Get Hired by “Showing”, not “Telling”

Shawn was a stubborn client.  Though successfully employed as a Sales Manager of a highly recognized Fortune 500 biomedical company, he was eager to be promoted to a Regional Sales Manager and expand his territory as well as his influence and compensation.  When we first talked about how I worked with career coach clients, I explained that I could help him stand out in the job search against his competition – potentially hundreds of other candidates who had similar backgrounds as he.  Shawn was quick to tell me about his many successes in gaining and retaining new businesses and how well liked and respected he was by customers, colleagues and his manager. But he struggled with the HOW and WHY of his career success on his resume.      tip-the-hiring-scale-with-an-achievement-based-resume-and-profile

A few job seekers can explain how they overcame obstacles, in the work setting, to contribute greatly to the company for which they work.  But most can’t really put their finger on why they think they are qualified for a promotion, internally or externally.

“SHOW employers your value – don’t just TELL them”

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Why your LinkedIn Profile is Costing you Thousands

Most professional job seekers are savvy enough to know that over 90% of recruiters use LinkedIn to source for top talent.  And most hiring managers complete their due diligence by Googling job candidates to research additional information.  So no problem, right, because you have a profile and it mirrors your resume.  Well, not so fast.  Just HAVING a LinkedIn profile isn’t enough; it has to be optimized, have the keywords that the recruiter is searching for, showcase your achievements prominently and much more.

Unfortunately, most LinkedIn profiles do not pass the test and, as a result, actually turn off a recruiter or hiring manager and COST otherwise qualified candidates a job interview and job offer.

That is exactly why I quit my Fortune 200 company corporate HR and Talent Management position and started a career coaching practice; I talked to too many professionals who did not communicate their value in an effective, much less a compelling way, on their resumes, networking pitches, or in the interview.  They may well have been more qualified than the final candidate, who ultimately was hired, but they just did not market them effectively and strategically.  Continue reading

What’s Costing you your Dream Job? Your Online Digital Footprint?

No; I am not talking about having inappropriate postings on FaceBook.  Everyone is wise to cleaning up or managing visibility of social media postings which could jeopardize your job search.

Your Online Footprint - Build it and they will come

Your Online Footprint – Build it and they will come

I am talking about simply NOT having an online presence that is relevant and conducive to your career.  Here is the classic example.  When I am talking to a potential client, I ask about their LinkedIn profile and usually hear, “Yeah; I have a profile but don’t do much with it.”  That is exactly the problem.  It is not sufficient to simply have your profile posted, even if LinkedIn gives you an “All Star” status.

The Profile is just the beginning, folks. 

Most people incorrectly remember Kevin Costner’s famous line as, “If we build it they will come”.  In the movie, Field of Dreams, he plays an Iowa corn farmer who hears a voice telling him: “If you build it, he will come.” He interprets this as Continue reading

Take the Mystery out of the Hidden Job Market


Solve the Puzzle of the Hidden Job Market

I remember reading the Nancy Drew books, as a young girl, and was fascinated when I learned the “Secret of the Hidden Door” and other mysteries. If you are a job seeker, one of the biggest mysteries of our time is the Hidden Job Market.

It is estimated that 80% of job openings are not posted.  This is called the hidden job market.  As frustrating as it is, there are legitimate reasons why so many positions are not advertised on job boards or publicly . Your job is to understand why and know where you can find them.

Let’s Start with Why

There are many reasons why an organization may not advertise a position.  Here are some:

  • The position is not yet budgeted or approved
  • Due to pending mergers, reorganizations or acquisitions, an official announcement of an opening would be premature
  • The employer is replacing someone currently in the position and whose departure has not been finalized
  • A variety of reasons may require a confidential search       man-at-desk-overwhelmed-with-a-stack-paper-300x300

The most common reason, though, is  SHEER VOLUME.  Posting a position on a major job board  Continue reading

Want to get Hired? Take a lesson from Santa


Would you hire Santa?

Would you hire Santa?

Would you Hire Santa?  Believe it or not, you might learn a thing or two from ol’ Saint Nick about conducting a strategic job search. Think about this:  in good and bad times, Santa has been in demand for over a hundred years.  Though we are seeing a glut in talent and there are more job seekers for every job posted, people seek Santa out every December for the busiest and happiest time of the year.   In fact, he is finding employment earlier each year – sometimes before the ghosts and goblins disappear and the kiddies finish eating their treats.

What’s Santa’s Secret? Here are 3 tips:

Did Santa have a great career coach to support his job search?  Maybe; his action plan and strategies are successful time and time again.  Follow these tips to your own career success and don’t let anyone tell you that “no one is hiring during the holidays – that just isn’t the truth!”

What does Santa’s Resume look like?  

He knows the needs of his customers:

Santa identifies the perfect toys and gifts for all the children around the globe.  Almost everyone in the United States celebrates Christmas, regardless of their faith, so he is in big demand. People not only need his services but they want more and more of it as we spend more on Christmas each year. Brilliant job of identifying a unique niche, Santa!

Santa does his research and he “delivers” on his promise:

Santa’s product lines have changed over the centuries but he keeps current with modern trends and tastes. He delivers what he promises because he prepares far in advance of Christmas.  He monitors the behavior of children all year long and his elves analyze the data with positive precision.

How can you relate to this step?  Make sure you do your own research of positions, industries and professions in order to target 5 – 10 for your own job search.  Being laser focused can make the difference between applying to hundreds of posted jobs and being selected based on your concentrated efforts. Your research pays off when you can customize your resume and cover letter.

Santa is the networking ninja!

Everyone who is anyone knows Santa or is connected to him through someone else.  His linked in profile connections exceed  billions and he has more endorsements than any of the other 332 million on the most successful social media site for professionals.

The key to Santa’s networking success?  He is a giver and not a taker.  You can be too; when making a connection, always remember to ask how you can help before indicating you would like assistance.

Zappos might have the market on corporations delivering happiness but Santa delivers happiness to the whole world.

Santa has branded himself as the global delivery support of happiness. What’s your “career brand”?  Knowing the answer to that question is key to your job search success.

I’ve helped hundreds of professionals identify their own key strengths and design smart and focused  job search strategies that are results oriented.  Contact me at

Photo credit: from  SD Schindler’s book How Santa got his Job



Linked In – Do It Right (Part 2)

In my last post,  I covered the basics of a Linked In Profile and one reader asked  for more techniques to create a winning strategy using this powerful job search/career management tool so here’s Part 2.

This post will help you to create the WOW factor you need to really showcase your talent and give you the needed competitive advantage.

... with LinkedIn

… with LinkedIn

Your ultimate goal is to interest the reader, whether that be a recruiter, hiring manager, colleague  or potential client into reading more of your profile, connecting with you, meeting with you and, ultimately, working with you.Linked In is like a “branding genie”,

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Linked In – Do it Right

Do it right?  Is there a wrong way?  Look at it this way:  Linked in is a mighty hard working tool that never sleeps.  If you have a strong profile, it will do much of your “work” for you.  Let it advertise your “brand”; let it find connections for you. The list goes on and on but…………… need a very GOOD profile and you need to follow the advice below.

Let’s get started – Have you looked at your Linked In profile recently?  REALLY looked at it?  It’s hard to objectively critique yourself, isn’t it?  It looks pretty good to you but how does it look to a recruiter or hiring manager?

Linked In: Do it right!

Linked In: Do it right!

How’s your profile photo?  If you don’t have a photo, you MUST!  Did you know many profiles are completely overlooked when there is no photo?  You may not even be considered for the job though the rest of the profile portrays your experience so well.

And why do so many people take the effort to complete their profile in order to network but don’t  Continue reading


I’m constantly asked, “Should I ‘ friend’  my boss on Facebook?”  Maybe you already have.  Maybe your boss sent you an invite and you felt pressured.  Maybe you thought you could use Facebook to your advantage.  Maybe you just thought it was harmless.

While it might seem like a good idea to be Facebook friends and know more about what’s important to the person in charge of your raise and promotion, there are also reasons to keep your distance.

  • First things first – your main relationship is that of employee to manager.  Your manager’s priority is to direct your work, as well as others, in order to ensure that company goals are met.  In order to do this, s/he reviews work and compares it to the other people managed.  Oftentimes, the measure of success is objective; however, there is always an element of subjectivity to every job.  Even among friends, conflicts and misunderstandings occur.  Since it’s an election year, many people have voiced their opinion on Facebook.  What happens if your manager is a staunch republican and you post that you are an Obama supporter?  What about other issues which come up for which you have an opinion?  It may be difficult, if not impossible, for your boss to ignore differences of opinion when crucial decisions, like a raise or promotion, occurs.
  • Be safe; keep a distance – most managers try their best to not get too involved in the lives of their employees in order to be fair to all those managed.  They know that favoritism, even if perceived, can lead to career limiting decisions and, sometimes, lawsuits.  If  you care about your   manager and his/her career, as well as your own, limit your relationship to work time.
  • What are you thinkin’?  –Even if you are cautious, your Facebook friends might post something to your page which compromises your professionalism.  Being on your guard isn’t enough in our social media world.  You can’t control everyone else’s posts.  Even though the post might not be yours, it can potentially harm your personal brand image at work.
  • I can’t ignore the request forever – If you choose to not be Facebook friends with your manager, and I hope you do, how do you decline the request without causing hurt feelingsHonesty is always the best policy, with a dash of humor.  Simply say that you value your career, not to mention theirs, too much to jeopardize it with an innocent mistake or misperception – yours or your fun loving friends.  I have used this technique successfully;  explain, with a warm smile, that you don’t need to be Facebook friends with people you see at work everyday and tell them you would rather spend quality face time with them vs virtual Facebook time playing Farmville.


Especially with the challenging job market and stiffer competition, you would be well advised to approach your search as though it were a full time job itself, spending about 30 – 40  hours a week on it. Even if you are currently working, an effective search will consume at least 10 hours per week. Schedule and structure your days as though this was a job. It will prove a more effective search and you will feel productive and inspired by your progress.

Consider the following seven principles – One for every day of the week:

  1. Use multiple job search methods and focus on those that will help you be most efficient.  Consider the following resources: online job boards, social media (LinkedIn is for everyone), Facebook and Twitter as well as your personal contacts,  employment or temporary agencies, local state and social service agencies, professional organizations, Chambers of Commerce,  colleges and university job boards or alumni offices.  As a rule, simultaneously use at least a handful of different job search methods.
  2. Be organized!  It goes without saying that, if you are working at this like a full time job and utilizing multiple strategies, you will need to document who you talked to and when, what you discussed and any next steps or follow up.  I recommend, at the least, a log or journal which you can refer to or files based on your job search resources.
  3. Be professional and persistent when contacting or following up with potential employers. Don’t assume they will return calls or send you status updates.  Remember the number of job seekers has escalated and company resources have not kept pace; most companies do not acknowledge receipt of resumes nor will you be informed if the job is filled.  More than any other trait, persistency is a key to your job search success. This may mean that you will need to be more assertive than you normally are.  The key:  don’t take it personally when you don’t hear from companies or if you are turned down for a job. Learn from each encounter.
  4. Don’t limit your search to large companies.  In my city, there are many small to medium sized companies and organizations and that’s where most of the new job growth is. A smaller company may be more flexible, also, and be willing to forgo some of the formalities of the hiring process.
  5. Know your signature strengths and transferrable skills.  Read that sentence again and highlight it if you need to; however, so many people in the job market are applying for jobs and going to interviews but can’t articulate their top five strengths and/or skills. Additionally, you must know and be able to differentiate yourself from the competition by knowing what is unique about your skillset. Consider a hiring manager who is interviewing 50 people for one job.  What will you do to ensure that you stand out from the others?
  6. Once you can identify your strengths and skills, use examples of them when answering the interview questions.  Think “skills” vs. the “job” you held.  Don’t answer the question with a memorization of your prior job description.  What did you achieve and how did you use your knowledge or skills?  For example, an  event planner has exceptional organizational, relationship building and creative skills.
  7. Develop and maintain a strong support system.  Even though many of your friends may be employed, don’t let that discourage.  Keep in contact with them and consider asking one or more to be an accountability partner, to whom you report weekly on your job search activity


There is a ton of information on the internet and hundreds of books which claim to have the key to securing your dream job.  Authors have made millions of dollars writing books on the secrets of  the perfect resume and job winning interviews.  Can they all have “the answer”?

Based on my years of experience selecting and developing talent, I offer you the following recommendations to consider as you make your next career move:

  1. Use Multiple Strategies – Most job seekers put their efforts into one method; however, those who use multiple strategies are most successful.  For example, only 10-15% of people will find their job via a job board like Monster or CareerBuilder so utilize many resources to cast your net as widely as possible.
  2. Network Online & Offline – Social networking is an important part of our lives and effective in your job search but turn off the computer and network on the telephone or face to face in order to build a real network of people and make a lasting impression.  Remember to contribute to your network, too, in order to impact others’ lives.  You would be amazed to know how many people landed a great job through contacts they made while volunteering for their favorite cause.
  3. Surprise – Your Resume is NOT the Key to your next Job – Some people become a bit perfectionistic because they are convinced their resume is the ticket to that dream career.  While it is important to have a well constructed and professional resume highlighting your accomplishments and transferrable knowledge/skills, few people have been hired solely on their resume alone.
  4. Research Your Targeted Companies – This is a very important step and is often overlooked but the time you spend to do your homework will pay off in the interview.  What’s more, it is expected that you will have done this since so much information is available online.  You can even earn a little “extra credit”  from the hiring manager by researching the company’s competition. This shows that you want to know the interviewing company’s challenges and gives you a prime opportunity to present your thoughts of what you would do if hired. Regardless of your level or role in a company, you are able to make an impact.  Imagine what a positive impression you would make if you showed up to an interview knowing the top three problems facing the company and had suggestions or solutions to them.  That makes you memorable to the recruiter and separates you from the rest of the candidates.
  5. Prepare your References – If it is likely that the prospective company may call your references, don’t let them be blind sighted.  Give them a heads up and coach them about what you would like them to say on your behalf.  This is not to say that you are telling them what to say about you but reminding them of the value you provided based on their experience working with you. While preparing your references, they may appreciate you reminding them of your top three achievements to which they could attest and provide further information.