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!

Success Story Friday: Michael

Welcome to our latest #SuccessStory installment; each week, we focus in on one of our clients whose journey to success was both inspiring and strategic. We provide insight into their background, our collaboration together, and the outcome. As always, we welcome questions and comments. Email us anytime!

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Solutions-driven business leader offering expertise in driving business improvements that facilitate company-growth, applying complex analysis and strategic planning.

Does this description automatically make you think of a hard-working marina salesman? Someone laboring as an electrical technician on the yachts of Staten Island, New York?

Not exactly.

Which is exactly why Michael’s journey towards his dreams is our Success Story of the week (#SuccessStory).

Michael came to us as a referral – an interesting one at that, as his work history was unlike anything ReFresh Your Step had ever seen. Completely self-made, Michael single-handedly made his way from the marinas of Staten Island to the shiny oak conference tables as a Private-Client Banker at a bank in one of the wealthiest areas of Long Island’s north shore. It wasn’t long before we understood why he was already on the road to more success – his easygoing demeanor and innate smarts easily opened doors for him.

Although Michael had achieved so much on his own before making the career-altering decision to reach out to us, he was hungry for more. When he made the decision to collaborate with ReFresh Your Step, he was “ready for the big time.” With his sights set on one of New York City’s well-respected financial institutions, Michael trusted us to turn his history and work experience into a resume that would make him as desired as the fresh-out-of-business school MBA graduates that flock to the financial district of lower Manhattan in droves, year after year.

Michael did not have the typical educational background as most candidates looking for jobs in the financial sector would have. Without a Bachelors degree, Michael was concerned that he would not be as desirable a candidate as his competition. We assured Michael that this was not a problem for us at ReFresh Your Step, so it would not be a problem for him either – as we could easily highlight all the BEST Michael had to offer in a new and updated resume.

A chrono-functional hybrid resume was the perfect solution for Michael. This allowed us to tie in an additional section to the document that clearly and specifically indicated Michael’s expertise and achievements in finance thus far. With this combination-resume format, all of Michael’s “bests in show” were easily recognizable to prospective employers.

Once his leadership and award-winning sales reputation were on full display in Michael’s new resume, his education and background-related concerns were quelled. In fact, within just a few weeks, the job offers began rolling in, and Michael soon found himself living out his dream, landing an incredible opportunity and becoming a big player in the financial sector.

“Thank you so much for all that you’ve done!  Not only did I land a great job, I’ve interviewed with three additional firms, and may have another serious offer, that I may entertain.  The resume is an absolute hit.  Not only does it match my “interviewing voice” it also highlights my accomplishments, which are transferable and such a selling point.”

Michael’s “I can do this” attitude coupled with ReFresh Your Step’s writing and career-coaching skills helped Michael to not only achieve his dreams, he was able to do so without having the typical background and education that the big players in his sector usually seek.

Like Sinatra sang, “If I can make it there, I’ll make it anywhere.’’ – and after getting to know and working with Michael, we know he can, and will, make it anywhere.

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

Contributor: Michelle Dempsey

So Many Career Services!

Here at ReFresh Your Step, we continue to aim higher, and seek out more opportunities; all in an effort to help your organic growth. We love that you want to engage our services in more than just resume writing and for that we are grateful.  The roots we have built are certainly here to stay, and are the foundation of who, what, and how ReFresh Your Step matures each and every year. However, as the needs of our clients develop so to does our portfolio. The branches of our deep rooted tree have grown and will only continue to sprout to meet our clients where they are in their career journey.

To your expansion…

ReFresh Your Step  has its own core services, values, and strengths to help elevate our clients careers. As we know our client’s individual career paths are  not always a straight path, we have crafted a structural framework that absolutely works when tailored for each unique need.

First and foremost, connecting with each and every client is our top-priority moving together through your story, past and present, ultimately threading all the roots of where you are today in your career into a successful future. We know you know about our resume/cover letter writing services, but we thought it would be advantageous for you to become more familiar with the plethora of other career services our team can support you with in your journey.

To your career …

    • Resume & Cover Letters: This is our bread and butter. We believe every job applicant should start their professional job search with strategic, impactful documents.
    • Salary Negotiation: Walk into your interview with confidence prepared to ask for what you deserve.
    • Networking Techniques: Learn how to work smarter on your job search and grow your network to help grow your career.
    • Social Media Presence: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter…it’s a whole other world out there. Don’t get left behind as the job search continues around you. LinkedIn, specifically, is integral to your job search and growth (and for entrepreneurs/consultants!) so make sure to ask us about our Profile overhauls and Best Practices advisory!
    • Interview Strategies:  Honing in on your interview skills and learning best practices will be the key to landing your dream career.
    • Career Advisory:  Not quite sure the next step in your career? We can help get you there.
    • Re-Branding: Whether a large company or sole proprietor, your brand speaks volumes.   From web content to printed materials ReFresh Your Step will reignite your brand.
    • Job Proposals & 30/60/90 Day Start- Up Plans: Asked to craft your own job description or lay out a road-map of your performance expectations for the first 90 days of your job? We can certainly help you navigate your way through these strategic documents.
    • Professional Documents: From personal statements, thank you letters, resignation letters to admission materials your career growth is never over!

We are here…

Just a click or phone call away to help you ripen your career dreams.  Your career growth means being able to catapult you, our clients, to the next level in your career.

Now, it’s your turn! We would love to hear from you: What does career growth mean to you? Please post your comment below.

The Ethics of Resume Writing

The NY Times recently asked in its Ethicists column whether one should hire a person to craft his or her resume and cover letter. I read it ­– and the resulting comments – with great interest. Have I made a career out of something unethical, I wondered?

Not just to defend myself but I do believe the work of a highly certified resume writer is perfectly ethical, assuming the following points:

1) The applicant is honest if asked who wrote the documents. Although I’ve personally never heard of this happening, I do recommend to clients that they answer honestly if asked, “Who wrote these documents?” An appropriate response might be, “I partnered with a resume writer on crafting the documents to ensure my information was not just accurately represented but clear and concise as well.” If one is looking at a team management or project management role, you could point out that this is similar to collaborating with others on ensuring an optimal outcome. 

2) The applicant is responsible for providing requested writing samples or anything else relevant for the role itself. Though this is not common either, there are roles where writing samples, portfolios, or other materials are requested and relevant for the job itself. While it’s one thing to have a trusted writer (including your resume writer) review any such work as another pair of eyes, we do suggest clients prep those materials themselves.

3) The resulting documents accurately portray the background. I previously hinted at this but it is essential that the information be fully accurate. Surprisingly to some, this is very much a two-way street: the client must provide accurate information while the writer must ensure that the content correctly indicates the client’s background, accomplishments, goals, etc.

Additionally, a strong writer will be able to identify opportunities for re-positioning information to best suit a client’s goals but recognizes the line between “well-positioned” and “incorrect.” Lastly, it is not the writer’s job to verify a client’s information – honesty is the best policy, especially in the age of Google!

If you are in the market for strong resume and cover letter and are also looking for more than a service that simply reformats your info, I would also suggest considering the following points:

Collaboration: Look for a writer who will partner with you on the project. The ReFresh Your Step philosophy is that while we are the expert writers, you are the expert in you. You know your background, accomplishments, and goals best so it is ideal that we collaborate to ensure truly excellent documents. Not all writers share in this philosophy but many do. All you need to do is ask!

Methodology: Resume writing, similar to the overall job search, has changed quite a bit in recent years. We have found that it is essential for clients to understand why we did what we did with each section on the resume and overall. As such, we provide a methodology overview for each person that is tailored for each client and answers the vast majority of questions. This is especially important for the…

Interview: The resume gets you the interview and the interview gets you the job. If you follow that logic (and we suggest you do), then it is helpful to understand all aspects of the resume so you can speak to it in an interview. A highly skilled resume writer will collaborate with you on the full resume and cover letter project, provide you with the overall methodology, and prep you for the interview.

What are you waiting for? It’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew!

The Power of Interns Part II

Having an internship is a must, and a very important part of any path you may follow after college. You gain real-world experience in your field of study­–I know I have–and perhaps even a potential job for the future. But you do have to land the internship first. What’s that differentiating factor that sets young professionals apart to get the internship they want? Our suggestion? Distinguish yourself from your competition. AJ Jacobs wrote a great piece on this topic.

Of course, being an intern is most likely not going to be the most glamorous job you’ll ever have. Depending on the field, most likely than not you’ll be doing the bits of work that makes your employer’s life easier. Even though you might not be handling big jobs, you will get exposure to the field of your interest. All of this experience that you’ll gain is perfect for building your resume. Of course, if you prove yourself, perhaps the employer will let you take on bigger–and more interesting–responsibilities.

Being an intern for a career advisor has already opened up my eyes to many things I didn’t expect. There are different fields that even though I might not be familiar with, I am given the opportunity to learn about them. It is a lot different to sit in a classroom reading text book after textbook as supposed to being out there in the workforce. I’m now able to utilize all the material that I’ve learned in the classroom, making that connection, and use it in real life. It is a very exciting time to take action and execute that knowledge in real life. The career-advising field is something that continuously grows with many advances especially through the openings of so many online jobs. Being an intern for a career advisor will open so many doors due to the fact that the experience gained from this kind of internship is welcomed in almost any business environment.

So what is it that one might expect from an internship? This is very personal, and might be different for every individual. The main gain from an internship is definitely experience. Internships will also provide insight of what is happening in the targeted industry. This is very helpful in terms of knowing what your next step might be or what path to follow. Lastly–and one of the most important gains–is expect to make contacts. Nowadays, you cannot go for your dream job without creating contacts and networking with people that will able to help you get it. People in a company are always looking for the right person for the job, which is why it is so important to make as many connections as possible. You never know, you might just be talking to your future employer.

How have internships benefitted you? Email us to let us know and, until then, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew.

 

By Sarah van Windt – Communications & Business Development Intern

The Importance of Resume Certifications

As summer begins to wind down, many people begin looking forward to getting back to work and / or school and dealing with important issues in their lives. When it comes to picking important service providers (doctors, financial planners, etc…), most people look for professionals that (besides being recommended by a trusted source), have attained a certain level of education or training in their respective fields. Why then, settle for less when it comes services for your career, likely one of the most important aspects of your life?

Unbeknownst to many, there are a growing number of  national certifications and training programs for career-related topics such as resume writing, career coaching and human resources.

While many websites and companies advertise resume and cover letter writing and editing services (some promising unrealistic results and timing for a relatively low cost), it is important to understand who is behind the glossy website and will actually be doing the work. Just as you wouldn’t want to undergo surgery from someone who performs procedures as a hobby, or doesn’t have the level of knowledge and training with which you are comfortable, preparing yourself for a potentially career-defining opportunity should be the responsibility of a trained and certified professional. In this improving (albeit slowly) job market and economy, your resume can make all the difference between landing the right opportunity and…not so much.

ReFresh Your Step, is owned and led by, Emily Kapit, MS, CPRW, ACRW, a career-oriented professional who has attained a Masters in Educational Psychology, has a professional background that includes journalism and recruiting roles, among others, and is a trained  writer backed by resume certifications from two prestigious organizations. Her first certification, the CPRW, is from the Professional Association of Resume Writers and the second, her ACRW, is from the Resume Writing Academy. The latter group is widely considered to be one of the highest levels of certification in this growing field. As one of a relatively small number of ACRW certified writers worldwide and one of only 2 based in South Florida, Emily Kapit, works with a wide variety of professionals from every sector/level in over 45 states, throughout North, Central & South America, the Caribbean, Europe, Asia, and India, and is ideally suited to help you achieve all of your career goals. Connect with us today and take the first step towards towards career success!

10 Resume Don’ts (6-10)

It may not have been another 3-day weekend but hopefully it was pool-and-BBQ-weather where you live! Welcome back to our Ten Resume Don’ts, Part II. If you need a ReFresher on points 1-5, click here.

6. DUA – Don’t use abbreviations if you aren’t absolutely positive that the reader understand them.  A lot of people like to include very technical content in their resumes which is fine, especially if their field or background requires it. Far too often though, candidates include abbreviations and acronyms that may not be understood by a general recruiter or even an industry professional who may not be as involved in a particular subject matter, skillset, process or program. Make sure you either fully define any abbreviations or are very confident that anyone reading the resume will understand your references.  Ask us if you need advice!

7. Don’t rely on general statements regarding your achievements. In other words, be specific. For example, instead of mentioning how you increased sales during a given time period, make the point more powerful by saying how you increased sales of whatever product or service by (X%) over the last (Y) amount of months or years. Quantifiable objectives are easier to read and understand for most people. We have methods of helping you grab that info too!

8. Don’t forget to present your contact information clearly and concisely. Like many of these tips, this may seem obvious but it is definitely overlooked. Without a cover letter, this may be the only information a hiring manager or industry contact has about you so make sure it is clearly and accurately (typos in the email address or phone number are embarrassing and can result in you missing out on a potential opportunity to be contacted )represented on your resume.  And while you were at it, make sure you have a company or professional email address listed ([email protected] may be cute but you should probably create a more professional Gmail or Yahoo-based address for professional correspondence). Live email addresses and LinkeddIn profiles are a must as well!

9. Don’t make excessive use of different font types, SIZES and colors. Generally speaking, RYS is a big proponent of using bold, underline, italics, and other tools to make a resume stand out in a positive way; however, too much use of these can take away from the content and turn off the person reviewing the resume. If the reader can’t understand the content, it won’t matter how the resume looks.

10. Don’t SOLELY base your resume’s contact and format on what you think someone ELSE wants to see. All of the other tips included in this post notwithstanding, your resume needs to convey who you are and what makes you special. So while there are plenty of guidelines to follow to make sure your resume is accurate, informative, and engaging (all of which are very important), it also needs to tell your story and highlight your specific qualities so that the reader gets an understanding of who you are and ultimately wants to meet or speak to learn more about you.

We know that writing a resume can seem daunting and are always here for whatever level of involvement you ask of us and are happy to be a resource. Remember, it’s YOUR career: ReFresh. Revive. Renew. And enjoy your summer!