Career & Coffee

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

When to Walk Away from a Job June 7, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Erin's Musings,Job Search — erinkennedy @ 12:50 am

I was listening to a client recently tell me how she is in this job that she hates. The boss is horrible to her and she now has ulcers, which she (and her doctor) suspect comes from the job stress. She doesn’t want to quit because she is afraid of not being able to find another comparable job.

Even in this tough economic climate we’ve been faced with this past year, there are times when you have to JUST SAY NO and walk away from a job.

Speaking from an experience back in my early 20’s, I can tell you why…

Recently laid off from my pharmaceutical sales job, I found an ad in the paper with the words “Sales Representatives Needed” screaming out at me. Not that I even liked sales. I didn’t, but at the time, I didn’t know what else I would be good at, so I stayed with it.

I arrive at the meeting place, a hotel lobby, around 6:00am and met the DM and two other reps. They start talking about what entrance they thought they’d be able to get in through. A small warning bell went off in my head, “Why can’t we just use the front door?” I ask naively. They all sort of looked at each other and chuckled…”new kid”. “They don’t let us in the front door, they don’t like ’solicitors’ so we find our own way in” chuckle, chuckle, wink, wink.

We get on the road and head over to this company that manufactures chemicals. The DM insisted we sneak in through the back door that says,’Authorized Personnel Only’. I didn’t like this one bit. First, OK, I am a very polite person… I like to be invited places, not sneaking in to a place–especially potential clients. The only time I ever tried to “sneak” in anywhere was a Def Leppard concert when I was a teen–and even then, my good manners told me it wasn’t the right thing to do. But I digress.

 So, short of skin tight black spandex from head to toe, I felt like I was on Mission Impossible (hear the theme song in your head?) creeping through the side entrance and hiding behind boxes until we could “come out” of our hiding spot. Seriously. Keep in mind that I am in a skirt, pantyhose, high heels, and a brand-spanking new white blouse. I didn’t think that I would be slinking around oily plant floors when I dressed for my new job that morning. That is how unethical these people were. Slinkers. My new word.

Now I am thoroughly embarrassed, hating these slinkers, and wanting to leave, but with no ride and not really knowing where I was, I was stuck–and with them for the entire day.

We try to act as if we belong as we brazenly come out from our hiding spots and waltz along the shop floor.

Until we are stopped by the shop superintendent, who didn’t want to hear what we were trying to sell, utterly disgusted that we snuck in, and marched us out the front door. I was very happy and nodded to everything he said, giving him my very best, ‘this is my first and last day of this awful job and I’m chalking this up as a terrible experience, sorry to bother you’ look.

This went on with 4 other “prospects” who all kicked us out. I was SO happy when that day was over.

I have never quit a job without another one lined up. In fact, I’ve never NOT worked since I was 15 years old. But in that instant, I knew I was never coming back. I had been listening to my instincts tell me from the minute I got there that it was all wrong, it wasn’t the job for me, that I would be miserable there. For once, I didn’t stick it out. I didn’t say, “OK, see you all tomorrow!”. I left.

It was the best feeling in the world and I was so grateful to not have to go back.

So, my point is this:  if you go to a job that makes your skin crawl, that goes against everything you believe in, or you are getting treated poorly, LEAVE.

I am the first to think, “desperate times calls for any ole’ job’, but there are lots of other jobs out there that are less painful and cause much less stress. Think of your mental and physical health if you are going to a place of work that you despise. It’s not good for you. I am a firm believer in the mind+body connection. If you are miserable, your health will start to deteriorate and THEN how are you supposed to work?

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Definition of Thought Leadership June 1, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Resume Writing — erinkennedy @ 11:00 am

WHAT IS A THOUGHT LEADER (and is it YOU?)           

 

 

What is a Thought Leader? Lately I’ve had clients discussing this topic with me and wondering what my take was on the term. So, I decided to do some research on the subject and see what others had to say about it.

According to Wikipedia, Thought Leaders are used to describe a “futurist or person who is recognized among peers and mentors for innovative ideas and demonstrates the confidence to promote or share those ideas as actionable distilled insights (thinklets)”.

I have dozens of clients who are thought leaders—organic thinkers, consistently offering ideas that propel businesses forward—and have crafted résumés to position them as such. Thought leadership isn’t anything new—it’s been around for years and years, but the term has grown in popularity the past 5 years or so.

I remember back in the 70’s and 80’s when my Dad worked in sales for IBM, he had a block sign that was at his desk at work—which he later brought home and sat on his dresser—that simply said, “THINK”. It intrigued the heck out of me and I would ask him, “Think about WHAT?” As I later came to understand it, it was IBM’s slogan for (among other things) developing the top technical and sales teams in the industry by thinking ‘outside the box’—being unique “expert” leaders of their product or service.

Just as it was back then, thought leaders of today are being recruited to work within huge organizations to promulgate an idea and teach this learning to others. It’s going beyond ‘business as usual’ and setting yourself apart as an innovative leader and establishing your organization as a trusted advisor and knowledge resource.

The best part, according to Galen DeYoung’s article, “B2B Blogging: Using Thought Leadership to Drive Positioning & Sales”, is thought leaders are sought after and paid more. They are “perceived experts that companies want to hire. In going with an expert, the perceived risk is lower”.

I also like what Execunet’s founder, Dave Opton had to say about it in his “Keys to Influence” post of why leaders of any enterprise continually succeed (it’s the attitude… and people trust the confidence)…“I can’t prove it, but this is what I believe…”

I have had clients ask me if I would consider them a “thought leader” due to their contributions and if it is worthwhile to brand themselves as such. Do your career accomplishments include a history of pioneering new products or processes, or promoting or discussing ideas relevant to departments and/or companies? Are you singled out for your innovation and expertise in a certain subject? Have you been told you “think outside the box” or you are a “change agent”? If you answered “Yes” to any of those, then you have your answer. Brand yourself on your résumé and look for new opportunities within that realm. Have fun!

 

Searching the Hidden Job Market May 27, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Interviewing,Job Search,Networking — erinkennedy @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , ,

In a climate like the one we are in, it’s easy to feel like we will never find the job we want, or that ‘no one is hiring‘. However, you can increase your chances of landing multiple interviews if you can tap into the “hidden” job market, or, the one that hasn’t been advertising. Contacting the companies/contacts directly makes a much more powerful impact then random online resume posting to (some useless) job sites.

How do you do this? Have a plan! This may take a little longer, but it’s the best way to control your job search, land quality interviews and increase your pay scale.

1)  Get your online presence together. Chances are, if you are going to be Google-ing companies, they will Google you. Create a Google profile or a LinkedIn profile and put your brand out there for the employer to see. Show your stuff.

2)  Make a list of your target information– industry choice, job position, company listings, etc.

3) Do a Google search on your industry and job titles. There may be quite a few, but you can weed through what you like and don’t like. You can also do a local business search with the same requirements and see what you come up with.

4) Send your resume directly to the hiring person. This is usually the person who is 2-4 levels above where you see yourself within the company. Make sure your cover letter is short and concise.

If this method makes you squirm a little, remember that you will see significantly higher results than you would normally. It’s also good to move beyond your comfort zone. Clients who’ve used it report more interviews, quicker interview cycles and less competition. It is more effective than blindly submitting your resume to lots of job search engines AND it reduces your anxiety of not knowing if the person who you want to see it really saw it or not.

In the end, it will give you greater job search confidence and renewed excitement about the process. Try it and see. Then let me know how it went.

 

Brand New Website! May 19, 2009

Brand New Web Site                                           

I have been MIA lately… it’s not that I haven’t wanted to blog, I really have, it’s just that I’ve been doing something really exciting and had to wait until it was completed until I could blog again. It was worth the wait.

I launched a new website.

It’s been a long time coming.

For those of you who had to double check what you spelled when you realized the page you were on looked nothing like my old site, it really is the same company, Professional Résumé Services.

We’ve improved!!

I’ve had a vision in my head for a long time of what I wanted my new site to look like, but kept putting it off because it seemed like a lot of work, time, money, effort, work, time, time, time…

Then I met Carl Chapman.

Not only is Carl an SEO expert, designer and all around nice guy, but he also creates very cool websites. I took a look at a couple of sites he’s created and thought… SOLD! He has made this a very painless process and took over all of the work I thought I’d have to do (my old web host really didn’t do a thing for me except charge me a lot each month in fees—buh bye!). I like not having to think all of the time on what I could be doing to improve my site. We are all busy, so you can relate. I’ve never delegated a thing in my life. But hiring Carl has been wonderful. Ahhhhh.

So, now I have this new website that showcases what I offer, is fun to look at, and easy to maneuver through. Plus, I’ve been able to add things to the site I always wanted and it has allowed me to expand my product and services offerings.

Having said that, I hope you stop by my site and let me know what you think of it.


Here is the link:     http://exclusive-executive-resumes.com

Until next time…

 

Interview with a Recruiter May 15, 2009

Interview with a Recruiter

Recently, I had the pleasure of having a conversation with a smart, straight-talking recruiter, Peggy McKee.

Peggy McKee is the owner of PHC Consulting. Her firm specializes in matching medical and laboratory sales reps/candidates with companies, and does so with great success. Despite the economic downturn, Peggy’s company has flourished and she’s had to hire additional staff to meet the placement demands. With her strong understanding of the medical sales industry, interviewing and hiring, she’s helped develop teams of top sales talent for laboratory service companies.

Having my clients in mind, I asked Peggy several questions about her recruiting process, what is important to her regarding hiring the right candidates, her thoughts on résumés, and more. I’ve wanted to “officially” interview a recruiter for a while because of the number of questions I get from my clients about what recruiters look for.

Our conversation went something like this:

EK: “Peggy, where do you find your candidates? Do they come looking for you? Do you recruit them? How does it work?”

PM:     “40-50% of candidates come straight to my website (www.phcconsulting.com). The other half is split between referrals, direct soliciting and social networking. “

EK: “Are candidates are expected to pay you?”

PM: “Absolutely not. Candidates should never pay a recruiter. Companies pay the recruiter for the placement. That’s how it works.”

EK: “It seems like I remember way back when some candidates had to pay the recruiter a percentage or a fee for the placement. I’m glad to know it’s not like that anymore… at least not with all recruiters.”

EK: “So you use some of the professional and social network sites to find talent?”

PM: “Definitely. I use LinkedIn and Twitter to find candidates by typing in keywords, names, titles, searches, groups, etc.”

EK: “And you’ve had good luck going that route? I’ve heard LinkedIn is really a great platform to find top talent. I tell my clients about it all the time.”

PM: “Yes, I use it all the time and love it.”

EK: “OK, let’s talk résumés. Do you have any pet peeves? What are your likes and dislikes? What do you like to see or not see?”

PM: “Well, I want to see 3 things:  how can you make me money?… how can you save me money?.. and how can you save me time? This is what the client wants to know, so this is what I look for.  I don’t like to read long paragraphs. I prefer bullets. I like to see experiences and accomplishments. Love to see numbers, rankings, percentages, etc.”

EK: “Just bullets? Ugh. Boring. I tend to stay away from just bullets. It looks like a grocery list. Numbers are great. Especially in sales résumés… definitely a must.”

PM: “No, I like the bullets. Paragraphs are too long. And yes, numbers are great and show me what they are capable of doing. “

EK: “OK. What about cover letters?”

PM: “I don’t like them, but I have to add that if you are going to write one BE BOLD! Don’t worry about “expectations”. Write something interesting!

EK: “I agree. Nothing worse than a canned cover letter. Make it as authentically YOU as possible.”

EK: “Any last thoughts about the résumé or cover letter?”

PM: “Have your references ready. Bring them to the interview. Have a clear and focused objective on your résumé so we don’t have to guess.  Be ready to answer “tough” questions at the interview. Don’t shy away from them. Be honest.”

**************

Peggy was so fun and enlightening to talk to that I look forward to continuing this conversation and bringing you more insight.

In the meantime, if you want to get in touch with Peggy McKee and help her celebrate her 10th year in business, you can go to her website or visit at www.phcconsulting.com.

 

10 Profitable Jobs for 2-year Degrees May 14, 2009

Filed under: Assessments & Education,Career & Workplace,Job Search,Salary — erinkennedy @ 12:30 pm

(A warm thanks to Laura DeCarlo from Career Directors International (CDI) for this excellent information!)
* 10 Highly Profitable 2-Year Degree Jobs                    

According to the Payscale.com article, 10 Highly Profitable 2-Year Degree Jobs, by Michelle Goodman, the following careers can be most easily entered by clients seeking career change with only a 2-year degree:

1. Physical Therapist Assistant – average $46,111.

2. Web Designer – average $48,785.

3. Electrical or Electronic Engineering Technician – average $47,163.
4. Registered Nurse – average $55,276.

5. Computer Support Specialist – average $46,111.

6. Executive or Administrative Assistant – average $37,669.

7. Dental Hygienist – average $57,148.

8. Surveying or Mapping Technician – average $42,104.

9. Veterinary Technician – average $33,363.

10. Camera Operator – average $42,558.
Great list.
P.S. I am almost back to blogging full time. Just a few more surprises up my sleeve for you! 🙂
 

Is your Attitude affecting your Job Search? April 19, 2009

                

How many times this week has the phrase, “this economy stinks” come from your mouth? How many times this week have you thought, “in this economy, I’ll never get a new job”,

or “I better hold onto my job, even though I hate it, and just be grateful I have one!”.

After you think these thoughts, how do you feel? I can guarantee it is not hopeful or positive. What do you think this does to your chances of finding a job? Would YOU want to hire you? Think about it. You are feeling gloomy and decide to cold call a company about a possible position opening. How is the tone of your voice? Upbeat or down? What is your attitude like? Did you know our mind and body transmit energy frequencies that can be felt by other people?

 

When you go to an interview and you are thinking, “I know I am not going to get this job. Why would they hire ME? I just KNOW they aren’t going to call me back”, what do you think the interviewer is feeling? “This person is not the right fit for the company. I won’t be calling them back.”

Think about the times in your life in other situations when this has happened. When things went EXACTLY as you thought they would.

It is very natural to worry about the economy and the job market. Anyone who turns on the news would agree. But what does all this worry do for you? For your health? For your job searching state of mind?  Remember, you can’t change what is happening out there, so worrying does no good. When my Dad passed away unexpectedly, my Mom said, “I worried for 40 years about something happening to him on the road (he traveled for work), and he ended up dying at home.”

We can’t change things that happen to us, but we CAN change how we react to it. It is very easy to stick our heads in the sand and just hope things get better with the economy, OR we can pick ourselves up and create a healthier attitude about it.

 

So what can we do?

 

If you are in a job presently and you’ve put feelers out and opportunities haven’t popped up yet, then focus on your job in a positive way. Do whatever you can to be the very best you can be. Focus on strengthening relationships with co-workers, vendors, etc. Not only do positive relationships perk up our mood, but they also will let you know if a job has opened up somewhere.

 

If you are job searching, stop worrying about the competition or the ‘lack of good jobs’ out there and focus on your brand and what values you offer to an employer and how you will articulate that in an interview. Expand your job search into new areas: go to networking lunches/dinners, freshen up your resume, and get excited about your job search. You are unique. Sell yourself.

 

Take a chance. Try a new career path. You never know if you might be better suited for something else. But most of all, stay positive and hopeful. Don’t be a victim like everyone else. Stand out from the crowd and be confident. Remember, your vibrant energy shines through and is felt by those around you, including hiring managers.