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Career Coach Roundtable Session at Schulich School of Business

I was one of seven coaches invited to participate in roundtable discussions on career related matters at Connect 2009 – The Annual Schulich Alumni Forum.   This Personal Coaching session was quite popular, and sold out prior to the event.

Here I am with a captive MBA audience facilitating a discussion on Building Your Presence in the Social Media Era. Gist of the session included:

Why Social Media?

  • The traditional approach to job search has changed
  • More competition for available jobs
  • More touch points for recruiters and job seekers

For those who are not aware of two of the more popular social networks, here’s a summary:

LinkedIn is one of the fastest-growing recruiting tools used by recruiters. It is a great source for finding candidates because it’s free and top professionals can be found there.

Twitter, a free online micro-blogging application is also popular with recruiters, HR professionals, career coaches, resume writers and hiring managers. Therefore, in order to connect with these people, it is important to incorporate social media into your job search mix to enhance your chances of being found by employers.

As a micromessaging service with its 140-character limit, Twitter allows you to build your personal or business brand, develop relationships with people you wouldn’t normally meet, and gives you a chance to expand your network and sphere of influence.

So jump on the social media bandwagon, use it wisely and prioritize your efforts so that you don’t waste time.

My next post will take a look at Manpower’s latest research on Social Networks and the effectiveness of social media.

A Career Coaching Moment: Make 2010 Your Best Year Yet!

Usually at the start of a new year, many people make resolutions, and with all good intentions, but sadly, 97% of those who do so, never follow through. The reason for this is a lack of commitment and determination. It’s sounds great when they say it aloud “I am going to lose weight this year”, or “This is the year I will get the promotion I’ve always wanted”,  or  “This is the year I will write my book”, but that’s as far as it goes. Not a lot of thought goes into how’s it’s going to happen; what steps come first; who will hold them accountable, or what do they have to give up?

What side of the equation are you on? The 97% who don’t or the 3% who do? If you are one of the 97%, now is a good time to reflect on what may have prevented you from following through in the past, and commit to doing things differently this year.

As you move forward to making 2010 your best year yet, remind yourself each step of the way that “successful people always do what unsuccessful people do not. Be the change you want to see!

Keep coming back to this blog for information on our Road Map to Career Success – 2010 Challenge.

Season’s Greetings! Merry Christmas! Joyeux Noël! Feliz Navidad! Buon Natale!

christmas-images1It’s that time again when I pause to express my gratitude to my clients, friends and supporters – new and old! I also pause to express appreciation for all my Twitter Followers and LinkedIn connections. I send you warmest thoughts and best wishes for a Holiday Season filled with good cheer…and a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year.

What a year it has been in the social media sphere! It’s almost impossible to list names, but you each know who you are, and I thank you for contributing to my knowledge base this year. I hope I was able to add to yours as well.

Instead of the usual Career Highlights newsletter, I invite you to listen to the audio version for this month. Click on: Career Highlights. Once you have listened, feel free to comment on my blog.

Enjoy the Season, and be safe!


PS: I was at York University on November 21st. Click below and cursor down to Session B:

Personal Coach Roundtable at Schulich Annual Alumni Forum

Tips for Moms Returning to Work – Part VI

When you are taking time away from work for motherhood, keep networking. The single most important thing you can do is keep in touch with former co-workers and other contacts.

Stephanie AuWerter, Senior Editor

Tip # 8: Seek out family-friendly employers. Get a hold of surveys or publications of the best employers, and find out if they support family-friendly initiatives such as onsite daycare facilities, flexible work arrangements (telework, telecommuting, or part-time employment). You should also explore social media groups such as Redsphere Network (, YummyMummy (, Connect Moms (, LinkedIn (, Twitter (, and Facebook (, and see what they have to offer. Create a profile on a couple of these sites; sign up for job alerts from different job boards, and connect and share your expertise with likeminded individuals.

Tip # 9: Sharpen your computer skills.  The Internet has made it very easy to upgrade or learn new skills, so search for free or fee-based courses offered online, via teleclasses or on CDs. A good place to start for Beginner’s Training for Microsoft is, and if you are looking for tips and tricks for MS Word, visit

Returning to the workforce may have its challenges, but if you create an action plan, engage in professionally-related activities, and continue to upgrade and keep abreast of trends in your field, it makes your transition that much easier.

Tips for Moms Returning to Work – Part V

When you are taking time away from work for motherhood, keep networking. The single most important thing you can do is keep in touch with former co-workers and other contacts.

Stephanie AuWerter, Senior Editor

If you have been following our posts over the past several days, you would have been reading up on tips for moms  returning to the workforce. Here are today’s tips:

Tip # 6: Telephone & Voice Mail. Keep in mind that your interview begins the moment you send out your résumé, so let family members know to be on their best behaviour when they answer the phone because at anytime you could be receiving calls. If you already have a recorded voice mail message, it might be time to listen to it and make sure it sounds professional.

Tip #7: Employment Agencies. Employment agencies are very important players in your effort to return to the workforce.  Many full time positions are found through these contacts, and even if you don’t get a full time position, the short-term assignments will give you a chance to experience a variety of office environments, sharpen your skills and regain your confidence.

Tips for Moms Returning to Work – Part IV

When you are taking time away from work for motherhood, keep networking. The single most important thing you can do is keep in touch with former co-workers and other contacts.

Stephanie AuWerter, Senior Editor

Are you a mom returning to work?  Follow our series:

Tip # 4: Connect with professional associations. You may have heard of  the ‘six degrees of separation’ adage – that everyone is only separated from everyone else by six degrees. Research professional and business associations in which you have an interest, sign up for their ezines, visit their websites and read their blogs to get current information on what’s happening in the industry. Contribute to discussion forums and attend monthly meetings where you can meet and network with individuals who could provide you with the key to your next job. Put yourself in a position to meet new people – those who can get you closer to your next employer.

Tip # 5: Arrange practice interview sessions. Think of the interview questions that would present a challenge for you and practice answering them with someone who will give you some candid feedback.  Become familiar with behavioural interview techniques, and practice to frame your answers in terms of stories. Be prepared to answer questions that begin with “Tell me a time when… or Give me an example of…” Make sure to project confidence while referring to the time you were away from the workforce. Never apologize for your absence.

Tips for Moms Returning to Work – Part II

When you are taking time away from work for motherhood, keep networking. The single most important thing you can do is keep in touch with former co-workers and other contacts.

Stephanie AuWerter, Senior Editor

Today’s tip is the second in the series for moms who are returning to work:

Tip #2: Fill in the gaps. You can fill the gaps by reflecting on some of the activities you were involved in while you were off. Focus on the challenges you faced, actions you took and the results those actions.  Think of your multi-tasking and organizational abilities, or your people and project management skills when you led the delegation that met with corporate sponsors for the Girl Guides. Think of how you may have sharpened your Excel skills when you created a budget to manage the household finances. These might not have been paid activities, but you were certainly honing in on your skills.

The next tip in the series will be Tip #3: Choosing the Right Résumé Format.

Tips for Moms Returning to Work – Part 1

When you are taking time away from work for motherhood, keep networking. The single most important thing you can do is keep in touch with former co-workers and other contacts.

Stephanie AuWerter, Senior Editor

Are you a mom preparing to return to the workforce in the New Year? Are you worried about filling the gaps on your resume? Assuming that while fulfilling your parental role, you were volunteering your expertise, and engaging in activities related to your profession, there’s no reason to worry…you’ve got skills!  This article offers tips to help with your transition back to the world of work. Come back over the next several days for additional tips:

Tip #1: Dust off your résumé. Once you have made the decision to return to work, begin working on résumé immediately.  Never leave this important task for the last minute, as so many people do.  Creating a professional résumé takes time as you will need to assess all of your skills, attributes and achievements, and determine how to showcase them in a way that differentiates you from the crowd. If you don’t feel you are capable of creating your own résumé, seek help from someone with good writing skills or utilize the services of a professional résumé writer.

The next tip in the series will be:

Tip #2: Fill in the gaps.

Proactive Workers Know How to Stand Out from the Pack

“It’s better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one, than to have an opportunity and not be prepared”. ~Whitney Young

According to a recent survey commissioned by Robert Half International,standingout 82% of workers polled said they would be ready to conduct a job search if they lost their jobs tomorrow, but only 20% had updated their resumes in the last 3 months.  What differentiates the 20% from the rest? They are proactive. You won’t find them passively waiting for their pinkslips. They are constantly preparing for new employment opportunities (in or outside their companies) just in case the layoff axe falls on them. Here’s how you, too, can become part of that 20% of proactive workers and set yourself apart:

P Be prepared. Have a carefully laid-out plan ready for the next opportunity. That means your resume is up-to-date, voicemail is professional, and interview skills are sharp.
R Research companies and target only those employers for whom you would want to work. Do not send unsolicited generic resumes to every company in the telephone directory.
O Remind yourself that your objective is to convey to the employer how you can solve their problems, not to ask for “a challenging position that offers opportunity for growth”.
A Be active and visible. Attend networking meetings, volunteer on committees, participate in discussions on social media forums like Twitter, LinkedIn and others, and get noticed.
C Commit to ongoing professional development if you want to set yourself apart. It’s one of the best investments you could give yourself.
T Take time to develop and nurture relationships and build your network of contacts. It is a fact that people do business with, and recommend, people they know and trust.
I Become good at generating ideas, and learn how to influence key decision makers so they will accept and implement your ideas.
V Have a vision of what you want to achieve and how you are going to do it. Don’t get sucked in to people who don’t share your vision and want to divert your attention from your goal.
E Exude confidence, not arrogance. Confidently communicate to the employer why you are uniquely qualified for the position and why you should be the one they hire.

These steps actually spell the word P-R-O-A-C-T-I-V-E, and if you follow them, you will always be ready to pounce on an opportunity, and lessen the impact of a sudden job loss.

We welcome your comments on this or any other topic covered.

There’s No Corporate Ladder to Climb: You’re On Your Own!

Today’s post is a link to Mark Schnurman’s article in the New Jersey Business News:

Climbing the corporate ladder is an anachronism today. For most of us, toiling at the same company for our entire career is not a viable option. The frequency of layoffs, mergers and acquisitions, and the transient nature of our society and work force combine to destroy the social contract of lifetime employment with one employer.

Today, each of us is a small-business owner.

We own our careers and our lives and benefit from their fruits.

The seminal question must be: Would you invest in the company called YOU?

Click on the link in the title to read the full article.