Archive for May, 2010

A job seeker who seized the moment

May 28, 2010

I heard a great story the other day from a friend who has been unemployed for too long.  She’s a person of skills, experience, and personality.  She has applied for numerous positions, widened her field, gone on interviews… and nothing has come of it.

Meet Deanna in her own words:

For the past few weeks I have been doing some marketing work for the Spectrum Center for Holistic Healing, located in downtown Silver Spring, MD. The Spectrum Center is looking to expand its vision and offer treatment rooms to other holistic health practitioners and I have been checking/searching websites to find the best avenue to attract this clientele.
I happened to pick up copies of the Takoma Voice and Silver Spring Voice newspapers, and as I perused them I realized this might be a good place to advertise for the Spectrum Center.  I called the advertising person listed on The Voice’s website.  When I asked for her I was told she was no longer there; I hesitated a second and asked if they were looking for someone to fill the position, and was told, “well yeah, we kind of are; are you interested?”  To which I replied, “yeah, I kind of am.” Pause. “Could you tell me a little bit about it?”  The guy (who happened to be the editor) gave me a brief job description, and I replied that my background is mostly in administration, but that I’ve been helping out the Spectrum Center lately, and I’m also Membership Coordinator for the West Hillandale Swim Club (across from the FDA, always looking for new members!), so have been doing some advertising and marketing lately for these two groups.
We set up a time to meet this week and I quickly rearranged my resume to reflect the marketing/advertising work that I’ve done. We had a great talk and he offered me the position on the spot!  It’s part-time which is fine by me. It will get me back to work and off unemployment, which is the ultimate goal, and give me a chance to use newly acquired skills, or as I like to believe, skills that I’ve always had and am now able to put to good use in a more creative environment than corporate America.
I’ve networked with many, many people and sent way too many resumes, and gotten a few interviews, but none resulting in an offer.  So now, after one simple phone call inquiring about something else, I land a job that fits my schedule and pays fairly well for a part-time job!

What did Deanna do right?
  • she kept her enthusiasm alive despite a lot of rejections
  • she really listened when the man at the newspaper said the job was unfilled,
  • she threw herself into consideration without much information about the job itself,
  • she tailored her resume to highlight the most appropriate skills,
  • she had kept her work history current through volunteer work at the local swim club,
  • she’s happy to have part-time work instead of no work,
  • she’s willing to share her story with you.

Again, thank you, Deanna.  Your story makes me smile.  Opportunity may be right around the corner for all of us.

Final reminder:  join me tomorrow, 5/29/2010, at noon eastern time at www.am1100.tv for a live broadcast of The Career Clinic with Maureen Anderson.

An invitation to job seekers

May 27, 2010

I hope you are free to join me on Saturday, May 29, for an informal hour-long chat with Maureen Anderson from The Career Clinic.  We plan to talk about all kinds of career happenings and we hope to have a question or two from you, the listeners.

Through the miracle of the laws of physics, I”ll leave my home in suburban Maryland via telephone and surface in Fargo, ND.  Maureen’s weekly talk show is full of surprises, and we guests all try to deliver useful career strategies and facts to you. You can let us know how we are doing.

Reminder: on Saturday May 29, at noon eastern time, 11:00 central, sign on to www.am1100.tv for a chat with us.

No RSVPs are necessary: just your presence!

Another award-winning blog you should visit

May 24, 2010

I never want to drive you away from my blog into the pages of a competitor, but I am curious about the other 49 winning career advocate sites named by ecollegefinder.com.  I just visited the site of Jorge Sundberg, called theundercoverrecruiter.com.

Who might like this site?

You, if you want to come to the attention of a headhunter, speak with onemeet a hiring manager… juicy topics addressed by one who knows.

Jorge is a former HR/recruiter expert, and he shares some inside secrets.  I know from my clients that many of you are curious about the world of headhunters, and this might be the place for you to receive enlightenment. How to come to the attention of a headhunter, how to speak with one, how to meet a hiring manager… juicy topics addressed by one who knows.

So go – visit theundercoverrecruiter and learn something.  Jorge Sundberg must be quite a successful consultant, willing to share what he knows.  Let me know what you think.  And congratulations, Jorge, on the career advocate award from ecollegefinder.com.  I hope you’re enjoying this recognition as much as I am.

A Career Lesson from Alma Thomas

May 17, 2010

Among the inspiring stories of artists exhibited in the National Museum of Women in the Arts in Washington, DC, there is something uniquely compelling in the life and work of Alma Thomas.  Ms. Thomas, the first graduate of Howard University’s art department in 1924, was an art teacher at Shaw Junior High School from 1924 to 1960.

For 36 years, the kids at Shaw had a real artist for a teacher.  Did they know that she was the first African American woman to have a solo show at the Whitney museum in New York?

Alma Thomas did something we can relate to:  she kept her day job.  All those years of teaching provided financial support, while she worked at her art and community involvement after hours.

Ms. Thomas would love Barbara Sher’s book for creative people, Refuse to Choose 2006).  I find this book unique for the way it addresses the concerns of creative people.  Musicians, artists, dancers, playwrights: Sher recognizes that you have options, that it doesn’t have to be all-or-nothing for you.  This is a book for Scanners (Sher’s term), those folks who want it all.  Lifetime learners, they find it difficult to let go of all that good stuff out there and focus on one thing.  They’ve been told to:

  • grow up,
  • get serious,
  • pick one thing,
  • specialize, not generalize.

If Thomas had been wealthy, would she have quit the day job and stayed home to paint?

I don’t think so.  She ran all kinds of art education programs in poor neighbors until into her 80s.  As a Scanner, she kept her enthusiasm alive and her commitment to both art and education.

Are you artistic?  Creative in some other way?  Frustrated by those who urge you to grow up (by which they mean settle down, get a job in the business world, make some money)?

Read Sher’s book.  Visit the National Museum of Women in the Arts and get to know Alma Thomas.  Call a career counselor for help in balancing all those interests that you have.  Share a comment about how you find equilibrium among your interests.

Something new has been added!

May 14, 2010

Notice anything new about this blog?  Look again – to the right.  That seal in the upper right is an honor awarded my blog by the nice folks at eCollegeFinder.  They named this blog one of their top 50 Career Advocate sites.

What an honor!  As I glanced through the other awardees, I realized that I have some interesting reading ahead.  I want to know what the other sites are, and I want you to know, also.  I’m going to peruse a few and let you know what I find.  Meanwhile, check them out for yourself.  Let me know which ones you find the most informative and encouraging.  There is so much good stuff out there!

You can find websites for techies, for job changers, for the latest on image updating, interview strategies, resume options, and on and on.  The list reminds me of browsing in the library or at a great bookstore.  Plan to spend some time on ecollegefinder.

Thanks, Mary Frances and the rest of the gang at dmi.  It’s very nice to be recognized.

Job Growth: cautionary good news

May 8, 2010

Have you noticed the good and bad news about jobs that have been added to the economy this week?  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, payroll jobs jumped by 290,000 in April, while the unemployment moved up to 9.9% (www.bls.gov).  At the same time, I saw a tv pundit warning that the new jobs may be part-time, temporary, or contractual.

This is to be expected.  Economists have been warning that permanent, stable jobs are the last to be added in an economic recovery, and we may not see this last step until 2011.  Disappointing news for you job-hunters out there!

Now I’m repeating what I said some months ago.  Take that temp job.   Take the one year assignment if that’s what’s offered.  Very soon, an employer is going to ask you what you did during the recession.  You’ll be proud to say that you accepted part-time/temp/less-than-ideal work because it offered you the chance to maintain/develop your skills as well as support yourself and your family.

You are not alone.  There is a wide band of workers who have been free-lancing for years.  Many of them would gladly turn in their freedom for a predictable job with a steady paycheck.  But others have made peace with the ebb and flow of work opportunities.  I hope they are good money managers and planners.  I hope they are saving for retirement.

Meanwhile, please take the temp job and work hard at it.  One of these months, employers will be confident enough to offer full-time opportunities, and you’ll have an inside advantage.

A Career Lesson from Georgia O’Keeffe

May 3, 2010

Two things happened last week, within twenty-four hours.

I visited a major Georgia O’Keeffe exhibit at the Phillips Gallery in Washington, DC.  I saw room after room of dazzling art, supported by just the right amount of wall text. I had not known how her work evolved through an expanding technique.  Unhappy with traditional art education, this woman born in the 19th century finally decided to work through the art  theory of Arthur Wesley Dow.  He advocated starting with a charcoal pencil, learning to draw, to recognize forms, to reduce what you see to its simplest shape.  After that, the student is to work exclusively with the color gray, and after that, choose one color to get to know intimately.  O’Keeffe chose blue.  So this exhibit had an extensive display of charcoal, then gray, then blue (midnight! navy! turquoise! robin’s egg!).  Etc.

Could this step-by-step approach be the reason her works seem so confident, so strong, so assertive?

Just after seeing the exhibit, I met witht Monty.  He has a responsible, good-paying federal job.  Yet he yearns to do something else – to indulge in his passion for something more creative, more intimate, more communicative.  His discomfort is intense, and he feels restless and quite hopeless.

Do you see the connection?  I think I do.

O’Keeffe was unhappy with the traditional path other art students were pursuing.  And Monty doesn’t seem content with doing what other people do.  The objective measure of success doesn’t seem to be working for him.

We talked about O’Keeffe’s discipline of working with one step at a time. Monty realized that this is what he hasn’t done – he needs to go back to the charcoal sketch step.  What is his first step?

We decided it is to gather information.  What are the salaries of people in the creative fields he craves?  What would his pension pay if he retired early?

The color gray stage will be to add one creative activity to his off-hours.

And after that?  Monty’s work life will become more confident as he realizes he is making choices.

The lessons to be learned from the arts are all around us.  Have you been inspired by something you saw in a museum?