May 25, 2015: You've Graduated from College. Is Your Resume Ready?
Congratulations class of 2015. You've completed your studies and you're graduating from college. Well done! You're now looking forward to landing that job and getting your career underway that you've studied so hard for. But, are you ready? What does your resume look like? Have you captured all the work you've done properly so your resume reflects all you bring to the workforce? I love working with recent college grads. They are full of optimism, freshly minted in their careers and have so much to offer!
Let's take a brief inventory of things to consider as you polish up that resume.
1. HEADER: Of course, you have to get the basics done first. Include Name, Phone Number, Email, and LinkedIn profile URL (customized).
2. OBJECTIVE STATEMENT: A succinct 1-2 line paragraph that explains the work you are seeking. Be sure to include some skills you bring to that position.
3. EDUCATION: This is first after your header, include the key courses you took that apply to your profession and the job you are seeking.
4. EXPERIENCE: Where have you worked throughout your life? Summer jobs? Part time jobs during school? Volunteer experience? Include them all in a manner that exhibits what you contributed to each role. Think about the skills described in the job description and show how you have exhibited those skills in the past. Include bullets that describe what you have done, not just your responsibilities. It's important to show a potential employer what you've done and writing them helps you prep for the interview!
5. SHORT ON EXPERIENCE? Ok, were you in a club, or assumed a leadership role? These are important, because they demonstrate your willingness to give of your time and, once again, the skills you used to be a contributing member.
6. RESEARCH, PAPERS: Did you write any papers that apply to the work you are seeking? Include them in a separate section, providing a brief description of the work.
7. TECHNICAL SKILLS: Do you have computer skills, such as knowledge of business machines or computer skills? List this as your final section to illustrate what you offer. One exception, if you have technical skills that are highly refined and specialized for your chosen profession, include this section after Education.
Have someone help you with your resume to ensure you're using professional language that is relevant for the work you wish to do. Your parents may be able to help, a professor, a family friend. And, there are professionals who can help you craft a strong resume that illustrates all the many talents you bring with you! You don't have to go it alone.
Need help with your resume? I'll be glad to help. Start by uploading your resume for a free/quick resume review HERE, or contact me for a free 30 minute consultation using the Contact Us button HERE.
May 10, 2015: You want your life to be different? Do something about it!
I've heard it often throughout my life. Someone is complaining about their lot in life, the job they feel stuck in, the lack of joy, the absence of a relationship - you name it. But how long are you just going to sit there and complain about it? As Albert Einstein said, "the definition of insanity is continuing to do the same things while expecting a different outcome." I couldn't agree more. And before we get started, let's clear something up. No, life isn't 'fair'. It throws curve balls and obstacles at us at every opportunity. Another wise person said "we are not defined by what happens to us, but how we respond." I have lived by both of these statements for my entire life.
A little history about me. I was born blind in one eye, had to undergo a spinal fusion at the age of 14 that had me in the hospital for a year, was extremely insecure, and made poor relationship choices, finding myself in relationships that weren't healthy for me. So, yes, like everyone else, I've had my share of challenges. But, whether it's my personality, my upbringing (strong New England stock), or something else, I never saw the things that happened to me as anything other than life. It never dawned on me to complain, or whine, or give up. I marshalled on. And you can too.
Here are a couple of tips from someone who knows how life can try and knock you down. Notice I said 'try'. Whether or not you succeed through life's challenges is completely in your hands.
1. Don't give up. I know I said that before, but it's the most important thing. Giving up means things will never change. Wouldn't you rather try and fail, then never try at all and wonder what might have been?
2. Be optimistic. If you believe and you keep trying, eventually things WILL work out. Maybe not as you wanted or expected, but as they should. I've had more than one attempt turn into something other than I desired only to learn it was the best thing for me at the time. Plus, positivity brings positivity. People are drawn to optimistic, happy people. When was the last time you felt yourself drawn to negative Nelly? Put your big girl/boy pants on, smile and soldier on!
3. Figure out what your strengths are. Everyone has strengths. Everyone has gifts. Discover yours, capitalize on them and recreate yourself.
4. What's getting in your way? Ok, it's not easy, but take a good long look in the mirror and figure out how you are hurting yourself. For years, I had a terrible, and I mean terrible, temper. I finally saw how that was negatively impacting my life and chose to do something about it. Today, when I tell people this, they are shocked.
5. Keep your eye on the prize. Know what you want. Visualize it. Some people even create a montage, or a dreamscape - something that reminds them what they want for their life. You'd be amazed how motivating this can be!
6. And finally, to keep this short, forgive yourself when you slip. Very few of us have steady forward progress consistently. You will falter, you will doubt, but don't give in to it. Recognize it for what it is and keep going.
Through all of life's challenges, I have held these beliefs. I've left bad situations, I've ended unhealthy relationships, I've walked away from things that I knew just weren't good for me. What I've been rewarded with is a life that is, in every way, what I want it to be! I do work that I'm good at, that is meaningful, that helps others. I live in the one place on Earth that makes me whole. I have a relationship, a family, and the best circle of friends a person could want. What more could I ask for? Well, for the moment, I can't think of a thing.
So, dream big, be bold, and go for it! I wish you all the same healthy, happy life I have created for myself!
May 10, 2015: The Value of Downtime.
It's Saturday morning. What are you doing? Catching up on work that didn't get done Monday through Friday? Checking emails to see if anything's come up since you left the office yesterday?
When is the last time you unplugged, really unplugged? For many of us, it was all too long ago. As an independent business owner, I tend to do the same thing. There is ALWAYS something to be done: reach out to potential clients, catch up with colleagues, network, share an interesting article or thought with a client, and so it goes. I don't mind. I love what I do and it's organically who I am.
BUT. Like the old saying goes, "All work, no play makes Jack a dull boy." When we commit so much of our time to work, we miss out on so many other really important things in life. When is the last time you just hung out with your kids? Just hung out without your cell phone or tablet? When is the last time you took a long walk hand in hand with your partner? Or just sat and day dreamed? When we get wrapped up in our work, we miss out on so many other things, and the people in our lives suffer. We suffer. It's important to step away from the work and reconnect with the other parts of our lives.
As I said, I love my work, but I was reminded of the importance of downtime two weeks ago. After all, my work is helping others improve their lives, so I should walk the talk, yes? I took a long weekend with a friend. Hopped in a car and drove to Eastern Oregon, the high desert. A landscape very different from the Puget Sound view I see every day from my home. It truly felt like another world. I unplugged, enjoyed the sites of small town Oregon, met some lovely people, and visited some wineries. On the drive home, the restorative nature of our short trip was palpable. I was calm and relaxed. My mind was free of the many things I think of during a normal week, and I felt my creativity sparked. Upon arrival home, I was able to begin my week, renewed, ready, and eager to get back at it. And the bonus? Some really wonderful opportunities opened up and I was ready for the challenge!
So, do something for yourself, your partner, your kids, your family this weekend. Unplug, get outside, go to a movie, do something that takes you completely away from work so you can focus on those who are really important to you. The work will be there Monday for you. Enjoy!
May 5, 2015: Why I LOVE Coaching. My interest in coaching developed slowly over time. I was aware of it. I'd thought of it as a career. But I just didn't believe I had what it took. Then, one day, one of the clients I worked with in my leadership and development work said, "You're such an amazing coach!" What? Me? Over time, I heard this comment more and more from other people. Then one day, I realized, yes, I am indeed a coach already. I came to it naturally through the guidance of a great mother, a career coach that helped me maneuver through a very major transition in my own life and career, and a boss/mentor/friend who coached me for years before I realized it. These three amazing women were my inspirations!
As I ventured into this new career years ago, I came to see not only the amazing transformations it can bring to others lives, but my passion for doing so. Every time a coachee tells me of their success, I get a physical and emotional high. Sometimes, I even leap out of my seat and clap my hands in joy! People can achieve amazing things in their lives. Sometimes, they just need an objective viewpoint from someone who cares only in their best interest, without an agenda of their own. I love this work. Each success inspires me to keep going, to keep giving, to keep helping others to change their lives.
May 1, 2015: Glassdoor's 50 Most Common Interview Questions. Take a look. Some seem silly, but I've had people tell me they've heard them. If you're going to an interview soon, it would be a good idea to review this list and come up with possible answers. Click HERE to see entire list..
March 26, 2015: Asking Great Questions to Avoid Group ThinkYour "Problem Solving" Meetings Causing You Problems?
March 3, 2015: Networking Questions, from Harvard Law School
The following are some questions you may wish to consider asking when networking with individuals or potential employers.