Category Archives: Articles

The Power of a Great Resume

Your Most Important Marketing Tool

Employers and recruiters are bombarded with resumes every day. And, while the job market is opening up, it is more competitive than ever. Your success hinges on the quality of your resume. Most people’s resumes are poorly organized, badly formatted. That’s good news for you – because if your resume is well conceived, you could instantly become a frontrunner.

What You Need To Know About Crafting A Resume

1. Your resume is your personal marketing tool.
You are the product, the prospective employer is the buyer. Your resume is your marketing piece. Content, theme and formatting need to be impeccable. Employers average 20 seconds looking at a resume. Your message has to jump off the page.

2. The purpose of a resume is to get you the interview.
Your resume speaks for you when you’re not there. It must successfully answer the employer’s most burning question: “How can this applicant solve my problems?” If it works, you get the interview. And, if it’s well thought out, it will prepare you for a successful interview.

3. Focus, focus, focus.
Your resume needs to demonstrate that you know yourself, your strengths, and what you want. You must identify specific job targets and industries. This is the result of a thorough self assessment process. If you have multiple resumes, it could indicate that you are not clearly focused.

4. How you present your skills is the key.
People have difficulty writing a resume because they’re not clear enough on what they have to offer. Your past accomplishments and qualifications form the backbone of your resume. You need to articulate your strengths with clarity. Words need to be powerful. How you present your assets can make or break your resume.

5. A resume is the most critical component of the job search.
You may be excellent at your job, at the top of your field. But that doesn’t mean you know how to write a resume. If it isn’t done effectively, you may never realize your goals. Whether you are sending it to employers, recruiters, posting it on the Internet, or using it as a networking tool – your resume is the most valuable credential you have.

I urge all of you to review your resume with a sharp and objective eye. If you need help, I would be happy to talk to you about the process. Creating a powerful resume makes all the difference in the world. Feel free to call me with any questions you may have.

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Managing Your Career in These Turbulent Times

Today’s business environment is fraught with uncertainties and unpredictability. Downsizing, layoffs, and corporate restructuring have reshaped the career landscape. And because of this we are all faced with new challenges and decisions. Here are some steps to follow:

Reassessing. Rebuilding
This changing world has presented an opportunity for reassessment of our purpose and life’s meaning. An opportunity for transformation and rebuilding. It forces us to ask important questions: What are my priorities? What do I consider important? What gives me personal fulfillment? What does success mean to me and how do I get there?

It’s About You
Whether you are starting a new career, transitioning out of your existing one, or looking for a new position, the most important element is defining YOU. It all begins with understanding yourself. As Abraham Maslow said, “If you want to find out what you ought to be, then find out who you are.”

Careers: from the inside out
Most people make career decisions by looking at the world around them and then try to reshape themselves to fit into it. But this is the opposite of what needs to be done. Defining the right career path starts from the inside out. It’s a journey of evolving self-awareness. By self-awareness, I mean a process that begins with inner exploration to help you understand the vital elements that will keep you connected to your work in a meaningful way. You need to find the environments that let you shine, the interests that excite you, the roles you like to play and the skills you enjoy using. Work is satisfying when it fits your self-definition but first you need to know what your self-definition is.

Start with questions, not descriptions
When thinking about a career, most people mistakenly start by focusing on a subject matter, industry or job title. For example, we hear people say, I think I’ll become a lawyer, marketing manager, or financial analyst, or, I’ll go into the field of publishing, marketing or human resources. But there are more important questions to ask yourself first. Do you like working with people or paper, do you want something that’s different every day or are you more comfortable with routine? Do you need freedom and flexibility or structure and security? Do you prefer to manage people or projects? Do you need to be part of an organization or do you require freedom from organizational constraints? Under what conditions do you work best? Answering these questions is often more revealing than searching for a job title or job description. Defining yourself by a job title limits your ability to gain clarity. Job titles don’t describe the environments, work style and roles played.

Sorting through these career issues can feel overwhelming and complicated, but there is a process that will carry you to your goals. This process begins with self-awareness in the following 4 areas:

Defining Your Skills:
Skills are what translate into roles and activities and break down into 6 basic categories: communication, creativity, research, organization, analytical and problem solving. All of the hundreds of skills that exist fall into one of these categories. For example, communication skills might include writing, persuading, presenting, teaching, training, listening, negotiating, etc. Researching might include evaluating, classifying, interviewing, etc. Whether you’re developing a marketing plan, analyzing an operational system, writing an ad campaign, clearly defining and articulating your skills becomes essential. Identifying and articulating your particular skills is what leads you to a career in which your strengths will be maximized and where you will feel naturally competent.

Identifying Your Interests:
Think of the subjects that turn you on and the “stuff” you want to know about. Notice where your interests tend to cluster. Is it music, sports, politics, group dynamics, health, children? When you read the newspaper what section do you look at first? What kind of books do you read? What do you notice when you walk around? Architecture, people, restaurants? Do you like being in nature? Do you enjoy reading maps? Are you most comfortable around computers? Pay attention to what interests you and the subjects you’re drawn to. They will lead you to a career which keeps you interested and rewarded.

Exploring Your Values:
We are often forced to make choices as to how to live our lives and often our choices will be based on our values. Values are emotional needs and important sources of satisfaction; they create focus and shape behavior. What really drives you? Is it risk and challenge? autonomy and self-expression, status and power? making a contribution to society? the potential of high earnings? These are value questions and while we may have many different values, we need to prioritize which are most important. Values, more than anything else change through out life. What you valued 5 years ago may not be what you value today. Sorting through these value questions are important to career clarification.

Finding Your Personality Style:
Personality style is probably the most important element in this process and the most difficult to define and understand. What is meant by personality style is where are your sources of energy, how do you perform a task, how do you make decisions and how you are perceived by others. For example, when you approach a task, is the emphasis on the completion or the process? Do you enjoy make high-level management decisions or prefer concentration on the project? Do you make decisions logically and analytically or subjectively and emotionally? Do you prefer ideas and vision or execution and detail?
Are you sociable and interactive or reserved and reflective? Answers to these questions will help you clarify and understand who you are and who you need to be in your workplace to keep you satisfied and effective.

Putting it Together
Developing a successful career is like a mosaic: the right blend of your total person, a perfect merging of your whole self. Any part of the mosaic that’s missing minimizes your chances of success and fulfillment. We have all witnessed exceptional performance by ordinary people. This is because they have merged the best parts of themselves into what they do. They have learned to work from the inside out.

There are many ways to do this. Although some people choose to go through this self-awareness process on their own, others choose to do it with guidance. There are a wide variety of tools that will help you. There are books, websites, courses, workshops and career counselors to help guide you though this process. There are personality assessments like the Strong Interest Inventory and Meyers Briggs designed specifically to help you in this career search, this life search.

The important part is that you take the time to do it. That you discover the career path that grows out of who you are; to find the career that reflects the true you, so it can give you energy, satisfaction and rewards. It is no exaggeration to say: the rest of you life depends upon it.

These times. All times
While we can’t control the state of the economy or the marketplace, we can control the choices we make. Industries change; technologies advance and companies come and go. We have gone from a job-structured work place to a self-structured workplace. Therefore, it has never been more important to understand ourselves – and to apply that understanding to gain clarity and confidence. It is what will allow you to survive and prosper, even in these difficult times. The best way to recession-proof your career is to create a career, which grows out of you – your skills, your values, your interests and your personality style.

Believe and trust in this process because it works. I have watched unhappy, frustrated people transform themselves into effective, rewarded, and energized professionals who get immense satisfaction out of their careers. Not only can you survive and thrive – but your new self-awareness will become the most continually powerful tool you possess. A tool that will support you and nourish you for the rest of you life.

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As social media begins to blend with all parts of the business world, it has become significant that who you are online connects with the job you want. Here are some guidelines to maximize your search:

  • Treat your profile page on any social media site (ie; LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc) as your resume. It should act as a snapshot to the world of who you are and what you’ve done.
  • Make sure your posts reflect your professional personality. Tone, topic and content create your online presence. Let that presence reflect someone that everyone would want to work with, and hire.
  • Use your comments, shares, and links to demonstrate your experience and knowledge in your field. This will build a compelling image of yourself and begin to help your contacts associate you with the positions you are trying to seek.
  • Follow companies that you would love to work for before you are looking for a job. This early formed relationship will not only help you follow what they’re up to, but you may get the inside scoop on a job opening before everyone else does.
  • Don’t keep your job search a secret. Let everyone, both personal and professional contacts, know not only that you are looking for a job, but exactly the type of job you are looking for. Contacts, referrals and job leads can come from the least likely of places.

Keep in mind that there is no replacement for face to face contact. Use your existing presence online to connect you with opportunities to meet these people in person. LinkedIn and Meetup provide ample opportunities for in person networking. Twitter and Facebook are great to view invites for events within companies you want to be a part of.

If you need help with maximizing your social media networking and your job search techniques, I would be happy to assist you.

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A Career Graduation Gift

After Graduation… Then What?

One of Life’s Most Confusing Moments Comes When a Student Has to Make the Leap From School to Career.

Once a student has graduated, they find themselves confused and without the information, experience or resources to help them make the most important choices of their lives. This is the time when lifetime career decisions are made – decisions that can lead to a happy and rewarding career, or to career frustration.

How Prepared are Young People to Deal with the World of Careers?

Do they know how to get jobs? Do they know what jobs to get? Do they know what fields are available to pursue? Do they know which occupations will most satisfy them? In most cases they don’t even know what careers exist, aside from the most common ones – doctor, lawyer, editor, designer, writer, teacher, financial analyst, marketing executive, etc. And yet, without this important information, they make decisions that direct the entire course of their lives.

There is a Systematic Process for Creating a Successful Career. 

There is a way for one’s interests, talents, education, skills and personality to intermesh to create a career that is fulfilling, successful and intentional. This system combines self-understanding, aptitude, personality analysis along with occupational information. Missing any part of this process dramatically decreases one’s chance for success.

If You Know a Recent Graduate, This is the Opportunity to Give Them the Gift of a Lifetime – the Gift of the Right Career Fit. 

How often have you heard people say, “If only I had known what career direction to take, my whole life could have been different.” A young person’s choice of careers, at this point, may have a greater impact on their future than any other decision they will make for the rest of their lives.

Contact Me to Find Out More.

Call or email me and I will be glad to further describe my process and how the gift of a career consultation would work in your recent grad’s individual situation.

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Internal Barriers and Career Satisfaction

Many people blame their career problems on the economy or the job market, but so often the real obstacles come from within. Unrecognized internal barriers can become impediments to success as they keep us from moving forward and block us from getting what we want.

Only by discovering the real issues can we transform ourselves from feeling victimized and take control of our own job fate. This clarity is what leads to a strategy for success and career satisfaction.

Here Are Some of the Most Common Internal Barriers I Work With:

Value Conflicts:
People often become locked into an internal tug-of-war between conflicting values – making lots of money versus time for personal life; freedom versus security; independence versus structure; stability versus change. With deeper understanding, you can break free of these conflicts and actually put them to use in constructing an appropriate career strategy.

Messages We Get from Our Parents:
Many people live their lives trying to achieve a set of goals and objectives that come from their parents and have no relationship to who they really are. This is a recipe for career unhappiness. The messages we get from our parents have enormous influence on how we live our lives. Only by identifying those messages can we let them go, and begin to live our lives as who we truly are — rather than who we’re told we ‘should’ be.

Your Self Image Doesn’t Measure Up to Your Talents:
I see this so frequently. People devalue their own skills and talents — precisely because they come so naturally — causing them to be blind to what they have to offer. But, by recognizing and identifying your own strengths you can turn this cycle around and begin, for the first time, to move into a satisfying career that truly expresses your talents and gifts.

Unrealistic Expectations and Unclear Priorities:
Whether it comes from one’s parent, co-workers or friends — many people are caught in the grip of unrealistic expectations about careers. They are trapped between fantasy and reality. This can lead to unclear priorities. In life we can’t always get everything we want, so it’s important to find out which trade-offs you’re willing to make, and which you’re not.

Fear of Risk or Change:
Are you locked into an unhappy job situation because you’re not willing to take risks or accept change? There are many solutions for transforming your career prospects — and they don’t all require huge risks. Some of my clients have been amazed to see how small shifts — done with deep insight and understanding — can achieve big results. Not every move needs to be earth shaking.

Self-knowledge is the key to overcoming your barriers. Once you see through these internal resistances, you are in a better position to move beyond them towards a more satisfying and rewarding career.

If you feel that you would like to identify and work through any of the internal barriers that are keeping you from getting what you want, I would be happy to assist you.

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Is there someone in your life who is at a career crossroads, or is finally ready to follow their life-long dream? Someone you know who wants to make a change but just can’t seem to make it happen on their own?

Perhaps you have friends or relatives who could benefit from the gift of career guidance:

  • A recent grad who is  confused about a career direction.
  • A professional who wants to transition from one industry to another.
  • An entrepreneur with an idea for a business but can’t get it off the ground.
  • A friend who’s unhappy in their current  job and feels totally stuck.
  • Someone who needs  help writing a resume or  beginnig a  job search.

If you know someone who needs help to get from where they are to where they want to be, you can give them the gift of help!

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Is Your Career True To Your Values?

Is Your Career True to Your Values?

Career dissatisfaction often comes from value conflicts. While you may seem successful to the rest of the world, if your job isn’t true to your inner values you can feel unhappy and empty inside.

Whether we realize it or not, our sense of harmony is when our values and our work come together. Career satisfaction comes from knowing who we are and what we want.

The complexity of today’s workplace makes career decision-making difficult. We need some criteria for our life choices, and often these criteria come from our values. Getting to the heart of the problem means taking a clear look at your innermost values.

Here are some important questions to ask yourself…

  • What are your highest priorities at this point in your life?
  • What elements in your work situation do you value most? And least?
  • What role does money play in your life?
  • Do you believe in the product, service or industry you’re engaged in?
  • What is your definition of success?
  • If you could imagine a perfect work-life, what would it look like?
For a more in-depth look at career and value issues, here is a link to an article I wrote titled “Does Your Career Support Your Values or Fight Them” 


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