Archive for the 'Resumes' Category

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.

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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!

 


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