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  • good-resumeHaving a good battle for your resume plan is important. Yes, a good resume definitely requires some thought as to its overall strategy. What are the requirements of the position? Who is the audience? How many competitors are you likely looking at? What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how do you best highlight them (or blur them) in a good resume? These are all valuable considerations in determining the approach you need to take to build a resume that will bring consistent success. But as is the case with any project, there is only so much planning that you can do before it gets down to whether or not you take action.

    Once you have given the strategy some thought, push it to the side for a second. Why? Because as you progress through the project, some aspects of that writing strategy may need to be amended based upon factors such as spacing, or simply how the content is blending. What you want to do is just start. That’s right, JUST START! Instead of beginning with the summary and core competencies (slightly more abstract in nature from a development standpoint), go with the more concrete information – your professional experience. After all, when it comes to your experience, there really isn’t much that is abstract about it. What you did and achieved is, well, what you did and achieved. Now, you will want to give consideration to the most important aspects to your future reader. But this is usually the bulk of the grunt work and going through this process will help when it is time to tackle the profile section, where you will “frame the argument” for calling you in.

    The truth is that you can easily end up in a vicious cycle of doubt and changing strategies – constantly reassessing the approach because there is no anchor in place to keep you with one train of thought. But when you commit to at least laying out the basics of a good resume, you begin to get into a flow that helps pull you right through the rest of the project.

  • sanity at workWhen No One Else On The Job is Invested in Being Great

    Not every place of employment is populated with high-energy, motivated champions eager to step up and lift the organization to greatness. This is no mystery, nor should it be. If by definition most people are “middle of the road”, then if follows that the organizations employing them will be mediocre as well. The problem comes when you have been hired under the pretense of playing a major role in helping to raise the company’s performance, but you seem to be the only one who is pursuing that mission. This is compounded even more when management and ownership are counted in this number. The result for you is daily frustration, as minimal gains are achieved due to consistently having to swim against the current. Here are a few tips for keeping your sanity at work in the face of such wide-spread complacency.

    STEP 1: Ramp Up Your Network Chatter

    Let’s face it, the worst-case scenario is that you may have to leave. Eventually. Networking and personal contacts have always (and will always be) the #1 way jobs are landed. If you are doing as you should, you would be doing this year-round BEFORE you need them. If not, start now, because you may need them soon if things begin to go south with later steps.

    STEP 2: Get Your Resume Together

    Why? See Step 1. If the time comes to fly the coop, you don’t want the added hassle of trying to get a resume written during what could be a trying period. This, as well as the step involving reaching out to your network, is emergency preparation.

    STEP 3: Decide Your Course of Action

    When the organizational environment has been poisoned to wholly accept underperformance, you have some decisions to make. You can:

    • Begin plotting your exit strategy in hopes of landing someplace where they care more about the job and direction of the organization.
    • Decide to take your case to management and see if there is hope for a turnaround. Perhaps there is a housecleaning coming soon. Of course, if you don’t like what you hear, see Bullet 1.
    • Say nothing, but change your perception of your job so as to reduce your ownership of the results in your own mind.

    Now, bullet 3 is the tricky one. What you are essentially doing here is lowering your expectations and psychological investment in the results of your efforts to keep your sanity at work. On the surface, this seems a bit irresponsible. But if you are stuck in this position due to circumstances and don’t see the environment improving, you have to keep your sanity in some way. Perhaps the job pays great comma have excellent benefits, is close to home comma or has favorable hours to allow you family time. These reasons maybe why you don’t pursue another option in mediately. So in the meantime, you will want to keep your stress levels low.

    If you have done all you can to help the team meet its mission, set some boundaries and do not let the lack of accountability from others encroach upon you and your peace. If you have been stressing out trying to “pick up the ball” everyone else has been dropping, stop. Answering late-night calls or emails as a result of the rest of the team’s proper functioning? Don’t. Have you executed your duties to the best of your ability but others around you not putting forth the effort? Document, document, document. Be sure that when things hit the fan and projects fall through, you can show where you performed to task and then some. If that major presentation falls through because everyone else on the team did not get the job done, you should not be expected to physically OR psychologically carry the entire load when management and ownership won’t.

    But for long-term career satisfaction, you should still plot your departure if the environment seems set in stone and you are looking to stay engaged in achieving personal career heights. Maintaining one’s sanity at work is key to keeping the rest of your life on track.

  • question-markWords have far more power than most of us give them credit for possessing. If this were not true, motivational speakers would not pulls five and six-figure speaking engagements to light the fire under high-powered Corporate executives. But outside of the effect statements can have on you, some of the statements that fall out of our mouths provide a window into the type of person that we are. The bottom line is that there are just some things that successful people do not say because their thought processes won’t allow it. Here are a few of them.

    Why is this happening to me?

    I don’t care who you are, or where you come from. If you are alive long enough in this world, bad things will happen. Period. The natural order of things is in fact disorder. Murphy’s Law is as true today as it ever was. So, why is this happening to you? Because it is. It is a bit self-centered and narcissistic to believe that the universe is out to get you and only you with 7.1 billion people on this planet. I mean, who the heck are you? Winners do not sit around pondering why things having to go. Their only concern is what the hell do I do about it now? The mindset of successful people is to solve the problem not to dwell on it.

    That can’t possibly work

    The inventor of just about everything we use probably had to deal with one or more people in their lives that said this to them. Napoleon Hill, the author of Think and Grow Rich, gave us one of the most powerful quotes of our time:

    “Whatever your mind can conceive and believe the mind can achieve regardless of how many times you may have failed in the past.”

    When you are working with the mindset of successful people, you look past the roadblocks and pitfalls to keep your eyes on the goal. Mankind has shown the ability to solve most every problem through the application of sustained thinking. If we can figure out how to take computers from taking up entire rooms to more powerful ones held in your hand, then you can figure out how to land a job. Speaking of jobs …

    That’s not MY job!

    When part of a team, winners realized that the important thing is that the team reaches the goal. It is rare that in any project or enterprise that every single task, duty and contingency is accounted for within the pre-conceived job descriptions. Therefore, for the team to reach its goal, somebody at some point in time will need to roll up their sleeves and do something that is not officially their job. It is THAT person whom we usually find advancing professionally. These type of people see that the important thing if the achievements of the team, and not whining because of one or two extra tasks that they may have to perform.

    I just don’t have the time!

    When a person claims that they do not have the time for important self-improvement activities outside of their standard daily responsibilities, more often than not, it is a matter of perspective. If you work a dead end job and even planning to start your own business, the difference in whether or not you are able to do it depends upon what you are willing to sacrifice. Successful people will sacrifice their social life, television, and even sleep in order to move closer to realizing their goal. There are 24 hours in a day, and most people work no more than 8 to 10 of them. That leaves between 14 and 16 hours to work on your business plan, pursue a new certification, or find a job you like better than the one you currently have. The winner will find one or two hours somewhere in there to get closer to that goal. Winners live the quote “I’ll sleep when I’m dead.”

    Granted, there can be exceptions depending upon the situation. But by and large, successful people will more often than not find that extra hour, dig for that extra solution, accept responsibility and refuse to dwell on the negative.

    So, which one are you?

  • looking-for-employment

    “Don’t wait for your ship to come in. Swim out to it!” – Steve Southerland

    Your resume writer has prepared for you a strong document that should optimize your chances for an interview. So you begin looking for employment by scouring the online job boards and company websites, where you begin applying for positions. But is that enough? You may be competing with hundreds of other applicants. Some of which also used highly talented certified resume writers to assist them. When seriously looking for employment, what you need is your resume and cover letter in the hands of the decision makers. But in this digital age, there seems to be layers of firewalls between the applicant and these keepers of employment. So, how do you make it happen?

    Of course, if you have been managing your career properly, you have some infrastructure that can go a long way in helping carry out your attack plan (well-crafted LinkedIn profile, manicured social media, blog or website to establish your subject matter expertise, etc).

    When looking for employment, you can use your social media tools to tunnel your way to those who either have the power to bring you in, or at least may be able to wield some measure of influence. After researching who the decision makers may be for the position you seek, look them up on social media. Assess their openness to communication, and if you deem it feasible, introduce yourself and inform them of your application for the position available in their department. Since your LinkedIn page is optimized and blog updated regularly, they can immediately get a good feel for your qualifications. But don’t cyber-stalk or harass. The idea here is simply to get their attention for a few more moments than the competition. One never knows the conversation that can lick off.

    Of course, there are much riskier and crazier approaches job seekers have taken when looking for employment. Everything from singing telegrams to wacky formatted resumes have been used in attempts to get noticed. But remember, negative attention is not what you are seeking. So don’t do something so outlandish that your application becomes a punchline. You just want an edge, a subtle nudge that ever so slightly diverts the hiring manager’s attention your way.

  • employer-loyalty-what-you-really-owe-themYou have been with your employer for 4 years now as an Administrative Assistant. While you have definitely shown employer loyalty, you feel the job is getting a bit stale. Your career isn’t moving where you’d like, nor is it moving as fast as you’d like. The company is a small one, with little growth momentum, so that is not likely to change. So you begin mulling over the possibility of hitting the job market. I mean, things are looking up for the overall economy, right? So you’re thinking,”Now is the time”. But just then, a little voice begins to chirp in your ear. “The boss depends on us so much, I am not sure we should leave. Who will the vendors talk to? Who will find the Gunderson file that is always getting lost? Who will correct the grammar of his written communications?”

    Loyalty. It is a virtue that is valued by all employers. But one that can end up being your demise if you aren’t careful.

    While you can be thankful to your employer for taking you off the unemployment scrapheap, remember that the basis of capitalism is pursuing one’s best interest. Unless you were hired because of “somebody you know”, your boss brought you aboard because you were the the best available of the pool of applicants that came along at the time. During that time, the likelihood is that you showed employer loyalty by putting in an honest day’s work for an honest day’s pay. Quid pro quo (loosely translated, “this for that”). You provided time and expertise, and your boss provided compensation. Other than that, the people you owe first are yourself and your family. You spend at least 8 hours per day at a full-time job. You need to be fulfilled not only from a growth perspective, but a financial one as well.

    In most cases, the only thing you truly owe an employer is two weeks notice before leaving. From there you determine a balance between your need to move on and time frame to do so. But if you find a new position and they want you to begin right away (you know, because you let a certified professional resume writer handle it for you), it would not be prudent to let the opportunity slip by simply because it would be inconvenient for your boss. Let’s face it. It you are “that employee”, it will never be convenient. But in most cases, if the bottom line suffered enough, the decision would likely be made to let you go. They may not like it. They may feel bad doing it. But if it is either you or their business, you will be the victim. 

    Employer loyalty is fine, but be loyal to yourself and your professional needs first. You’ll be sorry if you don’t.

  • commitments-for-2016As we kick off the new year, everyone is looking to do better in various areas of their lives. Improving health, improving careers, and improving relationships take center stage as we all try to vault into 2016 positioned for better success. But you know what they say, insanity is defined by doing the same thing and expecting different results. While the specific goals of every individual will vary, the mechanisms for increasing the chances of success in implementing them are usually the same. Here are a few tips to help create an excellent foundation for success.

    Improve Your Personal Organization Strategy

    In my opinion, this is where you set the table. The way in which you are organized and your tools made available to you can increase your efficiency and allow you to get more done in a shorter amount of time. Find a way to utilize integrated tools that work together. This will reduce steps needed to maintain organization across platforms. For example, Google makes available a host of tools that all work together. Their email, contacts, scheduler, documents, and file storage tools all sync up to across your cell phone and computer to make for easy management. When you update a contact on your computer and it automatically syncs with your phone, and also shows you the last few emails transmitted between you and the contact, this is a very powerful tool.

    Strengthen Your Professional Network
    Most professionals do not spend enough time in this area. This is because the best time to nurture your professional network is in fact when you need it the least. There may come a time where you will need to access those in your network to provide a lifeline. But to do this with no good will in the bank will more than likely mean you will come up drive when you need help. This is why it is always a good long term strategy to reach out to those in your professional network to see what you can do for them at a time when you don’t need them. I have a client who wants told me that everything stops for him during a two week period where he does nothing but reach out to his professional network to see what he can offer them. No strings attached. This has resulted for him in a wealth of professionals eager to assist him whenever he needs it. Consider this as building a bridge for future use.

    Add At Least One Skill to Your Skill Set

    Hey, if you are looking to be bumped up in 2016, you cannot end this year with the exact same skill set you had in 2015. Seek out opportunities to expand on what you can offer your employer or future employers. If you employer offers free training, by all means take advantage of it. Are there certifications you can obtain that will make you more marketable? And then go after them. Make the commitment right now to identify one or more areas and you can improve your toolbox, set a date, and make it happen.

    Commit At Least 5 Hours Weekly To Working on Your Long-Term Goals and Dreams

    Remember the phrase earlier regarding doing what you have always done? Working sometimes for drain you, but if you are ever going to get out of the orbits of your old job and achieve that dream of yours, then it will take sometime. There is very likely somewhere your week where you can find + 5 – 7 hours to dedicate toward working on your dream. But do not look for these hours indiscriminately. Schedule them in advance, and do not let anything interfere with that schedule. At the end of the week, you should have those five to seven hours in the bank. Perhaps it is working on a business plan. Or maybe it relates to improving that skill set that was discussed earlier. Regardless of what it is, it is critical that you dedicate time that is top priority in getting this done. So, if you ever want to get away from that horrible 9-to-5 job that is raising your blood pressure, schedule time for your long-term goals and dreams NOW!!!

    Get Your Resume and Cover Letter Ready for Opportunities

    I am a resume writer, so of course you knew this was coming. Good opportunities really announce when they are coming. They are on you, and then they are gone. Never be caught without your resume and cover letter being up to speed. If you have a quality writer, then chances are that their schedule remains busy. You don’t want to be caught trying to get services for an opportunity that ends in a couple of days and your resume writer can’t get to your project in that window. Be proactive when it comes to this and keep that resume current. If you have more than one unrelated potential target, then you need more than one resume at the ready.

    2016 is your year!!!

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