Career & Coffee

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

Career and Birth Order March 31, 2009

Career & Birth Order

I came across a few articles lately about how our birth order affects our careers and found the answers most interesting. Especially for the youngest born children. Apparently, according to birth order expert, Frederick Leong, we are fun-loving, artistic, and well, not quite as driven as our elder siblings.
In Science Daily, it states, “A child’s place in the family birth order may play a role in the type of occupations that will interest him or her as an adult. First born and only children may be more interested in cognitive pursuits than younger siblings. Whereas later born children are more interested in artistic or outdoor-related careers.”

Rachel Zupek at said there are a few characteristics similar in each role.

Firstborns are more ambitious, rule-followers and confident, while secondborns (or middle) are the easy-going, diplomatic peacemakers. Firstborns are determined to succeed and tend to follow through with higher education. Middleborns tend to lean toward ‘negotiation’ or ‘helping’ professions like nursing, law enforcement and machine operation.

Youngest are charming and creative and are often found in administrative, journalism, sales or athletics.

As the youngest of three daughters, I wasn’t given much responsibility until I was probably nearing my teens, and by then both sisters were in college. As I got older however, I longed to be the ‘dependable’ one. I strove to work hard and prove my worth by working full time through high school and college. I’ve been working hard ever since, juggling marriage, kids, family, a farm, and my career.

So, does our birth order really have anything to do with our success in life? Are we doomed, as middle children, to make a low income every year (as stated)? Or perpetually goofy and non-serious as the youngest? Will firstborn forever fear ‘losing rank’?

I think our success has everything to do with our own thoughts and how we feel about ourselves. I don’t know if my being the youngest made me strive to be successful, or if that was always just my own inner desire. One thing I know for sure is that if we put any sort of ‘label’ on ourselves, it will hold us back from what we really want to do.


How to Fight Unemployment Blues March 30, 2009

Filed under: Work/Family Balance — erinkennedy @ 2:11 pm

It starts quietly.

You hear rumblings about it from colleagues; it’s all anyone can talk about. Company morale is low and people are getting panicky. Suddenly, they let go of 25 people in your department with more layoffs expected. 2 months later, you get your pink slip. You don’t have any prospects in sight, everyone you know is laid off, and your resume has been severely neglected.

What do you do now?

For starters, you need to release some emotion and frustration, so plan on going out with your friends and/or family the weekend after you are let go and HAVE FUN. Forget about the job for a day or two and just  try to relax. You can’t expect a response from anyone if you apply for a job on a weekend, so there is no sense in worrying.

Next, start contacting old friends, colleagues and relatives to let them know you are on the market. Start social networking– join LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Plaxo and/or all the other social networking sites available, set up your profile and let people know you are job searching.

Go to business lunches, job fairs, trade shows and join any associations in your field.  Keep your entire job search organized by using jibberjobber (one of my favorite sites for job search management–oh how I wish I had jibberjobber back when I was job searching… I was using folders, little pieces of paper that I would lose, notepads, ugggh).  Get your resume, cover letter and references in order so you aren’t in a panic if you see a job you really, really want.

Doing these things will make you feel productive and will keep the blues at bay. The busier you are, the better you will feel. I notice that clients of mine who are sitting around waiting for the right job have the hardest time. But it’s not only keeping busy with job search, but with other things as well. When was the last time you read a book? Painted? Played golf? Planted a garden? “Interim Time” as I call it (time in between jobs), is a great time to start a hobby you’ve always wanted to do. I read a great article by Brazen Careerist’s,  Penelope Trunk who put it perfectly, “5 Things to do when you are unemployed. Hint: it’s not job hunting”. I loved this because it makes sense. Penelope talks about starting a blog, or launching a company, or doing something you’ve always wanted to do.

Before I got the job at the career center, I had 6 months of job search. Yuck. But I took it as an opportunity to do something I had always wanted to do:  cross stitch. There is something about a beautiful work of cross stitch that always moved me. It looked so tedious, but at the same time, challenging. So, I went to the cross stitch store, bought a pattern, thread and canvas, and began my work of art. Talk about time consuming! It became my treat to myself , my reward, after sending out my resume, going on interviews, or making connections that day. It was tedious, hard on the eyes and tiresome, but I loved every minute of it. It also distracted me, which kept me from obsessing on the fact that I didn’t have a job.

Make small goals, keep yourself busy and then being unemployed won’t be so depressing. Besides, you’ll be working before you know it and then you’ll wish you were out doing some of the things you could be doing now!


Brand New Blog Site! March 28, 2009

Filed under: Erin's Musings — erinkennedy @ 1:43 am

It’s a very exciting day (evening) for me!

I’ve been wanting to switch to WordPress for a while but didn’t know how and didn’t have a clue as to how to begin.

I found a couple of sites that offered tips. One in particular was pretty lengthy, and they would do it for me for $500 (and add buttons, gadgets, SEO, etc.).  That seemed a little steep for something I figured I could do myself but was a) too darn busy with work and b) lazy.

So, after a couple of tries and one deleted blog (note: make sure you like the user name you choose because it is the one everyone will see when you post, AND make sure you like your blog name–otherwise you have to DELETE IT to get another one–unless there was a way to do it and I just didn’t know about it which is a very good possibility) here we are.

And isn’t it so much prettier than my other blog? Plus, the features WordPress offers are great.

So, now it is 1:42 a.m. and I can finally rest my weary head on my pillow because this is DONE!

Good night readers.


Daily Disciplines for Effortless Success March 27, 2009

Daily Disciplines for Effortless Success


Today’s post is from my all-time favorite motivational speaker, Jack Canfield!!      

Most of you know I am a huge fan of the Law of Attraction. I have used it in my life for about 2 years (on and off) and have seen my income triple. Seriously.


I was initially drawn to him by the movie/book, “The Secret” and liked what he had to say. I started following his basic LOA (Law of Attraction) principles and was shocked at how quickly improvements were happening everywhere in my life. It’s all about our thoughts. I’m telling you people… it works.

Read for yourselves and tell me what you think.

And now I give you: Jack Canfield




Daily Disciplines for Effortless Success

by Jack Canfield

Hand’s down, one of the most popular questions I’m asked by students is this…

“Jack, what are your most important daily actions that you correlate with your success.”


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In fact, Oprah Winfrey asked me a similar question just days before appearing on her show. She asked me to come up with some easy-to-apply steps for her viewers to start applying The Law of Attraction in their lives.

One of the basic first steps is to determine, write down and talk about what you do want, not what you don’t want. Be as specific as possible. Once you have clarified what you want, do the following each and every day.


1. Morning Intention, Visualization and Releasing

As soon as you wake up in the morning, take about 5 minutes to focus your mind on your desires, goals and intentions. Start by sitting in a comfortable position, closing your eyes and visualizing your desires and goals as already being fulfilled. Spend 30 seconds to a minute on each of your core desires and goals. You can also take a few moments to visualize your day going exactly as you would like it to.

When you do this, you will often find negative limiting beliefs that are the result of negative programming from your childhood will come up. You may hear thoughts like “I could never afford that,”“there’s no way I’ll ever get that,” or “who am I kidding?” coming up. If you do, use one of the many releasing techniques that are available (see the list below) to release the negative thought. Don’t fight or argue with the thought; just release it.

Remember to also spend several moments feeling the feelings you would feel if you had already manifested your desire in your life. The intensity of the feeling is what fuels the intensity of the attraction.

If you’re interested in learning a powerful releasing technique, check out the new documentary movie about the emotional freedom technique (EFT) I use, Try it On Everything; I highly recommend it.

2. Use External Images to Keep you Focused on Your Desires and Goals

Keep yourself focused on what you want to manifest by surrounding yourself with visual images of the things and experiences you want to create in your life. There are many tools you can use for this, including creating a Vision Book from our Dream Big Collection

Cut out pictures of the things you wish to own (like your ideal car or home) and pictures that represent the experiences you want to have (like the perfect relationship, your ideal job, perfect health, being at your ideal weight, more joy, inner peace or balance in your life) to remind yourself of how you want it to be. Put them somewhere where you will see them every day—on the mirror, the refrigerator, or in your Vision Book.

For even greater impact, combine your pictures with words that reflect your desired outcome, such as abundance, romance, fun, vitality, etc. I think you get the picture.

When you look at any of these pictures, do what Bob Doyle, who is featured in The Secret teaches— think the thought, “THIS IS MINE NOW! THIS IS WHO I AM!”


3. Think a Better Feeling Thought

Start paying attention to the many times during the day that you have emotional responses (to other people, experiences, or your own thoughts) that are not in alignment with having or producing your desires. Pay special attention to when you feel disappointment, resentment, frustration or anger about your experiences and circumstances.

Remember, it’s your feelings (which are created by your thoughts, opinions, and beliefs) that are creating your current circumstances. You must make a shift by changing your thoughts to ones that make you feel better (i.e., raise your vibration). Remember that you must become a vibrational match for the things and experiences that you want to attract into your life.

It is especially important to focus your thoughts and behaviors on things that cause you to feel joy. Focus your thoughts on thoughts that bring you joy (your lover, your best friend, your grandchildren, your favorite vacation spot) and your actions on doing the things you love to do (pet your cat, work in your garden, listen to your favorite music).


4. Have an Attitude of Gratitude

It is critical to take time each and every day to focus on what you are grateful for! Some people do this in the morning before or after they visualize their desires; others prefer to do it in the evening. Focus on all of the things in your life (most of which you take for granted) that you are grateful for—your health, your children, your job, the nice weather, electricity, running water, a nice stereo system, your flower garden, your pets, your friends).

No matter what your situation, there are always things to be grateful for. The more you focus on what you are grateful for, the more things and experiences you will attract to be grateful for. You may wish to carry a “gratitude rock” like the one Lee Brower talks about in “The Secret”, or log your findings in a Gratitude Journal.


5. Take Action

There are two kinds of actions you can take. Obvious actions are things like, if you want a better car, going to test drive all of the models you are interested in and choosing the exact car you want to have, and saving 10% of your income in a “car account.” If you want to be a doctor, apply to medical school.

There is also what I call “inspired actions.” Once you begin to do the things described above, the universe will start responding by sending people, resources and opportunities you need to manifest your desired result. You are going to find that you have inspired ideas; you must act on them. You must follow those gentle proddings from the universe. Often these intuitive impulses will have no seeming connection to achieving your goal, but if you follow them, they will lead you down a path of wonderful fulfillment.

Here’s a quick way to know if the actions you’re taking are taking you closer to the fulfillment of your dreams and desires.

If you are feeling joy while you are doing them, then you are on the right path. Remember, joy is your internal guidance system, just like the GPS system in a car, telling you are taking the right actions. Follow your joy.

6. Acknowledge That it’s Working

If you start to see something change for the better, acknowledge that it is happening. Appreciate it. When you find the perfect parking space, acknowledge it. When you get the table you want in the restaurant, acknowledge it. When you receive unexpected income, acknowledge it. When you meet someone who can help you achieve your goal, acknowledge that Law of Attraction is working. The more you acknowledge that it’s working, the more it will work. It’s that simple.

If you are attracting things into your life that you don’t want, remember that the Law of Attraction is still working. Instead of thinking or saying, “It’s not working,” ask your self, “What am I focusing on, thinking about, talking about, feeling or doing that is bringing this into my life?”

If you want to know what you are thinking about, notice the results you are producing in your life. To change those results, you will first have to change your vibration by changing your thoughts and feelings.

When you make a commitment to take these actions each day, you’ll start to move forward, with confidence, in the direction of your dreams. Believe that they are not only possible, but that they are already in progress.

I’ll be back in two weeks with another edition of Success Strategies. Until then, see if you can discover ways to immediately implement what you discovered from today’s message into your life.


Jack Canfield, America‘s #1 Success Coach, is founder of the billion-dollar book brand Chicken Soup for the Soul© and a leading authority on Peak Performance and Life Success. If you’re ready to jump-start your life, make more money, and have more fun and joy in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at:


Color is Back! March 22, 2009

Filed under: Resume Writing — erinkennedy @ 8:38 pm
Tags: , ,
The Use of COLOR on Resumes… dare we?

Folks, a new day has dawned.

I never thought I’d say it or believe it, but color is here. Hopefully to stay.

Way back when I started my resume writing career (10 years ago), color wasn’t used. I was trained by an executive resume writing firm almost 6 years ago, and at that time color wasn’t even something we would say out loud! It was only on resumes that most certainly WOULD NOT land the job.

But times have changed, finally, and color can come out of hiding and proudly show itself.

Now, when I talk about this, you don’t want to have every header and subheaders different colors. What I mean is, color in small doses is good. Perhaps a deep red or navy blue for bullets or subheading titles.

An example can be like this:

JOHN SMITH………….Business Development Executive

or in a branding statement like this:

John Smith
Provide Leadership through Innovative Marketing Styles and Strategic Business Sense
(see just a hint of Navy Blue?)

I will also use it to emphasize a value-added bulleted list. I never overdo it and use it sparingly. Too much of a good thing can be just that– too much.

So, good people of the job seeking world, REJOICE, and add a touch of color to your resume.

Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW


Change of Plans March 18, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace — erinkennedy @ 1:10 pm
Tags: , ,
What to Do if you Don’t Know what you Want to Do       
I was talking to my sister recently about her son who is a freshman in college. Now he not so sure he wants to keep his major in Mechanical Engineering, even though it has been his dream for years to design and work on cars. I think college kids have it tough because it is a hard decision to make at 17, “What do you want to do for THE REST OF YOUR LIFE?” I didn’t even realize what I wanted to do until I was about 26, so I feel for the younger kids who are pressured early on to ‘pick a major’.

So, it got me to thinking about our choices when we are adults. What happens if we change our mind? What if I don’t want to write resumes anymore, but I’m not really sure what I want to do? What would my next step be? Here are a few simple ideas to help you get started:

1) Well, for starters, if you really have no idea WHAT you want to do, I would suggest enlisting the help of a Certified Career Coach. A career coach is trained in helping people figure these things out! The will gather your likes/dislikes from you, coach you on possible positions, and work you through the pros and cons.

2) Take an assessment. The internet is loaded with lots of free sites where you can take behavioral, career, and personality assessments. I just recently took one and was surprised by what it said. It was so true, but the info it contained hadn’t really occurred to me. An assessment will highlight your strengths and weaknesses, and also may offer insight into which jobs might be a match for you. They are quick and easy to take. Fun, too!

3) Do what you love! There is a saying that goes, “Do what you love and the universe will support you”, or in other words, do what you love and success will follow. I did not love sales and I was not good at it, therefore success didn’t follow me (not one bit). However, I always loved writing, always loved helping adults with career transition/job search, and discovered I had a knack for resume writing. Presto! I love it and I make a nice living by doing it. What is your hobby? Can you make money from it? Give it a whirl. You never know.

4) Research Occupations. Do your homework and look up jobs that have always sounded interesting to you. Go on an informational interview or shadow someone whose occupation you would love to be in. Don’t feel embarrassed about asking; people love to talk about themselves and what they do! I always felt that another calling of mine would be event planning. I know my organized, anal retentive, attention-to-detail side would be perfect for it, and who knows? It could be a back up job. I did my research on the different characteristics and strengths needed for the job and found a match. Look up occupations that interest you online, read the details and see if you match up.

Figuring out what you want to do is no easy task for most of us, so go within yourself and find out what you would truly enjoy. Look it up online and see if there is a calling for it anywhere. This is the fun part. The world is full of possibilities, so go grab yourself some!

Erin Kennedy, CPRW, CERW


Networking when Shy March 13, 2009

Filed under: Networking — erinkennedy @ 6:55 pm
Tags: , ,
How to Network if You are on the Shy side

I am the first to admit that networking with a bunch of strangers is not easy when you are shy. Early in my career, I was in sales (seriously) and would literally have to force myself to cold call. It was daily torture. I finally admitted to myself that maybe I was in the wrong field, and no, it was not hereditary (many family members were in sales). I was never that suave, chatty, BS’er-type that seemed to dominate my lineage.

Networking when you are shy is worse than a root canal.

I understand this first hand. So, when you would rather scrub your toilet then walk into a company that has never heard of you, here are a few different things you can do to help you cope with and overcome this predicament.

1) Join LinkedIn. The fabulous benefit of LinkedIn is that you can literally cold call without ever having to be face-to-face with a living being. Simply look up a company in the directory and send your resume to whoever is in charge. How easy was that?? Now, what I would really advise would be to find someone in your network, or one of your connection’s network, and ask them for the name of someone first. Then send that person an email and begin a dialogue. I can go on and on about LinkedIn. Most of you know I am obsessed with it. If you would like to know more, send me an email go here.

2) Join a Local Business Organization. The beauty of a joining a local organization (either business or volunteer) is two-fold. Or maybe tri-fold. Is that a word? Yes, but for a closet door. Anyway, I will make it work in this situation.

A- You can go and sit at a table and have a nice breakfast/lunch/dinner where minimal attention will be paid to you (unless you stand up and introduce yourself, and c’mon you can do that) and still get to know the organization, feel productive, and get excited because you got out of your comfort zone.
Once you are in that comfy place, you will start talking with people and slowly begin making new contacts/acquaintances/friends that you wouldn’t have made sitting at home in front of your computer posting your resume on the useless
C- Now that you are talking with people, you can tell them what you do for a living, find out what they do and see if you connect anywhere.

On a personal note: I joined my local Optimists organization when I got out of college and worked for the career center as a Career Counselor. Within a year of initiation, they recruited me to be President of our Chapter, which encompassed two cities. Talk about being nervous… (but that was with public speaking, and I had to get over it quick… that is a whole different story).
Let me tell you though, the contacts I made during that time were with professionals I still talk with to this day.

3) Tell everyone you know that you are job searching. Even if you are embarrassed about it or don’t want anyone to know that either you lost your job or your job is in jeopardy, or whatever the case may be, tell them. People like to help and you really never know who may know someone that you need to know. The stories my clients tell me about who helped them get their jobs are always priceless. Your dry cleaner? Your mail person? Your colleague? Yes, I’ve heard of all these great stories and more.

Networking is the #1 way to get a job, so even if it hurts a little, get out there and tell them who you are.