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Why the F-Word Could Be Good for Your Job Search

faith  word in wood typeThis is your Monday Morning Rx!

…and, yes, it is possible that the F-Word could be good for your job search. However, it is not the F-Word you were thinking about. This F-Word is called FAITH!

Before you believe I am going off on some religious tangent, let me explain that one doesn’t have to be religious to have faith. Faith is about one’s belief system.

Do you believe in YOU? Do you have faith in your capabilities? Have you been so knocked down by your current job situation that you have lost faith in YOU? It’s time to realign your thinking. Here are three facts about Faith:

  • Faith is progressive. It keeps you moving forward. When you are about to give up on your job search it reminds you to keep going.
  • Faith doesn’t linger long at the pity party being sorry for itself. According to Jentezen Franklin, “Faith never gets into a bad situation and says, “I’m just going to sit here and die. It’s over. Faith never stands in the desert, having a pity party with everything drying up around it.” Faith brushes itself off and tries one more time.
  • Faith is taking the first step even when you don’t see the whole staircase. (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.). Sometimes you just have to trust the process; trust that you are doing and saying the right thing, even when you can’t see it.

Here’s your challenge for this week. Forget the other F-Word, and hold on to your Faith. Begin, one more time, to have faith in yourself and your capabilities. Tell yourself that there is a job out there with your name on it, and you are going to do whatever it takes to find that job. That’s called FAITH!

Happy job hunting!

 

 

Stop Comparing Yourself to Others, Claim Your Greatness!

Orange Wish Identity to be AppleThis edition of the Monday Morning Rx is asking  you to stop comparing yourself to others. That is, on the assumption that it’s something you often do. Do you find yourself saying things like:

“She always seem to have it all together, what’s the matter with me?”

“He gets all the attention in meetings, why I can’t I?”

“Why did she get the promotion over me? We have the same qualifications.”

Have you ever said any of the above, or something that close? We all do, at some point or another. Even the image above is that of an orange wishing it were an apple. We should stop these comparisons. Oscar Wilde said, “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”.

While reading a Fast Company blog post recently, “How I Learned to Stop Comparing Myself to Others and Love My Own Ideas” it brought back memories of the poem Desiderata. One particular line says, “If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” Isn’t that the truth? When we begin to compare ourselves to others, it makes us feel less about ourselves. Shouldn’t we be spending time valuing our uniqueness? Paraphrasing Meredith Fineman in the article, “In order to succeed, you have to be the best you.” 

It is a mistake to compare yourself to others. Why? Because you really don’t know what’s happening in the other person’s life. All that portrayal of having it all together could be a farce.  The Fast Company article suggests that, “…when we compare ourselves to others, whether it be a marriage, a career, or a specific achievement, we are only comparing ourselves to our perception of this person.” That’s right. We are making comparisons against things we don’t know or don’t have enough information about.

During the coming week, instead of comparing yourself to others, reflect on these words from Desiderata: “Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.”

Here’s my personal message to you today: Opportunities are lost on those who spend time comparing themselves to others. Quit doing so, embrace your uniqueness, and get ready to play it big and win!

 

Why You Should Leave the Complacency of Your Comfort Zone

Monday Morning Rx – A Weekly Dose of Career Inspiration

Hello there! I am Daisy Wright, of The Wright Career Solution, and am here with the Monday Morning Rx – a weekly dose of career inspiration.

Today’s episode is titled Why You Should Leave the Complacency of Your Comfort Zone.

First, I want you to take a look at the image before you. If you are within the circle where it is said that 90% of the population resides, I think you are a bit too comfortable, and it’s time to disrupt yourself. Get up and stretch, because I have an assignment for you today. I would like you to choose a phrase from inside the circle that you say quite often to yourself, and throw it away – literally or figuratively. Banish it from your vocabulary. Do not allow it to take centre stage in your life or your mind again.

Once you have done that, dare yourself to look outside the circle and choose one phrase that makes  you uncomfortable. It makes you uneasy whenever you see or say it. Brainstorm with yourself by writing as much as you can about this phrase. In doing so, keep asking these two questions: Why does this make me so uneasy or uncomfortable? What am I going to do about it?

I believe the comfort zone is jammed. Too many of us are settling for less; too many of us are fearful about trying something new, so we lock ourselves in this comfort zone where we feel safe. If this sounds like you, it’s time to get out of this space and allow yourself the freedom and flexibility to become the person you were destined to be!

Need help in getting started? Why not engage a coach or mentor; someone who can help you leave the complacency of your comfort zone and try something different. Then watch yourself gain confidence as you push yourself forward.

Someone once said, “The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are.”  My challenge to you today and this week is to make the decision not to stay where you are, but to get out of this safe place.

Best wishes as you move forward with your life and your career. Until then, it’s Daisy Wright, career coach at The Wright Career Solution, where we help managers and emerging executives tell their career stories and get hired.

 

 

Is Your Resume Telling Your Story?

This is your Monday Morning Rx…a weekly does of career inspiration (or humour)!

Is your resume telling your story

Once upon a time there was a resume that thought it was the best resume in town. It had an Objective that focused on what it wanted from the employer; followed by a series of job description statements and ended with References Available on Request. The resume looked at itself in the mirror and was quite pleased with its appearance.

Off to the job boards it went – Workopolis, Monster, Indeed, Eluta – where it applied for all the jobs that were available, whether it met the qualifications or not. It was so busy applying that it forgot to customize itself for each position. This resume then to sat and waited…and waited… for calls! It started thinking, “I have sent out so many resumes, why am I not being called for interviews?”

After a frustrating few weeks, it found the courage to call one of the employers. It was told that they received the resume but it was tossed into “File 13”. “What is File 13?” the resume asked. “The garbage bin”, the employer answered. “You did not include any achievement stories, neither did you demonstrate how the company would benefit from what you had to offer.”

As you can imagine, that was not a happy-ever-after story for this resume. It had to go back to the writing board to think of strategies to create an effective resume. Luckily it found a blog post on 5 Ways to Get Your Resume Ready for Prime Time.

Moral of the story… A resume that dresses itself up with a ‘me-focussed’ Objective; a laundry list of job descriptive statements instead of success stories, and a meaningless References Available on Request declaration, will never tell a convincing story or open doors.

While I can’t lay claim to the resume acronym below, it clearly illustrates that to capture an employer’s attention, a storytelling resume must contain:

Relevant

Experiences and

Skills, which are

Understood and

Measured by

Employers

What about your resume? Is it telling a compelling story? If not, it’s time to seek help.

Hope you received some resume inspiration from today’s dose of Monday Morning Rx.

Monday Morning Rx: Chase Your Dreams, It’s Never Too Late

Madame C J Walker_Recite

This is your Monday Morning Rx – a giant dose of inspiration for today!

The above quote is attributed to Madame C.J. Walker. “Her savvy business acumen led her to become the first female self-made millionaire in the United States who donated the largest amount of money by an African-American toward the construction of an Indianapolis YMCA in 1913.”

Mrs. Walker had many obstacles to overcome, but she did.

Take your eyes off yesterday’s closed door. Yesterday is gone forever. Today is all you have, and now is the right moment to begin chasing your dreams! What are those dreams?

  • Is it a new job? Well, what’s holding you back? Do you need some help moving your career forward?
  • Do you want to start a business? Grab the phone or send an email to someone you admire who has a business similar to the one you have in mind. Start the conversation rolling.
  • Would you like to learn a new skill? It’s not necessary for you to sit in a formal classroom to learn a new skill. Ample opportunities abound. Sometimes it’s as close as the cubicle next door, or in another department. Why not ask to job shadow someone at work?
  • Have you always wanted to climb a mountain? This may be a steep one, but if it’s your dream, then go after it. My neighbour recently returned from climbing Mount Kilimanjaro, and it was a climb of a lifetime she says. It took everything she had, she said, but it was worth it. She has returned with a new perspective on life.

What is it that you have always wanted to do, but excuses kept getting in your way? You have run out of excuses now. It’s time to chase your dreams and achieve success. Madame C.J. Walker did!

Want some support? Share your dreams right here and I will hold you accountable.

 

 

 

Put a Little Love in Your Career

Valentino-3

Today is Valentine’s Day…as if you didn’t know, and it’s time to “Put a Little Love in You and Your Career”. It’s also the birthday of one of my cats, Valentino, and he has certainly lived the past 17 years as if he’s ‘the cat’s pyjamas’ or ‘the best thing since sliced bread’. Look at him all curled up, with nothing else to do. In earlier years,we would tie a red ribbon around his neck and give him a special birthday treat, but today I have just enclosed him in a heart!

This brings me around to you. Have you shown yourself some love lately? What if today you decide to proclaim to yourself that you are, indeed, the cat’s pyjamas or that you are the best thing since sliced bread? What if you decide to stop being sorry for yourself, stop listening to your inner critic telling you that you don’t measure up; that you will never get the job or promotion you have always dreamed of? What if, just for today, you take a chance and put a little love in yourself?

I was speaking with a friend yesterday who delightfully told me she wanted to do some thing for herself. She said she needed to put herself first for once, having put others before her for years, so she joined Toastmasters. She said, “That one hour is mine, and am going to revel in it!” Having said that, what about you? Are you ready to put yourself and your career first? Here are six tips to help you put a little love in yourself or your career today:
  1. Do what you have never done or go where you have never gone. Think of something you have always wanted to do, or somewhere you have always wanted to go. Is it something you could do today? If not, can you begin right now to develop a plan for it? Have you ever wanted to reach out to someone who could offer you some career advice, but you were afraid to ask? Today is a great day to reach out to that person. Forget all those butterflies in your stomach and take up the phone, send an email, meet them face-to-face and ask them to join you for a coffee.
  2. Commit to growing yourself. The fact you may have failed at something does not mean the end of the world. Reflect on that failure and ask yourself what were the lessons you learned from that event. Many years ago when I first applied to work with the United Nations, I failed Shorthand. In those days note taking was a requirement that came with the prestige of added pay. I was disappointed, but told myself that regardless of how long it took, it was going to happen one day. By the time I ended up at the UN, the skill wasn’t a requirement any longer, but I was well prepared. Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the first persons to climb Mount Everest. When he failed at his first attempt, he said to himself, “Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I’ll beat you the next time because you’ve grown all you are going to grow, but I am still growing.” Have you, like Mount Everest, grown all you are going to grow?
  3. Invest in yourself. Some people invest a lot of time and money planning for exotic vacations, but little or no time investing in their own career development. A couple of Fridays ago, a man called to ask if he could come in to see me on Monday morning for a resume and cover letter as he wanted to apply for job that had a cut-off time of 5 pm the following day (Tuesday). I told him that resume development is a time-consuming exercise, and my turnaround time on a project like his would be 10 business days. He then told me that he couldn’t afford me anyway. That wasn’t even the point. I wanted him to realize that such a slap-dash approach to one’s job search, or waiting until a job appears on Workopolis before realizing you need to brush up on your resume is not a great plan and will most likely reap frustration.
  4. Be relentless in your pursuits. Whatever it is you are after, be relentless. You have heard the saying, “A winner never quits, and a quitter never wins”. Never give up on your dreams even if it appears insurmountable. Create a success plan and harness all the support you can get to see that dream through.
  5. Be generous and give of your time. Volunteer your expertise to someone. Wondering if you have the skills to be a mentor? Stop wondering, and start mentoring. You have skills that others would benefit from. Think of the world of good you would be doing by mentoring another person. Probably you’re facing the question, “What’s in it for me?” The Christian Bible says, “It’s in giving that you receive.” You’re actually getting something in return. Isn’t that awesome?
  6. Love yourself. Look in the mirror right now and say to yourself, ” I love you!” Sounds crazy, but when last have you told your unique self how much you love her or him? Compare that against the hundreds of times you have said to your unique self, “I don’t like what I see…I am too fat…too skinny…too short…too tall…I cannot become…”, and all those self-degrading negative conversations you have ingrained in your head. Stare at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, like Marianne Williamson said, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?” Actually, who are you not to be?”

There are many other tips you could come up with yourself, so use these as starters. See what you can do to put a little love in you and your career today.

Enjoy what’s left of Valentine’s Day, and even if you think you don’t have anyone to love, look within and love yourself!

 

Are You Among LinkedIn’s 1%?

LinkedIn_1_PercentLast week I received a personalized congratulatory email from LinkedIn’s Senior Vice President of User Experience that said “You have one of the top 1% most viewed LinkedIn Profiles for 2012”. LinkedIn now has 200 million users, so by the time I worked out the math (1 in 2,000,000), the message didn’t have as much meaning, unless I was going to assess and quantify how many connections or clients I received as a result of these views.

Anyway, for it was worth, I googled the sender’s name to make sure it was legitimate, then tweeted the news. What algorithm LinkedIn used to arrive at this percentage is anyone’s guess, but it has certainly garnered a lot of discussion among some of my career practitioner colleagues – from humour to an attitude of ‘What will they come with next?

While we ponder this, however, I am reminded of the many job seekers who are not aware of, or are still not taking advantage of LinkedIn as a job search and networking tool. One woman called me aside at church the other day and said, “Someone sent me an invitation to join LinkedIn. I don’t understand what it is, but I know you would, so I joined, and now am asking you to explain.”  I gave her a brief description of LinkedIn and told her it is often referred to as ‘having one’s resume on steroids’ so she is to make sure she completes her profile.

It might be presumptuous to say that LinkedIn is fast becoming somewhat of a ‘recruiter of choice’ for some employers, but many of them are using LinkedIn to conduct ‘stealth hiring’. This is where they quietly target, recruit, interview and hire employees without advertising job vacancies. They are able to view profiles, see who is connected to whom, what skills and expertise they have, and reach out to them even when these individuals are not looking for job opportunities. On the flip side, they can view profiles and if they are incomplete or do not have the right keywords to appeal to them, they can disqualify them right there.

So, whether or not you are among LinkedIn’s 1%, 5% or 10% most viewed profiles, here are six quick tips that could bring your profile up to speed and have you on the radar of potential employers:

  1. Complete your profile. This means writing an attention-getting summary and adding skills that will show up in searches and help to attract recruiters and hiring managers.
  2. Upload a professional head-shot. First impressions count, even for your profile, so replace that ‘egg head’ blank square with a professional photo if you want to impress a recruiter or hiring manager, or connect with someone.
  3. Customize your LinkedIn invitation. People are more apt to connect with you if you put a bit of effort into crafting a customized invitation. Let them feel special! Remind them where you met or how you are connected.
  4. Join industry and professional groups. LinkedIn allows you to join up to 50 groups, so search for groups by industry, alumni, former companies and career or job search groups, and join them. Once you have joined, PARTICIPATE!
  5. Follow your target companies. During your research you would’ve identified companies with which you would like to work. Monitor their company pages to learn more about them, their products and services, as well as who has recently been hired.
  6. Ask and Answer Questions. LinkedIn is made up of a community of learners, so don’t be afraid to showcase your expertise by answering questions posed by other users or to pose questions of your own.

While this article primarily pertains to job seekers, entrepreneurs and solopreneurs should harness the power of LinkedIn to build relationships and visibility, and increase business opportunities.

Let us know how you are using LinkedIn and if you have been counted among their most viewed profile.

10 Practical Career Decisions You Can Make in 2013

2013-New-Year-Clock-Facebook-Cover-PhotoAs you welcome 2013, are there things you are holding onto that you should have let go in 2012? Are there people, situations, or ideas that you need to let go of in order to embrace all the opportunities awaiting you this year? If you have identified something or some people holding you back, it’s time to let go and forge full steam ahead. Here are ten career decisions you could make that will move you forward this year:

  1. Let go of ‘I should have, could’ve, can’t, won’t, what ifs, and buts’.  You may have missed out on opportunities because you were second guessing yourself, but they are gone and there is nothing you can about them now. Instead, focus on “I can and I will”.
  2. Let go of the negative people around you. You can spot them easily – the ones who always seem to have a ‘doom-and-gloom-glass-half-empty’ syndrome. This may not be easy as sometimes the cynics among us include people near and dear to us. But, if you would like to start the New Year on a positive footing, you will have to make the decision to reduce or minimize the time spent with pessimists, and embrace those who see obstacles as opportunities. It was Winston Churchill who remarked that “A pessimist sees the difficulty in every opportunity; an optimist sees the opportunity in every difficulty.”
    Surround yourself with optimists.
  3. Let go of the activities that are not leading you towards goal achievement. Question yourself: “Is what I am currently doing leading me towards where I want to go?” If the answer is “No”, then it’s time to let go!
  4. Let go of your doubts and failures and appreciate your gifts.  Refrain from comparing your abilities with those of others and stop dwelling on your failures. You have a unique gift that you were endowed with. Recognize and use this gift so you can become better today than you were yesterday.
  5. Stretch yourself beyond your comfort zone. Get off the comfort zone couch and make room to experience something new and refreshing! Your comfort zone is the circle of people you are comfortable interacting with. If you continue to live in that ‘easy chair’ circle, you are not giving yourself an opportunity to expand your horizons.
  6. Evaluate your network. Take an inventory of the people in your network and make sure it includes people whose strengths are your weaknesses. You will be able to learn from these individuals and fill in your skill gaps. Leadership coach, John Maxwell notes in his book, 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth, that “It’s hard to improve when you have no one but yourself to follow.”
  7. Create a vision for your life or career. Visualize what your career or your life should look like by the end of 2013. What do you want to accomplish? Is it time to invest in yourself by enrolling in an online course? Is it time to invest in a coach who will guide, encourage, support and hold you accountable to attaining your goal(s)?
  8. Engage in a self-reflection exercise. Spend some time to answer the following questions: Who am I? What or who do I need to let go of in order to move forward? Where do I see myself in the next 12 months? What is it that I am good at that I would like to continue doing? How can I begin to reshape my destiny? Tony Robbins once said, “It’s in your moments of decisions that your destiny is shaped”. Are you ready to shape or reshape your destiny? If the answer is “Yes”, what small step could you take today to propel you forward?
  9. Take ownership of your career. Are you feeling like you are a prisoner in your job? Do you feel like you are suffocating? You can become the person you want to be; you can get the promotion you so desperately need, but the responsibility is on you. It’s time to take ownership for your own professional development. It’s time to believe in yourself and your capabilities, then learn how to articulate your value to your next employer. Re-read #7 above.
  10. Get rid of the ANTs in your head. Psychiatrist Daniel G. Amen refers to these ANTs as those Automatic Negative Thoughts that fill our heads most of the time…the thoughts we engage in day-after-day with ourselves that hold us down instead of moving us forward. Replace those thoughts with something positive and uplifting. Choose your thoughts carefully because your thoughts manifest themselves as things later on.

Having read the above, are you ready to let go of what’s not serving you and commit to a fresh in 2013? If you are, then let’s talk, or share your thoughts below.

__________________________

PS: Image courtesy of 25dip.com

 

13 Questions to Ask Yourself Before 2013

Questions2

Can you imagine that the New Year is almost 13 days away! Where did 2012 go? What were you able to achieve? Honestly, what progress have you made in your job search or your career since January 2012? If you haven’t made any progress since then, there’s nothing much you can do at this stage except to learn from the past and move on.

Having said that, what are your plans for 2013? More resolutions? More “If only I had had more, time, money, guidance?” What about setting aside some quality time for yourself to answer the following 13 questions, and then let’s have a chat in the New Year? I might just be able to help you move your career forward.

  1. Describe yourself in 100 words
  2. What are you passionate about?
  3. What are the achievements you are most proud of?
  4. What gives you strength?
  5. What is your favorite activity?
  6. What brings you peace?
  7. What’s your greatest fear?
  8. What are your values?
  9. What are your biggest goals and dreams?
  10. What’s stopping you from pursuing them? How can you overcome them?
  11. How important are these goals to you?
  12. What is your ideal career?
  13. How can you start creating your ideal career starting today?

Are you ready to move your career forward? Don’t delay. Any decisions and actions you make today will set you up for success in 2013. I am ready and willing to help, but only if you are ready and willing to help yourself. Let’s start the process now!

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