Career & Coffee

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

Change of Plans March 18, 2009

Filed under: Career & Workplace — erinkennedy @ 1:10 pm
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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


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

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


Change January 21, 2009

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


Unusual Jobs– A-Z October 1, 2008

Filed under: Career & Workplace,Job Search — erinkennedy @ 2:28 pm
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A special thanks to Laura DiCarlo of Career Directors International (CDI) for sending this over to me. Thought I’d share it with you!

+++++ released a new survey on Unusual (and Fun) Jobs A to Z. They asked 8,700 works and the following are the top entrants, A to Z:

A – Autopsy assistant
B – Bartender at the Liberace mansion
C – Cat nanny
D – Donkey trainer
E – Elf at Santa’s workshop
F – FBI fingerprint examiner
G – Grave digger
H – Hurricane hunter
I – Ice sculpture carver
J – Junk mail machine operator
K- Kitty litter box decorator
L – Laser tag referee
M – Magician’s assistant
N – Nuclear electrician on a submarine
O – Opera singer
P – Parachute tester
Q – Quality control/taster for chocolate factory
R – Romance specialist
S – Scratcher (scratched backs for patients)
T – Turkey wrangler
U – Undercover vice decoy
V – Video game tester
W – Wallpaper peeler
X – X-ray technician for zoo animals
Y – Yawn counter at a sleep clinic
Z – Zamboni driver