Posts Tagged 'career'

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!

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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.

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?


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