Career & Coffee

Resume Writing, Job Search, Industry News and Erin’s weekly musings on all things career.

My 10-Year Rez-i-Versary! January 28, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 3:29 pm
Tags: ,

MY 10 YEAR Rez-I-Versary!

I woke up this morning and thought, hmmm, what’s different? Then out of nowhere came a flash of memory– 10 years ago this month I started at the Career Center and everything in my career life changed.

Up until then, I had been in college and worked as a manicurist at a salon (and at home). It was great money and put me through school… well that, and many, many, thousands in student loans. Not saying college wasn’t worth the money, because it was. That is where I discovered my interest in careers, job search, and resumes. It’s just a lot of money, as many of you know. But I digress.

So, January of 1999 is when I started writing resumes. I admit, when I first started I was not great at it. It was a good thing that I was working for a non-profit center and no one had to pay for my services. I helped people, or “walk-ins”, who had just been laid off from their jobs and had to come in and put their resume on the “talent bank” in order to get compensation from the State. Most didn’t have resumes, so we started from scratch. I was great at putting everything in order chronologically, but not great at career summaries–still in the mindset of “objectives”. Ewww. I would then go very heavy on bullet points. Bullet after bullet of whatever they did. Not great, but learning. This process grabbed my interest, so I started rifling through our many resume books we had at the Center. I was “wow’ed” by so many of the resumes that I saw that I just devoured the books, joined the PARW/CC (Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches) and was off and running, honing my skills and practicing like crazy.

One day a fellow came in and showed me his resume. He said, “I just paid $250.00 for this and the one YOU did for my friend for FREE was so much better!”. Well, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I could GET PAID FOR THIS? OHMYGOSHHHHH! Those weren’t my exact words, but you get the drift. $250 was big money for a resume in 2001. I set up a website, quit my job at the career center, put out my shingle, and here I am today. I’ve earned my certifications, gotten my work published in various best-selling career books, been nominated for several awards, and have written thousands of resumes since then.

So, that’s my story. Happy Rez-I-Versary to me! Hmmm. How shall I celebrate? Maybe I’ll start by finishing up this CV for a Professor that I have been working on, and then get started on the VP of Business Development resume that is next on my list… and so on.

Still learning, still loving my job, and still helping job seekers land the jobs that they want.

I’ve always felt like I sort of “fell into” writing resumes. Many of us fall into our jobs, or they fall into us. Do you have any upcoming Job-I-Versary stories you’d like to share? Did you fall into your job? I’d love to know.


The Ladders January 22, 2009

Filed under: Job Search — erinkennedy @ 5:50 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

Lately, I have become more and more disillusioned with “The Ladders”, the source for $100,000+ jobs and $100,000+ candidates.

It all started with the critiques. I had been getting clients that were coming to me saying they had gone to The Ladders who had written a scathing review of their current resumes, but would happily remedy that for a mere $1,000 (some were more, some were less). So, for the cost of an average mortgage payment they would turn it around AND THEN find you a job for $100,000 and up. The thing was, I was having clients say, ” I don’t like this resume at all–can you fix it?”. I had one fellow who paid upwards of $900.00 for his resume that looked like something my 5-year old would write.

But, it didn’t start out that way. Back when it first came onto the internet scene, The Ladders really was busting out some nice resumes. They had qualified, certified resume writers. People were happy and everyone was talking about it. I was one of the first to jump on The Ladders bandwagon, telling my clients what a great site it was. Then we see commercials about it. Wow. It’s big time, now.

Then, things started to change. It was first pointed out to me through my professional association (PARW/CC) about the negative critiquing and not-so-good resumes coming out of that place. I was very optimistic though… not me, I still love it. Still believing in the dream. After all, the majority of my clients are senior-level execs, so I was thrilled to be able to have something promising to tell them. “Just go to The Ladders… they have $100,000+ jobs there”.

Soon I started hearing about false advertising, jobs that were way under $100K, barely starting at $30,000, sometimes The Ladders did not even know the pay range of the jobs they offer.

I don’t mean to bash another company in the careers industry, but I am leary about The Ladders now– and am hoping the founder, Mark Cenedella, will dump some of the writers he scrounged up, get some honest-to-goodness $100,000 jobs back in there, and restore it to it’s former glory.

What have your experiences with The Ladders been? Talk to me…


Change January 21, 2009

Filed under: Work/Family Balance — erinkennedy @ 3:05 am
Tags: , , ,

Today the United States of America made history. We elected the first black President.

In the 1860’s, President Lincoln said it would take 100 years to undo the crimes of slavery and he was right. In the 1960’s Martin Luther King took our country down a new path, a path of change– promoting, no, demanding equal rights for all races. And now, today, 40+ years later, here we are. Our great country proved we could change and we could savor the taste of hope again. Despite our splits, despite our different views, today we made history. I am so very proud to say I live in the U.S. Especially now. Change is a good thing. Sometimes it is painful or uncomfortable, but it also helps us to grow.

What changes have you made in your life lately? Have you left your comfort zone, even a little? For me, it is this blog. It is painful to me to be anything but immensely private about my life, but I have realized that it is in sharing that you build relationships. I have always been very, very private, so believe me when I say that even blogging about this is pretty uncomfortable. This is one of my “Small Attainable Goals” for 2009– to get out of my comfort zone and open up a bit. I know I can grow from it. I know it will create deeper relationships with friends and clients.

Another thing I did, which is equally as big of a deal to me, is I cut my hair. OK, guys you may be groaning here, but for women, IT’S A BIG DEAL. I cut 8 inches off my hair. I’ve always had long hair, but this year felt different. Something was in the air and I kept hearing, “A New Year, A New YOU” in my head. So I did it. It was pretty scary, seeing 38 years of my life floating down, gently drifting toward the floor, but it was also a feeling of, “Ahhhh!”. Now, here is the new me… sassy and stylish. The best part is, I feel really good about it. I walk past a mirror, expecting to see my staticky hair down past the middle of my back, but WHOA! who is that fun-looking person? Oh yea, that’s me!

Think about something you would like to change. It could be as big as quitting smoking or as small as taking a new route to work. Change is good. It helps you grow and learn new things about yourself, “Hey, who knew I would get up my nerve to stand up in front of 22 students and teach a night course in Economics?” Great things can happen when you change. You will meet new people, experience new things, and take a different path perhaps leading you to something new and exciting.

What change would you like to make? I would love to know– and to know how you feel now that you DID IT (or at least made up your mind to do it). Talk to me…


PRESS RELEASE: Cover Letters for Dummies, 3rd Edition January 18, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings,Press — erinkennedy @ 2:20 pm
Tags: , , ,
“Cover Letters for Dummies” is here

The 3rd edition of this recognized brand, “Cover Letters for Dummies” is finally here. 10 years after the 2nd edition!

I just got my copy of it in the mail from the publishers and yours truly is on page, um… let’s see, OK, here we go… Page 194!

It is a wonderful compilation of cover letters for every scenario including: job ad reply letters, networking letters, broadcasting & prospecting letters, resume letters, and thank you and follow up letters.

Grab a copy of yours at any bookstore today. Very valuable to have on hand, ready for any situation you are applying for.


New Year’s Resolutions and other BS January 16, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 5:03 am
Tags: , , ,

Alright. I’m just going to admit it and put it out there. I hate New Years Resolutions. Just those 3 words make me feel like a failure… I know that I’m going to say I will do something and then after 2 days of effort, quit doing it and be mad at myself. Like dieting, or blogging, or not swearing (my vice). I just know I am going to fail.

This year, I’ve decided to try a different tactic. This year I will set up some SMALL ATTAINABLE GOALS. Now, those are 3 little words I can deal with. Small attainable goals implies that I can really do it. I can meet small goals. Little groupings of goals. Like, instead of “I want to lose 20 pounds by January 31”, I will say, “I will lose a pound or two a week until I like how my jeans are fitting”. Doesn’t that feel better? I like it. I can handle a pound or two a week. I can blog a couple of times a week, versus my “resolution” of every day. That is too much and frankly, feels unattainable deep down. So, I know this now and will take a different route.

People put way too much pressure on themselves this time of year. “I will job search every day and find the perfect job by Jan. 15”. That is a lot of pressure especially if already in a job, and really don’t have the time to search that much. Maybe you could say, “I will do my best to put the word out every few days that I am looking for a new job. I will remember to tell my barber, the people at the coffee shop, the guy in the elevator, and will update my LinkedIn profile and make a huge effort on that site” etc. Don’t you feel better already? In my experience, small attainable goals are the ones I really have achieved. So, sit down and make a “SMALL ATTAINABLE GOALS” list and be happy with yourself.


Job Fairs 2009 January 3, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Job Search — erinkennedy @ 4:52 am
Tags: , ,
Job Fair News for 2009!

Get ready to get hired because National Career Fairs and have joined forces to put together over 350 job fairs in 77 cities. Now is the time to dust off your nicest outfit and update your resume. Head on over to the nearest job fair and talk with an employer who is looking for YOU! Don’t let another job pass you by. Click here, or copy and paste the link into your browser: