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It’s a Business Card…It’s a Resume…It’s a QR Code

It is (or used to be) the norm that a business card would include a name, title, phone number, email address, website and sometimes a tagline. That was yesterday. Today, in addition to the elements mentioned, the business card could contain one’s elevator pitch, branding statement or mini resume, thanks to the arrival of the QR (or Quick Response) Code.

A QR Code is a collection of symbols that when scanned by someone’s mobile device provides more detailed information about an individual. See the sample below which was created from my LinkedIn Profile using Pingtags:

 

 

As trendy as a QR Code may be, it could present a challenge to those without a  barcode scanner or mobile device with a QR Reader App. That said, from a job search or business perspective, it could be seen as another way for someone to set him or herself apart from their competitors and enhance their brand. What will they think of next?

 

What are your thoughts?

 

Related Website: Skanz

Is the Résumé Really Dead?

Every so often I read a blog post or hear comments about the death of the ubiquitous résumé, and I am sometimes tempted to believe it. After all, it draws its competition from the overabundance of social media tools and, to a lesser degree, from individuals with the ‘gift of gab’ who can talk themselves into any job without a résumé.

But, let’s pause for a moment! Probably, the résumé isn’t dead after all. A few days ago, one of my clients was interviewed for a Senior Vice President position by the top three honchos of a company. They were impressed with the content and structure of his résumé because after the interview, he sent me the following note:

The Top Guy stated he had never seen a better résumé and appreciated the time and effort I put into it.  I was straight up and told him I solicited assistance. I said, “No one stands alone but draws on other people’s expertise as required”. He loved that.

Naturally, I was happy for him that things went well, and by the looks of  it, he may be getting an offer soon, but I also reflected on the CEO’s comment. This couldn’t have happened if it was a collaborative effort between the client and me. Before crafting the résumé, I put him to work by having him complete an assessment to uncover his strengths and the work environment in which he strives best. It was a worthwhile exercise for him as he wrote to say, “I want to express how important this process has been for me to re-evaluate my worth and experience. I have a fire I have not had in a while!”

The next step was to delve into his background, unearth his success stories and formulate them into a cohesive value proposition that articulates what he is good at, what he consistently does well, and how he delivers tangible results. He was stunned when he received the draft document and remarked, “To say we are blown away (the wife and I) would be an understatement. This is GOLD!”

Before meeting with company officials, we also discussed interview strategies – what to say, when to say it, and what to hold back.  This brings me back to the question, “Is the résumé really dead as some would have us believe?” Not really! Hiring managers and recruiters usually request one; job postings ask to submit one, and CEOs sometimes want to see one before agreeing to meet a candidate. What is on its way out is the résumé as it used to be. The one devoid of value-based scripts, filled with ‘responsible for…’ statements and does not address the employer’s needs or buying motivators. Such a résumé cannot stand up to the competition and will certainly meet its demise if it hasn’t already. On the other hand, the one that tells stories, focuses on major strengths, and promises value, that’s the résumé that will lead to interviews and then to a job offer.

What are your thoughts? Have your say below.

 

But, let’s pause for a minute! Probably, the résumé isn’t dead after all. One of my clients met the top three honchos of this particular company when he interviewed for a Senior VP position a few days ago. After that meeting, he sent me an email from which I quote:  

The Top Guy stated he had never seen a better resume and appreciated the time and effort I put into it.  I was straight up and told him I solicited assistance.  “No one stands alone but draws on other people’s expertise as required”, I told him. He loved that.

In order to come up with the client’s résumé, I had him complete an assessment. After he had reviewed the results, he said, I want to express how important this process has been for me to re-evaluate my worth and experience. I have a fire I have not had in a while!”

The next step was to delve into his background, unearth his success stories and formulate them into a cohesive value proposition that articulates what he is good at, what he consistently does well, and how he delivers tangible results. All this was necessary to craft the résumé that caught the attention of the CEO. Even the client was stunned when he received the résumé. He said, To say we are blown away (the wife and I) would be an understatement. This is GOLD!”

So, which résumé is dead? The one devoid of value-based scripts, filled with ‘responsible for…’ statements and does not address the employer’s needs. Such a résumé cannot stand up to the competition, and will certainly meet its demise if it hasn’t already. However, the résumé that tells stories; focuses on major strengths and promises value, that’s the résumé that will lead to success.

What are your thoughts? Have your say below.

Monday Morning Rx: Let the Sunshine In

 

On Monday May 3, 2010, I began sending out short messages of encouragement to my newsletter subscriber list. After a few months, other things got in the way, and I stopped. Last week I decided it was time to restart the process via this blog. My first Monday Morning Rx note said:

Monday mornings can be a tough time for some people. Just the thought of going out to work, probably to a job they no longer enjoy or a boss or coworker they don’t get on with. Or, it could be someone who has been unsuccessful with their job search and just can’t face another week. Whatever the reason, some people just dread Mondays. As a matter of fact, Sunday nights can be quite stressful for some, just thinking about the next day.

If any of this resonates with you, don’t worry. I have a prescription for you – the Monday Morning Rx. Starting today, and each Monday, I will be sending messages of encouragement taken from various sources to help you get over ‘blue Mondays’ and start your work week on a positive note.”

So, after more than a year, I will begin my Monday morning messages again. Today’s has been adapted from The Path to Positive Thinking is Paved With Positive Thinking by Wally Amos.

Let the Sunshine In

Are you the kind of person who lets rainy days and Mondays get you down?…If the sky is black and the rain won’t stop, grab a philosophical umbrella and let the sun figuratively shine in.  You can shop if you like to shop, spend time with friends who are fun to be with, or curl up with a good book.  Whatever you do, if you do it with a sunny attitude inside, you can beat the weather outside.  You’ll suffer from JOY instead of SAD. Joy comes from within. (Excerpted from Wally Amos’ The Path to Success is Paved with Positive Thinking).

“Stay out of yesterday, wait for tomorrow, and live in the present.”

 

Have a great day. It’s yours to enjoy!


Do You Have the Courage to….?

 

After my Mother passed away recently, I took a respite from everything for several weeks, including my business. I just couldn’t motivate myself to do anything and so I needed something to pull me through. I decided to use the time to ask and answer my own questions:

  • What did it take for me to make the decision to move to Canada?
  • What did it take to apply for and get a job at the UN while I was enroute to Canada?
  • What did it take to negotiate my salary with my first Canadian employer when the initial offer was not what I expected?
  • What did it take to get a teaching position at Sheridan College?
  • What did it take to start my business?
  • What did it take to write my book?

As I reflected on each question, one word kept revolving in my mind and it was COURAGE! I didn’t know what the outcome was going to be in any of those decisions, but each time I felt this burning feeling in my stomach to do something, I took a leap of faith.

How about you? What giant (or small) leap have you taken after just seeing the first step? Or, are you someone who has to see all the steps before making a move?  It doesn’t matter if it’s a small or giant step, if you are to move from where you are to where you want to be, it will take courage. You have to be prepared to:

C Commit and persevere. This is sometimes the most difficult part, as many people give up soon after they start. Remember, “there’s always a dip in the middle of working toward a goal. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Just brush yourself off and re-commit!” (Shawn Driscoll)
O Open your eyes, ears and mind for new opportunities and offers. They come in various forms, but you have to be prepared to seize the moment.
U Uncover your talents. You may have latent talents just waiting to be uncovered. Take an assessment if you are unsure about your gifts, or enlist the help of a career coach.
R Reach out and request help from others. Many people are willing to offer you assistance, but you must ask. I couldn’t have done it on my own. Family, friends and professional colleagues played a huge role.
A
Accept the fact that failure is a part of success. My colleague @LydiaFernandes tweeted recently, “Everytime you fall, it’s an opportunity to get back up & rock it out even harder!” and Author Tim Harford in his new book: Adapt: Why Success Always Starts with Failure, says we should “fight failure with courage.”
G Get Ready, Get Set and Go! Let go of whatever is holding you back and take the first step. Linda Mastandrea said “Go after your dream, no matter how unattainable others think it is.”
E Engage people face-to-face and through social media to build relationships. Up to 85% of opportunities are found through networking. Keep in mind, however, that it’s a two-way-give-and-get street.

It is as easy as that. Everything begins with a first step. That first step is commitment. It might take you some time to get there, just don’t ever dare to give up. As you do some reflections of your own, let me leave you with these words from Dale Carnegie & Ralph Marston:

“Most of us have far more courage than we ever dreamed we possessed.” ~ Dale Carnegie

“Your biggest limitation is your reluctance to move forward. Get over that, and you can get over anything .Time, money, knowledge, and resources are minor considerations when compared to one vital factor. That factor is your willingness to get it done.” ~ Ralph Marston

I hope you will take your leap of faith, and Just Do It!

Feel free to share your comments below about COURAGE.

Social Media Tools for Job Search is not Popular with Canadians

In a survey conducted by The Wright Career Solution in 2010, 65.6 percent of hiring managers and recruiters use social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook) to look for candidates, yet in another survey by the Canadian Education and Research Institute for Counselling (CERIC), almost half (46%), of Canadians report that they do not use, nor are they interested in using social media to advance their career goals. What a disconnect!

Get a copy of The Wright Career Solution’s report here: Survey Results of Canadian Hiring Managers and CERIC’s at  Public Perception of Career Development and the Workplace.

Feel free to add your thoughts here

Take a Leap of Faith, Not a Leap of Fear

My previous client newsletter briefly discussed the dreaded word “FEAR” – that scary monster that grips, paralyzes and keeps us from moving forward with our dreams. This short New Year’s message comes with a request that if you find yourself gripped by fear, make a concerted effort to replace ‘fear’ with ‘faith’ in 2011. That’s right! Start believing in yourself again!

Reflect on just one thing you would like to achieve for yourself in 2011. Don’t worry about what you didn’t do in the past. Darren Hardy, editor of SUCCESS Magazine said, “No matter what your past has been, you have a spotless future.” Imagine that! You do have a spotless future. You have a clean slate or a blank canvas to paint whatever picture you wish in 2011. In your mind’s eye, visualize or paint the picture in its finest detail, just as you would want it to be. Is it a picture about your health, career, finance, family, spirituality, or is it something as simple as retooling your skills just to be ahead of your competition? Whatever it is, start now. Let go of whatever it is that you fear – the fear of failure (or success), the fear of what people might say, the fear that you are not good enough, not healthy enough, not young enough, not smart enough – and go after what it is that you want.

As a gift to you, watch this short slideshow, and see if you will be motivated to start making things happen for you! Best wishes for a Happy and Prosperous 2011.

Don’t forget to visit us at the Careertips2Go Café to see what’s going to be brewing in the New Year! We might just be able to help you take a leap of faith and achieve something for yourself.

Slideshow:

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

Are You ‘Shoulding’ on Yourself?

Merry Christmas… Joyeus No?l…Feliz Navidad…Season’s Greetings…Happy Holidays!

Well, 2010 came in with a bang, and now it’s almost gone. As you reflect on the year, how do you stack up against those goals / resolutions you set at the beginning of the year? Are you pleased with your accomplishments, or are you lamenting the fact that much of what you had hoped to achieve just didn’t happen? In fact, are you ‘shoulding’ on yourself because of what you failed to get done? You know what I mean – the “I shoulda, coulda, didn’t bother…” conversations that tend to clutter our minds when we fall short of our own expectations.

Don’t waste another minute shoulding on yourself. What’s gone is gone, and there’s nothing you can do about it. There were moments when I wanted to ‘should’ on myself because some of what I set out to do got derailed – sometimes because of my own effort (or lack thereof), but I changed the direction of my thoughts and focussed on what I had accomplished, and what still had to be done. That mental shift made the world of difference to finishing the year having done much of what I set out to do. It’s not too late for you to make that mental shift. Here are three tips to help you if you really want 2011 to be different:

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway. Some people are so fearful of failing, that they don’t bother trying. Later on they blame themselves for things they should or could have done. Whatever it is that you really want to do, I urge you to feel the fear and do it anyway! R.W. Emerson said, “Do the thing you fear and the death of fear is certain“, and former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt said, “You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look FEAR in the face. You must do the thing you think you cannot do”. So, look at FEAR for what it really is – False Evidence Appearing Real, and take a leap of faith and surprise yourself.

Move Out of Camp Complacent. If it feels too safe and comfortable doing the same thing(s) day-after-day even though it no longer gives you satisfaction, it’s time to move. Complacency destroys drive and passion. That promotion, that new job, that sales call you need to make, that business you want to start, that book you want to write, stretch yourself and strive to make them happen in 2011. Remember that if you continue doing what you have always done, you will remain exactly where you are.

Commit to Making a Decision. Too many people prefer to sit on the fence of indecision while life is passing along on its merry way. Case in point: It took one man nine months to get back to me about working on his resume. He was unemployed when he first contacted me, and he was still unemployed nine months later. What did he say when he came back? “I should’ve done this a long time ago.”  What he was also doing was copying and pasting parts of different sample resumes to create one of his own. That did not work, so he too, began ‘shoulding’ on himself.

As you look forward to a New Year with all its potential, tell yourself that you cannot hold on to the life that was, but you can fully live the life that is, right now. Make a concerted effort to make your dream a reality in the coming year.  If you would like some assistance in the New Year, check out my new website CareerTips2Go Café and make plans to join me in January, when the Café officially opens! It’s a work-in-progress, but there will be tools and resources to help you in your job search or your career transition.

The Business Case for Hiring & Retaining Internationally Educated Individuals

On August 17, I was privileged to share the podium with The Hon. Dr. Eric Hoskins, Ontario Minister of Citizenship and Immigration and Dr. Yamil Alonso, Program Coordinator for the Skills Without Borders project at the Brampton Board of Trade.

The event was an outreach to employers sponsored by COSTI Immigrant Services and the Brampton Board of Trade and titled The Business Case for Diversity: Hiring and Retaining Internationally Educated Individuals. Read a summary of my presentation in the latest issue of Career Highlights ezine, then click this link to go to the photo gallery.

If Facebook Were a Country…

Whether you are a job seeker, you are in a career transition or you are an entrepreneur, it’s impossible to ignore social media these days. Career and business opportunities are aplenty via Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter, but are you taking advantage of them? If you are not already convinced, read the following stats taken from an email from John Assaraf, of OneCoach:

Did you know that…

  • If Facebook were a country, it would be third-largest in the world, and growing faster than #1 and #2 combined?
  • YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. Every minute, 24 hours of video is uploaded to it.
  • LinkedIn is the largest network of business professionals in the world, with over 70 million users in 200 countries. 12 million of them visit daily, and a new one joins every second.
  • Millennials now outnumber Baby Boomers. 96% of them have joined a social network.
  • 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations about products. Only 14% trust ads.
  • 93% of all business buyers believe all companies should be on social media platforms.

Although these questions were geared to business owners, it applies equally to job seekers and those in a career transition.  Arm yourself with the tools of the social media revolution. Test the waters and swim in the one that appeals to you. Do something, will you?

The Ups and Downs of Job Hopping

Last week I was sourced by Globe and Mail columnist, Wallace Immen, for his article on Job Hoppers Need to Look Before They Leap. Some recruiters or hiring managers will toss a resume if they notice too many short term jobs; others will be realistic and look for contributions made or value added in these positions. Although there’s a stigma attached to those who ‘job hop’, job hopping has its pros and cons.

Pros

  • It is not frowned upon as it was in the past, given the upheavals in the economy and the rippling effects on the job market.
  • It broadens one’s skill-set and makes the individual more marketable.
  • It allows the person to work in different environments and bring different perspectives of how things are done in other companies.
  • It gives the individual a wider network of people to tap into when seeking other job opportunities.

Cons

  • Because of the cost involved, employers are not going to spend time and money to hire someone they suspect will only be with them for a short time.
  • The potential employee could be seen as a bad decision-maker, a bad fit, or uncommitted, if he or she  is unable to give an explanation for the short tenure of these jobs.

It’s unfortunate that a lot of focus is placed on job seekers, because the reality is that more employers are hiring people on short-term contracts, which then contributes to higher incidences of job hopping. This common practice also breeds disloyalty as the employee develops this ‘one foot in, one foot out‘ mentality, because they know they can be laid off at any time without notice.

It is time that recruiters and hiring managers take a different approach to job hopping based on these realities and, instead, look for what each individual has accomplished during these short job stints. Job hoppers, on the other hand, who have a high performance record should ensure their resumes reflect the significant contributions they made at these different jobs. This will certainly help to divert attention from the number of jobs, to the accomplishments. Another strategy, though loathed by recruiters, is to use a functional resume format.

One thing that’s often overlooked is that job hopping is a choice for some individuals who consider themselves ‘free agents’ and who enjoy the flexibility to work from project to project then move on. What are your thoughts?