Archives for December 2015

Create Your Best Year Yet, Part 1

Rainer Maria Rilke Quotes from BrainyQuote.com

Rainer Maria Rilke Quotes from BrainyQuote.com

 

The New Year is a chance for a fresh start in your career and your life. It is a time to close the book on previous events and to plan new events. There are new opportunities, new goals to set, and new chances to grow and to improve the quality of your professional and personal life. Now is the time to create your best year yet and to obtain everything you want out of your career. A fresh start means breaking away from habits that did not work, focusing on what did work, and creating new opportunities. Take a moment to think about your previous year. Where did you succeed? Where are your areas of improvement and potential growth? What worked for you? What did not work for you? What successes would you like to duplicate to further your growth in the New Year?

Acknowledge the highs and lows the previous year brought as you prepare yourself for 2016. This gained perspective allows you to let go of what did not work and to double down on what worked. This reflection will also allow you to clean your slate and to see that your future is not limited by your past. Creating your best year consists of two parts: constructing a fresh start and setting goals. For this article we will focus on a fresh start in a new year and goal setting will be addressed next week.

 

  1. Focus on the positive

Take a moment to embrace the positive moments from your previous year. Write down your major successes and the goals you managed to complete. Of these successes, which ones would you love to duplicate or multiply in the New Year? Keep these goals as positive motivation. Tony Robbins, one of my favorite motivational speakers, talked about The Seven-Day Mental Diet. In his speech, he highlighted the power of positivity and creating habits around focusing on what is right in your world. “The habit of focusing on what’s right in your world, instead of what’s wrong. The habit of focusing on what you do have instead of what you don’t have in a situation.” Focusing on the positive leads to developing a sense of pride and gratitude in what you have accomplished. Having pride and gratitude is a critical part of inspiring other people to offer you opportunities.

 

  1. Confront the negative

Reflecting on and confronting the lows in your year opens the door to growth. After all, if you do not recognize the areas where the year did not progress smoothly, you cannot create a path to a better year. Take the case of Erin Joy Henry. Erin is a holistic nutrition counselor who used to have a negative outlook. She thought of positive people as insincere. One day she came to the realization that her negative thoughts were standing in the way of her getting everything she wanted out of life. She began to use positive affirmations and enjoyed the process so thoroughly that she sought the help of a wellness expert. With the help of the wellness expert, Erin was able to pinpoint her negative thoughts, confront them, and dedicate herself to writing down her positive affirmations every morning. She gradually transformed herself, saw her own potential, and uncovered her own brilliance.

Changing your outlook as you move into a new year means leaving your negativity in the past. T.D. Jakes, a popular pastor of a megachurch and best-selling author has written extensively on why negativity is best left in the past and how letting go can enable you to succeed. “The only thing left to change is how you process it. And if you process it right, you can turn it into something. You can use it for fuel.” See these events in a positive light and use them as an opportunity for growth.

 

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  1. Physically manifest your feelings and release them

Take your negative emotions and physically manifest and release them. The act of creating a tangible form for your negativity allows you to capture those thoughts and treat them as though they were real. Seinfeld had the yearly eve of Christmas Eve Festivus, an event where people sit around a table and air out their grievances, among other things. In your case, create a list of self-grievances then destroy them. This destruction could be as simple as burning the list, ripping it up, or my personal favorite, blowing up balloons. Blow up a balloon and take one breath for each item on your list, then pop the balloon. The point is to give your grievances a physical manifestation, to obliterate those manifestations, and to symbolically rid yourself of the mental energy they carry.

The Sedona Method is another great way of letting go of negativity. It consists of a line of questions with “yes” or “no” answers created by Lester Levenson to create positive change. Positivity is created by the act of releasing negative thoughts and emotions. You fully accept whatever you are experiencing by taking note of the underlying desire behind it and finding a release. The mental exercise is often likened to holding a pen in your hand until your hand begins to ache. The pen represents negativity. You have the power to choose to let go of the pen, i.e. your negative emotions, at any time. In short, the Sedona Method works because it allows you to take control of your emotions. Sarah Johnson, an entrepreneur, has created a video on how to use the Sedona Method.

 

  1. Release negativity and reclaim mental energy

Negative emotions can also be thought of as baggage. Once you understand what is weighing you down, you can release that baggage. Carrying baggage is not very different from walking with sandbags in each hand. When you first lift the sandbags they are heavy, but not particularly burdensome. As you walk further and further to your destination, it becomes hard to walk effectively with them. The muscles in your arms are strained and eventually you drag the bags in an attempt to ease the load. Wouldn’t it be easier to drop the sandbags? Once you drop the bags the load is completely gone and you are no longer worried about your burden. Instead, you are now walking lighter, faster, and are able to focus on and accelerate toward your destination. This renewed focus allows you to reclaim your mental energy. Mental energy is defined by the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) as the ability or willingness to engage in cognitive work. The type of energy that goes into maintaining baggage is referred to as mental clutter by entrepreneur Eben Pagan, and it drains of you much needed mental energy. Clearing away this clutter gives you the ability to focus on energy that allows you to build or renew relationships with family, friends, or colleagues, create professional or personal projects, and create thoughts that carry you into a brighter future. Think of what a renewed focus means to your career. You will be able to complete what is incomplete in communication, administration, and housekeeping. In short, once you’ve reflected and dumped your baggage you can focus creating opportunity.

 

Create your best year yet by leaving the past in the past and capturing new professional and personal opportunities in the New Year. Preparing for a new year means recreating what worked for you, pinpointing what didn’t work and using it as a chance to grow, letting go of your negativity, and reclaiming your mental energy. Are you ready to leave the past behind and make 2016 your best year? Are you ready to create and seize new opportunities?

 

A Real-Life Job Search Jedi Shares How YOU Can Awaken The Force in Your Job Search

Luke Skywalker and his first lightsaber by Tom Simpson of Flickr

Luke Skywalker and his first lightsaber by Tom Simpson of Flickr

Jack Shipley is a real-life Job Search Jedi. In my interview, he shares how he was able to master The Force and land not one, but three dream jobs. Jack often compares himself to Luke Skywalker. Perhaps you are like Luke, a young Jedi in your job search who is ready to master The Force. The Force is energy that is accessed depending on how we perceive the world and ourselves. There is negative energy and positive energy. By using positive energy, you are capable of doing superhuman feats and accomplishing things you never thought possible. According to Wikipedia, The Force is a metaphysical and ubiquitous power in a fictional universe. There are quantum physicists who purport an equally powerful, equally accessible force, coined “The Field,” by Lynne McTaggart. It is an evolution of Einstein’s “Theory of Everything,” or unified field theory. Your attitude can change how you view the world, setbacks, and how others view you. By mastering The Force, you will gain inner wisdom (intuition), strength, resilience, faith, and confidence. The Force has the power to MAKE SOMETHING GOOD happen for you and for others.

How do you view your most recent or current job search? Are you confident that you will land quickly? Do you feel like you have power over your fate?  In Star Wars: A New Hope, Luke has lost his entire family to the Empire. He could have stayed home and wallowed in his sorrow. Instead he chose to go with Obi-Wan and master The Force to create positive change in his life and those around him. By mastering The Force, Luke was able to save the rebels from the Empire and ultimately saved the galaxy. By using The Force in your own job search, you will completely alter your outcome. Instead of settling for the first opportunity that comes your way, you will have several hiring managers eager to interview you, and even have multiple job offers in play. As I mentioned earlier, Jack is our own Job Search Jedi. He mastered The Force and completely turned around his job search.

Jack is a former client and then consultant to Epic Careering, and advisor for Accelerfate, a job search mobile game being developed by JoMo Rising, Karen’s other company. He was also a guest on our podcast, Tales from the Flipside, real-life accounts of successful job transitions in spite of tremendous challenges. Jack is a long-time gamer who currently works as a producer and game designer for Terrorweed! Games, a video games design studio. Jack and the studio are currently working on Fallout: Lonestar, a standalone story based on the game engine from Fallout 4.

Jack was a lot like Luke in A New Hope. He was unfamiliar with The Force and was afraid to master the power within. He knew had to master The Force if he was going to be a full-fledged Job Search Jedi, but it took guidance and coaching from Karen, his Obi-Wan, to help him discover the new way of thinking he needed to adopt access to The Force. Jack imparted a few nuggets of job search wisdom and mastering The Force in my interview with him.

 

Angela: How Has tapping into “The Force” changed your life?

Jack: Once you feel that positive energy for the first time… that success brought about by personal momentum and simply trying something scary and new… it’s extremely comforting, not only because you realize, “I can do this,” but also because what was once unfamiliar has now been experienced. It’s not unknown anymore and the fear all humans associate with that starts to subside.

As I find myself ready to enter a new transition, I find myself far more confident. I already know what to expect. I know the challenges ahead and I am aware they can be met and overcome. I am empowered and prepared, and that’s self-confidence gained through “The Force.”

 

Angela: How did you view your job search before you tapped into “The Force”?

Jack: It was scary.

Searching for a job was like Luke trying to understand The Force without a blast helmet over his eyes. (Star Wars: A New Hope) My understanding of how to look for a job was woefully out-of-date. I tried to use old methods that, frankly, made my search far more complicated than it had to be.

 

Angela: How did your view change AFTER using “The Force”?

Jack: To continue the metaphor; Obi-Wan puts a blast helmet over Luke’s head and tells him to “use The Force” to block the blaster bolts. That’s what Karen did for me. She took away all the “noise” from my old way of doing things and let me try things with a new perspective.

I may have just suggested that Karen was my Obi-Wan…

 

Angela: What were your initial thoughts when you made the decision to implement Karen’s advice? For example, you had constant difficulties in your job search and someone tells you it is possible to land offers with their help. Were you initially skeptical? Or did you take her advice without reservations?

Jack [Referencing Luke’s first use of The Force]:

Luke:

”But with the blast shield down, I can’t even see! How am I supposed to fight?”

Obi-Wan:

“Your eyes can deceive you. Don’t trust them. Stretch out with your feelings!”

I was Luke. Karen gave me all these new ideas and initially I rebelled. I wasn’t comfortable with some of the things she wanted me to do (like calling my network). She asked me to trust her, to try and put aside my old way of thinking and to make an attempt. When I succeeded, that’s when I could really feel “The Force.”

 

Angela: What advice would you give others job-seekers who want to tap into their own “Force”?

Jack: If this is new to you, if you’ve never done a job search quite like this before, I would urge you to put aside your fears and give it a try.  It’s remarkably easy to do and once you have your first success you’ll see it’s actually rather fun!

“Let go, Luke!”

 

Mastering The Force to become a Job Search Jedi

1. Build your self-confidence and enthusiasm. If you believe you’re going to succeed you will succeed. The reverse is true. If you believe you’re going to fail, you will fail. As Jack said, once he mastered The Force and found his self-confidence, he was able to make major changes to how he approached his job search. He was no longer afraid to reach out to his network, and he went from an outdated way of approaching his job search to landing multiple jobs. After being out of work for a while, he was able to resume his career in full force.

2.  Step out of your comfort zone. Stepping out of your comfort zone is directly related to self-confidence and positive energy. Saying you’re going to make a change isn’t enough without commitment. To quote best-selling author Gretchen Rubin from her speech at the PA Women’s Conference, “Every choice is an opportunity to make the wrong choice. Choose once and put it on autopilot.” Making that first decision and committing is taking a step out of your comfort zone. You may initially scoff at the advice, but getting uncomfortable is the only way you will grow. A large part of you may feel like Han Solo, who didn’t believe and merely called The Force luck. After some initial fear, Jack chose to master The Force and found great success.

3. Mastering The Force as a Job Search Jedi will open multiple doors. It is the ability to have several job offers in play, being called in for multiple interviews, and landing quickly. We refer to this as job momentum, or JoMo. Believing it is possible to achieve JoMo requires having faith in your abilities. Much like when Luke heard Obi-Wan telling him to “use The Force,” and stopped relying on what he could immediately see. He shut off the guiding system for the lasers on his fighter craft, and used The Force to guide the missiles into the Death Star’s weak point, saving the day.

 

Are you ready to start or continue your job-seeking adventure? Are you ready to master The Force as a Job Search Jedi? Perhaps you are like Luke at the beginning of A New Hope. Your heroic journey is starting and you are learning to use The Force. By mastering The Force you will become the master of your fate and save the world. This means landing the job you really want and being a hero to yourself, your family, and your community.

 

60 Minutes to a LinkedIn Profile That Gets You Interviews

Passe partout by Wies Van Erp of Flickr

Passe partout by Wies Van Erp of Flickr

You are ready to land your next job, you know what you want from your next employer, and your résumé is polished to a shine. Before you venture out, or continue your great job seeking adventure, take a moment to review your LinkedIn profile. Are you getting the results you want? Do you receive messages from recruiters, and introductions to VIPs? Or has you inbox been quiet?  By now, I am assuming you know the importance of having a LinkedIn profile if you are job-seeking.

According to the 2014 Jobvite survey, over 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn when searching for job candidates. In part of an interview for my Philadelphia Magazine article, Jennifer Ghazzouli, QVC Director of Global Talent revealed that her hiring staff heavily relies on LinkedIn to discover talent. Given the heavy emphasis on LinkedIn by hiring managers, a powerfully-branded profile puts a wide gap between you and your competitors for jobs. Evaluate your LinkedIn profile again. If you have not been seeing the great results you want in your job search, it may be time to overhaul your profile.

In her Muse article, “How to Get Your LinkedIn Profile Ready for Your Job Search in 30 Minutes” Jenny Foss created a fantastic LinkedIn profile creation guide. Having your profile up and running is a great first step. However, if you want recruiters to call you first and excitedly invite you to an interview, then take another 30 minutes to further customize your content for your target audience.

Here is how to get your LinkedIn profile up and running and ready to attract employers. (A quick note: If you need further help with creating your LinkedIn profile, we have the tools to help. Our LinkedIn Profile Builder will guide you through creating a powerfully-branded profile that enables you to land twice as fast.)

 

Change your headline

The LinkedIn headline is automatically created when you enter your job title.  A customized headline grabs the attention of employers, recruiters, and anyone else who views your profile. An effective headline depicts the function, or role of your job, instead of the title. A job title is the name of position, while a function explains your daily tasks and activities for a position. A great headline helps employers see how you will fit into their company. In my article, “Increase Views: Ditch the Default LinkedIn Headline” I go into depth on how to create an attention-grabbing headline.

 

Use the summary section to shine

Far too many people use LinkedIn’s summary section to create a carbon copy of their résumé, when it is so much more. An effective summary tells the audience your story and is an opportunity to brand yourself. You have 2000 characters to illustrate your professional life and to sell your value to potential employers. A good headline hooks an employer, but your summary is what reels them in. The summary is also an area where keywords are listed to attract employers. Employers and recruiters often use keywords to search for talent. By including keywords relevant to your industry, it makes you easier to be found. That said, it is possible to use keywords incorrectly.

Also avoid using clichés in your summary, as these words are uninteresting and overused. Are any of these 10 words found within your summary? These words are so common that they mean very little to recruiters who read them day in and day out. Anyone can list them, but those who can prove they have these qualities are the ones who obtain the interview, or land the job. Any time you find yourself wanting to write one of these words, or any subjective adjective, ask yourself, “How would I prove this, and how do these words translate into value for an employer?” Instead, use more specifics and demonstrate them, rather than stating qualities.

 

Update your skills

Skills are a list of your talents and your hard skills. LinkedIn allows you to list 50 skills. Employers can view them at a glance to see how your qualifications match up with an open position. Additionally, skills are also another way to list keywords and to increase your chances of being found by an employer. Place the skills most vital to your position at the top of the list. Once you have your vital skills listed first, politely ask your connections to endorse your skills. Remember to also do the same for them.

 

Fill in the small details

The visual aspects of your LinkedIn profile have a big impact on how you are perceived by employers. Did you upload a photo? The lack of a photo is a turn off because employers or recruiters may ask “what are they hiding?” This is especially true for recruiters who want to submit candidates who present themselves professionally to hiring managers. Display your professional image. If you are self-conscious about your appearance for your age, invest in a photo shoot with a professional photographer and a make-up artist who will bring out your best features. If you are on a budget, you can still find a friend willing to donate their time and talent. Man or woman, you can visit make-up counters at department stores. The perception is that if you do not put your best foot forward online, you cannot put your best foot forward at an interview, or on the job.

LinkedIn is a professional social network, so use a professional photo. About Careers has great tips on how to take and choose a professional photo. A few things to keep in mind are that backgrounds should not be distracting. Your wardrobe needs to be business formal, not wedding formal. Lighting is complimentary, not halogen office lighting, or lamp lighting from a party scene. Do not include alcohol, unless you work in the beverage industry.

Also consider adding multimedia to your summary to further stand out from your competition, and to give your accomplishments some visual flair. In addition to talking about your accomplishments, you can provide your audience with specific examples. Such examples could include a picture of yourself in action on the job, slide decks of presentations you have given, video, audio, and your portfolio.

Take a minute to customize your URL. A custom URL is easy to remember and makes it easier to publicize your profile. Update your status once or twice a day with articles relevant to your industry. This shows employers you take a keen interest in your industry and that you are willing to share news and information. Go a step further and list your personal website or blog (unless they are irrelevant to your industry). Also make sure to add all social media profiles (that are of a professional caliber) to your contact information.

 

Action to take after customizing your profile

Once your LinkedIn profile is complete, consider participating in a few activities while using the service. The Social Media Hat contributor Mike Allton has created an extensive free resource that covers the features, benefits, and activities that make a huge difference in your visibility and lead generation on LinkedIn. Also try our 7 Day LinkedIn challenge. Our challenge is a way to identify and research potential employers, to make new connections, and to expand and strengthen your network.

 

Creating and maintaining a powerfully-branded LinkedIn profile increases the chances of landing your next job faster. LinkedIn is the go-to source for the majority of recruiters and employers. Having a profile that illustrates your brand and demonstrates your value allows you to stand out from the job-seeking crowd. If you have started your job search or are in the middle of a job search, updating and polishing your LinkedIn profile is the best way to give your search a boost.

 

Dreams of Peace and Progress from the PA Conference for Women

 

The Pennsylvania Conference for Women is an event where professionals can enrich their lives. Women and men from all walks of life share their wisdom during the event. Speaking topics range from practical life advice and inspiring stories to the many ways we can better affect others and the world. I had the pleasure of listening to and learning from a variety powerful speakers. There was plenty of great material this year and I tweeted as much as possible from each speaking event. I have included images from my Twitter account, @EpicCareering (which you should follow). These are just snippets of the wisdom that was shared. I encourage you all to attend the PA Conference for Women next year.

 

Carli Lloyd (@CarliLloyd)

American Professional Soccer Midfielder

Carli Lloyd is a professional soccer star who has won the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and two gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.

CarliLloyd

 

 

 

Rachel Ray (@rachelray_show)

Celebrity Cook

Rachel Ray is the host of Rachel Ray, stars in three Food Network series, and has written 14 best-selling cookbooks.

rachelray

 

 

 

Leymah Gbowee (@LeymahRGbowee)

Liberian Peace Activist

Leymah Gbowee led the Women of Liberia Mass Action for Peace in 2003 that helped bring an end to the Second Liberian Civil War. She was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2011.

LeymahRGBowee

 

 

Cindy Solomon (@cindysolomon)

Keynote Speaker and Strategic Consultant

Cindy Solomon has helped many Fortune 1000 companies cultivate strong leaders around the world for over 20 years. She has also written several best-selling books.

 

CindySolomon

 

 

Emily Lightfoot (@Healthcare_ABC)

Health Systems Senior Vice President of AmerisourceBergen

Emily Lightfoot leads the commercial segment for AmerisourceBergen Drug Corporation and has held leadership positions for over 13 years.

Emily Lightfoot Heathcare_ABC

 

 

 

 

Jami McKeon (@morganlewislaw)

Chair of Morgan Lewis

Jami McKeon is the Chairman of America’s Largest Firm and the first woman to hold this position in the firm’s 140-year history.

 

Jami McKeon Morganlewislaw

 

Jessica Jackley (@jessicajackley)

Entrepreneur and Investor

Jessica Jackley co-founded Kiva, the world’s first peer-to-peer micro-lending website. She served as Walt Disney Imagineering’s first Entrepreneur in Residence, and is currently an independent consultant and investor with the Collaborative Fund.

jessicajackley

 

Gretchen Rubin (@gretchenrubin)

Best-selling Author

Gretchen Rubin has authored several best-selling books that have sold more than two million copies worldwide. She started her career in law and was a clerk for Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor before becoming a writer.

Gretchen-Rubin-Smaller-Quotes

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John Jacobs (@lifeisgood)

Co-Founder of The Life is Good Company

The Life is Good Company is a positive lifestyle brand which spreads the power of optimism through art, nonprofit work, and community. John Jacobs is an artist who has been awarded honorary doctorates for entrepreneurship, business innovation, and philanthropy.

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Jessica Alba (@jessicaalba)

Actress and Co-founder of The Honest Company

Jessica Alba is an award-winning actress and was nominated for a Golden Globe for her role in the TV series Dark Angel. In 2012 she co-founded The Honest Company, a consumer goods company that sells non-toxic household products.

jessicaalba

Gloria Steinem (@GloriaSteinem)

Political Activist

Gloria Steinem co-founded Ms. Magazine, and helped to found New York Magazine. She is also a documentary producer and a best-selling author. Steinem also helped to found the Women’s Action Alliance, the National Women’s Political Caucus, the Women’s Media Center, and Voters for Choice.

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