November 25, 2009

Tap Into a Growing Job Market -- The Green Industry

Chances are unless you've been living in a cave for the last year, you've been hearing lots about the Green Industry. What exactly is the Green Industry? It is a developing segment of the economy focused on sustainable energy and environmental improvements. And this sector is slated for significant growth over the next 18 months. So, how do you tap into jobs in this market. You've come to the right place.

Below are job resource sites dedicated to the Green Industry:

In addition to the links above, Yahoo's HotJobs site has a section devoted to Green-Collar jobs, which are blue-collar jobs centered on respecting the environment. Regardless, if you are looking for green industry jobs, keep in mind that positions may require additional training, certificates or degrees.

For additional information on green-collar jobs, check out the
Green Jobs Guidebook from

November 9, 2009

Motivating People to Do What You Want Them to Do

You've probably heard of the Gallup Poll before, right? But you may not have heard of 12: The Elements of Great Managing. This book, published by Gallup Press (yes, same folks as Gallup Poll), talks about what helps employees feel engaged and more motivated based on interviews with 10 million employees worldwide. Yes, you read that correctly, millions.

According to the studies, one of the biggest motivators for employers was recognition:

"Employees may be motivated by many different things, but they all strive for recognition and praise. And they need that positive feedback at least every seven days."

When I share this with my workshop participants, most of them raise their eyebrows at the last statement. This begs the question, have you been recognized or praised within the last seven days? Don't feel bad if you haven't. Most people I run into say no.

Overall, the idea is to offer continuous recognition and praise to your peers or subordinates, so they are more motivated to help you achieve your goals.

October 28, 2009

How to Answer the Trickiest Interview Question

A few weeks ago, I was featured on Career Rocketeer for their article on interviewing tips. In the article, I talked about how to answer the "Tell me about yourself," question. I blogged about this ages ago, so I wanted to repost the original blog to give you more detail, perspective and guidance than what is listed in the article. However, I also encourage you to visit the Career Rocketeer article, since it has other really useful tips as well.

You can access the Career Rocketeer article here. Or continue reading for the original post on answering some of the trickiest interview questions.


If you have done more than a few interviews in your life thus far, then you've probably had one of these three tricky interview questions thrown at you. Here they are:

1.) Why should I hire you?
2.) What makes you special over any other candidate?
3.) Tell me about yourself?

The most difficult of these is usually the last one, because it is so nebulous. However, if you'll notice, they're all asking pretty much the same thing.

Translation: Give me some skills and experience that will make me think you'll add value to the organization.

You need to think about crafting your answer to discuss your background and strengths in a way that brings a benefit to the organization. The most common mistakes people make when answering these is 1.) Not knowing what the organization is looking for and 2.) not sticking to strengths and work experience.

As I'm sure you've heard before, you'll need to do some research on the company and the desired position, and know how you can bring positive to all parties. This involves not just external Google searches, but also your own internal assessment of your strengths and talents. You can avoid the second mistake by remembering that employers want to know "what's in it for them" if they hire you. While stories of your family and youth may help them get you know you better, it is not what they're looking for. So keep it professional and work experience based, and you'll be that much closer to landing your next job.

October 23, 2009

Do You Know What You Were Born to Do?

"Forget mid-life crisis; I am suffering from a quarter life crisis!" Years ago, there were so many dark days when I would sit at my work desk thinking, "What am I doing here?" Some of those jobs were absolutely not what I loved doing. The problem was I had no idea what I loved doing. Nowadays, this is exactly what I help people figure out through my coaching and training programs. However, even if we never get to work together, I still want to help out.

That's why I was so excited when I found this nifty little quiz from Marcus Buckingham called "The Strong Life Test." With a few quick clicks, you can get a feel for the kind of work that resonates with you. Of course, your test results will not completely define you—there's a good deal more fine-tuning you'll want to do on your own to add detail and specificity. But what the test will do is show you where to start your search for a strong life.

Take the Find Your Strongest Life Test now.

If you are interested in how to use your strengths to improve your career aspirations, I would recommend the following books from Marcus Buckingham. It is a refreshing departure from the "I need to have an improvement plan for all my weaknesses" philosophy that is rampant in corporate cultures today.

October 21, 2009

Finding a Career You Love

Quite awhile ago, I wrote about my friend, Tiffany Westrich, who had left her corporate job to start her own jewelry business. As it turns out, she developed rheumatoid arthritis and is now working on jewelry with a message to help increase awareness for this autoimmune disease. I find it so poignant that once you decide to follow your passions, new paths open up for you that you didn't see before. As soon as she chose to focus on this new niche, her sales skyrocketed.

For those of you who are still trying to figure out your next step in life, here's a quote from Joseph Conrad:

"Follow Your Bliss and the Universe Will Open Doors Where There Were Only Walls.
And now to help you follow your own bliss, below is the original post with tips on discovering a new career path. Here's to your continued power and success!


My girlfriend recently gave up a job as a principal at a well-known design firm to start her own
jewelry business, and it made me start thinking about how we decide what we want to be when we grow up.

It used to be that you could graduate from high school, go to college and somehow have some semblance of what you wanted to do for the rest of your life. And then again, maybe this notion has always been a farce, since it seems like more and more baby boomers are experiencing mid-life career changes than ever before (including my own mother). So if parents and grandparents are struggling with their career choices, just how are young adults supposed to traverse their own rugged, winding trail of career options?

The truth is I got lost on some of the switchbacks in my own career trail. I thought I knew what I wanted to be when I grew up, but as it turned out, this kept changing. First, it was a singer. I tried that on for size, and it wasn't half bad. However, I felt like there was something more for me. What that "more" was I couldn't tell. Then, it was various roles in business that taught me even more about what I needed in a job. And this cycle kept repeating for quite some time, as I hopped from job to job trying to better define my "dream career."

It wasn't until my thirties that I felt I had enough clarity to really decide what I wanted for my life. The one thing that I can honestly say I did was follow my heart. As soon as something felt wrong, I started working on the next stage of the game. More than anything else, I think this was the truest measure of the direction I needed to take. But just how do you figure out what your heart wants? I put together a list of questions that I used to ask myself in case it could be of any help to others in the same quandary.

  • What do you enjoy about your current job?
  • What do you like to do in your spare time?
  • What are you good at?
  • In what areas do people ask you for advice (i.e. in what areas do others consider you to be an expert?)?
  • What do close friends and family see as your talents?
  • What do/did you dislike about current/previous jobs?
  • What are your life goals?

Regarding this last question, if you don't know what your life goals are, then, it's time to start thinking about them. Your life goals will define what you want to accomplish with your life, and may help you figure out what career could facilitate meeting all your expectations. Go to our website to get a free copy of our Dream Explorer E-Course , which will help you define your personal goals. Otherwise, you can just start making a list of things you want to do or accomplish during your lifetime.

August 14, 2009

Why Facebook Should Not Be Used to Air Out Your Dirty Laundry...

You've probably heard the warning already. If you are looking for a job, erase those crazy shots of you smoking a "j," throwing back sake bombs while looking completely wasted, dancing suggestively with any sort of underwear showing (or not), etc. However, if you already have a job, Facebook is not the place to vocalize your grievances about your place of employment.

Here is an unfortunate example of someone who didn't follow this sage advise. Many thanks and the Renegade Conservatory Guy for finding this eye-opening post. Don't say I didn't warn you!

August 8, 2009

Pink Slip Party!

I recently had the privilege of being a guest panelist on "Views from the Top" Radio hosted by Adrienne Graham. This program dedicates itself to looking at hard hitting issues affecting women in corporate positions and at the top of their game. Yesterday's show called "Pink Slip Party" was for individuals who had been laid off, fired or downsized, and there were lots of great tips on:

  • Handling your emotions after a lay-off
  • Next steps if you find yourself downsized
  • Secrets to getting jobs faster

If you have recently been laid off or are currently looking for a job, you really should check out the great tips and tricks we talked about. To listen to it now, just click on the player below. If you would like to listen to it later on your iPod or iPhone, you can download it from iTunes here. Enjoy!

August 6, 2009

Crazy Interview Processes...Are You Ready?

Being in the field of career success, you hear a lot of horror stories on bizarre interviews. Heck, I've been to my own fair share of strange interviews. Then, I read CNN's "Extreme Job Interviews" article. Now, I don't usually get surprised by interview stories, but a few of these left me with mouth agape.

This just goes to show that you need to be prepared to face anything...and I mean anything during the interview. Take a look at the CNN article here.

Happy Friday!

July 17, 2009

The Young Gordon Ramsey...Getting People Jobs?

What kind of Friday would it be without some laughs? I stumbled upon the funniest set of advertisements for the UK based website. Now, I realize this doesn't help any of you stateside, but at the very least it will brighten your day with some levity a la a young, foul-mouthed "Gordon Ramsey!"

Enjoy and have a great weekend.


Are you looking for a job? If you are located in the Los Angeles area, we invite you to Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy—a FREE Job Clinic. This is a 2 hour event where you'll get the inside scoop on incredibly effective job seeking tips. It will be hosted by myself, Rosemary Laack, and Shawna Lubs of Remarkable Résumés. You can learn more here or stay tuned for more information right at this blog.

July 16, 2009

How to be a Good Boss in Tough Times

As many of you already know, I travel the country providing training to corporate and government agencies on effective job search techniques, management, leadership and communication. In the past few months, I have been getting a lot more questions regarding how to manage employees after the company has reorganized or laid folks off. Clearly, this question is largely driven the state of economic affairs that we have right now, and unfortunately, many managers are finding themselves ill-prepared to cope with the ramifications.

One of the first concepts that I like to share with these clients is called the "toxic tandem." This is a phrase coined by Robert Sutton of the Stanford Graduate School of Engineering. The toxic tandem states that most managers work in a fog of ignorance about the needs and activities of their subordinates. This is largely due to the increased work load, as well as a desire to prove themselves worthy of their power. That's not to say that managers are completely at fault. It is just that their perspectives and priorities shift.

Conversely, that same manager's subordinates start to scrutinize and hyper-analyze everything that the manager does to determine what may happen in the organization. Employees are trying to understand and control their destiny by reading "tea leaves," if you will, simply because the manager is paying less attention to them. If you mix tough economic times and lay-offs with this "toxic tandem," you can see why many organizations are in a high state of anxiety.

I was so excited to find a video with Robert Sutton talking about this very phenomenon. He shares some theories and a four-part strategy on how to address this upheaval in the workplace. Happy viewing and learning!

Click to view here.

July 8, 2009

Body Language for Leadership or Employment

You've probably heard the adage that says it takes four minutes to create a good impression. Well, what if your body language is sabotaging your efforts to look assertive and commanding in either your current role or future career? In my corporate training classes, many are taken by surprise when I share that body language accounts for up to 55% of the communication package. Most people believe that a positive impression is generated by using the "right words." Unfortunately, words only account for 7% of all communication.

So whether you are interested in improving your success within your current organization or impressing prospective employers, it pays to understand what your own body language is saying. One of the easiest, low effort ways to see what you are doing is to stand in front of a mirror and practice your interview questions or an upcoming presentation. Another way is to tape yourself and then play back the tape on mute, so as to concentrate solely on your body language. You never know what you might communicating.

For more perspective, take a look at Seven Common Body Language Mistakes from Are you displaying any of these signs?

July 6, 2009

The Importance of Sending Thank You Letters

I hope everyone had a fantastic 4th of July weekend. Now, it's back to the grind. For many of you this includes finding a job in this tough market. Well, we've got you covered.

During our recent Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy seminar, our résumé expert, Shawna Lubs of Remarkable Resumes, talked about the importance of the thank you note. In case you missed this wonderful, FREE job clinic, we'll be holding another session on July 28, 2009 (more details coming soon). So without further ado, I'd like to offer this little video ditty on thank you notes to help your job search success!

You can learn more insider tips to make your thank you letters memorable at the "Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt" Job Clinic. Learn more about the clinic here or stay tuned for more information right at this blog.

July 1, 2009

Understanding Our Evolving Job Market

It's pretty safe to say that the future of the workplace is evolving significantly due, in part, to the ongoing recession. The days of a fat and happy career in one company (or even industry) are a thing of the past. To be successful in this changing work environment, you need to know where the winds are blowing. This will be especially helpful for those of you looking for employment right now, too.

In the CBS Moneywatch article "The New Job Market: Who Wins and Who Loses?," you will get a better idea of how the workplace is changing. It describes four main trends that you need be aware of:

  • Baby Boomers will delay retirement. We've already been seeing this happening as a result of a depressed stock market. However, this trend will continue as Boomers stay in their high-seniority jobs to make up losses in their portfolios. Furthermore, we'll see retired Boomers returning to the work force into low skill or pay jobs (i.e. those jobs more traditionally held by high school students).
  • Women will continue to ascend in the workplace. The last year of lay-offs have really hit male-dominated industries hard. According to the article, job growth will come from professions where the gender mix has been more balanced like health care, education natural sciences and services.
  • The Stimulus package will further drive changes in work force. Given the recent push for improvements in health care and environmental conservation, it should come as no surprise that these two industries will see significant growth. Government and natural science professions will also see a surge.
  • Long gone will be the days of generous wages and full-time work. According to Moneywatch, workers will see a 20% reduction in overall salaries for the next 20 years. Additionally, more and more people will go from full-time work to part time or freelance work.
Take a look at the full article here.

June 29, 2009

Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy

Do you ever wake up in the morning with a pit in your stomach only to have to face another day of endless job hunting? Is your financial situation causing you endless worry or shame? Are you feeling desperate and frustrated, because you aren’t getting phone calls or job offers from employers? Well, it’s time to turn that around.

If you are located in the Los Angeles area, we invite you to Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy—a FREE Job Clinic. This is a 2 hour event where you'll get the inside scoop on incredibly effective job seeking tips. Your hosts will be your truly, Rosemary Laack of Supernova Coaching Enterprises, and Shawna Lubs of Remarkable Résumés.

If you are unemployed or know someone who is, please let them know about this FREE event to help get employed quickly. Here are the particulars:

Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy -
A FREE Job Clinic
June 30, 2009
2:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Valley Economic Development Center (VEDC)
5121 Van Nuys Blvd., 3rd Floor
Van Nuys, CA

You can also click here for more information and driving directions. We look forward to seeing you there!

What to Wear to Your Interview

I often get asked what is considered appropriate attire for the job interview. The confusion comes from the fact that these days many companies employ a "business casual" or even casual policy in the workplace. The fear is that hiring managers and recruiters will think the candidate "too stuffy" or "not a fit" due to their dress. Nothing can be further from the truth.

In the CNN article "What Not to Wear to Work," Marianne Hancock from the PR firm Golin Harris says:

"Our office is pretty casual and is a creative setting, but an interviewee wouldn't know that coming in. I expect business attire, preferably a suit. I want the interviewee to look like they mean business and are mature enough to handle a fast-paced workplace."

So what are you to do if you don't know the company culture or the hiring manager's expectation? Here's an easy tip. Come dressed up in a full suit. For men this would include the tie. For women this could be a skirt or pants with a button up shirt and blazer or a tailored suit. Then, arrive 20-30 minutes early to the interview, but don't go in yet. Just watch what the employees wear from a safe vantage point. I would recommend the following:

  • If you notice employees are wearing mostly professional or "business casual" dress, (i.e. you are not seeing jeans) then, go in with the full suit.
  • If you see jeans, but worn in a polished, professional way as in jeans with blazers, nice vests, etc., then, men might opt to skip the tie for a more business casual look. I would still recommend that women go in with the full suit, but opt for more casual accessories like flats instead of heels, etc. You could also roll up your blazer's sleeves to your elbow or swap the blazer for a cardigan for a stylish, more laid back look.
  • If you see jeans, graphic t-shirts, sneakers, and any other extremely casual attire, then, both men and women can skip the blazers altogether. Men, you may decide to keep the tie unless you feel it will still be too "stuffy" looking. Women can add fun accessories to their pants/skirts and button-up shirts like scarfs, funky jewelry or shoes.
Keep in mind that dark colored suits or separates are more conservative than light colors. Bottom line: You will need to plan ahead and have some "quick swap" items in your bag or car, so that you can better match the company's culture. In the end, it really doesn't hurt to be overdressed. However, it can really hurt you if you underdress, so I leave you with the following thought from Ms. Hancock.

"If [you] don't wear the best business attire to an interview, it makes me wonder if [you] really want the job. It is hard to take someone seriously wearing flip flops, a butterfly sweater set and a white puffy skirt."

I couldn't agree more.


If you are located in the Los Angeles area, we invite you to Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy—a FREE Job Clinic. This is a 2 hour event where you'll get the inside scoop on incredibly effective job seeking tips. It will be hosted by myself, Rosemary Laack, and Shawna Lubs of Remarkable Résumés. You can learn more here or stay tuned for more information right at this blog.

June 25, 2009

Cover Letters...To Do or Not to Do? That is the Question.

Ah, the controversial cover letter. I have had many heated discussions with recruiters and hiring managers on the various virtues and superfluities of this job search fundamental. It doesn't take long for a debate to arise as to whether a cover letter is needed or not.

My experience is that cover letters were more likely to see the circular file than to be read by a potential manager. One of the problems is that you have stacks and stacks of résumés to sort through, and not much time. Therefore, the cover letter is tossed aside in order to get to the real "meat and potatoes" of the candidate via the résumé.

Another issue is that cover letters are often "form letters." In other words, many of the letters I did read sounded too formulaic like the candidate simply cut and pasted the new address onto the same letter. David Silverman from Harvard Business Publishing humorously categorizes cover letters into three groups:

The recap: The résumé in prose form. It's redundant, harder to read than the résumé, and provides no additional insight.

The form letter: This says, essentially, "Dear Sir or Madam: I saw your ad in the paper and thought you might like me." And it's clearly a form letter where maybe they got my name and company right. If they're lucky, I will still take the time to read their résumé after being insulted with a form letter.

The "I'm crazy": This one's rare, and it expands on the résumé of experience with some personal insights. Examples range from the merely batty ("I find batik as an art form has taught me to become both a better person and project manager.") to the truly terrifying ("I cast a pentagram hex and the central line pointed towards your job listing. I know you will find this as comforting as I do.")

So, I'm sure it will come as no surprise that I do not advocate writing formal cover letters (even via e-mail). As a guideline, however, I agree with Mr. Silverman that there are three instances when a cover letter would be prudent:
  1. When you know the name of the person hiring.
  2. When you know something specific about the job requirement (i.e. certifications, contacts, specific software, etc., for which you are qualified).
  3. When you have been personally referred.
Other than these three instances, you should keep your introductory letters extremely short and sweet. To read the full article from David Silverman and to see his recommended cover letter sample, click here.


If you are located in the Los Angeles area, we invite you to Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy—a FREE Job Clinic. This is a 2 hour event where you'll get the inside scoop on incredibly effective job seeking tips. It will be hosted by myself, Rosemary Laack, and Shawna Lubs of Remarkable Résumés. You can learn more here or stay tuned for more information right at this blog.

June 24, 2009

Recruiters Biggest Pet Peeves About Job Seekers

Last week was an interesting one in the news. Rumors of an economic turnaround and news of fewer layoffs sent everyone jumping off the walls of joviality. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that even though there may be "signs" of a turnaround, we still need to get people employed again. After all, we are still at an alarming rate nationally of almost 10% (9.4%). My own state of California is at 11.5% unemployment. Only when we can help the unemployed find jobs and improve their financial situations will a true recovery happen.

That being said, here is a good article from Yahoo! Jobs on the biggest pet peeves that recruiters have about job hunters. To summarize, here are the top five as cited in the article:

  1. Candidates who see themselves as perfect.
  2. Clueless or uninformed candidates.
  3. Poorly written cover letters, which they refer to as "short-cut introductions."
  4. Failure to link experience to the job.
  5. Job seekers who do mass distribution or general résumés.
To see the full article, click here.

Having hired and recruited potential employees myself, I can definitely underscore the importance of these items. Here's another way to look at this. Numbers 3 and 5 will help your résumé from being screened out before you can even get in the door, while numbers 1, 2, and 4 are imperative for nailing the interview. We hope these tips help you improve your job searches and get a job faster.


If you are located in the Los Angeles area, we invite you to Secrets to a Successful Job Hunt in ANY Economy. This is a 2 hour job clinic where you'll get the inside scoop on incredibly effective job seeking tips. It will be hosted by myself, Rosemary Laack, and Shawna Lubs of Remarkable Résumés. You can learn more here or stay tuned for more information right at this blog.

June 23, 2009

Recession Turns Many Laid Off Workers into Entrepreneurs

This is a really inspiring story about a stay-at-home mom and how she turned her expertise into a thriving six-figure salary business. Read the full article here.

There are a few great lessons to gather from this story:

1.) Take what you know well and start talking to your network. You never know how you can monetize your hobbies, interests and knowledge into something lucrative until you start brainstorming and "getting out there."

2.) It doesn't have to be perfect, big or fancy. This stay-at-home mom was doing what many start-ups do. She was working from a home with no frills and eventually her work garnered the attention of some high profile companies.

As a career coach, some of my clients have dreams of going into business for themselves. However, they feel as if they don't have the fancy letterhead, business cards, etc. that make them look important. The truth is that many entrepreneurs didn't have this either. They just "faked it until they made it" on their know-how. So, take a gander at this inspiring story and if you are unemployed, perhaps this will give you some other ideas to take your future in your own hands.

April 16, 2009

Craigslist as a Poor Recruiting Tool

I found this posting and thought I would share. What are your thoughts and experiences with craigslist from a candidate point of view?

Craigslist has built a reputation as a great resource of free and low-cost classifieds online, especially among company recruiters operating with limited budgets.

But as the years pass, it has become clear that relying on Craigslist to fill local job openings may require more time and money than its reputation suggests. In fact, in many cases, using a traditional job board is a more cost and time-effective strategy than posting on Craigslist. Read more by following this link: craigslist as a poor recruiting tool

Posted using ShareThis

March 16, 2009

Resume & Interview Blunders to Avoid

Here's a great video with testimonials from recruiters on things to avoid when developing your resume or preparing for the interview. It's short. It's sweet. It's a "must see," in my opinion. So take 4 minutes to increase your odds at job search success!

If the link on the video does not work, click here.

February 25, 2009

The Skills Employers Are Looking For...

I often use this quote when I speak around the country to describe what employers are expecting of new hires at this time.

“A generation ago in the U.S., the assumption was that as long as employers had bodies, they would train them. Now, the assumption is that employers shouldn’t have to train or develop anybody. [They] should be able to hire people who are ready to walk in the door today and contribute exactly what needs to be done.”
—Peter Cappelli, Professor of Management
Wharton School of Business
So what skills are employers expecting you to walk in the door with today? According to an article by Larry Buhl for HotJobs, there are six soft skills that are highly desirable. Here they are:
  1. Leadership/Team Building
  2. Team Player
  3. Goal-oriented Self Starter
  4. Excellent Communicator
  5. Flexibility or Multi-tasking Ability
  6. Sense of Humor
The article goes on to say that your innate gifts and talents are what get you in the door, but your ability to demonstrate these skills is what lands you the job. Given the conversations I've had with HR Personnel and recruiters, this seems to be the hiring trend. So make sure your résumé sings with the value you can provide. Additionally, you will need to have interview answers that display some of the aforementioned soft skills. Keep in mind that no one expects you to be Superman or Superwomen and have all the skills on this list. Just focus on demonstrating 2-3 of these and you should be in good shape.

To read the full article mentioned above, click here.

February 24, 2009

How Many Pages Should My Résumé Be?

One of the most common questions I hear from clients or audiences around the country has to do with résumé length. The reality is that recruiters and HR personnel want to see your value described in the most brief way possible. Most of the time, a one-page résumé will fit the bill. So when is a two-page résumé acceptable? Here are some guidelines:

1.) If you have significant high-profile or high-impact experience that you want to feature. In this case, age does not matter. Let's say you are about to graduate from grad school, and you've had internships at the White House, a high profile law firm, a stint in the Peace Corps, a few normal jobs and you were an officer in a fraternity/sorority. You may need two-pages if the skills and expertise garnered from these experiences is significant, which is hopefully the case.

2.) You have many years of work experience. Seasoned veterans who have been in the work force for 15 or more years will likely run into this. The key here is that we don't necessarily want to read 10 bullet points about every single job you've had since you graduated from college/high school. Additionally, the expectation is that you will not exceed two pages.

3.) You are pursuing an executive position at a company. While I've been going on and on about how recruiters expect the most brief résumés possible, here is the exception to the rule. When applying for executive positions at companies (i.e. VP and up), the unspoken rule is that you should have at least two pages of experience if not more. While I've seen up to six-page résumés for senior officers, you generally want to stay at around 3 pages.
If you do decide to write a two-page résumé, make sure your second page is at least half full. If you can't fill half of the second page, then look for ways of compressing bullet points, removing extraneous information or reducing fonts/margins (while keeping your résumé readable & attractive!) to make it one page. As always, good luck and happy hunting!

February 20, 2009

Getting Caught Job Searching by the Boss...OUCH!

I was talking to a client recently (Let's call her Anne.) about her fear of losing her current position. If you're feeling really nervous about your job due to the economic meltdown, then, it's time to be pro-active and start looking. You just can't put a price tag on mental and emotional health. 

Well, that's just what Anne did. She posted her résumé on every major job site. That's when she got called into a meeting with her boss (Let's call him Bob.). Bob had found her résumé and wanted to understand why she was looking for another job. What would you say in this situation? 

I would recommend using a line like the following (modified to fit your style, of course):

"Bob, the reality is that I'm uncertain about the future of this company or my job given the current economic environment. This is not personal. I was just trying to make sure that I was ahead of the game, in case anything drastic and unforeseen were to happen."

Luckily, Anne and I had already discussed this possibility, so she was ready for Bob's question. Nine out of ten times, your boss is going to be completely understanding given the context. I know some people think that posting your résumé all over the place could get you fired, but the reality is that most states are "at-will" states. This means they can fire you for good cause, bad cause or no cause at all. That said, most employers wouldn't fire you for trying to remain employed in a crisis state, and neither did Bob. And now, Anne has a little more peace of mind. Priceless.

February 18, 2009

Does the Job Search Have You Feeling Shy? (Part 2)

I recently posted about how introverts could succeed in the job search, despite potential hang-ups with networking and interviewing. However, I forgot to forward the information for a great book on the subject. Here it is.

The Successful Introvert: How to Enhance Your Job Search and Advance Your Career The purpose of this book is to present strategies used by successful people - including numerous celebrities - in managing their introversion or shyness while becoming successful in professional endeavors. If you've ever felt that your personality was getting in the way of achieving your goals, if you've ever felt there was a gap separating you from most other people, this book will open up new possibilities. You don't have to undergo a personality makeover to be successful in your job search and career. Learn to understand, appreciate, and celebrate your unique strengths.

February 16, 2009

Does the Job Search Have You Feeling Shy?

The job search process is one of those rare things that rewards its participants for being outgoing, well-spoken and downright gregarious. But what if you're one of the 50.8%* that are natural introverts and would rather hole yourselves in a dark cave a la Thoreau than to face the networking throngs? How do you succeed then?

According to a recent Fortune Magazine article by Anne Fisher, introverts can leverage several of their strengths to nab the job. There is some really sound advice here, with which I fully agree. So introverts, take heart and learn some strategies that will help you improve your job search chances!

Read the full article here.

* Fisher, A. Fortune Magazine, Job Hunting for Introverts, Feb. 2009

February 13, 2009

Growing Your Potential as a Team Builder & Leader - The Barack Obama Way

I spend a lot of time on the road coaching and training clients great and small, and one of the biggest issues that affects them is how to make their teams (in both career and college) more productive and motivated. As they say, it usually starts at the top with effective management and leadership of those teams. So, what does that looks like?

Well, much has been written about the man, the myth, the (already) legend: Barack Obama. So it may come as no surprise that an examination of his communication and leadership tactics has been compiled by Harvard Business. Take a gander at what makes him successful in leading teams, reaching across the aisle and winning support for his ideas.

Read How to Communicate like Barack Obama here.

February 11, 2009

Three of the Trickiest Interview Questions

If you have done more than a few interviews in your life thus far, then you've probably had one of these three tricky interview questions thrown at you. Here they are:

1.) Why should I hire you?
2.) What makes you special over any other candidate?
3.) Tell me about yourself?

The most difficult of these is usually the last one, because it is so nebulous. However, if you'll notice, they're all asking pretty much the same thing.

Translation: Give me some skills and experience that will make me think you'll add value to the organization.

You need to think about crafting your answer to discuss your background and strengths in a way that brings a benefit to the organization. The most common mistakes people make when answering these is 1.) Not knowing what the organization is looking for and 2.) not sticking to strengths and work experience.

As I'm sure you've heard before, you'll need to do some research on the company and the desired position, and know how you can bring positive to all parties. This involves not just external Google searches, but also your own internal assessment of your strengths and talents. You can avoid the second mistake by remembering that employers want to know "what's in it for them" if they hire you. While stories of your family and youth may help them get you know you better, it is not what they're looking for. So keep it professional and work experience based, and you'll be that much closer to landing your next job.

February 10, 2009

How to Present Yourself at a Career Fair

Career fairs are becoming more popular for obvious reasons. So how should you present yourself at one? What are some no-no's to keep in mind. Watch the great video below from the wonderful folks at to learn more.

February 4, 2009

A Great Interview Question to Try

I happened to stumble across a great question to ask at the end of the job interview and wanted to share. It's from John Rice, founder & CEO of MLT--an organization that develops minority talent for MBA programs.

Here it is:

"One question that can help you demonstrate that you are thinking about the firm/job in a way that suggests you are a strong candidate is:

'From your perspective, what are the top performers in the job we are discussing at your firm doing to distinguish themselves from everyone else?' "
Not only does this question help you understand what skills the company finds valuable, but it shows that you are interested in being a top performer. The only changes I'd make are to give the interviewer a specific number of items, and to target the question so that you are getting at the soft skills they want. The idea is to get to the core of what's truly valued in the company. Here's the edit:

"From your perspective, what are 2-3 things that top performers in this job are doing to distinguish themselves from everyone else? Specifically, what are they doing differently to build key relationships, fit in with the culture and support key company objectives?"

You can read the full article from Mr. Rice here. Until next time, good luck and happy hunting!

February 3, 2009

Are Women Better Positioned for Success in These Hard Times?

A recent New York Times article contends that "men base their sense of self on the maxim that ‘I have worth because of what I do.’" As a result, these tough economic times in which there are mass layoffs have taken their psychological toll on men. In fact, there has been a marked increase among men in the treatment of anxiety disorders and depression as a result of the crisis.

On the flipside, women have been more resilient through the downturns. Research suggests that this is because women base their self worth more on other values like relationships rather than what they do as a career. You might think this is a great thing on the surface. However, the article goes on to say the following:

"YET while men may appear to reel more socially and psychologically from job loss, they fare far better when it comes to re-employment.

In a 2002 study, two sociology professors at Wichita State University, Charles S. Koeber and David W. Wright, found that women who were laid off and went on to look for another job were re-employed less often than men in the same position. This was especially the case if the women were married, had previously held a part-time job or had worked in something other than a highly skilled, white-collar job.

The implication, Professor Koeber says, is that women have more of a burden than men to show their commitment to a job after a layoff."
To be honest, I was completely annoyed with the sobering reality proposed by these research findings. Despite our ability to better handle the stress of the working world and build relationships, women still face an uphill battle in getting re-employed. This is particularly scary for married women. So just how do we prove our value and commitment to potential employers? More on this soon. In the meantime, I'd like to hear any opinions related to this article.

February 2, 2009

Why Michael Phelps' Apology Is Completely Meaningless

I've decided to take a break today from career mania to talk about another of my pet topics - media manipulation. Being in the midst of Hollywood and corporate marketers alike gives me a unique vantage point by which to observe the "media machine," as I like to call it. By now, you've probably heard all about Michael Phelps' intimate relations with Mary Jane. And if you haven't, you can read about Michael in all his wacky weed glory here.

But that's not the interesting part. Instead, think about how many stars and athletes give public apologies related to their "questionable behavior." Are they apologizing, because they are sincerely saddened about how their actions have affected your world? Do they truly hope that today's youth won't follow in their footsteps? Or is there something else behind this? Let's look at Michael's apology:

"I engaged in behavior which was regrettable and demonstrated bad judgment. I'm 23 years old and despite the successes I've had in the pool, I acted in a youthful and inappropriate way, not in a manner people have come to expect from me. For this, I am sorry. I promise my fans and the public it will not happen again."
Here's my interpretation of what this is saying

"Oh, crap! I was caught smoking marijuana at a college party (of all things), and now I may not be able to participate in the 2012 Olympics due to their 4-year drug ban. Oh, and all my big, fat endorsements are in jeopardy. S***!!!! Next time I smoke, I'll make sure all cameras and cell phones are checked by my body guard."
As much as I'd love to think that Phelps is altruistic beyond compare and is trying to make sure today's youth is influenced in a positive way, let's face it. The guy has endorsements worth over $100 MILLION! His ability to compete in the next Olympics is at stake, which could be his death knell. Why? Because winning more medals is what will keep giving him more endorsements. This is the quintessential cycle of the media machine.

In an interesting full disclosure, News of the World magazine (which broke the original photo) shared the following about Phelps' PR aides. "Phelps is represented by marketing giant Octagon, which works with huge brands such as Mastercard and HSBC. They admitted proven cannabis use would be “a major taint” on Phelps’ character. Spokesman Clifford Bloxham offered us an extraordinary deal not to publish our story, saying Phelps would become our columnist for three years, host events and get his sponsors to advertise with us. In return, he asked that we kill Phelps’ bong picture."

So next time you are in the cereal aisle at the grocery store and you see that box of Wheaties, think of poor Michael. And then keep walking and think about how you can earn $100M for yourself!

January 31, 2009

1 Thing You Can Do Today to Improve Your Résumé

I know there are a lot lists saying "10 things you must have on your résumé," etc. But I find in this time-starved environment, that we don't really have time to focus on all of these. Sometimes, it is just a little easier to focus on one thing a day or per week. That way, you don't get overwhelmed by the process. As if there's not enough to worry about already.

So, if you could only do one thing this week to improve your résumé, I would recommend that it be this:

Make Your Résumé More Reader Friendly:
  1. Remove Any "References" From Your Résumé. This includes the line, "References available upon request." This will give you more room to beef up your accomplishments. These days, references are listed on a separate sheet and submitted only when specifically asked.
  2. Boost the Reader-Friendliness of Your Résumé. No recruiter wants to read your résumé with a magnifying glass. Therefore, make sure you are using a font size between 10 - 12 points. If you go any larger than 12 points, you risk the perception that you lack experience and need to use "filler tactics" to appear credible. The only exception to the font size rule is your name. Make your name as big as possible without sacrificing too much space. Somewhere between 14 - 18 points (depending on the font) should suffice. Also, having your name be more prominent conveys confidence.
  3. Balance the White Space. Most word processing programs default to a margin size of 1.25 inches. This is usually problematic during the résumé-writing process, because you are trying to fit in as much experience as possible onto as few pages as possible. My recommendation is to reduce the margins to between 0.5 - 1.o inch on all sides. Again, any larger and you risk the "filler tactics" perception.
  4. Use Bullet Points. I won't belabor this point, as you've probably heard it before. Yet, every once in a while, I'll see a résumé come through with paragraph style. Submitting your résumé in paragraph style is one of the most sure-fire ways to get it thrown in the trash. Enough said.
Spending 30 - 60 minutes improving the readability of your résumé can translate to more job offers. And in this economy, who wouldn't want that. One last thing...when you are done finessing your résumé, send it to your friends or family using different e-mail reader programs (i.e. Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo!, etc.). This assures that all of your changes and improvements will be transferred correctly when you e-mail your résumé to recruiters/employers. Until next time, happy hunting!

January 29, 2009

Are You Thinking About Working at Home? Companies Hiring Now!

Ah, the life. Never get out of your pajamas while you rake in the dough! I can't tell you how many questions I get through my coaching about potential work-at-home opportunities. The reality is that some of them are just scammers trying to get your information or money. There are, however, some truly legitimate companies out there with real needs and positions. 

According to Yahoo! HotJobs, there are companies currently looking for help from remote workers. Here are the top 10 companies hiring right now:
  1. Alpine Access
  3. Sylvan Online
  4. National Shopping Service
  5. oDesk
  6. Working Solutions
  7. Language Lab
  8. 1-800-FLOWERS
  9. Aetna
  10. Elance
To learn more about these companies and the positions they are hiring for, read the full article here

January 27, 2009

If You're Thinking About Freelancing or Entrepreneurship...

Here is a wonderful video excerpt from The New York Times Small Business Summit featuring Stonyfield Farms CEO Gary Hirshberg. In this video Mr. Hirshberg provides his 4 essential pieces for success. The video is targeted at existing entrepreneurs, but the advice is worth hearing if you are thinking about striking out on your own in any capacity (now or in the future). To view the video, click here.

January 26, 2009

Need to Find a Job in Less Time?

Given that yesterday's post was all about figuring out the average time it will take you to find a job. I thought it only fitting to you give you a great article on how to speed up that process. It comes to us from the WSJ.

There is some sage advice in this article that I hope significantly helps those who are unemployed, and also those who are getting ready to hit the work force. Enjoy!

Speeding Up the Process for Finding a New Position If you find yourself suddenly unemployed or if you were laid off months ago, it's probably no surprise to hear that it could be several months before you're gainfully employed again. According to employment experts, these days it can take six months to find a job after a layoff. Here's how to manage an extended job search. Read the rest of the article here.

How Long Will It Take You to Find a Job in Today's Market?

If you're one of the unemployed (or underemployed), then, you're probably wondering how long it will take you to find a job. There is an industry formula that provides a ball park on the average job search. It goes as follows:

It will take the average job seeker 1 month for every $10K of income they want to earn.

So in other words, if you are shooting for a $50,000 job, it will take you roughly five months to gain employment at that salary level. This, of course, does not assume that the job is a perfect fit and that it meets all your other employment criteria. Also, keep in mind that there may be a margin of error of +/- one month depending on your local market, job position saturation, etc.

What if you don't have however many months you come up with available to wait? You might look at contract or freelance work in the meantime. Not only will this give you some income, but it will open new networks and give you additional references for your résumé. More on this soon!

January 23, 2009

Are We in a Recession or Depression?: The Economy Clarified

Are we in a recession or depression? Do you feel like you still don't understand everything that is going on in today's economy? With melancholy stories about foreclosures, bank closures, job losses and more hitting our news waves every day, it leaves one's head spinning and begging the question, "What caused this?"

If you'd like to get a grasp on this question, here are two shows that are absolutely superb in clarifying the situation in an easy to understand way. Both shows are broadcasts from This American Life.

The Giant Pool of Money. A special program about the housing crisis produced in a special collaboration with NPR News. We explain it all to you. What does the housing crisis have to do with the turmoil on Wall Street? Why did banks make half-million dollar loans to people without jobs or income? And why is everyone talking so much about the 1930s? It all comes back to the Giant Pool of Money. Listen to this program here.

Another Frightening Show About the Economy. Alex Blumberg and NPR's Adam Davidson—the two guys who reported our "Giant Pool of Money" episode—are back, in collaboration with the Planet Money podcast. They'll explain what happened to banks in the last quarter of 2008, including what regulators could've done to prevent this financial crisis from happening in the first place. Listen to this program here.

January 21, 2009

1 Thing You Can Do Today to Improve Your Résumé

If you could only do one thing this week to improve your résumé, I would recommend that it be the following:

Make Sure Your "Objective Statement" Speaks to WIIFM. In a survey, 71% of employers wanted a résumé that felt tailored to the open position. The Objective Statement is one of the easiest ways to do that - as long as it is WIIFM focused. Now, if you have no idea what WIIFM is, then you should read this post. Otherwise, here's an "Objective Statement" I recently read that really stood out. You can use it as a guide to help construct yours.

"Objective: To provide strong analytical skills and proven management experience to your company in the capacity of Financial Analyst."

What I like about this statement is that it is short, to-the-point, and clearly provides the hiring manager with an idea of what benefits this person can bring to the table. Remember, it is all about conveying WIIFM.

January 19, 2009

Important Career Lessons from a Banking Industry CEO Survivor

We've all heard the stories about the state of banking industry, and how many brand-name banks met (or are continuing to meet) their demise. However, even in the midst of one the greatest banking debacles of all time, there are important lessons to be learned. This time the lessons come from the C.E.O of JPMorganChase, Jamie Dimon.

Some in the media have showered praise on the dynamic Dimon for his straight-talking management style that guided the company relatively unscathed through last year’s financial crisis. All of us could learn a few things from his style and wisdom to help our career, leadership success and potential employability.

You can access the article here. Enjoy!

January 16, 2009

Get Your Résumé Critiqued for FREE!

One of my passions is helping students and adults improve their job hunt chances by coaching them on their résumé and interviewing skills. Having spent over 15 years working for Fortune 500 companies and recruiting both college students and professionals, I've learned a lot about what works and what doesn't. In fact, I travel the country speaking on this topic. Now, I want to share this knowledge with you!

In an effort to help our readers get the best opportunities possible, I have decided to take real life résumés and offer feedback to make them even more spectacular! So, every month we'll be featuring one résumé submitted by you, our readers. The selected résumé will receive critiques on aesthetics & style as well as content. All personal information (i.e. your name, address, numbers, etc.) will be obscured for security purposes.

If you are interested in submitting your résumé, here's what you need to do:

1.) Make sure your résumé is in a Word format.

2.) Send your Word formatted résumé via e-mail using the link below my picture on the left hand side. It's the one that says, "
Get Your Résumé Reviewed FREE"

3.) Put the words "Résumé Review" is in the subject line, or my spam controllers may trash your résumé.

I'll pick one résumé each month that can offer the most amount of learning for our readers, as well as for the original author. I apologize in advance, but I will not be able to provide critiques for every résumé submitted. The critiques will be posted the first week of every month starting in February. I really hope you find this program helpful in your job quests.

January 14, 2009

Time for a Résumé Overhaul?

In our last post, we talked about a light at the end of the unemployment tunnel, and we gave you information on 13 companies that are hiring people right now. However, this list means nothing if you don't have a résumé that effectively translates your work experience into some "WIIFM" for the employer. "What is WIIFM," you ask? It is the critical question that every employer asks when scanning for potential candidates: "What's In It For Me?"

The WIIFM Check - Try this little litmus test to see if you have successfully conveyed how you can bring value to an employer on your résumé.
  1. Give your current résumé or C.V. to 3 of your most honest friends or relatives.
  2. Give them 10 seconds (Yes, I said seconds!) to review the résumé. Don't cheat! Give them only 10 seconds.
  3. After they have reviewed your résumé ask the following questions:
- What 3 things did you take away from my résumé?
- Was it easy to read?
- Would you hire me based on what you saw?

If the responses to the questions above are not what you had hoped, maybe it's time to overhaul your résumé. In upcoming posts, we'll discuss some ways to make your résumé stand out from the overwhelming stack on most H.R. managers' desks. Until next time, happy hunting!!

January 12, 2009

A Light at the End of the Unemployment Tunnel?

With approximately 13.5% of the U.S. labor force either unemployed (7.2%) or underemployed (6.3%), it is an understatement to say that times are a little tough. Several dear friends of mine have either lost their jobs in this tumultuous time or are getting ready to graduate with fears of their employment prospects. Add to this the workers that fear possibly losing their jobs and the picture ain't too pretty.

However, before we sink into the doldrums of economic distress, let's focus on some positive news. Even in this economy, there are companies that are still aggressively hiring. The key is to 1.) know who they are and 2.) have a top-notch résumé.

Here is the key to the first item: 13 Companies Hiring This Year

Later this week, we'll feature tips and tricks to get your résumé up to snuff. We'll also feature companies on the hiring list and talk in more detail about what they're looking for. Until next time, happy hunting!