Posts Tagged 'Career Management'

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. 🙂

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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

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!

 

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.


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