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Nancy Gaither

Sequestration??? Really?

Sequestration!  It’s such a big, looming word and we are hearing about it nightly on the news. So, I thought it best if I looked it up to see exactly what our government is talking about. Simply put, sequestration is the employment of automatic, across-the-board spending cuts in the face of annual budget deficits. Sequestration is not a comforting thought at all, particularly after we were hanging off a fiscal cliff for several months.

To prepare yourself to be a successful job seeker in this climate, you have to be calm, patient and proactive! Don’t “leave town and go on vacation” or wait for “it” to happen!  You may want to try any (or all) of these tips:

  1. Pick Your Target – Pick areas that are of interest of you. Pick a company that piques your interest and pursue them, whether they have current openings or not.
  2. Concentrate on Growth Industries – According to an article called JOB MARKET: WHAT’S AHEAD FOR 2013, posted on SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management), “Surveyed employers have a “positive outlook” in 12 of the 13 industry sectors, according to Manpower’s 2013 first quarter employment survey. The strongest sectors for hiring in the first quarter are expected to be wholesale and retail trade (a net of 17 percent that will add jobs), leisure and hospitality (14 percent) and professional and business services (13 percent), according to the report.”
  3. Work Your Network – Let people know that you are in the job market. Ask them if they know of anything. Joinseize-the-squirelly-day LinkedIn and explore the many resources there.

Bottom line – don’t sequester yourself because of the sequestration.  Instead, Seize the Day and make it work for you!

Do What YOU Love!!!

It’s Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air. A day filled with hearts, chocolate, flowers and many people wearing red. It Love What You Do!made me think of the cute advice I hear often when people are talking about careers and the word love is mentioned: “Do what you LOVE and the money will follow.” The thought is that if you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.

On any given day, there are things that we don’t like to do. For instance, I’m not the best at balancing my checkbook, so I switch banks every few months (not really, but saying it makes for a good joke). I do know, however, that a career in finance is not my hearts’ desire and that a job that requires working with spreadsheets and complex calculations day in and out is definitely not my cup of tea.  On the other hand, life-long learning is important to me and helping others is a passion. When I’m involved in coaching others to be their absolute best and thinking about creative ways to solve a problem time passes quickly and I LOVE what I’m doing.  I wish that for you as well!

Here’s an interesting blog from a contributor to the Harvard Business Review called Joy at Work. It’s something to think about when you are looking for passion in your career.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

P.S. If you have a thought or comment about any of my blogs, please share on the S.O.A.R. website. Help spread the love for job and careers!

The Day After Super Bowl 2013

Fans in Baltimore are beyond excited as well as exhausted after a nail-biting Super Bowl. It was a roller coaster ride with the Ravens taking a 21-6 lead in the first half and extending it early in the third quarter with a 108- yard kickoff return. Then, the lights went out and the Ravens momentum stopped. Wait, I can hear you shouting at the screen: “Nancy, you aren’t a sports analyst much less a sports reporter. What gives you the right to comment on the Super Bowl?”

Well, I must tell you, I think that this game was very similar to a job search. You plan your game (the job search); you practice (whether you are writing and re-writing your resume or preparing for your interview); you take the field (getting excited about your opportunities); you go out for the pass and sometimes you miss (finding out you weren’t the ideal candidate or a match for the job). Looking for that ideal job, pursuing that “touchdown” in your own life, can have it’s ups and downs and there are days when you feel as if the lights have gone out and there is no chance of winning.

When you see things aren’t going just as you planned, perhaps even spiraling out of control, that is the exact time when you must re-focus; re-adjust your game plan, if necessary, and pursue your dream with a renewed vigor and tenacity.  Don’t give up! Call in your special teams (your friends, your family, your mentor) and ask them to review your resume. Go for a long pass and see if they can help you extend your network and get the word out about your interests and pursuits. Then, get ready to rumble and/or SOAR. You can make your dream happen, as did the Baltimore Ravens, 2013 Super Bowl Champions!

Baltimore Raven Confetti AngelHere’s an article I found to be an inspiring read, not necessarily about planning a job search, but about re-adjusting and listening to others and leveraging their strengths.

http://business.time.com/2013/02/01/the-new-way-to-win-super-bowls-leadership-lessons-of-the-nfls-cutting-edge-coaches/ 

 

 

 

 

It’s Sunday and It’s FOOTBALL!

Playoff games today are happening today and the Baltimore Ravens will be playing for the right to go to the 2013 SuperBowl. (There may be a few more teams in the game, I’m sure, and you may be their fan. Good luck. Can you tell what color shirt I’m wearing as I type?)

It’s most exciting as people cheer for their home team. I’ve been reading articles about how the Ravens (and others) are preparing for the game and I think it is so cool these football players are doing what they love and playing to their strengths. What a fabulous concept for how to live your life!  (Of course, making fabulous money isn’t so bad either, but there is hard work that goes into their day-to-day job, all for our enjoyment.)

It made me think of Marcus Buckingham, the author of the book “Go Put Your Strengths To Work.”  Here’s a video clip that may provide you with some inspiration as you think about playing to your strengths!

Three More Things to Think About For Your Resume

Thanks to you all of you who contacted me about “the blog” last week and who shared it with others. I’m glad these ideas are resonating with you! When chatting about this with some of you, I found a few more tips spilling forth in my mind and wanted to share them with the S.O.A.R. community (don’t you love it?)

1. When sharing your work experience avoid using the words “responsible for” and add action verbs to promote your achievements!  They make strong impressions and give your resume POWER and direction. Think about using “created, formulated, facilitated, executed and more.” Do a search on the web for “action verbs” to inspire you!

2. Quantify and qualify your contributions for your potential employer. Replace “responsible for growth of the company” to something like” gained 20 percent improvement in net profit by focusing on team-building, Raven-soaringemployee engagement and emphasis on ioi” (internal operating income).

3. Spell-check, review, spell-check again and ask someone else to look over your resume. Begin with a good first impression and eliminate the chance of your resume getting “tossed” because of a silly mistake.  Don’t leave it up to your computer spell-checker. It often misses words such as “their/there; then/than; affect/effect; its/it’s and more. Spelling and grammar checks aren’t a replacement for a human set of eyes.

Keep the ideas, comments and “likes” coming!

“How wonderful that no one need wait a single moment to improve the world.”  (Anne Frank, 1929 – 1945)

 

Two Things You Must Include on Your Resume

To be truly successful in your job search, you must make sure that you include two essential items needed on your resume (there are more and I’ll write about them next week). The competition is fierce in the job market and ignoring a few simple rules may result in your resume experiencing the dreaded control – x or delete.

Contact Information

All too often contact information is missing or left off of a resume. Take a moment now to make sure that underneath your keywordname is your mailing address, email address and phone number.  Don’t get cutesy with your email address. Sirchugsalot@emaildomain conveys a personality that may not be putting your best foot forward, so set up another account that doesn’t label you and is professional.

Keywords are Key

Pull out the job description that interests you and highlight the key words. Insert them in your resume in the objective or goal section – right up front!  Having the right keywords is especially important for online applications, because they are frequently screened by computer programs looking for the right words. Do a little research and look at the employer’s mission statement and history to rephrase your experience to fit not only their perceived or published needs, but perhaps another job unlisted.

By paying attention to these little details, your resume is more likely to SOAR to the top  and not get passed over without a second look.

“Go Confidently in the Direction of YOUR Dreams . . .

. . . live the life you had imagined” is what Henry David Thoreau suggests to us.  Dreams come in all shapes and sizes and your Flying Birdfirst step in living your dream is to decide what you really want to do with your life. Look through the job sites and see what appeals to you. If you don’t have the skills (yet) or need more experience, think about volunteering.  Be sure to look at your resources before making any rash decisions. A pathway to bliss takes clear thinking, planning, research, an open mind and firm, if not “some,” financial footing. Talk with others about your ideas and seek guidance from a trusted person. Let me know if you want to chat about your future or explore your passion and ideas for pursuing it with an objective coach!

Happy New Year! Here’s to SOARing in 2013!

 

Fa-La-La-La-La

reindeer tangled in lights ‘tis the season for holiday parties and what a networking paradise! Almost any neighborhood, family or business gathering may produce an opportunity for a conversation with someone who has information you can “mine” unobtrusively for leads to new career challenges for yourself and those you know. In addition to the family and friend parties, select a few in the industry where you are most likely to have face time with individuals to whom you want to show your potential, unique talents and interests.

Remember to stay focused! To leverage the full benefits of holiday networking, you must be alert and stay sharp. Don’t overindulge in food or beverages. Think about leaving your ugly Christmas sweater at home, unless it is an ugly Christmas sweater party. Conduct yourself professionally at all times. Don’t forget to have a business card or two ready to share. The ROI is simple. Just one meaningful conversation can open a door. It’s the quality not the quantity of relationships developed, pursued or renewed.

I’ll toast to that!

A Time to Give Thanks

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.”  Albert Schweitzer

I ran across this quote tonight while I was web surfing (the only type of surfing I will ever master) and it inspired me to write a quick Thanksgiving night blog. While we ALL love the day filled with turkey, families and friends, it is also a time to focus on the things for which we are grateful. This may be particularly true while job hunting. Gratitude is critical to the success of any job search.

Perhaps you have heard of the Law of Attraction or the concept that “we attract whatever we think about, good or bad.” Whether or not you believe in the power of the universe, there is something to be said for believing in positive things happening versus taking the negative Nellie or Ned approach and worrying. Take time to think about the good in your life and appreciate those who surround you – those who may have lit a spark in the past or may be the flint that will help you at this time. That positive energy will shine, for sure!

The Thanksgiving weekend may be an ideal opportunity to take a moment to write a thank you note or an email to those who have helped you in your job search. Check in with those you may have not connected with in a while, by sending an email or a quick message on LinkedIn and wish them a happy Thanksgiving.  Let others know that you are in the midst of a job search or are exploring what your dream job might be.  Oprah Winfrey said “be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough!”

My thanks to all of you who continue to encourage me in this endeavor and have taken the time to read my blogs and provide suggestions/insight. I’m grateful and count my blessings that you have added the spark to my life! Happy Thanksgiving!

What are Recruiters Looking for During a Phone Interview

Finding a job in the market today is very different from 10 years ago.  Today, your resume must include “key words” that a computer scan will pick up during the initial screening and, if that passes the test, you may receive an opportunity for a phone interview.  Ensuring that your resume has been crafted to meet that job posting, followed by being prepared for that phone call will help boost the chances that you will be called in for an interview.

In a recent newsletter from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) a recruiter in the Toledo, Ohio, area noted that “recruiters are looking to confirm qualifications listed on the candidate’s resume, clarify any grey areas, gain further insight on work history and skills, inform the candidate of the position, judge interest, and kick off the application process.”  Experienced recruiters can gauge your energy, interest and communication skills easily through a 15 – 30 minute conversation.

This interview is also a great time to assess whether or not you would like to work for a company and the position is right for you. While you want to be prepared to answer all of the recruiters questions, you may also want to prepare a few on your own.  Be sure that you have done your homework and research the position and company. You may want to ask the question: “why is the position available; is it a new position, did the former employee retire, did they quit, were they promoted?”  This gives you more insight into the company and the job.

Finally, work on your telephone voice and make sure that your tone reflects energy and enthusiasm.  (Ask a friend or colleague for feedback on how you come across on a phone).  Do you sound engaged? Friendly? Interested?  The telemarketing industry used to recommend that you “smile as you talk” and your smile will be reflected through your voice.  (BTW, did you know that smiling boosts your immune system?)

Here’s to soaring over the phone and seizing that next interview!