Dr. Seuss, Career Advisor?

Not long ago, just before celebrating my daughters’ 2nd birthday, I came across a tattered copy of Dr. Seuss’ Happy Birthday to You!, and couldn’t help but smile as I thought back on pivotal moments in my life and career when Dr. Seuss’s wise words resonated. Since adopting this book back into my life for the benefit of my growing child, I have found myself stuck on the most famous line in the book, just as I was thirty-something years ago.

“Today you are you, this is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you!”

As a Professional Career Strategist, I pride myself on advising our clients by inspiring them to see the true value within themselves. Now that I am once again immersed back into Dr. Seuss’ work through my child’s eyes,

I couldn’t help but wonder – was Dr. Seuss the world’s best career coach disguised as a children’s book writer?

 

Let’s think about this for a minute. As children, we’re taught to be confident, believe in ourselves, do the right thing, and naturally, we’ll land amongst the stars. Then, reality happens as we grow up: we learn the agony of defeat and the sting of disappointment.  We face the harsh coldness of “Thank you for your application, but…”

Little by little, all of those wise words we clung to and repeated before bedtime while reading some of Seuss’ classics seem as useless as, well, a cold plate of Green Eggs and Ham.

If Dr. Seuss (2.0) stepped into the role of a career coach, here is how we reimagine the applicability of some of his more famous quotes when considering a job search.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”

The way we see it, this is Dr. Seuss, Career Advisor, reminding you to simplify your job search. You will not be a great fit for every role out there and not every sector is going to be ideal. Moreover, not all career fairs, networking events, and speed interview sessions will be helpful. Hone-in, for simplicity purposes, on a few sectors and companies you want to learn more about and start going through your connections, both digital and real, to make inroads. The Cat in the Hat would be proud of That!

 

“So be sure when you step, step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s a great balancing act.”

I’m pretty sure I’ve given this advice before, though perhaps with less of a rhyme scheme going on. Dr. Seuss is correct, though, as he is basically suggesting that you be thoughtful and strategic in your job search. So often, we hear the “quantity over quality” is what lands one a job. Applying to 200 jobs just because they have openings will not turn the odds in your favor for an interview or offer and could very well lead to MORE frustration when you don’t hear back.

Rather, focus on the companies and roles in which you are truly interested, even if that means only applying to 10 roles. From there, reach out to people at each company, follow-up, express interest in the role, and request time to learn more about the opportunity and overall organization. Basically, Dr. Seuss (the Career Advisor) is suggesting you balance out applying for quality roles with making essential connections at each organization, as this will significantly increase the likelihood that you actually land an interview.

 

“It’s not about what it is, it’s about what it can become.”

Your past is your past, and it is exactly what has led you to where you are in your life at this very moment. Most likely, you’ve learned a thing or two from your previous job experiences, good and bad. The purpose here, as Dr. Seuss has indicated, is to take that experience and focus on what your career can become – and lead with this in mind. Recognizing an abundance of responsibilities from your career to date is a decent start – but if you can’t speak to how this will apply to your future success, it’s time to recalibrate. Perhaps Dr. Seuss, Career Advisor, would ask you the following:

One fish, Two fish, At that role, What’d You Accomplish?

Don’t forget to note your achievements and make a plan; you can do all this eating green eggs and ham!

In all seriousness, we often lose sight of what we set out to do in the first place.  Unwanted advice, opinions, and poor career advice can negatively affect the direction in which we were hoping to steer ourselves. Losing trust in ourselves and the value we can bring to the career world would make Dr. Seuss a very unhappy career coach, er, writer.

On the anniversary of Dr. Theodore Seuss Geisel’s Birthday, celebrate with an inherent call to the brains in your head, the feet in your shoes, and empower yourself to venture on in any direction you choose.

It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

Contributor: Michelle Dempsey, MS, CPRW

 

 

The Top 25 Jobs in America… Are Probably NOT for You

The “top job” in America has a median salary of over $116,000.

Sound good to you? Or does it sound like, with this salary, you’ll never even be close to paying off

your student loans/mortgage/business debt?

Either way – it shouldn’t matter.

Recently, Glassdoor.com put out this list, highlighting the Top 25 jobs in America. We’ll be honest with you, we scrolled the list, and were shocked to find that “Career Strategist” didn’t make the cut (Hey, we think it’s the best!).

The list was filled with many managerial positions, many more engineering positions, and many of those with decent salaries. All pretty comprehensive material if you’re on the hunt for a new – and better – career.

But what this list left off is critical. In fact, we think the one factor that should be considered, sometimes above all others – is what this job means for you, in terms of your own personal satisfaction.

Even the top-rated job in the world will not provide you with much if it is not aligned with who you are, what your background is, what your innate skills are, and – more than anything – what you need to be happy.

Life is stressful. Maintaining a meaningful and successful career path requires a lot of dedication and (wo)man-hours. We spend so much time focused on our jobs, or finding a better one, that it should undoubtedly be a job that fills our souls, and not just our pockets.

That being said, you cannot put a price on loving what you do.

Ever hear of the friend-of-a-friend that left his very high-paying (albeit high-stress), big-city, CEO job for the quiet streets of Nowhere, USA to relax and finally enjoy life a bit more? As Career Coaches, we’ve heard this tale first-hand, and we support it! The trick is to shift gears into the appropriate professional lane – and with ReFresh Your Step by your side, you too, can wind up with the #1 job in America – the #1 job, for you, that is!

It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

Don’t Go it Alone! The Case For a Career Strategist

Ready for some cold, hard, truth? You’ve come to the right place

The truth is, embarking on a career search alone can be a tad, what’s the word? … Intimidating.

We’d love to tell you that your job search will be easy. That it’ll make you want to prance through fields of daisies while whistling Dixie and relishing in the joy of completing job applications. That you can go it alone, give it your best effort, and a slew of hiring managers will jump forth and offer you loads of money.

Certainly, you’ve acquired a great education, racked up some commendable experience, and have the utmost confidence in yourself. That helps… a bit.

It is an admirable feat in itself to come to the realization that it’s time for a new job. For whatever your reasons are for gearing up to make a change, we’d like to offer up a piece of free advice – the same advice we’d offer to the world’s most experienced CEO and to the world’s most inexperienced recent college grad:

Don’t go it alone.

Sure, you can attempt to reach the peak of Mt. Everest on your own. But with a Sherpa to guide you, you’ll have key advice on how to navigate the challenging terrain, AND someone to keep you company along the way. My point here? Two is better than one. Sometimes, a support team is better than even two.

The benefits of hiring a professional Career Strategist (or team of them!) during YOUR job search venture far outweigh the idea of taking it upon yourself to navigate the course solo. Among assisting in answering your most bewildering questions regarding your search, (Can you help me figure out what I’m even good at?!), we are here to listen. And in this world where everyone seems to have too much to say, a listening ear can ease even the most nervous of job seekers.

When you connect with a ReFresh Your Step professional, you won’t just be given the opportunity for superb documents to showcase your accomplishments, you’ll be given the ability to have a dedicated support system – a dedicated team player (or multiple ones, depending on your need) who will not only listen, but answer all of your career search needs.

“To listen is to continually give up all expectation and to give our attention, completely and freshly, to what is before us, not really knowing what we will ear or what that will mean. In the practice of our days, to listen is to lean in, softly, with a willingness to be changed by what we hear.”

Schedule your free consultation with a ReFresh Your Step professional today to get a glimpse into how the power of a partnership with a professional career strategist will change the way you view your career search – AND it’s outcome. We’re here to discuss your resume/cover letter, LinkedIn, job goals, interviewing, or a litany of related topics. We’re also here to listen, truly listen.

It’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

Looking to make a move? Partner with a career strategist to ensure a big win!

A Resume Writer’s Advice: When to Leave Your Resume Home

I am a resume writer (among crafting other career-related documents) and while the former is certainly a main focus of my business, I am the first to tell you that it’s not always necessary to use your resume to land a great role.

Emily, are you literally saying I can toss my resume* out the window forever? Sign me up! Also, how do I then get a job?

Hold your horses! Let’s talk this notion through first. There are a handful of companies out there that are adopting a new type of hiring strategy in order to “reveal true talent” and source employees based on their sector-specific skills, rather than their work history (i.e., a resume).

Blind-hiring, as it’s called, means that your resume serves no purpose and most likely won’t even get an initial glance.  It means that you’ll instead spend anywhere from 4-6 hours on the job at your prospective employer, performing a task similar to that of your potential job description.  It means that you won’t get paid for it, but if you do a really great job (no pressure!), you’ll be in the running to continue in the process and perhaps land yourself a good job.

Cool idea? Maybe, if you have a less-than-ideal work history for that role/sector or don’t meet initial requirements outlined in the job description. While the trend may be slowly growing – and can allow applicants with an innate skillset to stand out when they would not if resumes were the go-to – blind-hiring is not yet common enough to replace the more traditional career-search techniques.

Overall, the true talent it reveals in a person’s work ability leaves out the very important process of getting to know a person through conversation, giving an interviewee the chance to promote their background, and determining via interactions whether he or she has found a good fit or not.

Many people could flip a great burger, but if you can’t sell to all the cars in the drive-thru, can’t work the register and don’t work well with others – you may not be a great fit after all, catch my drift?

The bottom line here?  The no-brainer? The obvious, ugly truth? Yes, cool idea. But this trend is a lot like man-buns: it works well in some sectors, definitely not in others, and is likely to fall by the hiring trend wayside faster than you can say, “double soy cafe latte with extra whip and a drizzle of caramel” in your most hipster of voices.

The resume is where it’s at. Always has been, and by our calculations, will continue to be, even as hiring trends evolve.

The resume remains your most important piece of armor when entering the often-brutal world of the career search.  It is your protective shield that says “Yes, I have all of the qualifications, accomplishments, and skills necessary to take this job and exceed all expectations.”

It’s the proof in the pudding.

The ReFresh Your Step proof in the pudding, that is. An RYS resume and LinkedIn profile** will help you outline and communicate the very best of you, before you even make it in for an interview.  And it’s with the RYS interview strategies and tactics, that you’ll yourself the new gig, before ever having to perform pro-bono.

It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

——

*We still recommend always having an updated, strategic resume (and LinkedIn profile that is complementary to it). **LinkedIn is one job search component that has crossed from “trend” to “career mainstay.” We suggest making sure your resume and LinkedIn profile work in tandem but are not identical to one another!

I Have a Dream … For Your Career to THRIVE

This Monday, marks the 48th year that we commemorate fearless civil rights activist, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the dream that he had, and all of the valiant steps he took to accomplish it. This MLK day, ReFresh Your Step is giving you the okay to enjoy the day off from work by doing whatever it is that makes your soul happy (we, of course, will be working but doing so makes us happy!).

However, we do ask for one thing in return – this Martin Luther King, Jr. Monday, we are urging you to keep your dream alive – of finding the job you want and pursuing the career you deserve.

The job you might dream about and feel, “I don’t think I can get this one.”

With the right guidance, you CAN.

Just like Dr. King needed his supporters to stand behind him, march with him, and help instill the confidence necessary to make great changes to our world, we are here to do the same for you and your career. Because we know that facing any great challenge – whether it be starting the career search process from scratch, gearing up for your next interview, acquiring the skills to negotiate a higher salary – is much better done in the company of those who support you, we are here to help you take all the steps necessary to fulfill your dream job goals.

In keeping with the theme of Dr. King’s passionate work – we also urge you to choose the job with a corporate culture that provides you with a fair and just working environment. While more and more light is shined on the need for equality in our workplaces, changes are being made to allow for this to happen. As professional career strategists, we are thrilled to be a part of the movement. In our upcoming Corporate Culture Series, we’ve provided a simple, user-friendly guide to help you get acquainted with the four different types of corporate culture. How you are treated, valued, and thought of within your professional “home away from home” is just as important as how you are compensated.

All labor that uplifts humanity has dignity and importance and should be undertaken with painstaking excellence.” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Remember, the dream of a new job IS within your reach. With ReFresh Your Step on your side, marching with you into the dawn of new successful endeavors, we’ll have you surpassing your own expectations – and then some.

Stay tuned for even more career scoop in our upcoming Corporate Culture series, where we will give you an inside look at the four different cultures, and help you decide which one is best for you !

It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

–Michelle Dempsey, MS

To Our Career Growth…and Yours!

One of the most rewarding things about being a top career advisory firm in South Florida (and nationally!) is the opportunity to help our clients rise to the top in their careers. While we see growth in our own company month-after- month, it really all comes back to your growth and the trust you have in us to support you along your journey.

After 10 years in the Career Advisory industry, we are proud to continue fostering  your growth and in order to do so, my team and I set and reach our own milestones.

It was with great excitement and truly a career dream of mine since opening the doors to RYS in 2008 that I officially  became one of the youngest in the world, and only South Florida based resume writer to hold the highest certification degree in the industry AND offer highly tailored, fully-scaled career advisory work! The MRW (Master Resume Writer) is like the PHD of resume writing. Not only am I the one of the only writers to have this certification in South Florida, but there are only 25 other writers in the industry – globally – that hold this level of certification.

In addition to my own personal growth, I have loved expanding the company to include a powerful, amazing team of writers. They have each been integral in the organization’s expansion (thanks, guys!) but also in partnering with countless clients. As I tell each client who works with a team writer, not only do I stay personally involved in each project but you also have the added benefit of working with another highly certified writer and career adviser on your personal career growth. That’s right–all of my writers are certified, hand-picked by me, and serve as an additional resource for each of our clients.

Let’s hear it for our career growth…and yours!

The Top Ten NEW OddBall Interview Questions You Need to Know

In this new age of interviewing, savvy career searchers know to expect a “Huh?” question just as much as the standard “Tell me about yourself” inquiry. Google made its mark on interviewing forever several years ago with such quandaries as, “How many ping-pong balls do you need to fill a Boeing 747 plane?”

I’ll let you ponder that one for a few minutes.

I’ve been telling clients to expect these questions and training them on how to answer such queries. Tip 1: remember that it’s not about a precise number or response so much as talking out loud about how you would go about getting the answer. Tip 2: in addition to thinking out loud, ask questions of your interviewer to better formulate your response as opposed to panicking or appearing flustered by the question. Also, email me if you are interested in answers to this plane/ping-pong ball question.

As a tip of the hat to recently retired David Letterman, we bring to you a Top Ten List of NEW Oddball Interview Questions and are also providing tips on how to approach answering them.

1) Batman Vs Spiderman: Who Would Win? This is a “stop you in your tracks” question that came from Stanford University; how does one even approach answering a query such as this? What if comic book heroes – and their movie franchises – are not topics you even know much about? Here’s my thought, and I believe you can apply the logic to many similar questions.

  • Potential Response 1: If you are familiar with the characters and can reason an answer, go for it (I am quite familiar with both characters and do believe that Spiderman’s capabilities truly outweigh those of Batman and here’s why…).
  • Potential Response 2: If you are not familiar with the characters, answer the question without really doing so at all (Although comic book heroes are not my forté, I believe that both characters are good guys and fight the bad guys. As such, I believe they would not ever find themselves in a fight as they are both on the same side!).

2) In what ways are you lucky? This is an interesting alternative to the “Tell me about yourself” question; Airbnb asks it and given their penchant for upbeat employees, it makes sense. What this question is really asking is, “How do you see yourself?” and is therefore a behavioral interview question. The key here is to be thoughtful without being too revealing (please avoid such responses as, “I’m really lucky to even be here after escaping from prison last week…”). We also suggest keeping your answer somewhat career-focused.

Continue reading

Could Your Smartphone Get You a Job?

Today’s technology has enabled smartphone users to stay connected with social media, the latest news, and newest apps almost anywhere. While it’s easy to check your friends’ status updates on Facebook and post up-to-the-minute accounts of your day on Twitter, perhaps there is now a more constructive use of down time with a smartphone – applying for jobs.

iApply on the Fly

A growing number of Fortune 500 companies have application sites customized for a smartphone screen, allowing job applicants to now peruse job openings and apply on the fly. From McDonald’s to Macy’s, an increasing number of companies are utilizing apps that allow professionals to apply for open positions on their iPhones, Droids, or other web-enabled devices. It is worth noting, though, that this movement may make things easier for potential employees, but adds a few extra steps to ensure the resume is noticed (by a system or actual human being).

It’s All About the Formatting, Baby

While most big companies will use apps that are formatted for a smartphone screen, it is still important to make your resume stand out both bigger and smaller displays. This can be easy if you know how to properly format your resume to gain maximum attention from a possible new employer. Pick a strong – but not overpowering – format that allows for “easy scanning” of your information, include a section of keyword or core competencies, and emphasize your accomplishments.

Better Format, Better Resume

Truthfully, a strong format is especially important here so let’s dig a little deeper: use certain key elements in your resume design to make your document engaging, but not “busy” or too overwhelming for a hiring manager. Our brains are always looking to break down information into smaller pieces that are easier to process – and technology is available to help do just that. Techniques like shading and bolding will help your resume seem easy to read while bringing out important pieces of information that will catch an employer’s eye.

Implementing these formatting techniques is something a good resume writer will know how to do and can utilize an individual’s experience to create an effective and attractive document. A customized resume will help draw an employer’s attention and help emphasize an employee’s best assets. After all, even on a small screen, a great resume could be the key to getting the job!

It’s YOUR Career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

LinkedIn Series – Expert Power

Career advancement is what we all strive for. Using LinkedIn can be a very helpful tool to show how you’re an expert in your field. Staying current is necessary for both currently employed professionals and individuals searching for employment. That brings us to a very important question:  Actually, have you ever even noticed it?

LinkedIn truly is like the professional Facebook (but so help me G-d if they introduce a chat function); there is now a newsfeed-esque component that you see right when you log in to LinkedIn and that is fed by what goes into your Activity feed and those of your Connections. Go to your profile and look at your Activity feed–we’ll wait.

See it? My guess is that the feed is mostly full of, “You are connected to so-and-so” and the occasional, “You are not following xyz company.” Yawn. That filters directly into the Newsfeed of all your connections and they are likely skipping right over it. Why not REALLY utilize this section and indicate your sector knowledge in the process? Post relevant articles!

You might find it a challenge, being that there are already not enough hours in the day, to post a bazillion articles. Good news: it’s quality over quantity. All you need is a minimum of five minutes per WEEK to utilize LinkedIn for posting relevant news articles and trends that are emerging in your sector. Why would you do this? Three letters: SME. To be a Subject Matter Expert, and to communicate that expertise via LinkedIn is a subtle–but strategic–opportunity to broadcast just how knowledgeable you are of your particular industry.

If you are currently employed it’s not a suggestion but a necessity to know current and future trends. It isn’t only important for you–the professional–but also for your company. Your expert power will speak volumes to your commitment with the company/sector and it will more likely than not give you a better understanding of how your sector is evolving.

If you are not employed, LinkedIn serves as a platform allowing you to connect with the professional world without having to step into an office. Right from home, while your search for a job continues, you can boost your LinkedIn presence by posting relevant articles to your LinkedIn profile. Others will be able to view them and get an understanding of your expert power within a given industry.

In doing so, you are still demonstrating your SME-ness via LinkedIn and that can work wonders for your job search. Hiring managers and recruiters will see this about you and that, alone, can increase the likelihood that they will reach out to connect. The main idea is to continue to grow professionally regardless if you’re employed or not.  Every time you post something on LinkedIn, you are upping the ante on just how savvy you are and the powers that be will respond in kind.

Now that you are up-to-speed on how post sector-specific newsworthy info to your LinkedIn profile, let’s move on to why you want Siskel & Ebert to give your profile two thumbs up!

Until next time, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

LinkedIn Series – Resource For Success

If there is a heaven on earth for HR managers and recruiters, it is definitely LinkedIn. Over the last several years LinkedIn has quietly moprhed into a vibrant resource for job-seeking and networking professionals.

Why is LinkedIn such a powerful tool in today’s job world? For almost every professional at any level and within (arguably) most every sector, LinkedIn is largely considered the best online professional networking tool out there. It allows you to create a powerful profile in which, if filled out correctly, will display your strengths and experiences as well as best position you for your target audience. Additionally, the platform allows for extensive research into sectors, companies, and people on top of its key messaging system, job board options, and additional perks just for being a member of the site (and a non-paying one at that).

The question remains, though: are you maximizing LinkedIn for your professional development purposes? Moreover, is your profile truly effective? Have you learned effective messaging techniques to utilize in connecting with people? Do you even know what those Skills/Expertise Endorsements are used for and how important they are to recruiters? LinkedIn is more than just a profile platform and it is in your best interest to know how to best utilize it for your future needs.

Stayed tuned and check back to our LinkedIn Series for some key tips essential for your success story using LinkedIn. We will be discussing a range of related topics that will be vital to your ongoing career success; some of our topics will include how to strategically improve your profile, understanding the logic behind your Skills/Expertise (and the endorsements that come with those), the most effective techniques out there for connecting with people, and so much more!

Of course, don’t forget to connect with us on, what else, LinkedIn! Until then, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern