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Monday Rx: Unemployed & Down in the Dumps? Try Freelancing

Another Monday has come around and you are still unemployed and down in the dumps, right? Why not pick yourself up and ask yourself, or someone else, the following questions:

  • What is it that I am pretty good at?
  • What am I known for?
  • Why is that some people come to me (instead of someone else) when they need to solve a particular problem?

Your answer could help you pinpoint skills you didn’t realize you have, or skills you have been taking for granted. With this awareness, it is possible for you to parlay your skills, (meaning “to make good use of an asset or advantage to obtain success”), and earn some legal money ‘on the side’. You could be selling your expertise – the skills you are good at – on several online marketplaces. Freelance websites like oDesk, Guru, Elance, and Freelanceswitch allow you to register and offer your services on a freelance basis.

Then, there is Fiverr, a site that builds itself as “The place where people share things they are willing to do for $5”, and Goferr, offering similar services or products, but for $25. These sites are not for everyone, and mentioning them here, do not constitute an endorsement or an affiliation of any kind. However, they may be worth your while to explore to see if you could earn some legal interim cash while you continue your job search. If you do decide to register with any of these sites, be cautious and pay special attention to their Terms of Service.

So, instead of holding a pity party today, explore the sites and see what happens!

To your success,

 

 

Need résumé, interview coaching or career advice? Contact me at info[at]thewrightcareer.com or 647-930-4763.  You can also visit www.thewrightcareer.com.

11 Things You Can Do Between 11 AM & 11 PM on November 11, 2011

While this blog post is not really connected to November 11, and the Poppy, I have chosen its image as a reminder of the many people who paid and continue to pay the ultimate price for the freedom we so often take for granted. In their honour, I ask that you take a brief moment (less than 11 minutes) to read and understand the significance of this memorable poem written by Lt. Colonel John McCrae of the Canadian Army. In Flanders Field.

That said, today being 11/11/11, appears to have a significance of its own for many people and what’s going to happen after this date. An extract from the following blog post: The Aquarian Shift: What Will be Different in Our World After November 11,  states:

“You are ready to accept that you have the knowledge and wisdom within yourself. It is no longer necessary to attach to something outside yourself, but to become a leader of one: yourself. Instead of being a railroad car that is pulled by an engine, you become your own engine. It is your responsibility to stay on the tracks and to keep moving forward.”

Here are 11 things you can do to show you are, indeed, leader of one – yourself’ – and that you have the courage to become your own engine’:

  1. “Greet your friends with a smile, and put soul into every handclasp.”Elbert Hubbard
  2. Show appreciation to those who have fought and continue to fight for world peace.
  3. Learn to say “Thank You” in 11 different languages.
  4. Pick up the phone and make one of those cold calls you’ve been procrastinating about.
  5. Take 11 minutes out of your 15-minute break and mentor someone.
  6. Randomly select 11 people from any of your LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter or Google+ accounts, and send them a message to say how glad you are to have them in your network.
  7. Take an 11-minute mind break to be alone with yourself. Even if you are in an office full of people, just take the time to be quiet.
  8. Send a motivational quote, a tip or a favourite recipe to 11 people in your address book.
  9. Write down 11 accomplishment statements you could use to improve your resume.
  10. Write down 11 interview questions that you struggle to answer.
  11. Send a LinkedIn invitation to 11 people with whom you would like to connect.

Happy 11/11/11, and to whatever significance you attach to it, if any.

 

Monday Rx: Surround Yourself With ‘Possibility Thinkers’

Happy Monday!

What does Monday Rx have to do with your career or job search? Everything! In the midst of a job search or career transition it’s easy to become discouraged. The purpose of the Monday Rx is to lift your spirits, so take a respite from whatever you are doing and savour these words!

Henry Emerson Fosdick said, “Have the daring to accept yourself as a bundle of possibilities and undertake the game of making the most of your best.”

Today, surround yourself with ‘possibility thinkers’:

  • Those who believe in your dreams;
  • Those who will motivate and inspire you to stretch beyond your comfort zone;
  • Those who will help you reach your goal.

Look around for ‘possibility thinkers’ within and outside your network. You will need them in your corner when the going gets rough.

To your success,

Image: Attributed to Kelly Rae Roberts Wall Art

Monday Rx: What’s Scaring You the Most?

After I had dressed my 3-year old grandson in his Spiderman Halloween attire this morning, he went to the mirror and started to act as if he were climbing the mirror. I asked what he was doing and he responded, “I am Spiderman and am climbing the wall.” He said it with such authority and confidence that I knew he wasn’t scared. In his mind’s eye, he could climb that wall, at least, that mirror.

What about you? What’s scaring you the most? Just for today, what if you put on your Halloween costume or your mask, and ‘acted as if…’

  • Act as if you have received the promotion you know you deserve.
  • Act as if you have aced the interview and you are just waiting to receive the offer letter.
  • Act as if you have started the business you had put on hold because of lack of time or money.
  • Act as if you have written the book you always wanted to write but the negative committee in your head keeps saying you are not a writer.
  • Act as if you have enrolled in the certification program or the course you have always wanted to do.
  • Act as if you have accomplished that major goal you resolved to do back in January.
  • Act as if you have _____________________(Fill in the blank).

How does it feel? Just for today, Halloween Day, pretend you are 3 years old with nothing to fear, then act as if everything is possible!

To your success,

 

 

 

Need a résumé, interview coaching or career advice? Want to hear about our Tell Stories, Get Hired Movement? Contact me at info[at]thewrightcareer.com or 647-930-4763.  You can also visit www.thewrightcareer.com

 

Don’t Allow the D’s in Your Life to Defeat You

Although my primary role is that of a career coach and professional résumé writer, one day out of the week I write the Monday Rx blog post hoping to wipe away the Monday Morning Blues and offer encouragement and hope to my readers, whether or not they are clients. This week’s post missed the Monday mark and ended up as the main article for my CareerTips2Go newsletter. Here it is:

Norman Vincent Peale, author of The Power of Positive Thinking is one of my all-time favourite persons. While preparing to write my usual Monday Rx blog post, I picked up the Miniature Edition of his book and it opened at the chapter “I Don’t Believe in Defeat”.  What serendipity! That’s exactly what I was going to write about. For starters, here’s a quote from the chapter:

“If you are thinking thoughts of defeat, I urge you to rid yourself of such thoughts, for as you think defeat you tend to get it. Adopt the “I don’t believe in defeat” attitude.”

We all go through rough times when we believe that everything is about to fall and fail. At such times, all the ‘D’s seem to surround us:  Defeat, Doubt, Despair, Discouragement, and Disappointment. Don’t allow them to defeat you. Analyze them for what they are, get them out of the way and move on to something more productive. Today’s post not only offers tips on how to get rid of all the ‘D’s in your life, but I have included relevant quotes to support and strengthen you.

Defeat – We are not going to win at everything we set out do, no matter how hard we try. We are going to meet setbacks. However, “being defeated is often a temporary condition.  Giving up is what makes it permanent”, said  Marlene vos Savant

Doubt – Are you beginning to doubt yourself and your abilities? Look deep within and you will realize you have all that it takes to succeed. Don’t allow the negative committee in your head, or anyone else for that matter, to tell you anything different! Feed your faith until your doubts starve to death.” Anonymous

Despair – If you are feeling anxious about something, I suggest you take a walk in the woods to refresh your mind and recharge your energy, watch a movie or listen to some music – anything that will get you in a state of relaxation. As Dolly Parton said, If you’re feeling low, don’t despair. The sun has a sinking spell every night, but it comes back up every morning.”

Discouragement – Have you given it all you have got and you haven’t seen the results? Are you at the point where you are ready to give up? Hang in there. “Never be discouraged. Never hold back. Give it everything you’ve got. And when you fall, fall forward.” Dr. Denzil Washington

Disappointment – Are you disappointed over something or someone? Somebody didn’t come through for you, or the news you received was not what you were expecting? Be encouraged. What might be a disappointment today may be a blessing in disguise tomorrow. Eliza Tabor said, Disappointment to a noble soul is what cold water is to burning metal; it strengthens, tempers, intensifies, but never destroys it.”

If those ‘D’s do get in your way, don’t allow them to defeat you. Defeat them instead!  I hope you found this message uplifting. You are always welcome to add your comments.

 

Need a résumé, interview coaching or career advice? Contact me at info[at]thewrightcareer.com or 647-930-4763.  You can also visit www.thewrightcareer.com.

 

Client Lands Job Posted on Twitter

Her recent email read “Remember that job posting you sent me about a Bilingual Marketing Manager where they asked me to translate my résumé to French? I want to let you know that I got an offer and I accepted it. I am very excited since there will be a lot of interesting challenges and I am getting everything I want – salary, vacation and benefits. Thank you for all your help and I will keep in touch.”

This message was from a client with whom I had been working for several months. She was having a tough time finding a marketing manager’s position and thought that nine months was unbelievably too long to be looking for work. At times in our conversations I could sense her frustration, but I reminded her gently that job searching could be a slow and tedious process, but if she kept her head up and continued doing the right things she would eventually land the job she wanted. I also told her that giving up was not an option. She hung in there and got the job.

How did this happen? As part of the job search strategy, I encourage my clients to invest time in social media. I do, and it’s not not for social reasons, although that happens. On Twitter, for example, I follow hiring managers, recruiters and job boards, and participate in Twitter Chats with HR professionals, recruiters and leadership coaches to keep abreast of industry trends. Through these channels, I sometimes become aware of job opportunities and if I find that someone in my network seem to be a match for some of these opportunities (whether they are clients or not), I forward the information to them.

This Bilingual Marketing Manager’s job is a great example. It was posted on Twitter by Monster Canada (@Monsterca). When I read the requirements, it sounded perfect for my client so I forwarded it to her. She translated her résumé to French as the company requested, and after a couple of interviews and several weeks of waiting (because of the summer holidays), she landed the job with “everything she wanted…” as noted above.

Looking for a job is a full-time job, as it’s often said, but it requires various strategies to achieve success. The other point is that you may have a great résumé, but if you continue to use ineffective job search methods or rely on one particular strategy, it will not help you land the job of your dreams. Therefore, plan to incorporate social media tools like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and Google+ into your job search toolkit because that’s where employers and recruiters hang out these days. Job boards are still around, but the companies behind these boards are extending their reach via social media. If you are an early adopter ready to jump on the social media band wagon, you will be way ahead of your competitors and achieve your job search goal.

And, don’t buy in to the concept that there are no jobs! Jobs are out there, but you need to assess your skills, employ a variety of tools, be deliberate with your search and visualize yourself sitting at the desk as an employee at one of your target companies!  Remember, “Whatever the mind can conceive, it can achieve.”

I hope you have gained some value from this post. Share your comments below, or connect with me if you need to discuss how you can move your career forward. I will be pleased to have a chat with you!

 

Monday Rx: What Can You Be Thankful for Today?

It’s Thanksgiving in Canada today, and I am using this space to reflect on some things for which I am thankful. I begin with three quotes taken from my recent newsletter followed by my short list:

“God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today.  Have you used one to say “thank you?”  ~William A. Ward

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Gratitude is a currency that we can mint for ourselves, and spend without fear of bankruptcy.”  ~ Anonymous

Here’s my short gratitude list created on-the-fly, and in no particular order of importance:

  • I am thankful to call Canada my home for 22+ years, and for the challenges and opportunities that have contributed to my personal and professional growth.
  • I am thankful for Jamaica, land of my birth, and the values that have shaped and prepared me for a wider world.
  • I am grateful for my family and friends and the love and support they give so freely.
  • I am thankful for my clients who keep my business going and for the referrals they send my way.
  • I am thankful for my professional colleagues from all over the world who I learn from each day through social media, webinars and teleconferences.
  • I am thankful for the 16 career professionals who contributed their expertise to the second edition of my book.
  • I am thankful for my church and my Christian beliefs that keep me grounded.

And in classic Steve Jobs style, “…and one more thing:

  • I am thankful to you for reading this post. May you find many things to be thankful for today?

 

To your success,

 

 

 

Sign up to receive blog posts and the CareerTips2Go Newsletter directly in your Inbox. You can also contact me at info[at]thewrightcareer.com or 647-930-4763, if you need résumé and career advice, or if you require help moving your career forward. You can also visit www.thewrightcareer.com.

 

 

When a Résumé Looks too Good to be True…

…It probably is! Some time ago I wrote an article titled “Lying on Resumes Alarmingly Common”, where I referenced a newspaper article with the heading “Official Résumé Wrong”! Fast forward to 2011, and it appears the topic of ‘lying on résumés’ has reared it’s head again. As a matter of fact, one month ago, I was reviewing the résumé of a young man and when I questioned him about his most recent experience, he admitted he had fabricated it because “others were doing it.” As a career coach and professional résumé writer, I owe it to my clients and myself to make sure that the information is correct.

Officeteam recently conducted a survey and it reveals, once again, that most job seekers stretch the truth on their résumés, particularly when it comes to their job duties and education. The job market may be tough right now, but job seekers should refrain from embellishing their résumés as they will be found out, sooner or later.

Here are some tips that Officeteam has offered to employers on how they can verify information on résumés. Job seekers should take note:

1. Watch for ambiguity. When reviewing resumes, question vague descriptions of skills (e.g., “familiar with,” “involved in”) which may be signs that a professional is trying to hide a lack of relevant work experience.
2. Ask once, ask twice. Pose interview questions that relate to specific skills needed. For example, if a candidate must know a particular software program, ask how he or she has used the technology in previous roles. If an applicant’s response is ambiguous, don’t be afraid to rephrase the question.
3. Get the facts. Ask references to confirm basic information such as the candidate’s employment history, job titles, responsibilities and salary. If they’re willing to talk further, delve into their thoughts on the individual’s strengths and weaknesses, interpersonal skills, and ability to work on a team.
4. Branch out. Inquire if references know of others you can speak to about promising candidates. Also, tap your own network to find mutual acquaintances who might be able to shed light on the prospective hire’s background and character.
6.  Put them to the test. To get a true sense of a candidate’s abilities, consider hiring the person on a temporary basis before extending a full-time offer. This allows both parties to assess whether the position is a fit.

How about you? Do you embellish, or have you lied on your résumé? Do you know anyone who does? Add your voice here!

Source: Officeteam

Related post: Lying on Résumés Alarmingly Common

Monday Rx: Change Your Job Search Strategy If…

You have often heard the saying, “If you always do what you have always done, you will continue getting what you have always gotten”, or something close. If that sounds like you and your job search or your career, then you may want to reconsider your strategy, regardless of your status or what stage of the job search game you are at.

Consider this story:

A Mom wrote me on September 8, and said, “My daughter has taken a year off before going to college and she desperately needs a job.  She has been job hunting, but her lack of experience is a real hindrance.  She is now very discouraged.  Could you spare some time to talk to her on the phone in the next few days?”

On September 10, I contacted the young lady – all of 17 years old – and asked her to explain to me what she had been doing. After our initial conversation, I suggested she did things differently. Since she had never worked before, I gave her a research assignment to visit several locations in her area – Tim Hortons, McDonalds, Starbucks, Canadian Tire, among others. She was to observe the surroundings, how the employees behaved, how they treated customers and generally be alert for other things that were taking place. She was also to make notes of her observations. In addition, she should write down comments that people frequently made about her – her punctuality, reliability, leadership skills, etc. Lastly, she should create a list of some of her own qualities.

With the information from her research, we created a one page hybrid of a cover letter and résumé and I asked her to customize each to fit the companies she was targeting. She was to write what she observed on her visits, what was going well and how she could add value as their next employee. Remember, she had little to go on in the first place.

On September 15, she responded by saying: This is incredibly helpful! I’ve been applying to places all week so tomorrow I will follow up with all the companies to which I applied. I will keep you updated on how that goes.”

What a difference in her mood in five days! On September 23, she wrote: “Hi Mrs. Wright, I just want to say thank you for all your advice and help. I really appreciate it. I received my first job yesterday – full time hostess at Red Lobster. I’m ecstatic!”

Entry-level students are not my usual clientele, but I deviated from the norm with this young lady. What I found is that a change of strategy works, whether one is an entry-level job seeker or a more seasoned professional, but it requires commitment and perseverance. Who would’ve imagined that in a such a tough job market, a 17 year-old who had never previously worked could change her job search strategy and find success within 13 days?

How about you? Is your job search strategy working for you, or is it time to go back to the drawing board and tweak it a bit? Contact me if you need some assistance!

 

Image source: Google

Monday Rx: Wisdom for Achieving all Your Ambitions in Life

If you are reading Monday Rx for the first time, welcome! Since many of us suffer from the ‘Monday Morning Blues’, I use this space on Mondays to send out positive picker-upper messages or other useful information to help us start the week right.

Today’s message is a simple one from Og Mandino’s “The Greatest Salesman in the World”.

1.    Today I begin a new life
2.    I will greet this day with love in my heart
3.    I will persist until I succeed
4.    I am nature’s greatest miracle
5.    I will live this day as if it is my last
6.    Today I will be master of my emotions
7.    I will laugh at the world
8.    Today I will multiply my value a hundred fold
9.    I will act now
10.    Today I will pray for guidance

Select any line that resonates with you and make it your mantra for today.

To your success,

Daisy