Archive for the ‘Misc. Career’ Category

The Essential Cure for Exaggeration

February 8, 2015

First, I love Brian Williams.  I believe in him.  I watch his newscast whenever possible.

And I hurt for him in these difficult days.

He exaggerated in his narrative and he has been found out.

Has it happened to you?

  • When asked about an extracurricular activity in school, have you enhanced your role?
  • Have you stretched your importance on a work team?
  • Have you minimized your role in an losing campaign?

I think there are two steps you can take while seeking redemption:  you can take on a large dose of humility and you can correct the mistake immediately.  If you are job-hunting, stop right now.  Get out that resume and read it again.  Check it for total truth.  You might feel better and more confident that you don’t have to conceal a truth any longer.

It’s also a potentially great interview question. Have you ever stretched the truth about your performance on a job?  

I think the answer might be – Yes!  I was advised to stretch my role in a reorganization in order to keep my job.  I was so uncomfortable with that process that I vowed never to do it again.  And I haven’t.

Would anyone asking that question believe a no?  I don’t think so.  There’s something appealing and refreshing about a candidate who tells the truth about him/herself while showing emotional growth.

The colorful resume … literally!

January 21, 2015

What color is your resume?  If you are thinking I mean that metaphorically, sorry, that’s for another posting. Today it’s about color.  I could have named this post The Black and Blue Resume, but I think that’s a bit weird. Whether online or on a printed page, the all-black type on white background has a look of yesteryear about it.  You need a touch of blue. Blue as in hyperlinks. Blue that can lead the reader to a work sample, a photo, a positive review, press coverage, or any other aspect of your portfolio. Blue can guide one to your LinkedIn profile, your website, your blog, or your product. When I see a resume with no links at all, I worry that the writer isn’t connected to much.  Show us!  Lead us to your work and prove what you are saying about yourself. Reveal at least a touch of blue.

Arts, anyone?

December 28, 2014

I just observed one of my personal delights of the holiday season:  I watched my dvd of the 1951 television production of Amahl and the Night Visitors.

Went through half a box of kleenex.  And found so much remarkable, as I always do.  Is there anyone out there who remembers?

  • Those exultant, exotic chords of Menotti,
  • the resonance of the three kings,
  • the high, high treble notes of Amahl,
  • the wide vocal range of the mother…

And strangest of all, the concept of an original opera commissioned for NBC on Christmas Eve. Can you imagine a network show of this magnitude with no commercials?  Great music, great singing, a live orchestra?

The DVD is available – if you are interested, if you remember, if you actually romanticize the 50s, check this out.  The credits rolling at the end confirm that there was such a thing as the NBC Opera of the Air, an NBC symphony orchestra, and an affiliation with the conductor, Thomas Schippers.

In those days, kids took music lessons and practiced (almost) daily.  Shows such as Amahl and the Night Visitors conveyed the possibilities for artistically-inclined people.  Drama, sets, performance, singing … presented for our entertainment.  Think about it.

As Amahl sang, “Look, Mother, I can walk, I can run, I can dance”.  And so can the rest of us.

I wish all readers an inspired and successful new year.

Suggestion for a good read

November 17, 2014

In this premature onset of winter, don’t you long to hunker down under a quilt, hot chocolate in one hand and a good book in the other?

I can’t help you with finding the best hot drink, but I can suggest a book that I read through in one setting.  That was partly because I know the author, partly because the topic is near and dear to me.

The book is Going to Church: it’s not what you think by Susan Mann Flanders.  Susan is recently retired from the Episcopal Diocese of Washington, where she served various functions in churches of all sizes: seminarian, associate rector, interim, and ultimately rector.

I grew up in a time when women clergy in the Episcopal Church were unheard of.  The question never came up.  Never in my experience.

Things changed drastically in the 1970s, and now the sight of a woman in a clerical collar looks downright normal to me.  But I don’t want to take it for granted, because I still rejoice in opportunities for people to use their gifts as they deem appropriate, unencumbered by stereotypes and rubrics of yesteryear.

Susan is such a person.  In this book, you can learn of her struggles and triumphs as her career has unfolded.  She has shared of her life and her emerging theology in honesty, which is a great model for those of us who would rather present ourselves to the world as people who have their act together.

If you know people who are “spiritual but not religious” or who have walked away from their Christian tradition because it doesn’t work any more, consider steering them toward this little book.  The appendix alone that contains a sermon on Abraham and Isaac is worth the read.

Why are you in this job?

October 27, 2014

See this lovely young woman baking biscuits over a coal fire?  No, she is not a Vermeer figure come to life.  Her name is Rhianna and she is a historical reenacter at the Beamish Museum in Northumbria, UK.  I visited the Beamish recently.  Imagine – it’s a cold, windy, sometimes-rainy day, you step into Rhianna’s kingdom, you smell the warmth and scent of a coal fire along with fresh biscuits. And you get a friendly greeting.

We got into a conversation.  I asked if she is studying history or acting – just how did she get this job?  And what appealed to her?  (And yes, these are nosy questions, which I justified by saying that I’m a career counselor and am always on the lookout for a good story.)

Rhianna said she is very shy and sought a job that forced her to interact with people, so here she is, explaining about biscuits, flour, copper polishing, and coal fires. all day long.

Yes, she is less shy than she used to be.

Rhianna, congratulations on making such a courageous and productive choice!  I loved our chat and indeed, all of the nice people in Beamish, who explain life and work in different times.

Beamish 2

Resume Review – a reminder

September 29, 2014

As the fall job search season gets underway, I know you are re-thinking your interview outfit.  Switching from linen to wool, light colors to darker, is part of your challenge.

Another challenge is to make sure your resume is as current as can be.  If you have not seriously updated your new elements  document in a few years, this neglect will be obvious to all who read it.

What to do?  Get some help!  You really need such elements as hyperlinks and evidence of your involvement in social media (your choice which venue to use).

And please allow me to propose (humbly) that you check out my e-publication, Reflections on Resumes: Taking a Second Look. You can learn about little tips and tricks that will give you the confidence that you are as current as can be,  and that you are displaying your accomplishments to best advantage.  You can be reading this small guide on your computer, tablet, or e-reader within a minute or so.

I’m Career Counselor Anne Headley and I approve this message!

The job of jobhunting (4)

September 9, 2014

The fourth element of the jobhunter’s day is one which can draw on the activities of the three previously-discussed realms.  I refer to your social activities.

Social needs no definition.  It is that people stuff.  Networking.  You are supposed to do it, many of you love it, most of you fight it.

This is the realm of truth-in-cliche: It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.

You can become better connected, starting today.  Improving your people quotient really must be part of every job seeker’s day.

Go where the interesting people are.  That might be in a class, at a coffee shop, at a clean-up-the-park day, at the gym.  Or at the pool or your back alley.  Meet someone new or reconnect with someone you haven’t seen in some time.  Just once a day.  

Actually, social activities can permeate the entire day of the successful job seeker.  As you are reading up on happenings in your field, you could be reminded of someone you know who would like to read this article.  Contact that person now!

As you are filling out a job application, you might think of that casual acquaintance who works at that firm.  You could contact him or her and ask a question.

There is little room for depression or inactivity in the life of a job seeker.  You’re so busy preparing for the new opportunity (yet to be determined, I know), that after all that conventional activity, the academic research, the creative projects and the socializing, that you will realize that you have taken steps on the structured path toward tomorrow.  Your knowledge, your availability, your involvement and your network will support you and make you a keen candidate for that next opportunity.

Here’s a final thought from Harper Lee:

If you can learn a simple trick, Scout, you’ll get along better with all kinds of folks. You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view.

So how are you spending today?

 

 

 

 

The job of jobhunting (3) – what’s new?

September 2, 2014

I’ve been thinking about how a jobhunter can spend the day being effective and positive.  I’ve previously written about being conventional and academic, meaning doing obvious things like posting on job boards, responding to ads, and keeping up one’s skills and knowledge.

So what else is needed?

Creativity now comes into play – every single day.  I suspect that this part of the job search is the primary reason people seek career counseling.  Without it, you will get what you have always had, and you probably don’t want that.

Creativity means – following impulsive thoughts, paying attention to your dreams, reading something different, doing something really unusual in your community, acknowledging your intuition.  Here’s where you allow those scary thoughts about what you’ve always wanted to do.

Do you see the connection between what you seek professionally and random ideas?  Probably not, but – please trust me – a connection may come to you.

Here’s an example of the randomness (and effectiveness) of creative thinking:

Yesterday I listened to a story by a friend.  She goes to an exercise program for women, and there she heard a story about an acquaintance (age late 50s) who recently lost her job and was facing a long, difficult search.  The next day my friend heard another tale of woe from someone in a private school who needed to hire a new (……… – it doesn’t really matter).  Lightbulb flash!  Same field, two different stories, two workouts at the gym.  If my friend had not gone to work out that day, if those two acquaintances had not also gone to the gym … the magic would not have happened.

Yes!  My friend, a wonderful networker, connected the dots, put one person in touch with the other, and magic happened.  The job seeker went to the school, applied for the job, and was promptly hired.

Moral of the story:  Go where the people are.  Share your creativity.  Don’t confront anyone with your need, but rather share it.  Most of all, get out of the house, get out of the doldrums, and let creativity lead you into unexpected connections.

The job of jobhunting (2)

August 30, 2014

How do you spend your time when you are unemployed?  In a previous post,  I reviewed the conventional techniques (job listings, online bulletin boards, classified ads, a resume honed to perfection) that should occupy a portion of your day.

What about the academic tasks that can nudge you on your way to a more successful outcome than you have had before?

Please don’t make that immediate link between academic and going back to school.  I’m all for keeping your education current.  Finishing (or starting) that degree is great, but not a guaranteed ticket to success.

I’m thinking of academic in the sense of reading/studying/learning more about your chosen path.  Here are a few options:

  • websites of companies or associations you are drawn to,
  • YouTube segments of presentations by leaders you admire,
  • newspaper or journal articles,
  • books written by superstars in your field,
  • TV specials or documentaries about your area of interest.

Does academic suggest that you take notes?  I hope so!  You will need to remember a few impressive points you gleaned from your research. You could dedicate a special notebook or a file on your laptop to this targeted note-taking.

You will need these fresh ideas and facts to make sure your resume is relevant to the positions you seek.  And you will have wonderful nuggets to share in interviews.  Let your conversations reflect your learning.

An hour a day on academics will keep you informed and inspired as you go about your job search.  I invite any reader who has gained knowledge through research to share a suggestion or two about keeping up to date.

 

The Job of Jobhunting

August 29, 2014

If you are looking for work, what does your current workday look like?  How do you spend your time?

I want to suggest something I’ve learned after listening to hundreds of people who were searching.

Think about a combination of conventional, academiccreative, and social approaches.

 

What is the conventional element of the job search?

It is what you already know.  Job listings, employment services, headhunters, classified ads.  These conventional techniques have worked for a long time and they will continue to be effective.  Most people will acknowledge that they have gotten at least one job this way.  I know I have.  Find an ad that sort-of-kind-of matches your experience, submit a resume, and wait for a phone call. Sometimes it works.  So please continue to put some time into conventional job search techniques.  I’d suggest an hour or two a day at the most.

But wait!  It doesn’t always work, and it doesn’t always produce a great work opportunity for you.  I’ll be exploring other elements of the job search in the next few postings, so stay tuned.