Are You Telling People You Are Desperate?

Does Your Resume and Profile Cry Desperation?

I see many resumes and especially on-line profiles crying out in desperation for someone to help. These people need a job and it just isn’t happening, but the problem is they are more interested in someone helping them versus their helping themselves. If you want someone to help; you must give them something so they can help!

Think of the movie, “Jerry Maguire”, with Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding, Jr. The part where the Cruise character says to the Gooding character, “You want me to help you, then help me help you!” The Gooding character wants a new football contract but is so caught up in himself, he doesn’t bring anything to the table for the Cruise character to use as justification for the new contract.

The people you reach out to must be able to connect the dots between you and the opportunities they see. Simply saying you need a job only tells a story of desperation. Telling your connections the skills you have to offer and how you have applied those skills gives your connections the information they need to work with on your behalf.

What Did You Do in the War Daddy?

In 1966 a movie came out titled “What Did You Do in the War Daddy?”, it was a comedy with James Coburn.

The title makes me think back to my time in the Air Force. The Air Force how exciting! When my kids would ask me about what I did they would have these visions of my piloting an airplane, flying high over enemy territory (I was in during Vietnam), being in a dogfight, etc. All exciting visuals from what they have seen on TV and with my younger kids what they see in video games. Was it that exciting for me? Nope, but my answer has always been I flew a desk. My answer was in jest, but the simple statement “I flew” would resonate and fortunately they didn’t picture a flying desk.

Today I reflect on the movie title much differently; I do it relative to what people put in their resumes and profiles and when I read I’m looking for the answer to the question: What did you do in your previous life? If the resume or profile cannot quickly tell me; I lose interest and move to the next always looking for the resume or profile which answers this question.

My question to you is: What Did You Do in the War or, in this case, Your Previous Life?

Is Your Resume or Profile Telling Your Story?

Recruiters and hiring managers want to read and then ideally hear what you have accomplished! They don’t want to simply read about your skills, they want to know how you put those skills to work. They want to know how those skills benefited you and the companies where you worked.

My story: I enjoy researching and analyzing information. On one engagement the client had a vendor support agreement for their computer equipment. One day I decided to review the charges and found they were being over charged hundreds of dollars each month. Additionally I was able to go back and challenge charges over the life of the agreement recovering over 12% of their total billings.

When you can relate your skills to a story of how you used those skills it drives home the point and the value. I’ve referred in other posts to the old adage facts tell and stories sell. You can tell your resume and profile readers all day about your skills but until you demonstrate how you use those skills; the message does not stick and you want stickiness.

Apply the KFC Approach to Your Resume and Profile

Nicholas Boothman in his book, “How to Connect in Business in 90 Seconds or Less”, he presents the KFC concept.

  1. K= Know what you want;
  2. F = Find out what you are getting; and
  3. C = Change what you are doing until you get what you want!

This is a very simple concept but one few people use, especially when it comes to their career.

Your Stories Will Set You Apart from Your Competition

In light of what Boothman says with the KFC approach, look at your career. Can you pass his test and answer each of those statements? If not, it is time to reassess your situation. If you have answers you can put the KFC approach to use in your career and change what you are doing so you will get what you want!

First know what you want for the next phase in your career and the relevant skills necessary to succeed. Identify how your skills match and write a story for each skill.

Do you want to make a difference in how your resume or on-line profile is received? Tell stories describing how you have put your skills, your education, your intuition or your experience to work and made a difference. It will matter!

Don’t just tell what you can do, show what you have done!

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My name is Tom Staskiewicz and my goal is to help everyone do a little better, get a little further and reach the success they are destined to achieve! Whatever I can do to help you or anyone to move forward in reaching your goals; I’m all for it.

Check out our career site at http://toyourcareersuccess.com and sign up for our newsletter of career tips and ideas for job seekers, small and medium business owners, self-employed individuals, contractors, consultants or whatever; anyone wanting to move their career forward!

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Job Seekers – Is a Professionally Written Resume for You?

Professional Resumes

I had two LinkedIn group members comment about professionally written resumes. The first was an advocate and said that she has received interviews since having it rewritten. The problem is she had it rewritten in 2008 and is still looking. The second said that she spent a boat load of money and it got her nowhere.

My experience is similar to the second individual; the professional resume brought me nothing. The problems that I see with professional resume writers is that most write to impress the person paying the fee, rather than the person that will be reading the resume.

No One Knows Your Skills as Well as You Do!

The truth is that no one knows your skills as well as you do and although your resume writing skills may be lacking; working with someone that will HELP you craft your resume is much more effective. The place where most fail is in self-promotion. We are not very good at tooting our own horn. You need to get the reader’s attention and leave them wanting to know more.

It Is Who Knows You that Counts

The point where I differ with Denise is it is not who you know, but who knows you! What are you doing to get your information out? How are you educating the people that you come in contact with and do you leave them with the ability and desire to promote you to their contacts?

You want the people that you talk with to want to present you to others because they feel they will be helping that third person solve a problem and make themselves look good at the same time.

Job Seekers – Are You Sabotaging Your Job Search?

Do We Sabotage Our Own Job Search?

Speaking for myself, I know the answer is yes. We may not mean to do it but many times we subconsciously sabotage our own success. You may wonder how we do that and here are my thoughts.

We allow self doubt to creep into our minds. We tell ourselves that maybe we are not good enough or the right person for the job. When we have those thoughts, whether we are conscious of them or not, they will affect our product; whether the product is a resume, cover letter, or ourselves during an interview.

Where Does Our Sabotage Come From?

We may have our own self doubts as described above. We may have doubts placed by others; e.g. former employers and co-workers, friends and family, society in general, even our spouse or significant other can plant these thoughts.

When we allow these things to creep into our mind our confidence takes a hit and it shows. We second guess the things that we do or want to say; which results in hesitancy and does not inspire the person with whom we are talking. They can sense our hesitancy and regardless of how things have gone to that point, this becomes their most recent perspective.

What Kind of Sabotage Do We Perpetrate?

Maybe we feel that we are not worthy of the opportunity. Maybe we feel that we have not earned or do not deserve the salary, title, or benefits. Maybe we have a lingering doubt from a previous work experience. Maybe we were fired and somewhere in the back of our minds we feel it was justified.

There are many, many different things we can do to harm our prospects and we must be aware of them, so that we can prevent the harm they can do.

What Do We Do to Prevent Sabotage?

One of the first things we must do is stop beating ourselves up and even more importantly stop allowing others to beat us up! As long as we allow these things to happen we cannot move past what is holding us back. We must be proactive on our own behalf.

Take some time, when you are not preparing a product, and think about those things you or others say about you and write them down. Then look at the list and say to yourself; “Realistically are these things true; am I really like that or do I really do that?” The honest answer may be yes and if it is you must learn how to change that behavior and how to mitigate its impact on your job prospects.

That idea of change will be tough, because most of us do not like to change and we will, in fact, do everything we can to fight the change. However, change we must; take on the battle and make the change. Your ability to change will set you apart, because 90% of people are unable to make changes; they would simply rather stay in their situation and complain.

Another thing we can, and should, do is keep our own little notebook or diary of our accomplishments. In fact, you should always have it with you so you can record those special things you do and the results of your efforts. You should be writing in this book at least two or three times per week about the things inside and outside of work that you have accomplished.

When you or others are getting down on you, pull out this little book and start reading about the things you have done and accomplished. This little brag book can serve many purposes.

  1. To build you up when you or others are down on you.
  2. To provide you with ideas for your resume or on-line profile when you need to demonstrate what you have accomplished.
  3. To review just prior to going into your interview so that you have a positive feeling about yourself.
  4. To review just prior to going for your annual or semi-annual performance review.
  5. To serve as a reminder when your boss is preparing for your review and asks you to list some of your accomplishments over the past year. (Yes, the boss should know, but more often than not, they do not remember key accomplishments. Help them out, do not lament that they do not remember. Show them that you care.)

So my questions to you are;

  1. What are you doing to yourself?
  2. How are you or others beating you up?
  3. What are you doing to stop the beatings?
  4. What work have you undertaken to solve the problem?

If you need help find a Career Coach that will address issues honestly with you. Find someone that will be your Accountability Coach and engage that person to help you.

Summer Jobs – Are You Ready

A Little Ground Work Is Important

Are you hoping to get a summer job? What steps are you taking to make that happen?

Getting a summer, job in today’s job market, is not as simple as walking up, getting an application, filling it out, and getting hired. You must be prepared by doing the groundwork and your homework.

Here are some basic steps:

  1. Clean up your Social Networking sites.
  2. Identify your target work location.
  3. Will they be hiring this summer?
  4. When will they be hiring?
  5. How many do they plan to hire?
  6. What Is the Projected Start Date?
  7. What Is the Projected End Date?
  8. When will they be accepting applications?
  9. What is the application process?
  10. Do you need a resume?
  11. After the application process what comes next?
  12. Who is the hiring manager?
  13. What do they look for in an employee?
  14. Have them describe their ideal employee.
  15. What can you do to ensure that you are the one to be hired?

Clean Up Your Social Networking Sites.

If you have questionable content on your Facebook, MySpace, or other Social Networking sites clean it up. Over 60% of employers will check and with high school and college students, the percentage increases dramatically. Employers do not wan employees that will potentially bring negative attention to their organization.

Google yourself and see what comes up. If it is negative see what you can do to get positive information to come up at the top of the search. Joining Facebook, LinkedIn, creating a Google profile, and posting to your blog; are all ways that you can add information to a Google search that will rise to the top. Get people to click on your blog and these other materials to increase the visits and again raise the ranking.

Identify Your Target Work Location.

What is your short list of places where you would like to work this summer? Make a list and start working the list; contact anyone of interest.

Will They Be Hiring This Summer?

Find out the summer hiring plans. If they will not be hiring move on. If it is a maybe mark it as such.

When Will They Be Hiring?

What is their hiring timetable? How does that fit with your availability? If that does not fit your schedule what alternative arrangements might be available?

How Many Do They Plan To Hire?

How many will they be hiring? Will they hire everyone at the same time?

What Is the Projected Start Date?

How does the schedule fit with your schedule? If the schedules do not match, can you work something out? Is there any flexibility?

What Is the Projected End Date?

When do they see the summer jobs ending? Is there a set date or does it depend upon availability?

When Will They Be Accepting Applications?

Find out the date when they will start accepting applications and plan accordingly. Make sure you are timely. Check out the process ahead of time to ensure that you will have all the answers to the questions.

What Is the Application Process?

Is the application process a kiosk at the employer’s location (i.e. Target, WalMart, Albertsons, etc.), is it on-line (CostCo, Home Depot, etc.), or is it a paper process (McDonalds, Burger King, mom and pop, etc.). Know ahead of time and be prepared. If it is a kiosk or on-line one of the first questions will be if you have filled out the application. A “no” answer will be their first reason to dismiss you. You must be prepared.

Do You Need a Resume?

Some places may want a resume in addition to the application, be prepared and have one available. List previous employment, organizations (especially leadership roles), and do not put references. They will ask for those.

After the Application Process What Comes Next?

Know what to expect after completing the application. If the next step is to meet with a hiring manager, when are they available? If there are certain days and times, know as much up-front as possible. This saves you the inconvenience, but even more it shows commitment, determination, and most of all interest!

Ask when you can check back. But do not simply say that say “When I follow up do you prefer I call or come in?” This approach gives them no option on whether you will follow up; only on how you will follow up.

What Do They Look For in An Employee?

Employers do not discriminate, they just know what they want and prefer. Visit the location and look around. If the employees look like skaters (that is the desired image at some businesses) and you are clean cut that will tell you something. It tells you what they look for and hire, but it also begs the question is this what you want?

Have Them Describe Their Ideal Employee.

Have them describe their ideal employee. You should get this as early as possible and ideally before completing the application. If they are looking for people that are sports oriented, you want that on your application. If they are academically oriented you want that on your application.

What Can You Do To Ensure That You Are the One To Be Hired?

Express your profound interest in working for them and the reasons for that interest and then ask: What can I do so you will hire me? How can I prove to you that I am the one you want?

Resume Tips – Deciding What to Include in Your Career Highlights

Do Not Waste Your Prime Real Estate

In Commercial Real Estate the answer to the age old question of the three most important things is: location, location, location. You can say the same thing about your resume. As such you do not want to waste the top of your resume; which includes your Career Highlights.

Your Career Highlights Are Just That Highlights!

Career Highlights are those accomplishments that speak to recruiters and hiring managers and say: I did this for them and I can do comparable for YOU! Career Highlights are not about you; rather they are about what you can do for your new employer. They are about the reader!

As with your entire resume your career highlights are a sales process that must convey to the reader:

  1. Why they would be foolish not to talk to you.
  2. Why they must read your entire resume.
  3. Why they cannot disregard you for the position.
  4. The highlights of what you have accomplished in your career thus far.
  5. What the new employer can expect of you after you have been hired.
  6. All of this communication is accomplished by the use of Situation, Action, and Results statements.

Think of Julius Caesar when you construct this section. Caesar was never shy or reluctant to boast about his accomplishments.

He encapsulated that perfectly when he said Veni, Vidi, Vici! I came, I saw, I conquered. That is exactly what you must tell your recruiter and hiring manager. Ideally there should be three to six of these conquering statements with no more than two from a single employment experience.

Follow the Advice of Marshall Goldsmith

A couple of years ago Marshall Goldsmith, he is a career coach to high-level executives, wrote the book What Got You Here Won’t Get You There. In his book Goldsmith says that as your career progresses your skills must progress as well. The skills that got you noticed are not the same skills that you will need to succeed in your new position.

Your ability to be recognized in the subsequent position and the skills you will use are not be the skills you will need as you continue to move up. Understanding the requirements at the lower levels is critical; but you are no longer the one performing those tasks; you are now managing the performers.

Throughout your career you must evolve or you cannot move forward. When you are writing your career highlights remember that you are an evolving being and that your highlights must show that as your career progressed.

Your highlights must reflect your growth. You should encompass and showcase the new skills you have acquired to demonstrate your understanding that your role has changed. Your early highlights will be in the capacity of the “doer”; your middle highlights should demonstrate your skills as a manager; and your later highlights should demonstrate your skills as a leader.

Making your highlights section speak to the reader is critical to getting that interview you desire.

Copyright Tom Staskiewicz

“Who Knows You?” and “Are You Attracting the Attention You Want?” Understanding the function of career highlights is key to building your brand.

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What is your unique value or selling proposition?

This is a THINKing exercise. In the past IBM gave out desk signs that had the work THINK on it. We are always thinking, but what is it that we are thinking.

Right now, during your job search, you need to be thinking about what makes you uniquely attractive to a prospective employer. Realize that there is probably nothing unique that would apply to all employers, but there may be something different that would make you uniquely attractive to a specific employer.

1. Maybe it’s a skill you possess or a previous employer where you worked.
2. Maybe it’s your knowledge of a process or procedure.
3. Maybe it’s the intimate knowledge you have of an industry.
4. Maybe it’s how a previous employer does business.
5. Maybe it’s the people or contacts that you have within your network.

There is something about you that can make you stand out; your job is to identify that characteristic.

If you look at any successful business person there was something uniquely special that brought them to their current position. What is your unique value or selling proposition? Package it properly and this is what will get you the opportunity that you desire!

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Great site for resume tips

I’ve been doing some searches for interesting resume material and came across an interesting site with some great information. If you haven’t been there before take a look at Resume Bear. There is an interesting article on creating a knockout resume summary that you should read.

I think you can take it a little further by putting in PAR (Problem you identified – Action you took – Result you achieved) statements for greater emphasis, but Resume Bear has some great advice.

Make sure your resume has IMPACT!