Thursday, December 15, 2011

How to Stop Them From Asking “Found a Job Yet?”

One of the worst things someone can ask you while you are in a job search is the dreaded “Found a job yet?” Arghhh! Although they may mean no harm by asking, that question may remind you that you haven’t found a job yet and possibly make you feel like a failure. So how can you stop them from asking, even when you suspect they are asking because they care about you?

Here is a list if things you can do to get your family, friends, spouse, or adult children from saying or doing the wrong things and instead getting them to work on your behalf.

1) Understand that unless they have been in the job market in the past few years, they have no clue what it is like. Help educate them on how it has changed.

2) Translate whatever it is they say that usually bugs you into this phrase “I care for you – how may I help?” and respond to that phrase and not to what they actually said. This might sound like this:
Them: “Found a job yet? “
You: “Thank you, I know you care and there are things you can do to help.”

3) Understand yourself how they can help.

a. Give them a copy of your networking guide (that is what it is for after all) and ask them to put it in a place where they will see it frequently. Then instruct them that if they meet anyone who is hiring for any of the positions listed or works for any of your target companies, regardless of the position they work in that company, then just introduce you. You may have told them what you were looking for but many of us do not remember things we just hear. Give it to them in writing. If you are not familiar with the networking guide read the article that can be found at this link: and then request a copy of the template.

b. Ask them to help you recall your prior accomplishments. Many times the people in your life can remember some of your best moments that you have forgotten. Add these accomplishments to your own list; add relevant ones to your résumé and review them all before you go into the interview so you can answer those behavioral questions.

c. Ask them to connect to you through LinkedIn. If they are not on LinkedIn, teach them how to set up a profile and send out connection requests. Check their network for people you want to meet and have them introduce you.

One of Amazon’s hottest releases in the job hunting category is the book “Found a Job Yet? And Other Questions NOT to Ask!” It is the only book of its kind. It is not for job seekers; it is for the family and friends of those in a job search. In the first half of this easy to read book, it explains the realities of the new job market. The book goes into enough detail about what a job seeker must do today to find a job that they will understand how much more complex the search is but not so much detail that they are tempted to tell you how to do it. The second half of the book was inspired by and contains actual stories from job seekers about the best thing anyone did for them while they were in their job search, the worst thing anyone did (or said), and what they wished someone would have done. There is a special chapter just for the job search spouse. Give this book to your support team or suggest they get it. You’ll never again hear the question “Found a job yet?”

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Job seekers: You finally have a voice!

Finally you have a voice with your family and friends so they understand the realities of the new job market, what you are going through, and what they should say and do (and NOT say and do) to help you in your job search.

This just released, one-of-a-kind book “Found a Job Yet? And Other Questions NOT to Ask! The Practical Guide for Family and Friends of Those in a Job Search” will help those in your life (parents, spouse, and friends) realize how the job market has drastically changed and gives them specific do’s and don’ts that will help your job search.

The first half of the book goes over the harsh realities of the job market and the steps a job seeker has to go through these days to find a job. It does not get into the detail that a job seeker needs because their job is not to coach you in your search; it is to support and encourage you.

The second half of the book was inspired by and includes actual stores from job seekers to the questions: What is the best thing anyone did for you in your search? What is the worst? And what do you wish they had done?

The people in your life want to help; they just do not know how to or out of the best of intentions are doing and saying the wrong things which are actually hurting your job search efforts. Help them help you by suggesting this book to them.


Twitter: @FoundaJobYetcom

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Job Seekers: Do You Have All of the Right Tools?

Today’s job market is very competitive. As a job seeker, you must play your “A” game and do everything you can to stand out, in a good way, as a valuable candidate for the jobs you seek.

When I speak at various associations and job networking events, I am still surprised and saddened, however, to see that not all job seekers have all of the right tools.

Take a Tip from the World of Marketing

The job you are seeking may not be in sales but, as a job seeker, sales and market is your current job. You must be able to market and sell your skills and experience. The tools you need are even referred to as marketing materials. Today your marketing materials include more than just a resume.

Picture this: a salesman, Fred, has an appointment to sell a $10,000 laptop. Yes, I said $10,000. Where most laptops cost between $600 and $5,000, this computer is amazing, loaded with all of the leading edge features. Fred stands before the customer and extols the virtues of this amazing laptop. The customer hangs onto every word and her eyes get bigger as she is convinced of the value of this laptop. She is sold; she just needs to figure out where in the budget she has the money to purchase it. She asks Fred for his contact information so she can call him when she has the money ready. Fred rips a piece of paper off his notepad, scribbles his name, phone number, and e-mail address onto the torn paper and hands it to her.

Now, you know a professional salesperson would never tear a piece of paper and scribble his name on it to give to a serious customer. But every day I meet job seekers who are selling a product that costs more than $10,000 and do just that.

The most successful way to find a job today is through networking. Through networking you have the opportunity to learn about the majority of available jobs that are not listed online, known as the hidden job market. Every in-person encounter is an opportunity to network and the most acceptable way to exchange contact information is through the exchange of business cards.

Therefore, regardless of the job you are pursuing, you should never step outside your front door without a sufficient supply of business or networking cards containing, at a minimum, your contact information.

Where to Get Cards

Whether you call them business cards, contact cards, or networking cards, you need to have them. There are two approaches to obtaining cards: buying finished cards or purchasing the business card stock and creating your own.

Printing Your Own Cards

At most office supply stores and online you can purchase business card stock. There are two types of paper, one that has the cards pre-perforated and the other that is referred to as clean edge. The problem with the pre-perforated type is that when the cards are separated, a jagged edge still exists along the edge of the card. This type looks less professional so I highly recommend the clean edge stock.

Here are a few other tips about printing your own cards:

• Do not consider buying large paper stock and cutting your own card stock. I have never seen this successfully implemented.

• Be sure to check out the weight of the card stock. Some cards I have received are very flimsy and feel cheap. You do not want your name to be associated with poor quality.

• If you decide to print your own cards, be sure the paper feeds through the printer so the text is not printed at an angle and so the ink does not smear. You do not want to give the impression you are sloppy.

Buying Finished Cards

Office supply and other stores offer printing services and can print cards for you. There are online companies that offer similar services.

While in a job transition, most job seekers are watching their money. There are professional, affordable options available; one such service is They offer a selection of designs for “free” other than the price of shipping.

I am a fan of but have to say that I am personally disappointed with their latest selection of “free” designs; very few of them are acceptable for job networking (see Card Designs section below). Consider purchasing one of their “premium” cards and understand that you will usually receive offers from in the future to receive premium cards for “free” or consider checking out one of their competitor’s selections.

Card Designs

Although many of us like animals and I too love flowers, these patterns are not the best for professional networking cards unless that is relevant to your career. If you are in a creative field, your card should reflect your creativity. If you are in a more conservative field, a more conservative pattern or graphic is best. When picking a design, consider the impression you are leaving with your audience.

When laying out your card, do not use all of the white space (unprinted areas) on the front; it will make the card too hard to read. Also do not use the entire back of the card for text. Some printing services offer preprinted options for the back of the card such as a calendar; pass on these options. You can use the back for additional information about your value but leave space for other people to make notes.
Here are some other thoughts on card design:

• Try to select designs that not everyone else is using.

• People may want to write on your card so avoid the glossy finish that makes it hard to write on them.

• Do not pick dark backgrounds; they are usually hard to read. Stay away from using dark font on a dark background and light font on a light background.

• Be judicious with the use of bold font style; it can make your card harder to read.

• Leverage color in the design and / or in the font to make the card more interesting but do not overdo the use of colors or the card will become busy.

• With you can use the designated fields for data other than their original intended purpose (e.g. you can use the address field for your phone number). Better yet, there is an advanced editing option that allows you to layout the fields exactly where you want them and modify the font style, type, size and color.

The Information the Card Should Contain

The basic information that every card should contain are as follows:
• Name
• The title of the job you are seeking
• Phone number
• E-mail address
• LinkedIn profile URL

Additional information that can be added include 2-3 core competencies, professional credentials and recent graduates can list their degree. The networking card is not a miniature resume so keep the other information concise and brief.

There is some debate about the merits of including a professional headshot. Headshots are not used on resumes anymore except where the profession requires them (a TV anchor or a model for instance). If you decide to add a professional headshot, for consistency use the same one you have on your LinkedIn profile.

Use the same name on your card that you have on your resume and your LinkedIn profile. For example, if you used your middle initial or nickname on those, use your middle initial or nickname on your card.

The card should also communicate the value you bring and the position you are seeking. (See my three-part article about Personal Branding at: If you have a tag line, your card is the perfect place to use it. You can also add other key points that distinguish your uniqueness.

Use a professional e-mail address that includes your name.

Be sure the font is legible. It should be a large enough font to read without a magnifying glass. Also, in selecting a font type (ex. Arial) make note of any information that contains numbers and letters that can be mistaken for one another. In some fonts the number one (1), the lower case letter L (l), and the upper case letter I (I) are hard to differentiate. Select a font type where the letters and numbers are distinct.

Just like on the resume, you should not list multiple phone numbers. Most, if not all of us have answering systems for times we cannot be reached. The caller can leave a message and you can call them back when you are available. Use the one number where you want to be reached.

Do not preface the phone number with “cell:” or “phone” or the e-mail address with “e-mail”; the formats will indicate what information is listed.

There is an urban legend that if you put your home address on your business card, you could be stalked. The truth is that there is so much information about you on the Internet that people can usually find your address regardless of what is on your business card. Do not exclude your address from your card for that reason.

There may be reasons, though, to leave your home address off the card. If you live in an area that may be too far from the business to be considered an acceptable commute for most people, then leave your home address off the card so you are not excluded from consideration.

Other Tips Regarding Cards

• Do NOT use a business card from your former company. It is unprofessional to scratch out the old information and write in your current information. If you are currently employed, secure your own contact cards if you are looking for a job. You should not be looking for a job on your employer’s time so do not give out the company e-mail and phone number for your job search.

• Make sure you maintain a supply of cards on hand so you don’t run out of them before an important event.

• Every day make sure you have an ample supply of cards on you.

• Before entering a networking meeting, take your cards out of the case and put them in your right hand pocket. Place an ink pen in your left hand pocket for when you want to make notes.

• As you receive business cards from other people, jot on their card what you need to contact them about.

• Keep their card in your hand as long as you are speaking with them. One advantage of keeping their card in your hand is that you can reference it if you forget their name.

• Put their cards in your left hand pocket. You do not want to mix up your cards with other people’s cards.

• At the event, when you have a moment and are no longer actively networking, sit and write the name and date of the event on the back of every card you received.

• Follow-up immediately on any actions you need to take as a result of the networking event.

• Organize the cards, or the information on them, for easy access. Some people use plastic sleeves specifically made for three-ring notebooks to store cards. Other people key the information into their contact management system whether it is Excel or another software. If you receive a large number of cards, like I do, you can use a tool such as Neat Works which will scan the cards and automatically propagate contact software, which in my case is Outlook.

• It is not a bad sign when you have given out all of your cards and need to reorder more. It is not a measure of job search failure but is instead a measure of networking success. You are developing a network of people who will not only help you in this job transition but in the future as well.

• Keep your cards in a card case where they do not get bent or marked on. There are some very reasonably priced card cases at local office supply centers.

• When designing the card, verify that all of the information is correct. You do not want to pay for 250 cards only to see that you transposed characters in your e-mail address or phone number.

• Have someone else give you feedback on your card design before you order or print them.

There are many more items in a job seeker’s set of marketing materials besides a resume. To stand out from your competition, be sure to leverage them all appropriately including professional looking networking cards.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Part 3: Another Job Search Essential: Your Personal Brand

The job market continues to change and so must your approach to finding a job. Personal Branding is the latest key to success for your job search. The market is very competitive and a Personal Brand will help you stand out from your competition.

You may be wondering though “what is personal branding and how do I implement it in my search?” In this three part series we cover the what, where, why, and how of personal branding.

Part 1 covered
 What is personal branding?
 Why should I implement branding in my job search?

Part 2 covered
 How do I identify my brand?

In the third and final part of this series you will discover where to use your brand in your job search.


The basic concept of personal branding is that your entire job search has a consistent message, look, and feel. Think of it as your ad campaign.

Other than Geico, which has multiple ad campaigns going at one time, the gecko, the talking money, and the Rod Sterling character, most companies only have one ad campaign running during a particular timeframe. You should be like most companies and only have one campaign going at a time.

Here is a list of things to check to be sure you are being consistent with your marketing materials:

Name: Do you use the same name on all of your marketing materials or do you have your formal name in some places and not others? Do you use a middle initial in one place but not everywhere?

Job Title: When you state what you are looking for, are you consistent with the job title? If you list various titles for the same job, do you list them in the same order?

Document Header: Is the header (content and format for your name and contact information) on your resume the same as on your networking guide and cover letter? This is like your stationery. If you laid out all of the pieces of your marketing material together on a table, would you instantly know they are for the same person without having to read the name?

Color and Font: If you have a website, is it the same color scheme as your business card? Do you have a logo or graphic that you consistently use for your marketing materials?

Consistent with the Product: Is your brand consistent with the product - you? Are you looking for a position based on its title or pay but is not consistent with what you can do or want? If you are looking for an upper management position, do you dress and groom like upper management? For instance I dress conservatively (suits) so my appearance would not be consistent with someone in fashion or a creative field.

Now let’s cover the specific places to add your branding message to your marketing materials.




If you developed and want to use your tagline on your resume, it should go immediately under the header and is considered part of your header. If you have a horizontal line under your contact information, then the tagline can go under the graphic line.

Consider typing the tagline in italics and in title case (first letter of each primary word is capitalized). Decide if you want the tagline in color so it stands out when viewed or printed on a color printer. Realize however that if the recipient prints on a black and white printer it will show in a shade of gray so you may want to test printing it in black and white to see how it looks.

Personal Brand Statement (PBS):

You do not need to use both a tagline and personal brand statement on the resume. If you use both, do not use the exact same set of words. Example: my tagline is “The Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach”. If I use that on my resume and want to use my personal brand statement as well, I will want to use other words for “affordable” and “successful”.
If you use your personal brand statement in your resume it should go where you have a career summary. It can be used in place of your existing career summary or blended in.


Be sure to list your accomplishments in the section “above the fold” and under the job history that support your brand. If you don’t, your brand will ring hollow.


If you added your tagline to your resume header, you should add it to the header on your cover letter. You should always use the same on all of the job search documents you create.

Using the T cover letter format, you should be sure the qualifications you list support your brand. For more about the T Cover Letter go to:


Side note: Every job seeker should have a business / contact card. In fact it has surprised me how many job seekers do not have or use one. My next article will be on the importance to job seekers of having a contact card.

It is essential that you add your tagline to your contact card. You may also want to add a few points from your Personal Brand Statement onto the card, maybe in bulleted format. Do not add the entire PBS to the card; it is too much text.


If you use an e-mail system that has the feature to add a signature block to the e-mail (name, contact information), you want to preformat the signature to include your tagline.

If your e-mail system does not have that feature, open a Word document and develop a signature block yourself that you can use to copy and paste into your e-mails. That will also help make your correspondences more professional looking.


In your LinkedIn profile, you can include your tagline in the free form field under your name. Your entire profile, including your photo, should support your brand as well. Be sure to request recommendations from people who can attest to your brand. Your photo should be consistent with your brand.

Hiring authorities will search on-line for your name to see what is out there about you. Before they do, you should do a search on your name to discover what’s out there about you. Take the time to clean up your Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, and blogs from anything that could eliminate you as a candidate.

By doing an internet search on your name now you will know what is out there currently. What about new entries? There is a tool you can use to alert you to future mentions. Google Alert can be used to identify any mention of your name on-line that the search engine encounters. Note however, it will give you alerts for anyone and everyone with the same name. It is easy though to quickly review all alerts and delete the ones that are not relevant.


The basic elevator pitch includes your name, title, what you are looking for, and ends with a closing question in the form of a question. Your elevator pitch should also include your tagline whether you use the one you developed or a conversational version of it.


The networking guide is the one page document you should give to people in your network so they have something specific and actionable to do to help you in your job search. Just like with your resume and cover letter, the networking guide should include your tagline or brand statement.


When I worked in Information Technology (IT), I was known for taking over teams that were struggling and turning them around. I improved productivity and quality and increased customer satisfaction and employee engagement. That is what I want to communicate during an interview with an IT company.

During the interview, you want to be sure to communicate your brand, what you are known for, the value you bring, and how this company will benefit by hiring you.

Maintain your brand. Be sure other people know about you and the value you bring by participating in in-person networking and LinkedIn groups.

Develop new skills, increase self-awareness, expand your network, and evolve your brand as you evolve.


There are some fabulous books on the market about personal branding. They include but are not limited to the ones listed here. If you have recommendations about other books on personal branding, please e-mail me the titles and authors.

Me 2.0, Revised Edition by Dan Schawbel

Career Smart: Five Steps to a Powerful Personal Brand by Sherri Thomas

Managing Brand You by Jerry S. Wilson / Ira Blumenthal

Judi Adams is the Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach. In addition to her coaching practice, Ms. Adams is a keynote speaker and her blog of job search articles are read world-wide. Ms. Adams is about to publish her first book. Stay tuned for more about her upcoming, one of a kind, book about the job search.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Another Job Search Essential: Your Personal Brand - Part 2

The job market continues to change and so must your approach to finding a job. Personal Branding is the latest key to success for your job search. The market is very competitive and a Personal Brand will help you stand out from your competition.

In this three part series we will cover the what, where, why and how of personal branding.
 What is personal branding?
 Why should I implement branding in my job search?
 How do I identify my brand?
 Where do I use it?

In Part 1, we covered what is personal branding and why you should implement it in your job search. The link to that article is:

Part 2: How do I Identify My Personal Brand?

Now that you understand how branding will set you apart from your competition in your job search, you need to know what that brand is.
You actually already have a brand. Hopefully before you updated your resume you inventoried your skills, abilities, accomplishments, values, interests, etc. If not, that is where you want to begin. Your brand is a combination of how you are unique, what you want to do, and how the company will benefit from this.

Ask these questions:
• What am I known for?
• What is my expertise or what am I an expert at handling?
• What do I do better than others and enjoy doing?

You can start identifying your brand by noticing the trend in the things you have done for other companies that you enjoyed doing and became known for.

Picture your boss holding a box that contains a problem or situation. The boss is looking at you and your peers and asking himself, “Who is the best person to take care of this problem or situation?” What is the problem or situation in that box where you are the best person to give “it” to?

The “it” should be something you enjoy doing and you should have at least three separate examples or STARs that support your claim at being good in this area.


Start to write down ideas that come to you as you review the list of accomplishments you documented. Do not edit the words or ideas; just let them flow.

Once you have jotted your thoughts, verify that they can be supported by at least three separate accomplishments. If what you did was fabulous but you only did it once at one company, that is not your brand.

Then start to form your Personal Brand Statement which is 3-4 lines long. When I am working with clients on their brand statements, I make sure I have a blank MS Word document open so I can type in the various words and use the Thesaurus to see if there are better words that more concisely communicate the idea.

Once you have a tight PBS then find the most powerful concepts to create your brief your tag line (no more than around seven words).

Test It Out

Now try out your personal brand statement and tag line on someone else to be sure it “works”. Ask the other person if your PBS and tag are clear and clearly communicate your audience, your value to the audience, what you want to do, and how you are unique at it. Then share with them the three STARs you feel support the brand.

Next: Where to Implement Your Brand

Now you have two parts of your brand. In the next and last installment you will learn how to incorporate your brand in your entire job search.

*1 For more on STARs, go to

By Judi Adams, the Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach. In addition to her coaching responsibilities, Ms. Adams is a keynote speaker and her blog of job search articles are read world-wide. Ms. Adams is about to publish her first book. Stay tuned for more about her upcoming, one of a kind, book about the job search.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Another Job Search Essential: Your Personal Brand

The job market continues to change and so must your approach to finding a job. Personal Branding is the latest key to success for your job search. The market is very competitive and a Personal Brand will help you stand out from your competition.

You may be wondering though “what is personal branding and how do I implement it in my search?” In this three part series we will cover the what, where, why and how of personal branding.
 What is personal branding?
 Why should I implement branding in my job search?
 How do I identify my brand?
 Where do I use it?

Part 1: What is Personal Branding and Why Should I Implement Branding in My Job Search?

We are familiar with the concept of brands in marketing. Wikipedia reminds us it is the collection of experience and associations with [what we think and feel related to] a service, person or any other entity [like a product].

In 1997, Tom Peters coined the term personal branding and the concept has slowly made its way into the competitive job market.

Personal Branding for Job Seekers

Personal branding in the job search actually involves your entire job search; it is not just something you put onto your resume or business card. Think of it as your ad campaign.

Your brand is the consistent message about the value you bring and what you are looking for. Your brand offers a consistent look and feel to your marketing materials (example: the same header is used on your resume as on your cover letter) and even a consistent use of your name (example: with or without middle initial), and consistent colors and fonts. Most of all, your brand needs to be consistent with the product - you.

There are some terms you may hear about Personal Branding. USP is your Unique Selling Proposition. That is the one thing that differentiates you from your competition and benefits others. ROI is return on investment. In the job market the ROI is the benefit the company realizes when they hire you.

You are Unique

As I tell my clients and when I’m out speaking to groups, there is something about you that is unique to you. Whatever “it” is, it comes easily to you and, since it does, you minimize it in yourself. You think “that’s no big deal, that easy”. Yes, to you! The rest of us would give our left arms to be able to do that the way you do. Since you are not a good judge of what makes you unique, you have to ask people who know you and therefore know what that special something is about you.

Years ago I participated in an outplacement class. The facilitator asked us to share with the group something for which we are known. The first two people mentioned something that they are known for cooking wise. It got me thinking: I fix a great Derby Pie (chocolate chip) that has won awards at local bake offs. It is so easy to fix I even thought I could whip one up that night and bring it in the next day so they could see for themselves how good it is. However, the facilitator called on me next and said “from you I want a work example”.

Well! He wasn’t going to get my pie now. I thought and thought “work example huh?” and the co-worker to my left said “Are you kidding me?” From that I took her to mean that she had thought of something for me, so I asked her for her idea.

She reminded me that when I took over the support team, we were not loved by our internal customers. In order to determine the problem, I set up separate meetings with each customer and asked them what it was that the team did well and what areas did we need to improve. She went on to remind me that when I assured them that I would turn things around and make them “raving fans”, they not only trusted me enough to give us a clean start but they even invited me to their internal meetings, where IT (my department) had never been invited to before. She was saying that I earn people’s trust quickly.

My first internal thought was “So? That’s no big deal”. Then I thought back to other times where people trusted me quickly and completely. This is one way I am unique and thanks to Angela I am now aware of it and have had it affirmed over and over again.

You too are unique. You have a reputation with those who work with you. You are known for something and you want to leverage that reputation to stand out from your competition.

In Part 2 we will cover how to identify your brand. For now let’s talk about the parts of your brand.

Personal Brand Statement (PBS)

The PBS is a detailed statement, three to four lines in length, which powerfully communicates the fundamental trait that differentiates you. Your PBS must include an indication of who is your audience, your value to the hiring company, and your uniqueness.

Tag Line

The other item for your branding is a tag line. The tag line is a one sentence, catchy phrase about your uniqueness. This must convey the same basic message as your PBS about the value you bring and your uniqueness.

Think back to some of the most famous tag lines in the world of advertising. FedEx’s “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.” clearly communicates who the audience is (people who ship things and are in a hurry) and the value FedEx brings and how they are unique (it WILL get there overnight).

Why Should I Create a Brand?

Branding is becoming a staple in the job market because you are in essence selling a product and you want to stand out so the customer (the hiring authority) remembers you and the value you bring.

You already have a reputation at work; the brand is just leveraging it to demonstrate your uniqueness and generate a curiosity about you.

Your brand also identifies the type of company and position that is a fit for you. Let’s say you are known for and enjoy the challenge of turning companies around. You would not be a fit for a company that is looking for someone to come in and keep things running as they are. That company also would not be a fit for you because it would be a waste of your talents.

No Brag, Just Facts

If you want to sell a product, you have to be able to recount its virtues or you won’t get the sale. I work with people though who were reluctant to talk about themselves and it usually goes back to the way they were raised. They were taught that it is wrong to brag. I agree you should not brag; fortunately I am not asking you to. Your brand is based on fact.

I use a lot of analogies; my analogy for how your brand is not bragging is that of an artist. An artist who wants to sell some of their art would carry an artist’s portfolio filled with samples of their work. You will agree it would be absurd for the artist to refuse to show the art to prospective customers. Instead, the artist would open up the portfolio and lay out the art, step back, and let the other person judge for himself. You would not consider this bragging, would you? No!

With your brand and with your STARs *1, you are stating facts. Bragging would be to say “I’m great” or “I’ve done it before and I can do it again” without providing supporting details. Instead, lay the facts on the table (your STARs and brand) like you did the art and let them judge.

Next in the Series

In Part 2 of this three part series we will discuss ways to identify your brand and in Part 3 we will examine where to implement your brand.

*1 For more on STARs, go to

By Judi Adams, the Affordable and Successful Job Search Coach. In addition to her coaching responsibilities, Ms. Adams is a keynote speaker and her blog of job search articles ( read world-wide. Ms. Adams is about to publish her first book. Stay tuned for more about her upcoming, one of a kind book about the job search.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What Document is as Valuable to a Job Seeker as a Great Resume?

All job seekers know the importance of having a resume and many job seekers learn how to create a great resume. There are not many job seekers, though, who know there is a piece of marketing material that is as important and valuable as a great resume: a one-page networking guide.

The networking guide in the past has been called a marketing plan but the old name is misleading. The old name, marketing plan, does not reflect the most important purpose of the document: a guide for your network to use to help you network into your next job.

People want to help you with your job search; they just don’t know what to do. And if you told them they probably don’t remember what you said; they have lives of their own and probably know more than one person in a job transition. When someone offers to help you with your job search, they need something concrete and actionable to do. Having it in writing helps so they don’t have to remember what you said.

As the new name implies, the main purpose of the networking guide is to provide the information needed so your friends, family, and network buddies can help you in your job search. Help them by giving them a one-page summary of the key points to listen for as they are out and about.

When you give them a copy of your networking guide, let them know they can help you by keeping it in a place they see frequently (like on their refrigerators or by their desks). When they meet someone who is hiring one of the job titles listed, or works at one of your target companies, regardless of position, they should just introduce you to them. Simple and actionable.

Seeing it often will help them remember the information. As they are talking with other people and hear a company’s name that is on your list, they will remember to introduce you to the person who has a contact there.

The one-page document has a side benefit. It forces you to concisely state what you are looking for. It includes industry, the various names the position you seek is called, and geographic area (ex. whether or not you are open for relocation). The process of creating the guide helps you identify your top skills, your competitive advantage, and a list of 5 – 10 target companies.

As a job search coach, job seekers frequently offer me their resumes, not to review but so I can help them network. Even as a job search coach the resume does not help me help them. The resume states what they have done, not what they are looking for. The networking guide, however, gives me a list of job titles and target companies that I can use.

One job seeker shared his networking guide with me and said he was told to use it as the cover letter when sending out his resume. Ah – no! Do not share your networking guide with your target companies. Your target companies should believe they are the only company you desire.

How to Create a Networking Guide

The header of the networking guide should be the same header you use on your resume. This is now your letterhead and should be used on all job search materials, giving you a professional look.

If you used a career summary on your resume, you should use that here. If you don’t have one, summarize in less than 5 lines your experience that highlights your competitive advantage.

Table of Core Skills
In a table with 3-5 columns, identify the major categories of your core skills and a few (1-3) brief accomplishment statements that support those skills.

Elevator Pitch
In this section, document the parts of your elevator pitch: the industry, the position (with the various titles used for the same position ex. Project Managers are sometimes called Delivery Managers), and the geographic area you are considering.

Target Companies
Overwhelmingly statistics prove that networking is the best way to find and secure a job. Since it takes time to network into any one company, you do not want to use the shotgun approach and spread yourself too thin. Identify the top 5-10 companies that you really want to work for. This list should come from research you have done to understand who is expanding their business (ones to consider including) and which companies are struggling or letting people go (ones to exclude from your list). Remember too that most of the available jobs are in smaller companies.

Your job as a job seeker is to work your network, find and contact people in these companies, and build a relationship so they get to know you. The rapport you build gives you advantage over the faceless people represented by the thousands flat pieces of paper called resumes that the company received via the internet or mail.

Create your networking guide and freely share it with the people in your network. Save your resumes for the target companies, the ones you will network into with the help of your network buddies.

To receive a networking guide template, e-mail with the subject line “networking guide template”.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Rate Your Job Search

There are millions of people looking for jobs these days. The market is tough and you have to be at the top of your job search game to be successful. Yet too many job seekers are not prepared; they have not done what they need to do in order to compete.

To know where rank in your job search skills, answer True or False to each of the following statements. Then total the number of True statements and compare it to the chart to see how you are doing on your job search.

Following the statements are links to articles that address many of these areas. If you ranked lower than you had hoped or expected, you will want to read the articles related to that area and make changes to improve your search.

T/F Statement

Step 1 - Attitude

1. I have processed the loss and harbor no negative feelings about my prior companies or bosses.

2. I am excited about my future prospects.

3. I have no life issues (foreclosure, bankruptcy, etc.) or I have sought assistance / advice about them.

Step 2 - Aptitude

1. I have inventoried my prior accomplishments in STAR format and have at least 25 accomplishments.

2. I have at least 50 accomplishments documented in STAR format.

3. I have reviewed my prior companies, bosses, positions, and identified trends of what I like and dislike so I can make an informed decision about my next job and company.

4. I have identified my top 5 strengths (Strength Finder 2.0) and documented a STAR for each.

5. I have rated my abilities and documented STARs for each of my top abilities.

6. I have taken training since I have been on the job market or grown my skills in a volunteer capacity or through contract work.

Step 3 - Altitude

1. I have identified and can clearly communicate the industry and position I am pursuing.

2. I have identified 5-15 companies I am actively targeting.

3. I have defined the geographic area I would consider, the minimum salary I can afford to take, and the salary I would like to earn.

Marketing Materials

1. I have a 30 second elevator pitch, which I have practiced, and it does not include any reference to the past (example “I used to…” or “I worked for…”) and I find opportunities to share it with others.

2. I have a resume that sells my skills in the section “above the fold”.

3. In my resume, I use bullets for my accomplishments and not for parts of the job description.

4. My resume is not my most used piece of marketing material. My elevator pitch, business cards, and marketing plan are.

5. My resume does not begin with an objective about what I want.

6. My resume does not have the words “references available upon request” (or equivalent) on it and I know not to add a picture unless I am applying for a job before the camera (modeling, newscaster).

7. I have business / networking cards that contain my name, the title of the position I seek, and my contact information. The back of the card has white space where the recipient can jot notes.

8. I carry a stock of my networking cards with me at all times and give them to my new contacts and I ask them for their cards.

9. I have developed a one page marketing plan that defines what I am looking for (title and target company). I give copies of my one page marketing plan to people in my network so they have in writing what I am looking for and know to introduce me to anyone they know or meet who works in my target companies.

10. I have a profile on Linked In with my picture, at least 50 connections, and 3 recommendations.

11. I use the T cover letter format that visually walks the reader through why I am the perfect candidate.

Step 4 - Search

1. I participate in job networking groups on a regular basis.

2. I actively participate in industry or special interest networking groups on a weekly basis.

3. I spend 70%+ of my time each week at networking meetings or following up with contacts I have met.

Step 5 - Sort

1. I have practiced an interview and received feedback from a reliable source.

2. I know of and use other places to research the company before the interview other than just the company’s web site.

3. I have familiarized myself with other interview do’s and don’ts.

4. I know to develop questions to ask during the interview about the company, the industry, the boss, the position, and economic impacts to the organization so I can determine if this is the right place for me.

Step 6 - Select

1. I compare the company offer to my requirements.

2. I will not take a job if it is not a fit for me.

Once Employed

1. I know that the reality of the new job market is that my next job is not my last.

2. I place a high priority on continuing education that increases my marketability even if I have to pay for that training myself.

3. I continue to network in the company on a regular basis and within the industry at least once a quarter.

4. I continue to maintain my accomplishment list, the list of training I have taken and skills I have developed.


28 – 36

It appears you are doing many if not most things correctly in your job search. You may want to read up on the other areas to see if you can make even more improvements.

19 – 27

You are doing many things correctly although there is definite room for improvement. By implementing ideas from this checklist, you can ace the job search and land your next job.

10 - 18

Although you are doing some parts of the job search correctly, there are many important aspects of the search you need to add.

0 – 9

The job market changed. You will want to and need to change your approach to the job search.

For more information about the various topics and steps mentioned above, check out the following articles. Some of the articles contain the similar information but may be presented in a different way that resonates for different people in different circumstances.

Step 1 - Attitude

Good News! The good news is that there are millions of available jobs out there.

What May be Keeping You Unemployed

The Truth You Need to Know but May Not Want to Hear

Truths About the New Job Market

When You Can’t Find Something – You Change Your Perspective: Try it With Your Job Search Too

There is no Shame in being Unemployed

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Part 1

The Phone Number All Job Seekers Should Know

How to Stay Positive in a Job Search

If You Hit a Wall in Your Job Search

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 1 of 4- Active Listening

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 2 of 4 - Body Language

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 3 of 4 – Accepting Change

The Other Skills That Will Help You Get the Job: Part 4 of 4 – Good Attitude


Step 2 - Aptitude

Tip 2 - You Have to Know You to Sell You

Identifying Your Competitive Advantages

The Power of Your STAR Statements

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Step 2

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Mistake # 2

Step 3 - Altitude

Mandatory Requirements are Not Always Mandatory

The Underutilized Job Search Tool: The Informational Interview (Two part series)

If you are Transitioning Industries or Careers

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Step 3

Marketing Materials

The Most Powerful Cover Letter

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Your Marketing Materials

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 2)

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 3)

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Your Marketing Materials (Part 4)

What Document is as Valuable to a Job Seeker as a Great Resume? (The Marketing Plan)

Another Item in a Successful Job Seeker’s Marketing Materials

Resume Tune Up

Step 4 - Search

Wash That Gray Right Out of Your Search: Tips for the More Experienced (Older) Job Seeker

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Step 4: The Search

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Mistake #3

How to Network if You are Not Good at It


Step 5 - Sort

The 4 P’s of a Successful Interview (Four part series)

Handling the Salary Discussion

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job –Step 5: Sort – The Interview

The Phone Interview Checklist

How Will You Answer the Interviewer’s Question: What Else Have You Done Since You Left Your Last Job?

Step 6 - Select

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Step 6: Select the Right Job

Once Employed

Job Seekers: Action Items Once You are Employed

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes – Mistake # 4

Take the Next Important Step to Landing that Job – Action Items to Take While Working to Make the Next Transition Easier and Faster

What Employed People Need to Know

Consider a Mother Resume

Good news, I’m not suggesting you reformat your resume AGAIN! This is not the latest fad format to send out as a part of your job search.

Let’s see what a Mother Resume is then. Do you have a collection of formerly used resumes that you use as a basis for your most current resume? You may pick a section from this one and another section from another. You liked the wording on a version but you deleted that section and now have to search through all the previous versions for that wording again. Well, the Mother Resume is instead the single resume from which all others are spawned.

• The Mother Resume has all previous jobs listed; it is not limited to an industry, position, or dates.

• Because there is no limit to the number of pages with this resume, you have all of the previously used wordings and accomplishments on it.
You are not sending this version out so it can be as long as you need.

• I suggest you title it Mother Resume so you keep track of its purpose and don’t delete anything from it. Mother Resumes are only to be added to or enhanced.

Then when you need wording or a previous position or accomplishment, you have it safely and centrally located in the Mother Resume. Consider creating a Mother Resume to make resume building easier.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes - Mistake #4

Mistake #4 is a must read for all people - employed and unemployed.

This is a very tough job market. Many highly skilled, extremely professional job seekers are taking an unprecedented amount of time to find a job. There are, though, four killer mistakes that job seekers are making that turn a long job search into an even longer one. This multiple part series will cover these mistakes and give the job seeker (you) tools to overcome them.

In the first part of this series, we covered Mistake 1: conducting the search with a bad attitude. We learned the realities about the new job market so we can successfully navigate in it. We learned what it takes to process the loss, we have a way to deal with pressure points and we have chosen to look for the opportunity

In part two, we covered mistake 2: Not Knowing Your Product and Your Target Market. Job seekers must understand the product they are selling and the market they are targeting before they update their resume and begin their search.

Mistake 3 was searching the wrong way. The majority of job seekers apply for jobs on-line yet only 10% or less of job seekers get their jobs that way. The right way to search for a job is through networking.

Mistake 4: Stopping When You are Employed

Your next job is not your last; that is one of the realities of the new job market. You will be on the job market again. Don’t try to do the minimum to get this next job. In fact you should use this time to get good at the job search.

Some of the practices you have put into place and the pains you went through are lessons for what you should continue to do the rest of your life even and especially while you are employed.

Of course when you land that job you will want to notify your contacts but it doesn’t stop there with them. Maintain these contacts. Don’t let the only time you call Uncle Fred be when you are out of a job. We do have caller id and if you only call when you need something, he’ll know it is you calling again and be less likely to answer or at a minimum feel used.

Develop new contacts. As the title of Harvey MacKay’s book, Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty, illustrates, you want to develop your network before you need them. Develop contacts in your new department and in other departments in that company. Be intentional about continuing your participation in industry networking meetings and develop new contacts there.

Increase your marketability. If your company offers employee training, take it. If they don’t, take it anyway; invest in yourself by paying for your own training to keep your skills on the top of the market.

At a conference I attended in 2008, Jim Collins the author of Good to Great, gave the following as a word of advice to a recent graduate,” Do not spend 5 years getting 2 years worth of experience”. Baby Boomers and generations before thought they owed it to a company to work there as long as possible even if, as an employee, they were not growing new skills. With the reality of the new job market being that your next job is not your last, you need to continually grow your skills. After 2 years if you realize you are not still growing your skills, ask for new responsibilities that will develop new skills for you. If the current department can’t offer you that, look elsewhere in the company. If the company does not have a place for you to grow, then you need to go.

Maintain your marketing materials especially your accomplishment list, a list of training you have taken, and your list of new technical skills. Remember what it took to recall this information when you did your inventory. Make it easier for yourself by recording these as you go. You can even give your list of accomplishments to your manager before he has written your annual review stating that you are capturing this information for yourself but if it helps him at review time, great, if not, that’s okay too; you are doing it for yourself.

Keep up on the industry. If your industry is about to fold, get out. If your industry is getting into something new, be one of the first to learn it and then come back and offer to share that knowledge with your peers and managers. That will set you up as the Subject Matter Expert.

Save aside the equivalent of 8 to 12 months of salary for your next transition.

Assist others. Think back to the people you encountered during your job search. Some would not give you the time of day and others went out of their way to help. What reputation do you want?

Do not let your engine seize up by lack of use. Keep your job search engines warmed up to make the next transition shorter and easier.

Learn from your mistakes or that of other jobs seekers. When you have a positive attitude, when you know your product and target market, when you use the right search strategy, and when you do what you need to while employed to make that next transition easier, you will ace navigating this new job market.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Sometimes the job doesn’t come until the eleventh hour

If you are unemployed, you want the job NOW! Christians have always heard that God’s timing is perfect. As humans we usually wish things happened in our time. When I was in a job search in 2002 I even bought a book titled “You’re Late Again Lord, the Impatient Woman’s Guide to God’s Timing” by Karon Goodman just because of the title. This humorous book, sadly out of print now but with copies still availability on Amazon, reemphasizes the point that God’s timing is perfect.

So why does God sometimes wait until the final hour, sometimes even the final minute and second (11:59:59)?

I have two stories of how God perfectly used the time before giving jobs to two women: one is me the other is a good friend.

My story is like so many others. I lost my job in the 4th round of company downsizing following the dot com bust, the resulting stock market “correction” and 9/11. Being in Information Technology (IT) I was like many other techies, I was used to falling into my next job due to the high demand for our skills.

At the beginning of the search I calculated how long I could last financially while I was looking for a job factoring in the severance package (which was small), unemployment, and savings. April. April was the deadline.

I didn’t know that the job market had changed so I was shocked three months into it that I had not been scooped up yet. I had a peace though that God had me where I was supposed to be. I had an amazing peace although I was still keeping my eye on the calendar.

In April I looked at my finances again and surprisingly could make it until August 1st. I had not had many bites and had even been refused registration for a job fair because I didn’t have five years of healthcare. A JOB FAIR! They were going to be sitting there anyway taking resumes but they would not let me attend.

I soon realized what God was doing. He was teaching me to walk in faith and strengthening my walk. If you have read any of my work or heard me speak you know I use a LOT of analogies. The comparison I use for this time is the time we taught my much younger baby sister how to walk. When we knew she was close to taking those first few independent steps, I propped her up against the coffee table and I stepped back a few inches and called her to me. She let go of the table and took one step toward me and then fell into my arms. After praising her I put her back against the table and I stepped back further so she had to walk further. I was stepping back further so she would walk further and get stronger at walking, although I was always right there.

That is what God was doing with me. He was stepping back but not away so I could learn to walk in faith. The happy ending is that not only did I network into and get hired by the company that would not allow me in their job fair, but within two weeks I was promoted to the manager position and a month later HR asked me to work the job fair; the very one that months earlier I was not allowed to attend. That was God reminding me too that through Him all things are possible. Since that time I have been volunteering with Crossroads Career network, sharing with other job seekers how the market has changed and what they have to do to be successful in it.

I continued in IT for the next 6 years but in 2008 I had the opportunity to take a severance package (not so small this time) or apply for another position within my company whose industry was hard hit by the recession and economic crisis. I chose to take the package and that is when I launched my own company as a career coach.

Speaking of walking in faith! I had never run a company before, less start one up, in a field that was not the one I worked in for oh so many years. I didn’t have capital to invest in the business. I was literally walking in faith. And once you take that first step, it is just like when we were teaching my sister to walk. There are longer stretches of road ahead that require faith. But just like on a highway, when we start to wonder if we missed a turn that we were supposed to take, God will give us a sign to assure us that we are on the right road. I now see clearly how God used my eight months of unemployment in 2002 and I am grateful for it; I needed that lesson for now.

Not always do we see the reason, at least in this life. However, there are other times, like mine when it is obvious. No example is as extreme as my friend’s story.

Terri (not her real name) had been in job searches before. Being in HR, she experienced the ups and downs of the market and mergers and acquisitions. A woman of faith, she knew God would provide. One of my favor quotes is attributed to Mother Theresa: “God does not give you more than you can handle. I just wish He didn’t trust me so much”. I’m sure Terri felt the same way.

Terri’s healthcare coverage (Cobra) was about to expire at the end of February of this year. A week before that Terri started experiencing chest pains. There are many things that can cause chest pains and the feeling of indigestion but since heart conditions run in her family, she went to get it checked out. The first doctor did a few tests and listened to her heart and dismissed it as anxiety (after all she is in a job search and her Cobra is about to expire) and suggested she take an antacid. Not finding any comfort with the antacid, and watching the calendar get ever closer to the end of the month, Terri scheduled another doctor’s appointment with a different doctor.

This doctor conducted more tests and still didn’t see anything of concern. At her urging, he scheduled her for a stress test on Friday. She was sure if there was anything to find, the stress test would do it since she had been experiencing exhaustion and pain especially when she was active.

Upon completing the stress test, the doctor told Terri in his most serious voice to get herself over to the hospital immediately. She had two 99.9% blockages and she needed to have surgery immediately. He said if they had dismissed her, she most likely would not make it through the week.

She had two stints put in that very day. Because of the new advances in surgery she was home the next day and even went on an interview that Monday. By the way she got the job.

But here is why His timing is so perfect for Terri. He knows Terri. He knows that if her Cobra had not been about to expire, she would have dismissed the signs and deferred her doctor appointments. After all she can’t afford the expense or the time from her job search. He also knows that if she had already started her job, she would have not taken time off for a doctor’s appointment; how would that have looked just having started a new job? God KNEW this was the only time He would have her full attention. Had she not gone to the doctor when she did, she would not be with us today.

How is God using this time with you? Is He trying to teach you something you will need in the future, like me? Is He trying to draw you closer to Him so you are seeking with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:11-17)? Is He giving you time to take care of and spend time with a relative who is sick or dying? Or does He know you like He knew Terri and is trying to get your attention about something? Ask Him and then listen for His direction.

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes - Mistake #3

This is a very tough job market. Many highly skilled, extremely professional job seekers are taking an unprecedented amount of time to find a job. There are, though, four killer mistakes that job seekers are making that turn a long job search into an even longer one. This multiple part series will cover these mistakes and give the job seeker (you) tools to overcome them.

In the first part of this series, we covered Mistake 1: conducting the search with a bad attitude. We learned the realities about the new job market so we can successfully navigate in it. We learned what it takes to process the loss, we have a way to deal with pressure points and we have chosen to look for the opportunity.

In part two, we covered mistake 2: Not Knowing Your Product and Your Target Market. Job seekers must understand the product they are selling and the market they are targeting before they update their resume and begin their search.

Mistake 3: Searching the Wrong Way

The majority of job seekers apply for jobs on line. For far too many, that is their only job strategy. Yet only 10% or less of job seekers gets their jobs by applying on-line. Only 15% of all of the available jobs are even listed online. Is there any surprise then that this is a mistake?

The majority of jobs are secured by networking and it is through networking that you will find the hidden jobs.

Where Should You Network?

There are job groups around the country that have a networking component. Most of the people in attendance though are also unemployed. You want to network as well with employed people. Attend an industry related group where your future hiring manager and future peers network. Attend a special interest networking group. Your common passion, say for photography, will create a bond. Volunteer. You will be surprised who knows the person you are trying reach.

How do You Network?

Many job seekers do not like networking and are not good at it. Like any skill, it must be learned and developed. There are good books about networking; my favorites are: Susan RoAne’s How to Work a Room and Harvey MacKay’s Dig Your Well Before You’re Thirsty. Networking is not you going up to people with the main goal of seeing how they can help you. Because of that I recommend another book for people to before networking: Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People .

Do not make mistake # 3 by limiting our job search to just applying on-line. Use the approach that reaps the best results: network!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes - Mistake # 2

This is a very tough job market. Many highly skilled, extremely professional job seekers are taking an unprecedented amount of time to find a job. There are, though, four killer mistakes that job seekers are making that turn a long job search into an even longer one. This multiple part series will cover these mistakes and give the job seeker (you) tools to overcome them.

In the first part of this series, we covered Mistake 1: conducting the search with a bad attitude. We learned the realities about the new job market so we can successfully navigate in it. We learned what it takes to process the loss, we have a way to deal with pressure points and we have chosen to look for the opportunity.

Mistake 2: Not Knowing Your Product and Your Target Market

Updating your resume seems like it is one of the, if not the, first step of a job search. The truth is that you should not update your marketing materials (which your resume is just one part) until after step 3.

My next analogy: I can’t sell a computer without knowing how the computer works and what makes it better than the competition’s computer. I would not dream of walking into an office to sell the computer and not being able to answer the question “why should I buy your computer over another’s?” I surely wouldn’t dream of saying “because I need the sale”. I also wouldn’t dream of creating the computer’s marketing materials without knowing my computer’s advantages.
I also would miss the mark if I created the marketing material for this computer without knowing my target market. I need to understand who would buy this computer. Trying to sell a Windows machine to artists or film production companies would fail because these industries use mainly Apple technology. If my computer does not have high end graphics cards, I also would not be successful in selling to gamers. Before I can create my marketing materials for this computer I must know its advantages and the target market.

Sadly job seekers update their resumes and begin their search without identifying their competitive advantages. Too many go into interviews without having a good answer for why the company should hire them instead of one of the other candidates. Not wording the resume for the target market also reduces the chance of a sale.

Inventory YOU

To understand your product, you need to take an inventory. You need to discover and write down your :
 Accomplishments
 Abilities
 Interests
 Personality
 Values
 Passions
 Education / Certificates

How do you identify this information? First, ask others. There is something about you that is unique. It comes easy to you and because it does, you think it is no big deal. The rest of us would give our eye teeth for this ability but you don’t see it because it is easy. Yes – for you! You can’t see this unique ability that you have. Only someone who knows you and has seen you in action can help you see it. So ask someone who knows you.

Go through former performance reviews. If your boss was good, they documented your skills and accomplishments. Go through and pull these out and add them to your inventory.

Take assessments that help you understand you.

Accomplishments: As far as I know, you have not cured cancer or solved world peace. However, you have accomplished a lot in your life. Before you got there, the company was one way and was different after you left; your finger prints are all over those accomplishments. You need to document these accomplishment stories. I have always said: memory does not get better with age. Unless you have been documenting these accomplishments as you have gone along, you have already forgotten many of them. We are going to use some of these accomplishments in your resume. All of your accomplishments will be available for you to recall in the interview to add power to your responses. And reading your accomplishments from time to time will remind you how valuable you are; companies have paid for your skills before and they will again.

You should have over 50 accomplishments documented and they should be documented in the format of STAR: Situation or Task that you faced, the Actions you took, and the Results you have received.

Abilities: Rate yourself against a list of abilities and recall and document a time you excelled in using your highest ranked abilities.

Interests: what do you do or what would you do in your spare time? Let’s consider combining your interests and your job. I have had clients who never dreamed of doing that and are now living their dream.

Personality: We are each made a certain way. Some of us get energy by being around people and others of us (including yours truly) who, although we like people, get energy by being alone. Some people need organization and others like to wing it. You need to know how you are made. Understanding your personality will help you find the right work environment for you.

Values: There are companies you would not work for based on the products they sell or the values that they hold. On the other hand, there are companies you would give your eye teeth to work with because of the products that they sell or the values that they hold. Knowing your values will help you identify or eliminate companies to target.

Passions: Given two candidates with similar backgrounds and experiences, the one with the passion for the work or the company will get the job. Know what your passions are and consider pursuing them. When reviewing a list of companies in your area, which ones excite you and which ones leave you flat?

Education and certificate: You already include formal education and professional certificates on your resume. Go one step further and inventory all classes and extensive self study you have ever taken. Include webinars and seminars. These will not all make it onto the resume. The inventory though will help you recall everything you have studied and this information can be used in the interview to support knowledge of a topic. When asked about an area where you do not have experience, instead of saying what you don’t have, you can elaborate on the knowledge you have gained on that topic or a related one.

Target Market

Identify where you want to work and research who is hiring.

Be able to clearly answer why you would like to work in that industry, doing that job, for that company.

Know where to search for those opportunities (read Mistake 3).

You need to research who you know who knows someone who works for that company.

Identify the gaps in your skills or experience that are obstacles of you getting the job and address that gap. There are tons of free courses on-line and many companies even offer free 30 days demo software.

You cannot successfully sell a product unless you know the product and who would buy it. Know your product, YOU, and your target market. Now you can update your marketing materials.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Atlanta Business Chronicle Addressing ATL Unemployment

The Atlanta Business Chronicle (ABC) not only cares about the unemployment problem, they are doing something about it.

The word is getting out about the Atlanta Business Chronicle’s new hiring initiative, Hire One Atlanta. It has even received national attention. But if you haven’t heard about it you need to. The Hire One Atlanta initiative is the brainchild of Ed Baker, publisher of Atlanta Business Chronicle, who was looking for a way to stimulate the economy by getting companies to hire the unemployed.

The Challenge

In a public-private partnership to put Atlantans back to work -- Hire One Atlanta -- Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed and Atlanta Business Chronicle are challenging employers to hire at least one new employee this year. In return, Atlanta Business Chronicle will spotlight all companies that hire a new employee in a special ad that will run every week in this year.

“We want to adjust the attitude in the marketplace,” Baker said. “We hope we can celebrate the companies that are doing the right thing.”

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed revealed in an interview on MSNBC Thursday that the Hire One Atlanta initiative has resulted in 546 new jobs by 109 companies, including Georgia-Pacific, Delta Air Lines Inc. and OfficeMax Inc.

The initiative is a metro-wide partnership that includes the Atlanta Business League, the Atlanta Regional Commission, the Metro Atlanta Chamber, the SHRM-Atlanta and the United Way of Metropolitan Atlanta Inc. All those organizations have agreed to work with their members, their communities and other organizations to encourage participation.

How the ABC Helps Every Job Seeker Every Day

Smart job seekers already know the importance of the ABC to the job search.

The Book of Lists is an invaluable resource for identifying target companies. Even though the retail price is $69, this book is so valuable that most, if not all, bookstores have placed it behind the cash wrap unit. Job seekers should read the Book of Lists cover to cover to understand what companies are in Metro Atlanta and identify which companies peak their interest for further research and possible targeting.

The new Book of Organizations, included as an insert in a May issue, lists many of the industry and special interest networking groups. These groups are where hiring managers and your future peers network. These are the places you want to go to network to find out about the hidden job market and into your future company.

And finally, the weekly ABC is packed with hot off the press information about what is happening in business in Atlanta. Even reading what company signed a real estate deal gives the job seeker a heads up on who will be hiring, enabling the job seeker to network into the company even before the positions are posted.

Job Seekers: Now It Is Our Turn

Job seekers: consider subscribing to the Atlanta Business Chronicle. My subscription guy is Thomas Sander and his number is 404-249-1744. Tell him Judi of RightChanges sent you and he will offer you a discount and even the discounted price can be split into three payments.

If, after talking with Thomas, you decide you absolutely cannot afford to subscribe at this time, go to your public library’s reference section to make use of their copy of the Book of Lists, go each weekend and read the ABC cover to cover, and support the businesses who hire through this initiative. Then, when you are employed, subscribe to the ABC. Remember your last job is not your last and you will want to be in the know about what is happening in business in Atlanta and network at the groups mentioned in the Book of Organizations.

One last thing you can do, join me in thanking Mr. Baker and Mayor Reed!

From this job search coach and former job seeker: Thank you Mr. Baker and Mayor Reed!

Judi Adams

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The 4 Killer Job Search Mistakes - Part 1

This series, written by Judi Adams, is being published on the Crossroads Career Network web site and then republished on this blog. Go to for the next part of this four part series.

This is a very tough job market. Many highly skilled, extremely professional job seekers are taking an unprecedented amount of time to find a job. There are, though, four killer mistakes that job seekers are making that turn a long job search into an even longer one. This multiple part series will cover these mistakes and give the job seeker (you) tools to overcome them.

Mistake 1: A Bad Attitude

In the Crossroads Career Network Program, there are 6 steps to the job search.

1) Attitude
2) Aptitude
3) Altitude
4) Search
5) Sort
6) Select

Notice Attitude is the first step. In fact, it is the most important step.
When I am speaking to a group, I illustrate the importance that attitude has on the job search. I let them know I am about to say something and I challenge them to tell me if they believe me or not. Once I have their attention, I stick out my left hip with my left hand on it, shrug my shoulders as I turn my head up at an angle to the right and roll my eyes as I take a deep breath. As I’m exhaling I say “I’m thrilled to be here”. “No” is the response from the room. They don’t believe me. I ask them why they don’t believe me; I said I was thrilled to be here. Some will say my stance, others my tone or facial expression all which can be summed up as my body language. I verify that what they are saying then is that they believe my body language over the words I speak and they agree.
The same is true for you. You can NAIL all of the answers in an interview; you can give the best answers that have ever been given to the questions. If your body language is either lacking confidence, closed, or showing anger, your body is saying DO NOT HIRE ME and they will believe your body language over the words you speak.

No one ever claimed the job search is fun; that is because it’s not. There are a number of things that must be addressed in order to have a good attitude during a job search.

1) Understanding that the job market has changed and in what ways it has changed

2) Processing the loss

3) Dealing with pressure points

Understanding the New Job Market

You can’t navigate in the job market unless you know what it is. If you have heard me speak or read any of my articles, you know that I use a lot of analogies. Navigating in the market without understanding it is like navigating in a pitch black warehouse and being told you need to get to the other side of the room. It is so dark you can’t even see your hand in front of your face so you can’t see the other side of the room or the multitude of obstacles in the way. You can work as hard as you possibly can; there is just no way to see if you are making any progress. You will feel like a hamster on a hamster wheel.

Knowing how the job market has changed and what is now required to find a job is like turning on the lights in the warehouse. You can see where you need to go; you can see the obstacles in the way, how to get around them, and you can see that you are making progress. Is it a lovely place where we want to spend a lot of time? No! Yet with the lights on, we can navigate the job market and walk into the next job.

So let’s turn that light on and understand how the job market has changed.
I now turn to another analogy, the telephone.

Rotary Dial Phone

In your grandfather’s day or your great grandfather’s day, they had the large rotary dial phone. The phone weighed a ton and was hard wired into the wall. There was only one phone in the house and it was either in the kitchen (think back to the Lassie show) or at the bottom of the stairs (think Leave it To Beaver). That is like the job market of that day. They had only one or two jobs in a lifetime. My father was in the Navy and then joined Civil Service. My grandfather was a farmer. Think about the oystermen and shrimpers in the Gulf. That is the only job they have ever known and it’s the only job their fathers and their father’s fathers have ever know. Whether you worked in a glass factory or automotive plant, or served as a police officer or fireman, that was your only job.
• One job
• You retired at 65 with a gold watch, a pension, and benefits for life
• All of the services were done in house. No services were outsourced.
• Big companies meant stability. “As GM, so goes the nation”.
That is the job market of yester-year.

Modular Phone

Then the world moved to modular phones. In almost every room there is a modular plug. You plug a phone into the outlet and expect the phone to work well there and you unplug it and plug it in elsewhere and expect it to work just as well there. You still plugged into the wall though; you worked as an employee for an employer.
• People had up to 12 jobs and up to 4 different careers in a lifetime.
• The day of assuming you will receive a pension is gone and many companies now are cutting back on benefits and 401K company contributions.
• People are living longer healthier lives and don’t really think they will completely retire; they may just change what they do for a living.
• Smaller companies are more stable than huge companies because they are easier to turn around when the industry or technology changes.
This is the job market of yesterday.

Cell Phone

But how many of you don’t even have a home phone anymore; I don’t. For more and more people every day, the cell phone serves as the home phone as well. In the analogy, that means we will work with but not for companies. Another reality of today’s job market is that your next job is not your last. You will be on the job market again.

In this new job market, we are responsible for our own retirement plans and even healthcare. Even if a company offers a 401K match, you may not be there long enough to get vested. Recent graduates may consider purchasing a term life plan that goes from job to job with them than invest in a group plan that is worthless once they leave the company. Instead of going with group health plans, people may consider getting health insurance that continues regardless of the employment situation.
As more and more companies outsource work, we will not be employees but actually contract with companies.

In today’s job market, job stability is a personal responsibility. In this recession, there has not been an industry or professional that has not been touched by this latest recession. We can no longer look to companies to provide job stability. Our identities cannot come from the company we work for but instead from knowing the value we bring.

We may not like the new job market. We may long for the way it used to be. The reality is that the job market has changed and so must our approach to it in order to succeed.

Processing the Loss

We are all human and we were made to go through a certain process in order to heal from a loss. When we lose a family member, we give ourselves time and permission to grieve. The same should be true when we lose a job. Whether we left by choice or where invited to leave, it is a loss. We go through the same stages of grieving as we do when we lose a family member. We have to go through anger, denial, depression, bargaining, and then finally acceptance in order to heal and move on.

At one event where I was the guest speaker, the person introducing me wanted to make a comment to the group first. Part of his comment was advising job seekers not to have a pity party. I actually disagree. Have a pity party. I did in 2002 when I was out of work for so long. Get party hats and noise makers, cry, get angry, and feel bad. And then like any party, there is a quitting time. Set a quitting time on your pity party but while the party is on, do it right. Give yourself time to process the loss. If you don’t, that baggage will still be there as you are searching and can come out at the most inopportune time, like the middle of an interview.

Then, after you get to the last stage of grieving, which is acceptance, go one step further and accept the opportunity. There is a plan that will prosper you and not harm you, that will give you a hope and a future. God promises it in Jeremiah 29:11-17. How exciting! What could be behind that next door? I left a 20+ year career in IT and now I own my own company serving as a job search coach and I LOVE it! Trust me, starting a career as a job search coach after that many years in IT is a real left turn; it is not the normal career path for a techie. People can see though how much I love what I do. You can have a job you love too. What is the plan He has for you? I can’t wait to hear all about it.

Dealing with Pressure Points

As we have agreed, the job search process is not fun. In addition we need to keep the roof over the head, the car in the driveway, and food on the table. The job search is also stressful on relationships.
Let me ask you a question. Would you hesitate to call 911 if your house was on fire? So far I have not yet met a person who said they would. That’s because it would be absurd not to call 911 if the house was on fire. Even if we were trained firemen, it would be crazy not to call 911 if our house was on fire because we’d like to use the pump truck over our little garden hose and because we’d like the help of others.

So we agree there is no shame in asking for help, in fact it would be crazy not to ask when we need it.

We have 911 for first responders. We have 411 for information. We have 511 for the Department of Transportation (please do not dial it while driving). We also have 211. 211 is the nationwide number for the United Way.

If you think you may need help down the road or at least you want to know your options, call 211. The United Way is the coordinating agency between hundreds of organizations that offer all types of assistance or advice (free or on a sliding scale). Credit card counseling, rent assistance, the latest on mortgage programs, food banks, and emotional support and counseling are just a few of the services provided by the United Way organizations. Just dial 211 and they will ask you the type of advice / assistance you need and your zip code and they will then connect you with an organization nearest to you that provides the type of assistance you desire.

There is no shame in asking for help; it is actually crazy not to. When you get your next job (and you will, God promises it) just give to the United Way.

A bad attitude will sabotage your job search. Attitude is a choice. Accept that the job market has changed, process the loss, look forward to the opportunity, and get help for pressure points. Choose a positive attitude and begin the search.