Blog has moved

Thanks to the expert help of Kim Woodbridge, this blog has moved to my website, www.designresumes.com/blog Please change your bookmarks and subscriptions and I will be trying to be more diligent in blogging. If you ever need a WordPress expert or web designer, contact Kim who is great to work with and knows exactly how to resolve issues. I met her through her blog, AntiSocial Development.

Ask Me Why?

Photo by Jhayne

Photo by Jhayne

People have told me I was born with a helping heart. I am not so sure I was born with a business heart. If I see a need I can help with, I am so there. I don’t do it for attention, though by blogging about it, someone is sure to say that.

I am implusive and complusive. Right now I am trying to help @dendari who I met on Twitter with his Chicago Pinkslipparty for Friday. He doesn’t have a place for it. My two hat personality jumps right in there and says who do I know? I’m reaching out on Twitter, by e-mail, and to e-lists… I am an event organizer at heart who has put things together and been amazed when they worked.

I work long hours for my non-profit, Wausau Whitewater, because I believe in the gem of a whitewater course in downtown Wausau and want others to know and I also believe in the power of the whitewater community’s mindset. I don’t paddle (and for the last three years, I’ve added the word, yet!) But I love the goal-setting mentality. They set their mind to getting better at a skill and they do it. I see it expand to their lives. See this except from an article that Ben Peters from Hudson, Minnesota, a now 16 year old competitor wrote with me for the 2008 issue of Wausau Whitewater:

“Paddling has taught Ben so many things that affect him in everyday life. Paddling has taught him determination, concentration, maturity, wisdom, respect and how to wake up in the morning and keep on going no matter how wet and smelly his river booties are. Asked how paddling relates to the rest of his life, Ben said, “Paddling helps me in all of my others sports like ski racing, pole vaulting, running, road biking, weight lifting and soccer. I always give every sport that I am in everything that I have to offer both physically and mentally.  It also plays into my education in high school. Paddling stories are my main topic for English assignments and discussions because of the life lessons I have learned in my paddling excursions. It also give me drive to get above a 3.8 GPA because if I don’t meet those standards, no paddling for me.” Ben realizes it is important to have an education because if his future job doesn’t have to do with kayaking, he needs something to fall back on. Though his teachers might think otherwise, Ben says “Paddling also helps me in class when a topic is a bit dull, I can always daydream about sticking that perfect air loop or pivot turn. 
“Ben’s current goal for paddling is to compete in the 2012 Olympics in London for slalom and maybe freestyle if it becomes an Olympic sport.”

Yet, of course, it is really my Design Resumes side that pays the bills, the contract with Wausau Whitewater is a great base but only covers about 1/4 of our monthly expenses. This economy has affected many of the resume writers across the country as people delay buying decisions. Everyone thinks I should have clients pounding on the doors but it hasn’t been that way at all. I am busy but more busy with Wausau Whitewater projects and the “helping” projects that catch my heart and move me into trying to see if I can make a difference.

In the past, I really was frightened about finances and in order to keep my credit report pristine, I borrowed from Peter to pay Paul. But since then I have been working on trusting God more so I don’t panic and borrow and been coached to look at every expense very critically. As I started writing this post, the phone rang with a new client who will be here at 2pm. Back to trusting that God will provide. I focus on the goal setting of the paddling community and continue to strive to reach my goals while following my heart to the next project that needs my help.

A Business Study – The Filling Station

Phot from http://www.dawnsrecipes.com/cinnamon-rolls-374.htm

Photo from Dawn's Recipes

One of my goals with this blog is to highlight people who are successful in their careers in these challenging times as well as post about things that make me think. In the past, I have focused on my friend, Michael Schroeder’s new music CD in the post, Postcards on the Road, I talked about my connection with Jason Alba in My Journey with LinkedIn, and today, I will share one of the businesses in Wausau that I frequent.

On the last Wednesday of every month, I meet with a group of Christian Business Leaders to discuss things that affect our Christian witness in the workplace. The group was originally started by Coy Sawyer, from 89Q radio. We meet pretty early in the morning for breakfast at The Sixth Street Filling Station, located at 1314 North Sixth Street in Wausau.

I met the owner, Joan Schnitzler, when I’ve paid my bill and chatted a bit. Joan bought the restaurant from the original owners in March of 2008. I asked her how it felt to have just bought a new business in this economy. She said that though it is challenging, by encouraging more groups like our group to meet at the restaurant, she has been able to sustain business.

It is a smart strategy but one that many restaurants don’t go out of their way to encourage. Groups like ours of 20+ people meeting can disrupt other customers but we have found that most people still come in for coffee during our breakfast and some even stay and have their own breakfasts. Our group has an open session when we  discuss the topic at hand and respond to the questions by the leader or spin off of each other’s comments. We’ve become a very bonded group even though I didn’t know many of the participants when I started.

We all enjoy the Filling Station, in January, we had their Cinnamon Roll French Toast and it was delicious! The Filling Station has great prices, the unique french toast is only $3.79 unless you want bacon, sausage, or ham with it for $5.69. I had their 5oz Grilled Chicken Breast for $4.74 on a visit with a friend. They serve breakfast and lunch, opening at 6am on Tuesday through Sunday. I never tried their Flurries (M&M, Cookie Dough, Oreo, Snickers and more ) but I bet they would be yummy.

They make all the breads there … with my February breakfast, I had a cracked wheat roll and a sample of the carmel pecan rolls… very yummy!

The decor is really fun. It has all these very old gas station related signs and decorations. It fits the theme of Sixth Street Filling Station. Joan seems to be doing okay in this economy but I think that is because she focuses on giving great food at great prices. I’ve never gotten the Jumbo Cinnamon Rolls for $1.89 or the Jumbe Caramel Roll for $3.32 but I have watched them walk out the door. My favorite word, yummy!

If you are in the Wausau area, I think you would have fun at the Filling Station. Tell Joan I sent you!

Pinkslipparty and Stone Soup!

Photo BY Hypernaut
Photo BY Hypernaut

Social media has really been an adventure for me in the past couple of years. I spent much of my free time in the fall reading and commenting on blogs that I found through Twitter. I love technology! But that is a post for another day.

This post is cutting it very close because the latest pinkslipparty in Boston will start in 15 minutes from this writing. But it will be there for the future, for all the potential pinkslipparty questions people may have in the future.

My adventure with pinkslipparty began when I saw a post by @Pistachio (aka Laura Fitton) on Twitter on the afternoon of January 9. She was announcing a pinkslipparty for the Boston area which she was putting together for that evening. She had found someone to donate a place and food and was looking for help from career services for both resources and prizes. I’ve given resume packages to church auctions and other projects before so I sent @Pistachio an e-mail volunteering to help with a donation of a resume package if she wanted. She replied that it would be great and there I was, a distant helper to a pinkslipparty half a continent away. I pointed her to the package on my very new web site www.designresumes.com and she was set.

Laura said on Twitter that it was like Stone Soup and that made me smile. I knew what she meant. She was referencing one of my favorite children’s stories, one I had seen over and over on Captain Kangaroo. Soldiers enter a village whose inhabitants don’t want to share anything with them. They suggest that they will make stone soup and then ask for one ingredient at a time. I don’t remember the order anymore but it was a carrot, a potato, an onion, until they had all they needed for the soup. The townspeople became more generous as the story went on and more trusting. I have used the analogy for Stone Soup which transcends beyond soup ingredients when I am organizing an event and want things to come together. I ask for just one thing and it expands until I have exactly what I need.

In Laura’s case, the pinkslipparty designed to help unemployed people gather to exchange ideas and just get past the feelings that come upon you when you are out of work. The pink slip party concept is explained here by Galen Moore of www.masshightech.com “Like those festivities held after the dot-com bubble burst the last time the economy crashed, 2009’s pink-slip parties are popping up to provide a jump start for networking job seekers and a petri dish for growing new startups. Perhaps more importantly, they offer shoulders to lean on for the newly laid off.”

By later in the evening @Pistachio had sent me a DM letting me know that @JamesonBull had won the package. Even before that I caught Jameson Bull’s Tweet that the pinkslipparty was awesome and he was the winner! You can see the shorter web version of the resume I created for Jameson in his portfolio.

Tonight another Initial Launch Package will be given away in Boston. I told Laura that I would be happy to help out with another donation. This afternoon I e-mailed my Career Directors International colleagues to give them a heads up on what I am doing and open the door to other donations for other pinkslipparties. On March 6, one more Initial Launch package will be given away in Chicago at the pinkslipparty that Brendan Murphy, @dendari on Twitter, is planning.

I think that this is the time that the country needs to pull together, all of us need to work together. I’m a resume writer and make my living by writing resumes but I can contribute in a small way with a few packages to help someone move forward in their career. If you are unemployed, check for pinkslipparty on Twitter or Google and you will find yourself with others who share your concerns. At the same time, people like Laura Fitton are trying to find ways to pull in the career services industry, the hiring companies, and help people move forward. Together, we will survive the economic challenges, perhaps by making our own version of Stone Soup!

I wandered away, but I wasn’t lost

Photo by Ted Bratton

Photo by Ted Bratton

If you had been following this blog, you might wonder why I have been so silent for more than two months. You might think I abandoned the blog or that something happened to me but really neither of those would be right. I had plenty of blogging ideas and overall I’m fine. I did get amazingly busy though because of multiple factors.

I must have mentioned Wausau Whitewater somewhere in this blog before. I play so many roles that sometimes I lose track. As the Operations Coordinator for Wausau Whitewater, I am very involved in almost every aspect of the non-profit. The month of December was filled with budget item reviews and bids for vendor services and calculating how we will survive in this economy. But though the new President, Mike Schroeder, and I worked very hard, we now feel very positive about the upcoming season. Though Wausau Whitewater has its own blog  that I have also been absent from, I will from time to time report on the Wausau Whitewater happenings because it represents a huge part of my life. We’ve been working steadily for the last few months to get ready to launch the season. I have spent incredible amounts of time creating brochures, fliers, and handouts. It won’t go quiet on the whitewater front until at least October but some things are in place and I can see daylight again.

Then there was the website. I planned to do a blog post about Design Resumes website launching. There’s a story there too. I was so stuck trying to figure out how to write the pricing page that I stalled that project until it made me so uncomfortable that it showed. In between whitewater assignments, Mike wondered why I was uptight. Once I admitted that I was stuck, he challenged me to finish up that project so I would be able to move forward on others. In three days, I wrote the rest of the missing pieces to www.designresumes.com and my awesome web designer, LB Whaples, let the site go live. It launched on January 6 and started another amazing journey that has changed so much about how I do business.

After we launched the site, I got this bright idea that I wanted this blog to be part of the site. I enlisted the help of Kim Woodbridge from her Anti-Social Development, http://www.kimwoodbridge.com/ to help me port the blog to the site. I found Kim sometime ago when I was reading someone else’s blog, I think it was Kristen King with Inkthinker, http://inkthinkerblog.com/ I liked Kim’s communication style and I learned so much from her WordPress blog posts that I knew that she was the one to move the blog. Kim is all done with her part of the project and I love the fact that she rethemed the blog to match the site but at the moment, LB is both buried in work and having an issue with my server that seems to not want to make the blog porting project work right now. Kim told me I could keep blogging but I just had so much going on that I keep putting writing my posts as the last thing on my list. Kim is awesome and if anyone needs a WordPress blog assist or tips, you should contact Kim!

This post is simply a catch-up post for anyone following this blog and wondering and then I shall begin with a more dedicated posting schedule and the articles that are still in my head waiting to come out.

If you haven’t visited www.designresumes.com to see what it lo0ks like, head over there now and let me know what you think. I finally figured out that you can edit a website and you don’t have to be perfect to launch one. Thinking you have to do things perfectly really slows your progress. So from now on, you will hear from me, it might not be perfect, but I will not wander away… at least for awhile.🙂

My Journey with LinkedIn

onlinkedin_midDo you ever think you are going to do something and get partially into it and then back out? This was my experience with LinkedIn. I thought I would share that journey in case you too struggle with the same questions or fears.

As a member of the career management community, I have the inside track on all sorts of new initiatives and endeavors. I’ve mentioned before that I highly respect my career colleagues. However, even that inside information doesn’t propel me into motion. In 2006, my career industry friends from Career Management Alliance and Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches were starting to talk about LinkedIn. I’m not afraid of new software so I went to the site and set myself up in LinkedIn. Next it asked me who I would like to connect with? Oh-oh, this meant I would have to ask someone… scary! My profile was up there but I didn’t want to take a chance and invite someone. So I left the site and LinkedIn left my mind.

The other side of me as I have mentioned is Wausau Whitewater. As the Operations Coordinator, I have contacts with paddling enthusiasts from all over the world, many of whom I have met in person. Wausau has a reputation as a world class whitewater course and has hosted numerous national and international events, including World Cups. Bob Campbell, who coached the US Slalom Team in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and Joe Jacobi, who won Olympic gold in C2 in 1992, had come to Wausau in to coach during Junior Slalom Team Trials in May 2007, the event that selects the US Junior Team which competes in Europe. We visited once again and promised to keep in touch. In October 2007, first Bob then Joe invited me into LinkedIn. I said yes. I knew them and was honored that these Olympic connected people wanted me in their network. I told them both I didn’t know a lot about how LinkedIn worked.

I got busy and forgot about LinkedIn until January 2008 and then Jimmy Blakeney asked me into his LinkedIn network. I knew Jimmy too also from Wausau Whitewater. Jimmy was a premier freestyle competitor who had been to a number of the major freestyle events in Wausau. I told him too that I didn’t know much about Linkedin.

But those encounters with Jimmy, Bob and Joe started me thinking. I went back to my career groups and started watching for information about LinkedIn. I reviewed my LinkedIn profile and revised it

In the dialogues that were coming out then on the e-lists, I noted that Jason Alba seemed to have the most information about what LinkedIn was all about. I started talking with Jason by e-mail and he talked back to me! This always amazes me when people go out of their way to talk to me. Jason is also the founder of JibberJobber.com which is a career management tool that helps you keep track of your job searches.

I learned that Jason had authored the book, “I’m on LinkedIn, Now What?” and decided that I would order the e-book and check it out. As I said, I’m not afraid of new software and I am pretty intuitive and have taught myself many different software applications. Jason’s book gave me all kinds of tips in very easy to understand terms. I had a lot of it right and he confirmed that but he also taught me many other aspects of LinkedIn that I hadn’t yet figured out. Jason gives you a great concept of both what LinkedIn is and what it isn’t. He’s just developed the second edition of I’m on LinkedIn, Now What which reflects Jason’s own growth in knowledge of networking, technologies in social networking, and LinkedIn itself.

Since I bought the first edition, I have been recommending Jason’s book to my clients, my own LinkedIn network, and to others I meet who want to learn more about LinkedIn.

If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, I would highly recommend it as a way to promote yourself professionally whether or not you are on a job search right now.  If you have a profile but were confused as to how to use LinkedIn, you should buy the book so that you don’t do what I did and sit up there without any friends for a year plus. If your profile doesn’t say what you would like it to say, contact me and that’s another service I provide as part of Design Resumes. In this economic climate, we all need to be proactive and make sure that we are using every tool possible.

You can now also find me on Twitter (another social network) @JulieWalraven

Postcards from the road

 

Postcards on the road

Postcards on the road

Sometimes we are blessed to have someone come into our lives who changes it and then we can’t find enough ways to say thank you. Today I want to introduce you to one of those people in my life.

Though I’m a professional resume writer with 25 years experience, 11 of those years have also been tied to Wausau Whitewater as the Operations Coordinator. It was through Wausau Whitewater that I met Michael Schroeder (Mike). He came first as a freestyle competitor in the days when Wausau’s freestyle events were mainly Pro Rodeo events around 1999 – 2001. Pros such as Eric Jackson, Jimmy Blakeney, Tanya Shuman, and Eric Southwick put on a really good show and I just figured that was the way freestyle events were meant to go. But Mike and other paddlers really wanted to have an event geared for citizen level freestyle paddlers. Mike lobbied me and the board of Wausau Whitewater and before I knew it, he was running the first ever freestyle citizen’s event in 2002. He followed that up with the freestyle side of Wausau Whitewater Weekend and then in 2004 founded the Midwest Freestyle Championships. Along the way, we grew to be good friends.

I was really fuzzy about what Mike did for a living for awhile. Normally, I’m pretty curious about occupations. It just never came up. At some point though, I learned that he was a professional musician. During our many conversations, I did find out that he was a Christian. In 2003, he recorded his first CD, A Witness. My life had more downs than ups back then and his music as well as his phone calls helped me turn the corner.

Mike continued to expand his contemporary Christian music with more projects (Fuel for the Soul, the Way, and the Christmas release, The Reason for the Season) as well as tours throughout the country, www.michaelschroeder.com  

It has been fun being his friend through all of this, watching his career grow. This summer we were taking virtual walks together, he was in his city walking in the woods and I was in Wausau walking to the river, and we would meet on the phone to walk and talk about Wausau Whitewater projects and some of our own endeavors. It was during those walks that he told me about this new project, a total instrumental project inspired by a trip he took to Europe some years ago. He called it Postcards from the road and promised I could have a demo of it when it was ready.

I’ve always loved the contemporary Christian music and didn’t know how I would feel about a project without any vocals. But I love this one as much as any of the others. My friend’s musical voice comes out just fine without any words. The jazzy selections like Amsterdam make me smile. Ones like Nadine made me relaxed and thoughtful. You can hear some of the selections from his MySpace page for the project, http://www.myspace.com/michaelschroeder2 

Perhaps in another post I will share some of the lessons I learned from Mike. For now, it is enough to say that meeting him blessed my life.

When an Interview Expands

A resume client called in this morning to gave me a recap of her interview yesterday. She has agreed to let me share her story. I’ll let you know how the interview went soon, but first some background.

How it all Started

We updated and refocused the client’s resume on Monday afternoon and submitted her resume for two positions in the dental field. I’ve worked with this client previously for positions in other industries so I had already gained her trust. I coached her that she should be prepared that the dental field in our area is fairly saturated and many of the new dental hygiene graduates from the area will apply for dental assistant or lab positions to get their foot in the door. (I have done resume and career development seminars to the students in the dental hygiene program for the past 7 or 8 years, so I understand the market.) My client has 11 years of prior experience as a Chairside Assistant but it isn’t within the last 10 years. The positions were advertised on Career Builder and I train my clients to network whenever possible, so I cautioned her to understand that it might be challenging to get an interview. I have had clients with success on Career Builder, I just don’t want the job boards to be their primary source for positions and I want them to work on actual networking whenever possible.

Interview Scheduled

Amazingly, she called Tuesday to say she was scheduled for an interview at one of the two targets. We agreed she would stop by yesterday morning for new prints of her resume and references. We talked about her objectives. She was nervous but determined to make a good impression.

The Interview

This morning she called to share what happened. The interview scheduled at 11am with an orthodontist was very detailed. After meeting with him and answering a battery of questions, she went to work with the dental assistant and go over instruments, procedures, and other details of the job. After that she was asked to return to the practitioner and he expanded on some of the prior information and then asked her if she would like to return in the afternoon to observe. She agreed she would do that and spent the afternoon watching the staff work directly with patients. This interview ended up to be about four hours of her day yesterday but she left feeling as though it would be a great place to work.

I am well aware of team interviews and detailed company tours for many positions as well as multiple interviews for a position, but this was still unusual from my experience. My client’s attitude was excellent. We discussed many of the questions and her answers and agreed that it went very well. She also shared that the dentist from the other position also contacted her and gave her a phone interview.

She was off to write a thank you note next after I coached her on what content she might like to include.

What did I learn?

Career Builder postings can result in quick responses and interview requests. Interviews can surprise you, so be prepared for longer time commitments.

What I knew already

Interviewing styles differ from position to position, company to company.

What can you learn

Be prepared for the unusual and stay positive throughout the experience. Each interview opportunity is the chance to learn more about interviews in general, build confidence, and grow in industry knowledge. Practice good business etiquette in every phase of the job search. Never forget the thank you note.

Are You Disciplined or Does that Scare You?

Andrew Plath, Wildlight Photography

Photo credit: Andrew Plath, Wildlight Photography

The word “discipline” means different things to different people. Personnally, I like the word! Yesterday, I used the word “disciplined” in Twitter without even thinking about it. Almost immediately I got a reply from a someone I follow in Twitter teasing me for using that word, “@JulieWalraven did you just use that disgusting swearword “disc*****d”? GO wash your mouth out lol.” At the time, I was talking about needing to be more disciplined in writing my blogs but overall, I really have been on a constant search for a more disciplined life style.

I implement lots of tools to keep me disciplined. I use my Daytimer and write my list daily to keep things fresh in my mind. People have recommended a Blackberry or PDA but for me rewriting the list is therapeutic for me. For email, I use Outlook and have a myriad of folders to sort incoming mail. Alas, despite my system and the ready delete button, I admit that right now there are 475 e-mails in my inbox.

When I started blogging, I knew that I would sooner or later have to become disciplined in that area too. Blog topics aren’t a problem for me. They float through my head all day long. If I could transcribe straight from my thoughts, I would be fine. It’s the practice of actually selecting one of those blog ideas and writing the full post that gets difficult for me.

I can always find something else that needs doing more. When I was talking about needing discipline to blog, that’s what I meant. I need to actually sit down and write. In my life, there is always something that needs doing. Boredom doesn’t ever kick in. I just have to be disciplined enough to organize my priorities.

What about you? Do you like the word discipline or does it scare you? And would it help you in your career to be more disciplined? Time for me to write my list for tomorrow!

Are People Getting Ruder? Is it a sign of the times?

Andrew Plath, Wildlight Photography
Photo Credit: Andrew Plath, Wildlight Photography

Today I got a phone call from a prospective client. I began with a sentence or two of small talk and then responded to his question of rates. I answered that in order to answer his question, I would need to know more about him since we have several packages. I asked him to tell me about his present position and his goals. I have used that technique for a long time and it usually works very well. His answer startled me! He said, “You haven’t answered my question and if this is indicative of your work, then I can’t work with you” … and then hung up after less than 3 minutes on the line.

 

I live in the Midwest, this was a local call. I know other résumé writers have had clients that started out difficult but in 25 years, I have never had it happen to me. I usually end my rate quote with “does this fit your budget?” Though sometimes I have to work harder to get someone to trust me, the most common comment when I have finished a project is, “I am so glad I came, I feel so relieved.” I don’t even have a clue as to what field my caller was in because he never told me anything nor did he ask any question other than rate. Résumés are not a one size fits all kind of purchase. My prices range from student rates to executive rates and I have multiple rates in the middle to meet every level of a person’s career. I usually listen to the person’s story and try to determine whether there are additional issues that would affect his career, such as: was he recently laid off or is he a manager in a field that doesn’t pay well. A manager of a major manufacturing plant has different résumé needs than someone in retail management. I want to be fair. But this caller never gave me a chance. He challenged my abilities and hung up.

 

 

I debated for a bit after the call and decided to check reverse call and see if I could figure who called. Then I called back. I got voice mail and just left a message that said, “Hi, this is Julie. Someone called from this number and if you still need help, I would be happy to help you.” I didn’t and don’t expect I will hear back but you never know.

But it seems like people experience rudeness from veritable strangers frequently. Last night, I was “talking” to Kim Woodbridge of (Anti) Social Development blog (http://www.kimwoodbridge.com/) and she had just had a commenter on her blog that was very rude and she was having trouble responding to him. She was bothered by his responses. Blog writers open themselves up to responses that may surprise them. As we communicate more and more with strangers, either over the phone or by e-mail or in blogs or blog comments or by the host of social media tools that seem to be growing every day, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, do we need to be even more vigilant that we are not offending others?

When I teach classes on résumés and other career management tools, we discuss how you need to always be careful not to burn bridges. As I am teaching networking, I remind people that they need to nurture their network and keep doors open. I was surprised by my caller’s response and a little hurt, but had he called back, I would have still given him the same level of customer service and assistance that my clients have learned to depend upon.

How about you? Are you rude ever? Are you rude back? Or do you remain ever vigilant to make sure than you don’t offend others. Let’s talk!

 

Tested but not crushed

Andrew Plath, Wildlight Photography

Photo Credit: Andrew Plath, Wildlight Photography

Tested but not crushed… I’ll explain where that phrase comes from in a bit.

 

 

As you get to know me, you will find that I become very passionate about people or things that help me grow. In about 2003, a friend e-mailed me and her group of friends a link to Flylady (www.flylady.net) and said, someone might find this helpful. That was an understatement for sure! You’ll have to check out Flylady for yourself but she has definitely changed my life. A life coach could probably describe her. Yes, she’s a life coach to about 500,000 people around the world right now.

 

A brave woman, also known as Marla Cilley, she has steadily expanded her network of helpers to include a wide range of individuals specialized in areas that can help anyone. She teaches babysteps and connects you with her base of contacts. You can find all about Flylady’s friends by going to her website but the one that got me started on this blog topic today was her virtual personal trainer, Jonathon Roche, who has become my virtual personal trainer too.

I waffled about getting Jonathan’s Momentum Weight Loss System and have now found it to be right up on one of the best decisions I ever made. His heart rate monitor and the encouraging DVDs make me realize why I reached a plateau with my fitness goals. I wasn’t working hard enough! My target heart rate this morning was 153. Jonathan teaches how to use intervals (working for 3 to 5 minutes to get to a specific heart rate and building those incrementally through a 30 minute workout with recovery time between each 3 – 5 minute build up). On non-interval days, he advises you to do his No Excuses Workout which works on strengthening your muscle groups. Throughout the workout he is coaching and encouraging. His pet phrase is “We want to test you but not crush you.” He encourages you to work to meeting the goals of each session but not to the point of hurting yourself.

 

As I think about those words, “test you but not crush you”, it reminds me too of a Bible passage which talks about not giving you more burdens than you can bear. (1 Corinthians 10:13).  “He’ll never let you be pushed past your limit; he’ll always be there to see you through it,” is how my Message version of the Bible puts it.

 

With the challenges of the economy, Wall Street, election, and everything else happening on the news these days, I think many of us relate to feeling crushed. I’ve been in business for 25 years as a résumé writer and never have I seen my new résumé client numbers for Design Resumes drop as low as it has for the past month or so. I have to cling to both Jonathan’s advice and the Bible’s advice and know that I am being tested but I am not meant to be crushed.

 

I pull all my resources together at times like these. I read the Word more, I network with friends both to stay positive and let them know I am looking for business, I work on learning new marketing strategies, and I catch up on all the projects that got stuck while I was so busy for years. I use strategies Flylady has taught me, like using her timer, “You can do anything for 15 minutes” to keep working toward goals. Don’t forget to check her out on www.flylady.net!

 

My business contracts with Wausau Whitewater so my résumé writing side is not my only source of income. As the non-profit’s Operations Coordinator, I stay busy working on marketing and planning for the next whitewater season on the downtown whitewater course in Wausau, Wisconsin.

 

Again, all of my resources get pulled together and I remind myself that I am being tested but not crushed and I think this is critical for all of us these days. What about you? Are you being tested?

Proactive or Reactive?

Proactive or Reactive?

Proactive or Reactive?

The other day I had a client call for an appointment. In the process of setting his appointment, we talked about how the economy is affecting people’s choices for everything they do. Investing, purchasing, or scheduling appointments, it seems like people are holding back right now. He said that he believed that could change on November 5 (the day after the election) but at this point, he was going to be proactive. He wanted to get his résumé updated so that when the tide turns; he is ready for whatever opportunities materialize.

 

 

His strategy is one that I have shared with clients for years. If you continuously update your résumé so that the content is fresh and reflects your newest and strongest accomplishments, then you will be ready when that networking opportunity surfaces and you find a potential opportunity that matches your skills. Many people wait until something catastrophic happens, either they are terminated from a position, permanently laid off, or the company goes out of business. At that point, the emotions are running so high, a range of being angry, depressed, lost, or sad that you are not in the frame of mind to think of accomplishments. My client’s strategy of being proactive meant that he could clearly assess what he wanted to talk about on a résumé and share with the next potential employer.

 

Clients that take this proactive strategy are able to use the tools I and other professional résumé writers provide to select keywords that match their skills and remember stories about their accomplishments that can be transformed into “résumé speak” for them. They are better able to retrieve testimonials or endorsements from their employee evaluations or client thank you letters which can be incorporated into the résumé to demonstrate their value to future companies.

 

In addition, clients who are proactive are also generally better networkers. They maintain a presence on LinkedIn and are actively building their contacts and connections. They may be using a tool like Jason Alba’s JibberJobber,  www.jibberjobber.com to track their network connections and start building a list of companies that they might like to approach for their next career move. Jason has labeled the difference career management versus job search. Today in his blog, Jason invites you to play fill in the sentence comparing the two. Check out www.jibberjobber.com/blog to see if you can find more comparisons than he did.

 

In this entertaining exercise, Jason is pointing out how career management is critical in today’s world. It is increasingly obvious that nothing is forever these days. You can’t expect to have a job for 20 or 30 years the way that prior generations did. You can expect that you will transition to new jobs and possibly new careers multiple times in your working lifetime.

 

A professional résumé writer can certainly work with clients who are pushed into action by sudden job loss but clients who are proactive in their career management will be able to feel more in control if they suddenly find themselves in the job search mode. Which would you prefer to be? Proactive or reactive? If you want to be proactive, email me at design@dwave.net to schedule your appointment to get your resume ready for your next career move.

When Conviction Takes Over

Conviction, a creed to live by, putting your faith in God’s hands, a code of honor… where do values fit in with business and where do values fit in with your career?

Everyone has to make a decision about how they form their values. You might as well learn early on the source of my values. As the song says, “I’m A Believer.” This is what forms how I look at the world, how I have always looked at the world. But I firmly believe everyone has to make their own choice and develop their own set of values and their own source for their values.

I’ve been thinking extra hard about this values thing a lot lately. It’s all over the news, Wall Street, Main Street, Elections… but in my case it comes from something else. It is stewardship time at my church. I understand the need for stewardship campaigns. I should, as a one-time committee chair who created the campaign materials. This year is different. A new pastor is in place and I am sensing change in not just the type of campaign or how it is promoted. It feels different. I’m fully invested in hearing every word. I don’t think I’m alone either. I see the people around me wiping their eyes. Me too.

Today’s lesson was on the widow’s mite. It carried the theme from prior Sundays one step further. The lesson is about faith. Pastor Tim explained that we are willing to sacrifice for the things we value. In the widow’s case, she so valued the kingdom of God that she was willing to give all she had. So I am thinking about my faith and my values. As the pastor said, these are tough times. Could we be like the widow?

I think this is a time when we need to examine our values, whether they come from believing in God or some other source. Employers are going to be looking values, especially honesty and ethics more than ever before. Companies have fallen because of poor choices, poor ethics, and the willingness to look the other way.

If you have waffled in your ethics or values, one set at home and one set at work, or even another set at church perhaps, you might find yourself needing to think about how your values impact your future. 

Is it different now? Where does honesty and ethics fit in your career?

A Long Time Coming

Once upon a time, way back in 1983, I entered into the world of resume writing. It was so long ago and such a very different world than it is today. The journey continued with me building an understanding of what was needed to create a strong resume bit by bit.

The love of writing anything has been a part of my make-up for as long as I can remember. I stumbled on writing resumes in the beginning on a whim and found a market. I started finding out that it was a much bigger world than I thought. In the 1990’s, I started getting invites to a group called PARW and was curious but not enough to actually join the group. Professional Association of Resume Writers sounded impressive but what if they just took my money? It took until 1999 for me to take the chance. What a world that opened up! Instead of being a lonely resume writer in Central Wisconsin, I found that there were many people just like me. They were all over the United States, but even better, they were all over the world. The Internet opened up so many new opportunities. I could talk to those writers on the e-list. I could see how they were managing their businesses. I could make friends! I didn’t take long to join a second group in 2000. Now Career Management Alliance (CMA), it was then the Career Masters Institute.

In 2003, with the encouragement of a resume writer and career coach, Susan Guarneri, who moved briefly to Wausau, I took the exam to become a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW). It was another move I should have done long ago.

This journey now has placed amazing resources at my fingertips from the greatest career management specialists in the world. My career friends are amazingly generous and willing to share their knowledge.

I’m not anywhere close to the end of my journey. I suspect that my journey is not unlike many peoples. You make choices, you hold back, you take a chance, and often you find that in taking that chance, you are blessed.

I will be sharing my knowledge and pointing my readers to knowledge from the masters in the career field and together I hope we can make your career and life journey better.


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