Archive for the ‘Career Development’ Category

Okay, so you are really looking forward to having a few days off from work to celebrate the holidays. I’m with you all the way. It’s a good time to kick back and enjoy, even cheat on your diet before making a New Year’s resolution to lose 10 pounds. But, and I am only asking you this because I care, should you be thinking about your career – just a little?

The reason I’m writing this today is not to be a buzz kill. Instead, I’m hoping that after reading this you will think about pursuing a career that you will find rewarding, that actually makes you happy. If you are forever feeling under-appreciated, under-utilized, over-worked, and / or under-paid, I am here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. In short, I’m here to help you get over the “unders” and “overs.”

First and most importantly, you need to know yourself. I know this sounds cliché. Nonetheless, it is important to know what makes you happy so you can find and ascertain fulfilling work. To do this, you need to ask yourself important questions about what’s important to you. I offer the following questions as a means to get you thinking:

  1. Do you want to telecommute, see clients occasionally, use your relationship building skills, work on diverse projects, have some level of creativity, and write interesting content?
  2. Does the thought of sitting in an office all day or doing the same thing every day seem maddening to you?
  3. Do you find it nearly impossible to sit within four white walls all day with nothing at your disposal but a phone and a computer?
  4. Do you want to be on the move, talking to people, influencing people, persuading people, negotiating with people, or gaining consensus from people?

I wish I could tell you that if you answered “yes” or “no” to any of the abovementioned questions that I know the perfect career for you. I’m afraid it isn’t that easy. What is easy, however, is picking up the phone and calling A Word’s Worth Resume Writing and Career Coaching Service. With more than 25 years of experience in helping people win job interviews and gain positions that actually make them happy, I am confident that I can help you land the job of your dreams. By meeting with me you will actually (and I promise) get to know yourself better than you did before meeting with me. And I get the real treat. By helping you get to know you, I get to know you too! That’s what I call a win-win situation.

Happy holidays! Be safe! “See” you in 2015.

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Question for you: Questionnaires . . . Really?

How many times have you ordered something online, only to have to return it? If you’re anything like me – too many times to count.

That’s why it simply does not make sense to me that you would leave your résumé, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile writing to someone who conducts their business by offering only questionnaires and email correspondence.

Do you have any idea how much critical information I gain from either meeting with your or talking at length with you over the phone?

Do you have any idea why résumé writers use only questionnaires and email correspondence to gain information from you?

The answer to both of the aforementioned questions are provided in the following sentences:

1.  I gain the most significant amount of information from you by meeting with you. An in-person meeting allows you to most adequately “tell your story.” It allows me to most superbly relate your story to prospective employers. This is why meeting with you is my preferred method of working with you.

2. I can also gain an abundance of information by conducting a comprehensive telephone interview with you. Although telephone interviews have their shortcomings when compared to in-person meetings, I have been in this business since 1989 and have developed keen listening skills. To be honest, I did not offer the telephone-interview service until just a few years ago, not until I was completely confident that I could develop excellent résumés, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles without having to meet with you.

3. Generally, résumé writers use questionnaires and email correspondence to elicit information from you because it is more convenient for them to conduct their business in this fashion. Think about it. Do you want to work with a professional résumé writer / career coach who is doing so in a manner that is most convenient for them? Personally, I think not.

I think, instead, you want to work with a Certified Professional Résumé Writer / Career Coach / nationally published author of resume and cover letter samples who is focused FULL TIME on YOU . . . who doesn’t ask you to fill out a questionnaire . . . who takes the time and effort to brand you in support of you getting job interviews. Yes, that’s me. In addition, I’ve been a Military Reward Partner since 2007.


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Getting To Know Me.

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If I had a nickel for every project I turn down, well, I would have a lot of nickels. Several times a day, I get phone calls from prospective clients who want me to write a cover letter or a LinkedIn profile for them, or provide them with interview preparation or career coaching services.

Unfortunately, these folks never become more than “prospective” clients. Why? Well, in plain English, their résumés are not good enough for me to take the time and effort to write them a compelling cover letter and / or LinkedIn profile. And since their résumés and cover letters are not good enough to generate worthwhile interviews, I see no sense in taking the time and effort to provide them with interview preparation and / or career coaching services. Likewise, why labor over a LinkedIn profile when the résumé doesn’t compliment it?

Am I being a lousy businesswoman by turning down their projects? Probably I am. In fact, I would bet (if I were a betting woman) that there are many résumé writers / career coaches who would assume their project and take their money, regardless of the obvious pitfalls of their résumé. But, I’ve been running my business like this (I call it, “ethically”) since I founded A Word’s Worth in 1989. My rationale? I sleep well at night, knowing that I have not done a disservice to an unsuspecting client.

In my defense, the résumés and cover letters of yesterday are not the documents of today. So, when people send me outdated résumés and they don’t want me to “dust them off” to make them competitive in today’s economy, I feel compelled to thank them kindly for the call and for emailing me their résumé for my perusal, then to explain my reasoning for turning down their project. Believe me, it’s nothing personal. In fact, it’s professional.

So, if you are one of those phone callers who I have turned down, I deeply apologize. Please do not take offense. Instead, realize that I am doing what is best for you, and in the long run, what is best for me. You see, at bedtime, my conscience is clear and I sleep like a champ!

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Before I meet with prospective clients, I give them homework. I ask them to please email me one to three postings of positions that appeal to them, regardless of timing, compensation, or location. Once they email me this vital information, I ask them to do one more task. “Now,” I say, “please select the one position for which you want me to brand you within the resume and cover letter I will be writing for you.”

Although during the course of our time together I empower my clients to brand themselves for other positions of interest to them, I make it crystal clear that each and every resume has to be focused toward a particular position and each and every cover letter should be personalized to the particular hiring manager.

In the case of the resume, this means that you will need more than one version. However, it is not nearly as complicated as it sounds. Simply name and save each version of your resume to your hard drive so that you can easily change the target to focus on each position of interest to you.

Today’s economic conditions absolutely demand that employers learn from the resume and cover letter what potential value you bring to the workplace, not what you seek from them. (Hence, resume etiquette has for years stipulated that objectives are “out” and professional profiles and buzzwords are “in.”) This means that prospective employers want to learn from your documents know how you fare against the competition in meeting the demands of the particular position you are seeking. By branding you for the particular position, there is essentially no better way to communicate this.

With easy access to personalized information through social media and sites like LinkedIn, cover-letter customization is usually a click away. Do your due diligence: research who the proper person for the salutation of the letter is. Having a name on the cover letter shows that you really want the job, you took the extra time to personalize the letter, and you are committed to getting the job done. In today’s quick-apply society, taking the time and effort to respond personally to job openings and doing a bit of research will help you stand out from the crowd of prospective candidates.

Speaking of standing out from the crowd of prospective candidates, call me today @ (609) 758-7799 or drop me an email @ nina@awordsworth.com to get the process started!

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Ho, Ho, Hum!.

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It is no secret that prospective employers and recruiters are using social media to identify and investigate employment candidates, utilizing Facebook, LinkedIn, and a myriad of online venues, such as blogs, Twitter, YouTube, and Craigslist, BEFORE they peruse candidate resumes and cover letters.

Clearly, trending indicates that hiring authorities are opting to implement social media “research.”

Think about it, wouldn’t you? Why lose precious time and money in weeding through hundreds — sometimes thousands — of resumes and cover letters when you can first check out employment candidates and form opinions about them by viewing their online presence?

If hiring authorities see what they like online, they are then taking the next logical step of reviewing your resume and cover letter. With the help of Applicant Tracking Software (ATS), this is a simple process of entering a few buzz words into a popular software program and extracting your resume and cover letter.

What does this mean to you? Well, let’s put it into context, by asking a few questions and supplying some logical answers:

Did you get drunk last night and boast about it on Facebook? If the answer is “yes,” chances are you’ve just lost that hiring authority’s interest in you.

Did you complain online about your current boss? Yes? Well, you’ve nixed that job prospect.

Did you curse your way through an online message to your buddy? Bye, bye position you were interested in.

Did you voice your political savvy by badmouthing the “other” political party? So, it’s been nice NOT getting to know you.

In short, the “old days” are the “bygone days.” As a person old enough to remember when a job posting yielded a manageable number of resumes and cover letters, I know that today’s recruiters and prospective employers are inundated — even overwhelmed — with the number of responses they receive in regard to a single, solitary posting.

Hiring authorities are smart to reduce the time involved in finding the ideal candidate by implementing a process of elimination. They first search the Internet to learn what they DON’T like about you before taking the time to learn what they DO like about you.

So what’s an employment candidate do? Seven simple words: build and manage your online presence CAREFULLY.

First, realize that your online presence is critical to your goal of finding a job. Second, consider your choice of online words. Third, treat every online activity as a job maker, a job breaker . . . or an interview for a position as candlestick maker. Fourth, get your resume and cover letter into tip-top shape so that interview can be had.

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