article, “Want Job Search Glory? Got Grit?” I describe how having grit can help you overcome challenges and help land you a great job.

What are some of the little victories you celebrate to create momentum in your job search?

Whitney Houston – Greatest Love Of All

Whitney Houston’s official music video for ‘Greatest Love Of All’. Click to listen to Whitney Houston on Spotify: http://smarturl.it/WhitneyHSpotify?IQid=WhitneyHGLO As featured on Whitney: The Greatest Hits.

Are you martyring your dreams?

Photo courtesy of Rowanhill--"Spring Path".

Photo courtesy of Rowanhill–“Spring Path”.

“I never want to work for a mean boss, like you, mom,” a client’s daughter said.  Following the conversation with her daughter, she asked me how I ended up in career coaching. I told her that I identified with her daughter because my own parents’ careers and their attitudes about work disenchanted me in my childhood and adolescence. I did not want to be held down and under-appreciated by management, but I also did not want to be management, who I thought was some evil, power-hungry scrooge. This made it really tough to envision a future where I could be fulfilled, paid well, and happy.

I later realized that there were, in fact, some people who followed a career path that they loved and got paid well. But there were far too few. Wondering why, I sought to understand how the happy, successful people got where they were. Why did it seem so easy for some people? One major factor stuck out to me. The people who pursued professional happiness did so because they believed that it was possible for them. What a concept.

I’ve been a professional career coach for eight years now. I have helped my clients confront belief systems that hold them back. I have had many clients who were taught that work cannot be fun and pay the bills. I’ve even had bosses who believed that pursuing a profession based on passion is “idealistic,” or in other words, unrealistic. I see parents all the time explain to their children that they had to give up their dream so that they could provide for their families.

[Click to tweet: Are you martyring your dreams? http://ctt.ec/FTcS4]

Now that I have kids of my own, I’m very careful to consider what I teach them about work, income, and choosing a vocation. I don’t want my kids to feel like they are a reason that I had to sacrifice my dreams and spend my time working. I want them to feel exhilarated about the possibilities and potential for the future using their God given talents. I want them to feel like they can have it all – everything that is important to them can be possible. I don’t want anyone to ever try to convince them otherwise. I want them to know that mommy wants to do some really important things to help other people.  And I want them to be inspired and feel a part of that.

In addition, I want other moms to know that their choices and commitments do not have to limit them. I mean, we all have limits to our time, but more than ever before in the history of the world, there are tremendous solutions available to get more done with less time.

A 2015 career manifesto for you and me: 

I will remain open to what is possible, even if I’m not sure it is. I will make decisions based on what I want most, not based on fear or skepticism. Instead of saying why me, I will say why not me? I will operate as though the world supports me and wants me to be successful, and I will look for evidence of this everywhere.

Imagine – The Beatles – John Lennon

Imagine de John Lennon. The Beatles. Imagine there´s no heaven, it´s easy if you try….

Become an Effective Job Hunter: Work Smarter, Not Harder!

Photo courtesy of kate hiscock (http://bit.ly/1BiDvrt). Job search

Photo courtesy of kate hiscock (http://bit.ly/1BiDvrt).
Job search

Keyword searching for job opportunities is an important part of your job search that should not be overlooked. Looking for the next employment opportunity can be a time consuming task. However, you should only spend 10% of your time searching for work on a job board using keywords for the position you’re interested in. Naturally, the next question to ask is: what are you doing with the other 90% of your time? Evaluate the time you spend job hunting. Are you spending too much precious time on job boards? Or are you blindly sending your résumé to everyone who’s hiring out there in the hopes of getting an interview? A smart allocation of the remaining 90% of your job search time can help you land your next job.

Nurture Your Networks

Human connections are one of the most important tools in your job search arsenal. Think about it. If no one knows you’re looking for a job, then they can’t help you. Don’t hesitate to ask your family, friends, alumni, and your professional connections about job leads. If you’re unsure about how to go about nurturing you network, try watching my vlog, “How Does Your Garden, uh, Network Grow?” Your personal and professional networks may have insight to possible job openings before the positions are advertised. Gathering leads from family and friends isn’t always easy. In another one of my vlogs, “Get Interviews in Your Network, ” I walk you through how to get powerful introductions that lead to interviews to jobs no else knows about. Target (but don’t harass), employees and hiring managers at the companies you would like to work for. A cup of coffee and a personal touch can go a long way in your job search. StarTribune writer Kevin Donlin has excellent advice in his article, “How to target hiring managers and crack the job market.”

Work LinkedIn for all it’s worth

LinkedIn is an essential job search tool. It can take professional networking to the next level. You can make yourself an appealing job candidate by using the right keywords in your LinkedIn profile. I wrote about the importance of changing your default headline, and the importance of differentiating your profile from your résumé. Another critical aspect of LinkedIn is building connections. Don’t think of connections in the same way you would think of friends on Facebook. Building connections within your industry is important when looking for job opportunities. You’ll need more than 200 connections from people you know well in to get your search rolling. Additionally, you can research companies through their LinkedIn pages in order to receive job postings and company news. You’ll also want to join and contribute to groups within your industry that align with your skills and job objectives. This is a big part of effectively leveraging the community on LinkedIn. Remember earlier when I mentioned connecting with alumni? LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with school and corporate alumni, and it is an opportunity you shouldn’t pass up. A few minutes a day using LinkedIn to the fullest can take your job search to new heights.

Our sister company, JoMo Rising launched a program last week called Accelerfate. The program can provide you daily job search to-dos. The program is full right now, but you go to the website and sign up if you want to be part of the next enrollment.

Work your personal brand

LinkedIn is a great way to build your personal brand, but you’ll want to cover all of your bases. If you use other social networking services such as Facebook or Twitter, make sure to take advantage of them. Carefully craft your online presence in a way that will capture the attention of employers. If you’re an IT professional write about your industry as often as possible. Stay on top of the latest industry news, and follow those within your profession. You can also put a personal and professional spin on the news from others in your industry for your followers. You never know if a post, or tweet for a job will go out. At the very least, a professionally cultivated social media presence help you standout from other job candidates who use these platforms in a more personal manner.

You can also take it a step further when it comes to your personal branding. If you have a blog, make sure to write about your profession. You’ll be able to brand yourself as an industry leader and a go-to person while you grow your audience. In short, you’ll be able to take an active role in your industry, instead of being a passive employee. Illustrate how you solve problems, and how you’re a valuable asset to your company. If you have amusing stories, heartwarming stories, or even stories that are inspiring, make to share them with your audience. Story-telling is the pillar of marketing these days.

A good story helps your audience relate to you and keeps them coming back to you. It can be difficult to come up with stories on the fly. I’ve found it easier to remember stories by keeping a digital library. Record the stories that you remember or are inspired by on your phone. It will be a huge benefit when you need to recall them for future content and conversations. A good rule of thumb is, if it’s worth remembering, it’s worth recording.

Having an active online presence is a great way to set you apart from the competition, and can be a highly productive way to spend some of your job search time. If a potential employer does Google you, they’ll see a motivated and fully engaged professional. Versus someone else who may have simply set a few social media accounts and lets them go dormant.

[Click to tweet this article: http://ctt.ec/D6u9o]

Research the company you want to work for

I mentioned targeting a hiring manager as one part of your job search. You can take that strategy a step further by researching an entire company. Look up the companies you’re interested in on Google, and check out their LinkedIn pages. Learn everything you can about them and imagine how you’d fit into their company. In my article “You Can’t Afford Not to Investigate Your Next Employer!” I discuss ways to thoroughly research an employer. Try digging deep and pitching yourself to an employer with an extremely personalized cover letter. Remember, you want all of the fruits of your research to show up within your letter. In my vlog, “Our Cover Letter Secret Sauce” I discuss how to write a customized cover letter. Even if the company isn’t hiring at the moment, they may consider you in the future.

Hire a professional to polish your résumé

If you’re having a trouble with your résumé, you may want to consider hiring a CPRW, or a Certified Professional Résumé Writer, like me. A professionally written résumé that specifically targets an employer can go a long way in standing out from the crowd. All of the advice I’ve listed in this article is crucial, but having a great résumé is an importance center-piece to productive job search.

Keyword searching on job boards should comprise a small fraction of your job search time. An effective job search strategy will make use of personal and professional networking, social media, and personal branding. A large portion of job boards are inundated with job seekers. In order to stand out from the crowd you have to be willing to work smarter. Just imagine the quality of leads you’ll generate by asking your networks about open positions, or using the vast resources available to you on LinkedIn. Also imagine how much further you’ll go by targeting the company you want to work for, and pitching them a personalized cover letter. Not only will branching out in your job search methods produce better results, but you won’t be at the mercy of a hiring manager who is overwhelmed with the same applications, and résumés coming from job boards.

It’s been a hard days night – The Beatles

Lyrics: A Hard Day’s Night Lyrics Artist(Band):The Beatles Review The Song (23) Print the Lyrics Send “A Hard Day’s Night” Ringtones to Cell It’s been a hard day’s night, and I’ve been working like a dog It’s been a hard day’s night, I should be sleeping like a log But

Stop Treating LinkedIn Like An Online Résumé

Photo courtesy of www.flazingo.com/creativecommons.

Photo courtesy of www.flazingo.com/creativecommons.

Are you using your LinkedIn profile as an online résumé?  In other words, does your profile reflect a personal brand you’ve carefully crafted, or does it just mirror your résumé? You know as a professional you need to have a presence on LinkedIn. You created an account, made a few connections, and copied a few items from your résumé to create your profile. In fact, you used so much material from your résumé that it is impossible to distinguish it from your LinkedIn profile. Your LinkedIn profile deserves to be so much more. A résumé is a document that reflects your past experiences and is meant to be seen by future employers. In contrast, a LinkedIn profile is a vital part of your online presence and is meant to be seen by a much wider audience. It should compliment your résumé in an exciting and engaging way.

Your LinkedIn profile is different from your résumé

Let’s imagine a scenario for just a moment. You have been using your LinkedIn profile as little more than an online résumé tool, and a hiring manager comes across your profile. You have already sent them your résumé as part of a job application, and they decided to Google you. Imagine their disappointment as your LinkedIn profile is exactly the same as your résumé. Or, on the flipside, they’ve seen your LinkedIn profile and ask for your résumé. Again, both your résumé and your profile are indistinguishable. This redundancy isn’t helpful because that potential employer won’t learn anything new about you, and you’ve done very little to set yourself apart from other job candidates. A redundant LinkedIn profile is also a major missed opportunity to show employers, connections, and others members of your online audience how unique and interesting you are as a professional. It’s a chance to allow people into the back story of who you are. Help them visualize what it’s like to speak and work with you.

Your résumé is concise, is customized for your potential employer, and is designed to show an employer how you are uniquely qualified for their opportunity. You can’t include all of your past work experiences, recommendations from others, or general interests. In short, your résumé needs to be laser-focused on a specific role, and on a specific employer. However, your LinkedIn profile can include all of your work experience, recommendations and interests. A good profile allows you to weave an engaging professional narrative that showcases your personal brand far beyond your résumé.

Use your LinkedIn Profile to dazzle your audience

LinkedIn should compliment your résumé by being a creative vehicle that illustrates your professional life. Every aspect of your profile should enhance your personal brand. If you’re using the default headline, ditch it. I previously wrote about the importance of strong headlines in my article titled “Increase views: Ditch the default LinkedIn headline.” The experiences section is an opportunity to list vital keywords that will attract the attention of job recruiters. I covered the importance of carefully using keywords in another article, “Use Keywords With Care or Beware.” The summary is where you can exercise the most creative freedom. In contrast to your résumé, you are allowed to talk about yourself in the first-person. Use this section of your LinkedIn profile to breathe life into your experiences, skills and professional achievements.

You don’t want your profile summary to come off as trite and uninteresting. These types of summaries are often subjective and vague. Just think of a profile summary filled with boring buzzwords shaken up in a bag, poured out into a pile, and arranged in the semblance of a paragraph. Here’s an example of a profile summary filed with cliché words pulled right out of a résumé:

“A dynamic individual with great leadership skills who is highly organized. A proven track record of accomplishments and great teamwork. An effective communicator with a strong business sense and a can-do attitude…”

Most career consultants and recruiters viewing this LinkedIn profile would be tempted to close the page quickly as they stifled a yawn. I believe a person with such a profile is capable of so much more than a lifeless summary. Don’t fall into the trap of creating a boring paragraph of buzzwords. Tell your audience a captivating story. Here’s an example of a more engaging profile summary:

“From a young age the phrase, ‘Shoot for the stars,’ has always caught my attention. It spoke to the core belief that I should never do anything half-heartedly. If I’m going to do something, whether it is professionally or personally, I’m going to go above and beyond anyone else.

‘I have over a decade of experience managing large IT projects, and leading large teams to success. Under my leadership, members of my team knew exactly what was expected of them. The results of our projects were some of the best in the industry…”

This type of profile summary captures a reader’s attention and gently invites them to learn more about you. In short, it compliments your actual résumé and adds a new level of distinction to your online presence. Earlier, I mentioned a hiring manager coming across your LinkedIn profile. Now imagine their delight as they read a captivating profile that brings a new dimension to your résumé.

The point is to captivate your audience and polish your personal brand to until it shines. Again, your résumé is a brief account of your job qualifications, while your LinkedIn profile is a living part of your online presence. It is a compliment to an already great résumé. Your audience should be entranced by your profile, and should want to connect with you. A redundant LinkedIn profile that mirrors your résumé is a wasted opportunity. Unveil your brilliance by showing your online audience just how creative and interesting your professional life is!

Daryl Hall & John Oates – Missed Opportunity

1988 Music Video for Missed Opportunity