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Check out this Yahoo News article where I was quoted regarding in-demand careers that pay well.

 

 

This topic reminds me of the Tufts Health Plan commercial about people’s excuses for not going to the gym. “There’s always an excuse to not work out.”

“I forgot my ponytail holder” and “Wednesdays are weird” are both great excuses from the commercial. It reminds me that we have no trouble coming up with an excuse when there is something we just don’t want to do. Personally, I like going to the gym (most of the time). When I first meet with clients who are avoiding something, they will come in with big stories about why they can’t do something. Sometimes the excuses are around money, not having time, or it’s just too difficult. Usually, we’re able to uncover what’s really in the way and then move forward.

The next time you find yourself making an excuse for not doing something, ask yourself what you are avoiding. Maybe it means having an uncomfortable conversation, or confronting a fear. We all make time for the people and things that are important to us. Sadly, sometimes that includes too much time on Facebook or in front of the tv, instead of doing something productive.

If you’re wanting (or need) to make a career transition, are you spending quality time each day on your search? This can be applied to any part of your life. Pay attention to the excuses you make and honestly ask yourself what you are avoiding. Sometimes we need help reaching that next step.

Many times I talk to my career coaching clients about what work they have really done during their career. 20 years of experience doesn’t matter if you have done the same thing every year. 5 years of experience can mean so much more if you continue to learn and stay relevant in your field.

You want to be considered a source of knowledge, or even an expert in your field in order to gain the trust of clients and potential referral sources. This means following relevant news sources and publications, attending professional development events and seminars, networking, reading, and anything else that will help you learn, so that you’re able to show clients that you are up-to-date in your field.

Recently, I had a couple conversations with an IT professional about purchases and news that were related to that field. I was surprised to hear that in both instances, this person was not aware of what I was talking about. This immediately made me hesitant to refer business to this person. I bring up this example so you can ask yourself if you would ever find yourself in that situation. How up-to-date are you in your field? Do you continue to find ways to learn and stay relevant?

There seems to be a big range in the level of activity I see in people’s job searches. One client who landed a new position recently told me to tell my clients to talk to everyone, apply to everything, and try anything. Maybe this is more than most people would do, but I also see other clients who sit back, and think that opportunities will come to them. People have to know you’re looking and they have to know what you’re looking for.  Some people are lucky and do have opportunities come to them, but we can’t rely on this method in a job search.

Whether you’re a job seeker, a business owner who is trying to gain new clients, or in any other position where you’re trying to grow in some way, ask yourself if you’re doing everything you can to make that happen.

Until then, you need to make sure yours is doing its job! Through my work, I have realized that even the best resumes I see need a few improvements in order to be effective.

There is more to it, but here are three things that you need to include in your resume:

Summary

This might sound obvious, but I am still seeing resumes with objectives at the top. No ones cares what you want. You need to make sure a company knows what you can do for them, and a summary helps them understand that.

Accomplishments

One way you can highlight your career accomplishments is by listing a few as bullets under your summary. You will also want to read through your bullets under each position, and make sure that your accomplishments are illustrated. As an example, you may have listed that you created a database for one company. So what? Employers need to know what happened as a result of that database. What was the success? This is how you show a potential employer what you can do for them.

Keywords

It is essential that both your resume and LinkedIn profile are populated with the essential keywords for the position you’re seeking. An easy way to do this is to go through a job description for a position you are seeking and add in the important words that are mentioned. Examples include specific software programs, industry terms, types of trainings, etc. Having the right keywords makes it more likely that your resume or LinkedIn profile will come up in a recruiter’s search.

If you are having trouble with your resume or not getting any responses, I would recommend consulting with a resume writer, or having a few trusted people look it over. Hopefully these three tips will help improve your resume.

A lot of the clients I am meeting with are being asked to make a presentation as part of the job interview process. Others are coming up with presentations themselves because they realize how competitive the market is, and that standing out is essential. Remember: it’s not about you, it’s about what you can do for the employer. (and you can’t keep it a secret and expect to get hired)

An article by Jennifer Alsever in FORTUNE illustrates this idea. It may seem like a lot of extra work or that you’re giving away your ideas, but at this point, it is a necessary part of the interview process.

I do this really embarrassing thing where I don’t post regularly to my blog. Figured I would blog about it. If you have a blog (or you’re thinking about starting one), you need to add new posts at least once a week in order to be effective!

Are you trying to keep your name in front of your online network, but you don’t want to start a blog? Take advantage of your social media profiles and do a status update, at least once a week! An easy way to do this is to share an article of interest, or let your network know what you’re up to in the professional world. One example is telling them about a recent seminar you attended, or any type of event. This is especially important for job seekers or someone trying to grow their business.

A lot of us are scared of bombarding our network with too many posts, but once a week is unobtrusive, yet helps keep you in front of important people. How often do you write new posts?

 

 

 

I have been hearing more and more from my career coaching clients that employers are looking for an “exact fit” when they’re interviewing potential employees. Unfortunately, this occurs when there is a surplus of strong candidates going after very few open positions.

So…how do you get noticed?

One way it to make sure your resume and LinkedIn profile are populated with the proper keywords. These would be words found on job descriptions of positions you’re applying for, and other buzzwords that are important in your position/industry. This may sound obvious, but once you really stop and think, you’ll probably find that you’re not using some of those essential words. Remember: many recruiters don’t read resumes anymore, they search for keywords!

Another way to stand out is to highlight your accomplishments both in your resume and when you’re speaking. You need to show the results of your actions, not just list off tasks that you’ve completed throughout your career. Let people know what is special about you, don’t assume that they’ll figure it out themselves!

If you haven’t already read these very honest (and in many cases funny) excerpts from HR professionals, take a look at the links below. The article is written by Michelle Crouch through Readers Digest. You will find some great advice and insight on the job interview process from actual HR people. Take a look, you will definitely learn something and probably laugh!

http://www.rd.com/money/what-hr-people-won%E2%80%99t-tell-you-about-your-resume/

http://www.rd.com/13-things/what-hr-people-wont-tell-you-about-the-job-interview/

http://www.rd.com/13-things/what-hr-people-wont-tell-you-about-salaries-and-raises/

http://www.rd.com/13-things/what-your-hr-person-won%E2%80%99t-tell-you-about-being-fired/