THREE REASONS YOUR RESUME IS BEING IGNORED

The job market is crazy competitive and your resume can be up against hundreds of others every time you apply for a job and after spending hours in front of a computer crafting what you think is the perfect resume, having it be ignored by hiring managers can be frustrating. Here are three reasons your resume is getting ignored:

Reason One: Your resume isn’t tailored.

If you are using the same resume for each job, you are essentially sabotaging your search. While it is smart to build a master resume that represents the fundamentals of the scope you are working towards, there is still customization that is needed. Reviewing the job description and tailoring your resume towards that specific JD will not only help trigger the ATS system, it will also create the perception that you are the perfect candidate.

Reason Two: Your resume is difficult to read.

You could be the perfect candidate for the job, but if your layout is making it hard to read, a hiring manager is not going to put in the time to figure it out. Be sure your contact information is easy to find. Have a clear summary with key skills that highlight your qualifications for the job. Use plenty of white space, bolding, and bullets to draw the eye through the resume. And remember, it is okay to go to 2-pages!!

Reason Three: Your resume isn’t proving your impact.

It is important to show that you can do the job, but more importantly, you need to show that you can do more than just the job. Find ways to highlight your accomplishments, contributions, and special projects. Use facts, figures, and metrics to reinforce your actions.

Want help ensuring your resume will get seen and present you as that perfect candidate? Schedule your free consultation today here: https://calendly.com/signatureonthecity/30-minute-consultation

JOB FAIRS... FRIEND OR FOE?

Job fairs. Are they really worth your time? Yes and no. Job fairs can be a great tool in your job search toolbox if used right, but if you are not being strategic you are wasting your time. Here are my top 4 tips on how to maximize your time with a job fair:

Do Your Research

Take time to research which companies are going to be there ahead of time. Think about which companies align with your values, are in the location you need, and have the culture that you desire, and so on. Research what type of jobs they have open, what are their consumers saying about them, and more.  

Be Strategic

Choose quality of quantity. Pick 5 or 6 companies that best align with your values and mission for your life. Pick the ones that potentially could or do have your ideal job currently open. If possible, map these out. Be sure to see them first and do your best to customize your brand for these 5 or 6 companies. You can bring a “generic” resume for the rest, but for your top companies, bring your “A” game!

Be prepared

Have a quick 30-90-second pitch ready. Include who are you, what value do you bring (or what do you do) and what you are looking for? Remember to be specific. The focused you are, the more in demand you will be. Look your best, bring lots of resumes, business cards, and have questions ready and available.

Follow Up

At these job fairs, there can be anywhere between 50 to 1000 attendees so the likelihood that the recruiter is going to remember you, is slim. Be sure to ask for their card and follow up. Send a note after the job fair, thanking them for their time and reminding them of who you are and what you are looking for.  

Job fairs can be a great tool or a waste of time. Just depends on how you use them. Follow the steps above to ensure that you are maximizing your efforts but go in with an open mind and have fun! These are great networking opportunities and you never know who you might meet!

Want to sit down and plan out your strategy for an upcoming job fair? Great! I offer coaching sessions in which we can sit down and map you out a great plan of attack to increase your odds of getting that great new job!  Message me today for more details!

ARE YOUR PHOTOS KEEPING YOUR FROM GETTING THE JOB?

Say cheese! 📷📷📷

If a photo can say a thousand words, what are your photos saying about you? Utilizing photos throughout your brand can be a powerful tool by creating an opportunity for connection, showcasing who you are, and even showing off some of your work. But using the wrong photo can also hurt you. It can create concerns about your professionalism and your hire-ability.

To help, here are a few do’s and don’ts of using photos in your professional brand:

Do: Have a headshot that has you looking professional but not stuffy. Which means you don’t need a formal “corporate headshot”. Just get dressed as you would for an interview, grab a friend or a family member and your phone/camera, and go out and find an interesting background. I love to use a brick or colored wall, or even a nice (but not too busy) outdoor scene. Have fun with it and try several different poses, but just be sure that you are looking at the camera and smiling!  

Don’t: Use the photo from a social outing or the family photo. This is too casual. Having a photo snapped in a bar or with half of your uncle’s arm around you just looks unprofessional. Make sure you are alone in the picture and are in a neutral location.

Do: use a background image that you connect with that represents who you are or what you are passionate about. I always recommend using a photo that represents one of three things: what you do (say you are a yoga instructor – use a great photo of someone doing a yoga pose), what you are passionate about (maybe you are a nut for travel – use a photo of your favorite travel spot), or who you are (maybe you are a graphic designer – use an image that you created). In the end, this picture is meant to create conversation and connection so just be sure that you can talk about your photo.

Don’t: Put your photo on your resume (unless you are an actor or model). I know this is a controversial opinion. Some say who cares, people can google you anyway. Others say it's an opportunity for discrimination. I agree with both points, but for me, your appearance is irrelevant and can distract your audience from paying attention to the important things. You are only getting 5-8 seconds in front of that person, would you rather them be looking at your photo or reading about your awesome skills?

Do: Consider other social media, even if they are only for personal use. Even if you don’t think it is relevant, what a company sees on those platforms can impact their perception and ultimately their decision about you. Even if it is just during the job search time frame, make sure all of your social media accounts are consistent with your professional brand.

In the end, be strategic with your photos. You can’t control every photo out there of you, but the ones that you can control, be sure they are telling the story that you want them to tell!

 

THE NUMBER ONE RESUME KILLER...

This might come as a shock, but the number one resume killer is typos and grammatical errors. (Insert the sarcastic font here). Yes, I know, you are probably rolling your eyes at me saying, “Dianna, I am smarter than that!”. But here’s the thing; no one is perfect, but your resume needs to be. When it is not, assumptions can be made about you and in the sea of hundreds of qualified candidates, employers are looking for any reason to reduce that number.  

But don’t fret! Here are 5 tricks to ensure that you avoid any mistakes:

TIP #1: PRINT TO PROOFREAD

Our brains are amazing, but sometimes it works against us. When our brains get used to something in the same environment (i.e. your computer screen), it is not primed to catch errors. By printing (or even changing the font or color), it de-familiarizes your brain so you are more likely to see your mistakes.

TIP #2: READ THE DOCUMENTS OUT LOUD

This is piggybacking on my first point, sometimes our brains work against us and it is easy for our brain to “fill-in” certain words as we read silently. However, when you read aloud, you’re forced to look every single word, not only catching typos and mistakes, but ensuring your sentences read smoothly and make sense.

TIP #3: ENLIST THE HELP OF A FRIEND OR FAMILY MEMBER

If possible, have a friend or a family member read your resume to look for errors. It’s amazing what a second pair of eyes can find. But be careful, people who love us always mean well, but sometimes they don’t have the best advice and listening to too many people at once can muddle our efforts.

TIP #4: USE ONE OR MULTIPLE ONLINE EDITING TOOLS

In everything that I write, I use two online tools to check my writing! My favorites are Ginger and Grammarly. Both tools scan your document for spelling mistakes, grammar mistakes, missing articles, comma usage, weak adjectives, and more. You can even upgrade to get advice on context and sentence structure.

TIP #5: HIRE A PROFESSIONAL WRITER

Not everyone in the world is a strong writer, and that is okay. If you struggle with getting your ideas on the page, wordsmithing your sentences, or if you just simply hate to write, hire help! Resume writers are trained to take your thoughts and words and make sure they are represented in the best way on your resume.

Don’t let a silly typo make the difference between getting an interview or not. Take your time and use your resources to make sure that you are representing your best self on your resume!

Are you feeling like you need a little extra help with your resume? I can help you take your experiences, accomplishments, and skills and craft them into a stunning document that really shows a prospective employer what a talented, badass you are! Schedule your free consultation here.

THE THREE MOST IMPORTANT QUESTIONS TO ASK AT THE END OF AN INTERVIEW

The hiring process can often be slow and painful. You are often left wondering where you stand, what the next steps are, and if and when should you follow-up. Because each company has a different hiring process, it is critical that you ask certain questions to help keep your job search moving along.

What is the next step in your hiring process?

Why is this question important? As each company is different, their next steps are too. This could be an email, a phone call, another several rounds of interviews, testing, and more. By understanding this process, you will be able to navigate the process much better.

When can I expect to hear about this position?

Why is this question important? While this answer might not always be 100% correct (as there a lot of factors that can derail this timeline) it allows you an opportunity to follow up without being inappropriate or to aggressive with the recruiter/hiring manager.  Just be sure to wait a day or two AFTER the date they start to follow up.

Who should I stay in touch with and how should I contact them?

Why is this question important? During the hiring process, you could easily meet 5-10 people. Between the recruiter, HR Managers, your potential boss, coworkers, and leadership, it can get a little murky about who in the process is your official contact. Typically, there is one person who will be the “point person” for the position and you should be sure to get their business card or contact information and preferred method of contact.

Without knowing the answers to these questions, you can make the fatal mistake of following up too often or too aggressively. While a company should respect your time and effort in the job search, just remember that there is a lot going on that you might not be aware of. If you have followed up with the company after the expected date and got no solid answers, move on. Being too aggressive or following up too much can create the perception that you are difficult to work with.

ACHIEVER VS. DOER: HOW TO DEVELOP AN ACCOMPLISHMENT DRIVEN RESUME

In today’s highly competitive job market, you really need to demonstrate that you are an achiever rather than just a doer. This means that you need to take your task-driven resume and highlight some accomplishments. Accomplishments can be special projects or contributions in which you improved, increased, decreased, changed, streamlined, or saved (and many more) money, time, process, etc.… And anytime you can add a quantifiable metric to your accomplishment in the form of a %, $, or #, the better.

One of the most common objections I get from my clients when we are working together on revamping their resume is that they just did their job and that they don’t have any accomplishments. So here is an exercise that I do with them to get them in the accomplishment mind frame:

Step One: What are you most proud of

Maybe think about a skill that you demonstrate that is relevant to the job you want to apply for. By starting off thinking about this piece you are able to see your contributions above and beyond just your job. For example, while saying, “I am most proud of the fact that I didn’t kill my boss” might not work an accomplishment, spinning it to show your ability to communicate during a difficult situation will because it highlights a very important skill set.

Step Two: Now we need some action

Let’s break it down. So, you didn’t kill your curmudgeon old boss. Good. Now, think about your actions during that time. Did you adapt your communication style to improve understanding? Did you find ways to soften your boss before meeting with him? Tell me about your action that produced the result.

Step Three: Words make it impactful

Now let’s find an action word to really make it impactful. You want to consider four areas: action verbs, company values, popular skills, or industry keywords. For example:

Action Verbs: Executed, Achieved, Designed, Streamlined

Company Values: Innovative, Communicative, Supportive, Driven

Popular Skills: Managed, Leadership, Ownership, Adaptability

Industry Keywords:  Facilitated, Launched, Demonstrated, Coordinated

Step Four: Let’s wrap it up!

And finally, let’s put it all together: “Demonstrated the ability to communicate during difficult situations by remaining calm and adapting communication style to improve message delivery and understanding.” See what we did there? Each accomplishment should highlight a situation, YOUR action, and the result (even if it is not quantifiable).

Not every job out there has quantifiable metrics or huge company altering contributions, but by applying a little creativity and being a little boastful, you can pack your resume full of accomplishments that show your prospective employer that you are a mover and a shaker and can really go above and beyond in your new job!

Resume writing is tough. It has taken me years of practice, lots of training, and God-given talent to be good at it. If you find yourself struggling to put together something that will make you shine, let’s chat and build you a resume that really shows that you are a super-star!

THE FOUR PHASES OF A CAREER CHANGE

Most anyone in Denver will recognize this infamous mural, “Larimer Girl and Boy”. This is one of my favorite pieces of art in Denver, not only because it is so cool, but because of what it represents – change. See, as you begin to stroll past this mural, you see a girl and as you keep moving past the wall, it transitions into a boy. And if a painting can transition into something else, imagine what you can do!

Change is hard. Most of my life I have resisted change because it felt uncomfortable and was scared of what was on the other side, but life has shown me that change can be a good thing. Change can help us become who we were meant to be. When we think about it in terms of our changing careers, there are 4 main phases.

Phase One

Phase one is recognizing that feeling that something isn’t right. This is that uncomfortable phase where you aren’t really happy with what you are doing, but you might not know why or what to do about it. Don’t run from it, lean into it and explore your feelings. Which leads to phase two.

Phase Two

Phase two is feeling all the feels. You contemplate a change. You are curious, excited, scared, unsure, thrilled and more. You are exploring the feelings of your dissatisfaction, trying to pinpoint what actions to take. Take time to really recognize what you a feeling. Take a long walk, journal, talk to a trusted source, but don’t ignore your feelings. Let those feelings tell you how to take your next step.

Phase Three

Phase three is all about action.  This is where you do your research. Talk to others about it. Pray about it. Visualize it. Whatever it might be, you are full in and finding out what that next step is for you. Take time to talk to people who can strategically help you, that might have been in your shoes or can lead you through this process.

Phase Four

Phase four is when it all comes together. This is where you discover what comes next, you have a plan of action, and are ready for your new direction. You are beginning your transformation into something new and it is exciting!

Change doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Recognize what you are feeling and be smart about it and be ready for what comes on the other side of the wall!

If you are feeling unhappy but not sure what to do about it, send me a message today. Let’s work together to explore those feelings and find the right path for you!

WHAT TOOLS DO YOU NEED IN YOUR JOB SEARCH TOOLBOX?

Growing up, my dad had every tool you could imagine. In our garage, he hung them on pegboards, stacked them up in a giant, rolling toolbox, and neatly aligned them in our outside shed. I was always amazed that he seemed to always have the right tool for the job, and as I’ve gotten older, I’ve realized that it is nice to be this prepared, because you never know what challenges might arise, in a house or in life.

In thinking about my papa’s extensive tool collection, I started to think about what tools we use to help us overcome the challenges in life. The proverbial toolbox, if you may. The accumulation of experience, strategies, and methods that can be drawn on in life. Some are well worn, used constantly and some only come out for that special project. In job seeking and career transitions, we have all sorts of tools that we can pull out: online job boards, resumes, social media, etc.…, but which ones can be the most effective? Because we don’t want to use the sledgehammer to crack a nut, now do we?

Here are my top 4 tools that EVERY job seeker should utilize whether they are simply changing jobs or completely changing careers.

Tool #1: Your Brand

Your brand consists of your resume, cover letter, and online profile. Individually, these serve different purposes and together they can represent a strong snapshot of what you are, what you can do, and why you would be a great asset to a company. The tool, if properly maintained and cared for, can yield you outstanding results. The three biggest things to remember about this tool: keep it focused, keep it updated, and keep it out to use all the time!

Tool #2: LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most powerful tools in our box and is ranked as the #1 source of quality hires and top recruiters are more engaged with LinkedIn than other recruiter tools. So what does that mean for you? Opportunity! LinkedIn allows you not only to find jobs, but to also engage with hiring managers and recruiters from your dream company, demonstrate a level of expertise by sharing articles, posts, and nuggets of information, and allows you to build a network that helps you achieve your goals! Talk about an all-in-one tool!

Tool #3: A GOOD Recruiter or Staffing Agency

I emphasize good on a recruiter and staffing agency because there, unfortunately, are recruiters and agencies that are not worth your time. But a GOOD recruiter or agency can act as your partner and advocate in your job search. A good recruiter will help you achieve your goals by connecting you with people and companies, even if they are not sourcing for that particular position. As you search for some help, be picky. Treat it like dating and find one that fits you, understands your goals, and treats you with respect. Good recruiters are like gold! Treat them like it!

Tool #4: Your Network

Employee referrals are the top source of quality hires. That means that companies are looking to their employees to refer to who they know for open positions. Strategically cultivate a network by interacting with people with your same interests, that work at companies that you are interested in, and that are within your industry/job type. Just remember though, you are BUILDING this network so, show up, be present, and engage with your network. Let them know who you are, what you can do, and why you are awesome!

Just like the real tools in your toolbox, your metaphorical tools need regular maintenance to remain useful. Stay acquainted with them, learn their different functions, and get familiar with them so you can use them most effectively!

 

HOW TO OVERCOME JOB SEARCH FAILURES

 

“It's not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” - Epictetus

Let me tell you about one of my clients, Hannah. Hannah is a bright, 30-something-year-old who has had a lot of bad luck in her career. Even though she is talented and a hard worker, she kept finding herself in jobs that didn’t work out for one reason or another and had to keep starting over. She expressed to me that she had thought that at this point in her life, she would be in a better place and now feels like a total failure.

I told Hannah that while failures, rejections, and disappointments are hard and painful, if you are able to handle them in a productive way, they can be as beneficial to your career as a huge accomplishment.

After we talked for a while, Hannah and I sat down and come up with a plan on what she could do to overcome these failures. Here are a few of the tips:

ACKNOWLEDGE IT

You know the old saying, “The first step is admitting…”. When we acknowledge a situation, we are able to take control of it so it doesn’t control you. Instead of blaming others or external factors, own up to the part you played in it.

DON’T LET IT BREAK YOU

This one is a tough one, even for me. In both personal and professional situations, it can be easy to dwell on the negative while letting the positives just pass right by you. This just makes the bad seem that much worse. Next time, try focusing on the positives. Be proud that you tried!! Just because things might not have gone as you liked, don’t let one mistake, failure, or negative piece of information derail you from your goals.

REVISIT IT WITH A FRESH PERSPECTIVE

When you experience heartache and discouragement, especially over and over again, you can easily want to give up and think that you are destined for lifelong failures. But, after a bit of time, you should be able to come back to it and look at it a way to learn from it. In order to grow and develop, we need challenges and even failures. While it is hard to remember when you are feeling defeated, giving yourself a little time and grace will allow you to look at your situation with a new, fresh perspective.

ACCEPT IT

Accepting your failure doesn’t mean being proud of it, cursing the universe for your “bad luck,” or admitting to yourself that you suck and should give up. Accepting your failure is understanding that this is an obstacle and knowing that you need to figure out how to overcome it.  When you’re able to accept and face these failures head-on, you’ll learn to stop allowing them to prevent you from pursuing your dreams.

MAKE A PLAN

Every successful person in the world has a story about how they failed at one point of their career (hello, can we talk about Steve Jobs, Walt Disney, and even Oprah). Every single one of those successful persons will also tell you that they took that failure, evaluated it, learned from it, and made a plan on how to move forward. There are plenty of things you can proactively do to get your career back on track and taking the time to map out those options will eventually get you to where you want to be.

Hannah is now in a great job with a great company and she is thriving. She was able to take what she was experiencing and turn it around for her benefit. Now, it’s your turn. How are you going to bounce back from your failures? By hiding under the covers or taking charge?

If you are ready to take charge of your career, send me a message today and let’s work together to find a plan that turns your failures into a great success story!

HOW TO IDENTIFY AND WRITE AN ACCOMPLISHMENT

Far too often, I come across a resume that reads like a job description. Responsible for this, responsible for that, managed a team, blah, blah, blah, and nothing tells me what they can actually do. Including achievements in your resume is a great opportunity to show the recruiter or hiring manager that you can get the job done and do it well. Many of my clients fight me on this and say things like, “I just did my job” or “I don’t want to brag too much” in which I say, “BULLS$IT!!”. When searching for a job, you have to have a little ego, be boastful about what you have done, even if it’s “just doing your job”.

So, you are probably thinking, “Dianna, that is all great in theory, but I don’t know what to say!” Well, I am here to help you with that. Here is how you can identify and develop your accomplishments for your resume:

1. Brainstorm a list of ideas. Thinking about your time at your job, what are you most proud of? Have you ever received a positive comment from a boss or colleague? Did you ever have a particularly challenging problem that you had to solve? Make a recommendation to improve anything or even did your job better than the person in the cubicle next to you?

2. Now review this list with a focus on the job that you want to apply for. Pick out examples that demonstrate the abilities the job is asking for. For example, maybe this new job wants you to be able to manage a team. Do you have an example of how you coached and developed your direct report, so they received a promotion?

3. Focus on including action verbs, what you specifically did, and quantifiable results. So instead of simply saying, “Managed a team.” You can say “Directed a team of sales representatives, deploying coaching techniques that developed 5 team members to the point of receiving internal promotions.” See the difference?

Talking about your accomplishments is not egotistical or boastful, it’s necessary. Put yourself in your prospective employer's shoes, would you rather hire someone who just merely does their job or someone who can make a difference?

Do you need a little help in identifying and crafting your list of accomplishments? Let’s make time to chat about what you have done. By hearing your stories and asking you specific questions and, I am able to help you see all the amazing things you have done and help you put it together in a way that employers will love! 

WHAT'S YOUR TYPE?

Everyone has a type. A type of guy or girl they like, a type of style they love, type of music, and even a type of job seeker. We are all unique and come with different strengths, personality traits, and motivations and because of those varying range of traits, a job search cannot be a one-size-fits-all type of approach. By understanding what kind of job seeker you are, you can better understand what approach you should take.

THE PERSISTENT JOB SEEKER

This guy gets a bad rap most of the type. Their approach can appear over-the-top or desperate at times because they are not satisfied by simply applying for a job. They will not rest until they have exhausted every avenue of follow-through with an organization that they are interested in. While their intentions might be innocent, they can annoy some.

If you are this type of job seeker, your persistence is a strong suit showing great qualities of commitment and loyalty, but remember to be respectful of your recruiter and hiring manager's time. You don’t know what is going on with their workload. Follow up once after their stated timelines, but if they are not getting back to you, move on. If they are interested, they will do whatever it takes to get you into their organization.

THE LAZY JOB SEEKER

 On the opposite side, you have your casual job seeker. This guy takes a very lackadaisical approach to finding a job. They are looking for the easy way and doing the minimum amount needed to actually apply for a job. They don’t want to network or spend time promoting themselves. They won’t customize their applications or cover letters because it takes too much time. These can be easily spotted to an employer, as they appear to be disinterested in the whole process. 

If you find yourself not wanting to put your all into the job search, as yourself why. Maybe this career path is not for you and you need to reexamine your priorities. But in the end, your attitude needs to shift!

THE GUNG-HO JOB SEEKER

These guys make finding a job a full-time job. They put a great amount of hard work and dedication in every phase of the process. They are up-to-date on market activity, scoping out possible openings before they are even listed. They are building relationships with hiring managers, recruiters, and other key players in their industry. They go above and beyond in the application phase, almost always following-up by getting in touch with the appropriate people.

While a lot of these activities are the right ones, you might be feeling burned out in your job search. Giving your all is great in a job search, and those activities will lead you to a great job, remember that you should be spending all day, every day looking for a job. Block out maybe 2-3 hours per day to focus on this. That way you are staying fresh and energized to keep going until you find that perfect opportunity!

No matter what kind of job seeker you are, remember that no one way is the perfect way. Keep evaluating your circumstances and results and adapt along the way.

 

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU ENCOUNTER PREJUDICE DURING YOUR SEARCH

Prejudice. This is a tough one for me. Recently, I had a prospective client say, “you come off as young and youth usually means lack of experience.” It stung. This person didn’t even give me the benefit of the doubt that I was experienced and just assumed that I wasn’t good enough because of my age. I thought about this person all day, ranging from anger to hurt to wanting to tell him off. But what I struggle more with is the fact that these snap judgments are made constantly – in our daily work lives, our job search, and our businesses. We are not judged for our qualifications, but for our appearance, our ages, our weight, how long we’ve been out of work or in the industry we are in and even the way we talk or what we choose to wear is judged.

The sad reality is that we cannot control these prejudices against us, so what CAN we control?  As I think back on that situation and how I was feeling, I realized there are three things that I learned that can help you in your job search

What I learned: I can control my attitude. I get to choose whether or not I let someone make me miserable. Instead of feeling hurt and angry, I could have chosen positivity. Keeping a positive attitude would have allowed me to move on faster from that situation.

How it can help you: When you are faced with prejudice in your job search, try not to take it personally. Recognize that it is just a small bump in your path and move forward!

What I learned: I can choose how I will react. Instead of getting upset and cursing his name, I could have politely addressed the situation with him. Sometimes, people are unaware of the hurtful nature of their words and drawing attention to them will provide a great learning opportunity.

How it can help you: If you are comfortable, confront the prejudiced person, being polite and assertive. Try and talk to the person privately and see what happens and if that doesn’t work, talk to a supervisor. This might not get you the job, but it will alert the company to a serious internal problem.

What I learned: I should have reached out to my support system. I have been able to cultivate a great group of people that support me in my business. People who will listen to me, let me express my frustration, and, if appropriate, provide advice. Instead of fuming and feeling hurt, I should have sought out their support.

How it can help you: Job hunting is exhausting, physically, mentally, and emotionally. It’s even worse if you are facing prejudice while you are doing it. Build a group of people that can support you during this time, friends, family members, other job seekers, or even a professional coach can help.

The biggest thing to remember is to not share those prejudices. Remember how awesome you are and look at yourself through your own eyes, not theirs.

5 Tips to Finding a New Job in A New City

Do you have to move before finding a job in a new city? This is a very valid question and whether you are moving for a better opportunity, family obligations, or just a plain old fresh start, the truth is that you don’t need to move first. Here are a few tactics to help you land that job prior to the U-Haul pulling up in your driveway.

Research the new city that you want to be in.

Ask yourself key questions such as; What’s my industry like in this city? What’s the probability that I can get a good job? What’s the cost of living index, and will my likely salary be able to manage it? Will I have to downgrade my current lifestyle because the new city won’t let my dollars stretch as far? Research areas to live in, hotspots to visit, culture, and whatever else is important to you and your lifestyle. The more information you have, the better off you will be.

Leverage your current networking and begin building one in your new city.

 See who you know in there. Friends, family, past colleagues, alumni connections. Can they introduce you to anyone else? Try to connect with others in the city that might have a common connect and ENGAGE with them. Simply adding a connection is not enough.  

Make it clear that you are relocation in your cover letter.

A prospective company might give preference to a local candidate because they won’t have to fork out the big bucks on relocation costs. Be sure to address this clearly in your cover letter to ensure you are still being considered. There are three ways to do this: The start of the cover letter, “My family and I are moving to Denver in April…”. At the end of the letter, “I am currently in the process of moving to Denver and have the resources in place that would allow me to relocate immediately upon hiring.” A general statement, “I am willing to travel and relocation for your service.”

Join Groups (LinkedIn, Facebook, etc…) in your new city.

Look for groups that are in your industry, line of work, or even hobby. This will allow you to engage with like-minded people in your new city, chat with them about their companies, areas to live in, and even hotspots that you should try.  Not only are you building new friendships in your city, but these are the people that might refer you into your new job.  

Target 3-5 companies that you would like to work for in your new city.

 Make a list of 3-5 ideal companies that you would like to work at and get as much information as you can about them and their hiring process. Check out places like Glassdoor, Yelp, and Indeed to see customer and employee reviews. Follow them and interact with them on social media. Reach out to company recruiters or hiring managers through a direct message and introduce yourself. Let them know that you will be in town and ask if they have 10 minutes for you to drop by and learn about their work and company.

It’s undeniably harder to find a job when you are not local, but not impossible. Even under the best circumstances, a job search takes time and perseverance. Manage your expectations during this process and keep your head up and soon enough, you’ll be packing that U-Haul!

 

IT'S GOING TO HAPPEN

Far too often, I have a person come to me, months into their job search feeling deflated and rejected. They come with the attitude that what they want is never going to happen. As we begin to talk and I discover more about their situation, I typically find that they are taking a very passive approach to their job search. They might have a general idea on what they want to do, but as we talk about their job search, they have 10+ different job titles that they are searching for. They tend to have a generic, either outdated or over-designed resume. They don’t network, they are not using LinkedIn, and what they are doing is spending their time on online job boards, clicking to apply. And unfortunately, taking this strategy probably means that is never going to happen.

I’m not going to lie, there are success stories out there of people who take this sort of approach and find a job, but I’m here to tell you that there is a better way! One where you are in control and taking positive actions to get to where you want to be! There are 5 main areas in which you should be specific and proactive in:

YOUR LINE OF WORK

Most people say that they want to stay “open” in their job search and not limit themselves to just one job. I get it. And you shouldn’t limit yourself BUT you should have clarity on what your ideal job is.

Why is this important? Specificity is going to be your best friend. Why? Because the more focused you are on the exact thing you want, the more likely you are to bring it into your life. For example, if you are pursuing the field of marketing, drill that down. Are you interested in doing a little bit of everything? Or is there a specific area like branding, SEO, or social media that you want to focus on? By being specific you will not only have a MUCH more effective job search, but you are also ensuring that you are going to get into a job that fits you and your interests rather than just another marketing job.

YOUR INDUSTRY AND/OR TYPE OF COMPANY

I say this ALL the time with my clients (and honestly, they are probably sick of it!):

You might love WHAT you do, but if you don’t love WHERE you do it, you are not going to be happy and satisfied.

Ask questions that will help you determine what the kind of environment is that you will thrive in. For example:

  • What size of company do I want to work for?

  • Is the mission of the company important to you?

  • What about the products or services they are offering?

  • What growth and learning opportunities will you have?

  • What kind of boss would you work best under?

These are just a few questions, but focusing in on the important details will help find that company that you absolutely love and what to grow in!

YOUR BRAND

I know, I know. You have heard this a million times from me, but as long as I am doing this, I am going to keep on saying that a targeted brand is a MUCH MORE effective brand. Your brand should be specific to your line of work (see the importance of point #1) and you should be customizing this for every job that you apply for. I get it, applications take a long time to complete, but if you are being specific in your job search, you won’t have to customize as much!! See how that works?

Five easy ways to add focus to your brand:

  1. Update your resume title

  2. Have your key skills/areas of expertise match up with the job that you are applying for.

  3. Customize your cover letter to show how your values align with the company values

  4. Identify the three most important qualities of the position and highlight how your skills match that in your cover letter.

  5. Optimize your LinkedIn Profile to demonstrate that you are an expert in that field

YOUR STRATEGY

This might be the most important stage to be proactive in! I cannot stress this point enough: YOU HAVE TO BE PROACTIVE IN YOUR JOB SEARCH! This means:

  • You are actively targeting your ideal employer

  • You are networking both online and offline on a REGULAR basis

  • You are constantly evaluating your strategy and adjusting to ensure you are the most effective

  • You are leveraging your network BEFORE you apply for a job online

  • You are showing off your knowledge and expertise in your field

  • You are talking about your job search – sharing wins and challenges and letting people know where you want to be

YOUR SKILLS

Let me ask you this, would you wait until you had the job to learn an important skill? Probably not. So, why are you waiting to learn the skills needed for a successful job search? The three most important skills a job seeker can have are:

  1. Networking. This is a skill and requires practice, especially if you are on the shyer or the more introverted side.

  2. Interviewing. This is your opportunity to impress! Build your skills in this area to feel confident as you are walking in for your ideal job.

  3. Negotiating. Companies expect you to negotiate. There are some companies out there that see the worth of a talented person and present them a stellar offer, however, that is not the norm. Typically, an employer will low ball an offer about 10-20% with the expectation that you will negotiate. Do you have the skills to successfully do that?

Sure, there are some lucky ones out there that can easily find a job without much effort, but for the rest of us, it is hard. Your job search will require work, effort, patience, and perseverance. But I will promise you this, if you do the right things, be strategic, and never give up, it IS GOING TO HAPPEN.  

Are you ready to take a proactive approach to your job search to make sure that you will achieve what you want? Schedule your FREE 30-minute consultation with me today here: https://calendly.com/signatureonthecity/30-minute-consultation

 

NETWORKING VS ATS OPTIMIZED RESUME

If you were to log on to Etsy.com right now and search resume templates, you will find over 8,000 results! Scrolling through all of these selections, you are going to find some visually interesting, pretty resumes. But what which one do you pick? Hint… none of them.

There are two main types of resume templates out there. The pretty ones, that we call networking resumes and ones that are more content-driven structured to be optimized for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS).

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What is a Networking Resume and why would I need one?

A networking resume is usually only one page, might have your picture included, lots of color and graphics, and only summarizes your experience. While this document should not take the place of your ATS-optimized resume, it can be a great tool to be used for networking meetings, leave-behinds at interviews, or to hand out when your full-length resume might be awkward.  

How do I know if my resume is ATS-Optimized?

There are 5 rules to creating an ATS-Optimized resume.

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Rule #1: Never overlap information in multiple columns (i.e. skills in one and professional experience another). This can confuse the system and cause your information not to upload properly.

Rule #2: Avoid pictures and other graphics. They will only be deleted once uploaded.

Rule #3: Always include a key skills or areas of expertise section at the TOP of your resume in the summary section. This is your prime real-estate. Not only is this section needed to increase your rating, it is important for recruiters and hiring managers to immediately see your relevant skills.

Rule #4: Don’t get creative with your section headings. While it might seem fun to name your “Professional Experience” section as “What I’ve Done”, the system won’t understand and will leave off that section for scoring.

Rule #5. Always test your resume. An easy way to double check that your resume will upload properly is to save it as a text file (.txt). You will see what gets messed up and needs to be fixed.

Just remember the most important rule to resume templates, scan-ability then readability. You can still create a visually interesting resume that is ATS-Optimized.

Need help ensuring your resume is ATS-Optimized? Send it to my email at signatureonthecity@gmail.com with the subject line ‘Is my resume ATS Optimized?’ for a free resume review!

 

REFLECT AND RECALIBRATE

Earlier on in my business, I was working with a business coach and one of the most valuable things that he taught me was the need to reflect back over the past year. The point of this is not to look back, but to see where you came from, the strides that you made, the challenges that you overcame, and the failures that you faced. So often, we only focus on what we don’t currently have that we are blind to the great things that we have accomplished. So, with understanding where you came from, you are better able to see where you need to recalibrate to know where you need to go.

I love to tackle this project the week between Christmas and New Year’s.  I still am shocked that the year has passed by, but excited about what the new year has to bring, both personally and professionally. Below is the process that I go through for my professional reflection (I’ll leave the personal up to you). To complete this, I make sure that I am in a quiet space and approach each question with honesty and specificity. I personally use a journal all year long and at the back of the journal do my reflection, so I can always look back on it. However, you can use whatever feels most comfortable for you.

Step 1: Always start with your WHY

  • Over the course of the next year, where do you want to be professionally and why? 5 years? 10 years?

  • When you achieve this, how will you feel? How will your life be different?

Step 2: Looking back

  • Last year, today, where were you at?

  • Over the course of the last year, what I am most proud of?

  • What are three things that you did to get you closer to your goal?

  • What challenges did you face? Did you overcome them?

  • What didn’t work this past year and why? What did you/are you going to do to change that?

  • After this last year, where are you at today?

Step 3: Recalibrate      

  • Are you on track to meet your goal? Why or why not?

  • What are the things that you need to start doing? Do differently? Or stop doing?

  • Are you doing everything it takes to get to where you want to be? (Be honest) If not, why not?

Step 4: Make a plan

  • What are three things that you are going to do (daily, weekly, monthly, etc..) to get you closer to your goal?

  • How will you measure your success? And how often will you “check-in” with yourself?

  • Is there anyone that can offer you unbiased support & accountability? (i.e. friend, family member, support group, coach, etc…)

This is your life, so stop letting it just “happen” to you and take control! Make 2019 be your year and have it be everything that you want it to be! If you need help creating a plan to take charge, let me know, I would be delighted to help you find that career that is full of passion and purpose.

FINDING IKIGAI (AKA YOUR PASSION AND PURPOSE)

One of the top questions I get asked is, “How do I find my passion and purpose?”.  Many times, we ask this question because we feel burnt out, or are experiencing a mid-life crisis, or maybe just experiencing a particular bad patch at work. Regardless of what is spurring you to ask this question, it is a very important one because as humans, we need more than just a good salary and progression up the corporate ladder to feel fulfilled, we need a sense of purpose.

There are many ways to find your passion and purpose. In my coaching practice, I deploy traditional methods of using tried and true assessments combined with a variety of visualization exercises, clarification of values, and a lot of self-reflection. I have found success in defining what you want in order to achieve it and recently, I have been exploring the concept of Ikigai (pronounced A-KEY-GAY-I) to deepen this practice. Ikigai is a Japanese word that roughly translates to “a reason for being” or in simpler terms, the things that make your life worthwhile and makes you want to get up in the morning!

 Let me explain to make more sense. Ikigai starts with four categories:

1.       Things you love to do

2.       Things you are good at

3.       Things you can get paid for

4.       Things the world needs.

Then where each of these categories intersect, you find added layers. Still with me? Let me break it down more:

  • Where things you love and things that you are good at intersect, you find passion. When you have a lack of passion, you are typically spending too much time on things that you are either not good at or things you don’t really care about.

  • Where what you are good at meets what you can get paid doing, you are finding your profession. Which, unfortunately, isn’t always fulfilling.

  • Then you have what the world needs intersecting with things you get paid for, this is vocation. This is where you are getting paid for a greater purpose – usually thing is where you are making more of an impact in your job. Working for a nonprofit is a great example of this.

  • Lastly, you intersect the things you love with the things the world needs and you have mission. Mission is where you spend time on a cause that is close to your heart. Volunteering is a great example of this.

Phew! Is your head spinning yet? While all of these categories have positive and negative attributes, they all have a purpose and one is not better than the other. Our ultimate goal, however, is to find a career where all four of these come together. This is that rare, hard to find spot called Ikigai or our “sense of purpose” and encompasses a situation where you can get paid to solve the worlds needs in an environment that you love and that you can use your talents at.

So, back to the ultimate question, how do you find your passion and purpose? In order to answer this, you are going to need to do a bit of work.  Take time to reflect on the four main categories and create a list – and make sure you are being truly honest with yourself. This requires a lot of soul-searching and introspection to work. Once you have identified your Ikigai, you can apply it to a mindful job search.

Defining and being confident in your values, passions, and strengths will give you greater clarity and focus in your job search and help you find a place where you can not only can make an impact and love what you do while using your talents, but get paid to do it!

Are you ready to find your Ikigai and start living a life of passion and purpose? Message me today and let’s chat!

OPTIMIZE YOUR LINKEDIN EXPERIENCE

Over the years, I’ve seen LinkedIn grow from another social media site to one of the largest online marketplaces for job seekers. As a career coach, I can’t stress enough about how important it is to be on LinkedIn. And not just have a page, but as an active, engaged user.

As of December 2018, DMR reported that 94% of recruiters use LinkedIn to vet candidates. Over 20,000 companies are on LinkedIn. And there are over 15 million active jobs listed. So, are you leveraging the power of LinkedIn to get to where you want to be? Yes or no, read on to learn how to optimize your LinkedIn experience!

Tip 1: Photos Matter

Your profile is meant to do something that your resume is not, connect. You have the opportunity to instill some personality into your profile. Two of the easiest ways to do this is your headshot photo and your background image.

Your headshot photo should be a recent photo, professional, and should be showcasing your face. You don’t need to hire some fancy photographer, just grab a friend, your phone, dress like you would for an interview, find an interesting background (brick, colored wall, the outdoors), and have fun! Get photos that are from your waist up so when they are cropped in the headshot bubble, it will incorporate your face and shoulders.

The background image on your profile is prime real estate. This is an opportunity to strengthen your brand, show who you are, what you do, and that you care. Find a photo that you connect with. If you don’t have one already taken, use sites like Pexels.com or Pixabay.com that offer great, free stock images. Just remember to keep it simple and not too busy and make sure it really does represent who you are!

Tip 2: Highlight Your Talent

Your headline or tag-line will default to your current (or last) job title. Why do you not want to keep it this way? Updating your tagline is a great way to use keywords and descriptors that help hiring managers and recruiters find you. You can optimize your headline to showcase what you do (or what you want to do in case of career transitions), your specialty, and what you are looking for.

Here’s an example:

Default: Marketing Director for XYZ Agency

Optimized: Strategic Marketing Leader| Brand Champion | Seeking a new opportunity with an innovative and growing organization.

Tip 3: Keywords, Keywords, Keywords

Just like your resume going through an ATS system, recruiters and hiring managers can search profiles by key words and skills. To ensure that you are being picked from the bunch, you want to incorporate keywords that relate directly towards the job you want in your profile.

There are two sections on your profile to incorporate these words. In your summary, you can create a paragraph that lists out your areas of expertise. I would recommend keeping it very focused on job-specific skills and don’t overdo it. Keep your list to no more than 15. Then in your skills section, you can add up to 50 skills. Pin your top three that directly relate to your search on top and then add in the other 47. But, be careful. LinkedIn does provide recommendations as you are adding in skills. It’s easy to fall down the rabbit hole and just start adding like crazy. Be strategic and focus on the most important and relevant skills to your job search.

Tip 4: Showcase your work

LinkedIn has a great option to allow you to add media to your summary and to your professional experience. Taking advantage of this option allows recruiters and hiring managers to really see what you can do. Add your resume in your summary and if you have one, a link to your online portfolio. Add presentations, flyers, logo design and more to your professional experience to support your accomplishments.

Don’t overdo it though. I recommend adding 1-2 pieces of media to each job. And be sure to keep it relevant and professional (and make sure you have permission to share it).

Tip 5: Engage

Simply updating your profile and walking away is not going to get you anywhere. Just like most other social media sites, there is a trick. The more you are active and engaging on the site, the more you are going to get seen. Join up to 100 groups and engage by posting, sharing, commenting and liking what is going on. One of my favorite ways to engage on LinkedIn is to share your opinion on the industry and trends. Share what you know and demonstrate that you are that true expert that your resume says you are. Share articles, write articles, comment on other posts, and most of all, be respectful. You can disagree with someone’s opinion without being a jerk. If in doubt, just remember the golden rule, only write what you would want written on yours!

A big part in your job search success is leveraging the power of LinkedIn. Keep your profile complete and updated while engaging in the right activities will increase the opportunity of your profile being seen and the opportunity of connecting with the people that will lead you to that right job!

Want to learn more about how to optimize your LinkedIn experience? Contact me today at signatureonthecity@gmail.com for a free consultation!

MAKE IT HAPPEN

The job search is hard. It is filled with disappointment and frustration, which makes it difficult to stay motivated and positive as you send out countless applications with crickets chirping in the background.

A few days ago, I told you about one of my past clients, Daniel. Daniel and I worked together about six months ago. He had an extensive marketing career under his belt and had the talent to move into a leadership position with ease. But Daniel struggled in his approach to finding a job. Through our program, I coached him on the importance of having a targeted search – to really be clear on where he wanted to be. We built him a stunning brand that highlighted his skills and accomplishments and developed an action plan to help him get there. Based on his previous experience, his funny personality, and his obvious talent, I was sure that he would be scooped up in a heartbeat.

But guess what? It didn’t happen even though Daniel did everything right. Even though he targeted his applications, customized his words, and leveraged his network, the silence was deafening. He had an interview here, a phone call there, but nothing that really came to fruition.  In one of my check-ins with Daniel, I could tell he was feeling deflated, frustrated, and doubting his talent.

About midway through his search, I gave some advice to him to help him persevere. I told him that just when you think nothing is going to happen, something does. The job search has a certain element of luck, and sometimes it is about the “right time, right place” phenomenon. Following your dreams is not easy, and it will take time, but not to give up. The right job was out there, he just had to persevere through the tough times to get there.

Daniel and I also worked on a few action items to help him navigate the job search wilderness.

Take some time off. Like anything that is hard and that you do constantly, you can experience burnout. It doesn’t have to be this huge vacation, just a few days away from the search, to relax, recharge, and reassess.

Reassess your strategy. What could you be doing more or different? Daniel and I identified that he could increase his engagement on social media, particularly LinkedIn.

Find POSITIVE support and encouragement. Why do I emphasize positive? Because misery loves company. What you need (and Daniel needed) were people that provided support and encouragement. An opportunity to express your frustration and listen, but to remind you that you are awesome, and your opportunity will come.

In the weeks following this conversation, Daniel approached his job search with a renewed excitement. The few days off made him feel recharged and as he began increasing his engagement on LinkedIn, he found that he really enjoyed writing articles and debating industry topics with his peers. He really looked forward to showing off his expertise in the field each day.

Through those posts and conversations, Daniel was able to connect with a hiring manager at a local company. The manager had been following him and reading his posts and in one post conversation that he observed, really became impressed with Daniels’ thought process and approach to the field. This hiring manager reached out to Daniel to tell him about a leadership position that was coming up with his company. Needless-to-say, Daniel got the job.

Daniels’ story should be a lesson to everyone. It’s a story of determination, of action, and of patience. Timing in the job search is a fickle fellow, demonstrating that it doesn’t always line up with our best laid-out plans, causing frustration and self-doubt. The key is to persevere – even if it requires you to take a step back to relax, recharge, and reassess. So, remember to keep your head up, stay positive, and make it happen!  

If you need some help to create a plan to find that dream job, contact me today. Taking the first step towards your future is hard, but it is definitely worthwhile!

 

HOW TO USE YOUR CAREER STORY TO CONQUER YOUR DREAMS

From the time we are just babies, we are told stories. These stories might be a fantasy, with fantastical creatures and romantic concepts or they might be historical facts or memories from our family, living on by the passing down of each story. Storytelling is a part of all of us – it is human nature as we are emotional creatures that use stories to connects - to link us to the past and provide a glimpse into our future. It shapes our existence. By telling stories about things that have happened to us, we are able to connect to that emotion which helps us digest the information.

Each of us has a story to tell. Your story consists of your childhood, memories, college years, romances, heartbreak and, you probably guessed it, your career.  Your career story will play a critical part in your job search, it will come up in interviews, networking, in your resume and brand, and most importantly in what you decide to do with your life.  Because of this, you not only have to have the courage to tell your true story, but share it in a way that engages others and helps you create the life you want.

"Love your whole story even if it hasn't been the perfect fairy tale." Melanie Moushigian Koulouris

How to use your story to impact…

What you do

When you are asked, ‘What do you do?’ do you grimace at having to tell the truth of what you actually do? Is there something else that you wish you were doing that you could tell them? This should be your first clue! If your story isn’t leading you to where you are happy, then change it! Think about what you want to say when someone asks you that question – Is it singing on stage? Running your own business? Working for a nonprofit that aligns with your values? Whatever it may be, share it! Start talking about it because that is the first step towards getting it.

Your Brand

In the world where your resume might only get a 5-15 second glance from a hiring manager, how do you build something that stands out while remaining professional? Storytelling! While you are not going to be able to give your full career story, you can weave it into your brand. Start with your summary and key skills section. Incorporate more of you in this section. Continue to build your story through your work history and accomplishments. This is your narrative, use it!

You also have your supporting documents to your brand. While your resume is more formal and has less wiggle room, use your cover letter and LinkedIn profile to really craft your story. Think about why you are doing what you do. What is that thing that is lighting the fire in your belly that gets you excited to work? Did you take a unique turn in your career? Whatever it may be, tell a story about it! When you tell these stories, you are going to evoke emotion and that can lead to connection and connections lead to interviews.

Interviews

Interviews are one of the best places to use storytelling. You were brought in because of the facts on your resume. You met their requirements, passed their scans, and now they are bringing you in because they want to know you. Don’t bore them by regurgitating your resume. They have it in front of them. Tell them a story.

Let’s use, in my opinion, the most important questions during an interview, Tell me about yourself. When I was a hiring manager, interviewing candidate after candidate, this question would often make or break the interview. Ones that simple quoted their resume, ‘I graduate from here, then started working here…. Blah, blah, blah, made me tune them out. I wanted to get to know them. The human behind the resume! Now the ones that told me a story, engaged me, really made me excited to continue to talk to them.

Here is how I craft a story to this question: Start with a little piece of personal information to break the ice and try to make a connection. Then I tell the story of why I love what I do and how I’ve incorporated it into my career. Then I end it with why the position I am interviewing for fits into that. For example, here is mine:

I am proud to say that I am a Denver native. When I was in college, I wanted to be a physical therapist, but when I had to face the dreaded cadaver in my Autonomy and Physiology class… panic arose, and I know that this was not the career for me! I switched my major and was taking general business classes when I applied for a job at a local bank. The HR rep that helped me through this process was so kind and helpful that it really sparked my passion for helping people find their professional way. I’ve been able to incorporate that in each of my jobs and fine tune my skills and am so excited to continue match up talented people with your organization.

Whatever question you are asked, just remember that there is a story behind it. Crafting these answers in this format will engage your interviewing and really show off your personality and show them that you are exactly what they are looking for!

Networking

Most people hate networking. I get it. Awkward conversations with strangers when you rather be at home binge watching Stranger Things on Netflix. But networking is that secret ingredient to finding that dream job. Learning how to apply storytelling to the networking process will completely change your networking game. It will help you relax and see that how powerful storytelling will lead to better connections.

Most people struggle with networking because they never know what to say when asked, what do they do. You don’t want to just boring and simply say what you do, so describe your work as a story. Who are you, what do you do (or would like to be doing), and what you are looking for (or who do you serve if you are not looking). Think about this who, what, what combo and consider the words that you are using. Are you using a bunch of industry jargon or are you sounding like a friend? Do your words alienate the listener, or are you drawing them in? Be sure to adjust the words in your story that you can be engaging and interesting.

So often humans shy away from their stories. You only tell others what you think they want to hear. But that’s not being authentic. If you take pride in your stories and learn how to tell them in a way that we feel comfortable, you can use the stories to conquer anything you put your mind to!