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Elevator Pitch

What’s Your Elevator Pitch?

I see the deer in the headlights look on your face and the “HUH?” coming out of your mouth.  Let me explain what it is and why you need one.

An elevator speech is a very short 30 second version of who you are and what you are all about.  It’s called an elevator speech because you only have the time it takes to get from the lobby to the floor selected to introduce yourself.  It’s short, meaningful, interesting, and all about YOU.  It’s how you respond when someone asks “what do you do?”.  It’s the summary that goes on your LinkedIn profile and it goes on your resume too.  It’s your personal brand.

And yes, you need one!

It should be true and compelling.  You need to figure out the point you’re trying to make, then tailor it to be concise and clear.  The person to which you’re speaking needs to be able to get your point or career without much thought.  It needs to be easily understood by people that DON’T know you.

You will use the summary you create over and over again.  You might need to adapt it for an interview or on your resume to more closely match something on a job description. The key message about you doesn’t change, just a few points to match the job application.

Practice your elevator speech in the mirror, get comfortable with saying it out loud so it comes naturally.  Make eye contact, be enthusiastic in your delivery, speak with authority and passion about who you are and where you want to go.  Make a believer out of everyone you meet.  They may even remember you when an opening comes up in their place of business!

As an example, here’s mine: I actually have 35 years of IT as my background, but switched careers a few years ago, I’m now a certified coach.  I do workshops for organizations or work with individual clients to help them reach whatever professional or personal goals they want to achieve.  Together we figure out what’s holding them back from success, fulfillment, and growth.  It’s just awesome when they get that aha moment and begin to think differently!  I help my clients thrive and I love what I do.

At this point you’re probably nodding your head and saying “hmmm, what’s MY elevator speech?”.

Get cracking and write it now.

It could land you the job you didn’t even know about!

Career Change Resources

Use this checklist to figure out if moving on is right for you.  Career Change Checklist

 

www.careeronestop.org Can give you career ideas, training information and much more.  Check it out!

Your First Job

You’re in college, majoring in whatever…  You start to panic about graduation and thinking about what happens after school is over.  You realize that graduation means you have to begin looking for that first all important job.

YIKES

 

You start mumbling to yourself “What do I want to do?  What do I like?  Why the heck did I take that last art history class and how will that help me land a job?”

Many people either take the first job a family member or friend offers them, whether or not it’s aligned with their desires or get a job doing what they like at that time.    If it’s the latter, it means that your first real job is something that makes you happy.  You like animals so think it’s a great idea to be a cashier at a pet store or an admin with a veterinarian.  Or maybe you like animals but also want to give back to the community, so you apply to a charitable organization that saves animals.

You get the picture.

 

Fast forward five years… Now what?  You’re still in that same low level job and you’re not making any money.  You still like animals but hate that there’s no growth and no real opportunity for advancement.  When you made that initial job decision it was based on a short-term idea when you were young and idealistic.  You didn’t think it all the way through or map out a longer-term goal or vision for your future.

Now you’re asking “what should I have done?”.  Let’s take the animal example and add a twist.  You still like animals but you majored in finance, have amazing math skills, and enjoy working with numbers. That would be a strength.  Don’t most businesses need a finance person?  Wouldn’t a Pet Store, Veterinarian, or Zoo need a finance person?

See where I’m going with this?

 

Figure out your strengths, likes and dislikes, as well as your passions.  Then align those strengths with careers, businesses, etc.  That’s how you find a job that will give you fulfillment, one that you can be enthusiastic about, one that may keep you happy for many years.

Don’t jump at the first job that someone offers you because you’re scared or worried.  Take a job because it will get you excited to make a difference, because it’s a role you can sink your teeth into, because you really, really want it!

Do a little soul searching, then do a bit of internet searching.  See what matches up for you and go after it with gusto.  Friends and family mean well but only you know your own values, aspirations, and desires.  Look for the job that matches up with who you are now and who and where you want to be in the future.

That isn’t to say that your career is static or that your dreams can’t change.  Obviously, they do and can, but your first job should at least get you on the right path for your short term goals and just maybe be the stepping stone for your long term vision.

Career or Just a Job

Do you have a career or is it just a job?

Career or Job?  That is the question most people want answered.  Many people stay in a job because it’s a paycheck or it’s easier to stay than figure out how to make a change. But hating Monday mornings because you have to go to work causes stress. If you don’t like your job, you may not be engaged or passionate about what you’re doing. Ultimately, you’re setting yourself up for failure and that’s also stressful.

Let’s start with definitions and a small check list.

job1

jäb/

noun

1. 
a paid position of regular employment.

Let me help you figure out whether you in fact have a career or just a job.

  • You’re staying in your role primarily because it’s a steady paycheck.
  • There is no growth potential for you.
  • You understand the work but are bored out of your mind.
  • You don’t really care about the organization.
  • You don’t even like the work you’re doing.

To answer the question “Do you have a career or is it just a job?”, if these statements hit home you can be fairly certain that you have a job not a career!

But the real question is how do you feel about doing what you do now, for the rest of your working life?   Whoa, pretty heavy.

Let’s go to the next definition.

ca·reer

kəˈrir/

noun

noun: career

1. 
an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life with opportunities for progress in knowledge, responsibility and fulfillment.

A career is a vocation, profession, or calling.  It’s something you WANT to do.

I’m going to take a leap here and assume you do want a career; a role you can feel passionate about.  An occupation that interests and excites you.  You want growth, success, and something that makes you happy.

How would it feel if you could figure out why you don’t like your job, or effect a small change which could bring back a passion for what you do every day? What if you had a career instead of just a job?

Your first task is to figure out your strengths, what it is that that you have to offer an employer.  Then you rank them according to a happiness factor… If you are outstanding at math or number crunching but hate doing it, that’s a happiness factor of 1.  If you love it, I mean really, really enjoy it, that’s a 10.  Maybe you’re outgoing and enjoy working with people but you’re a customer service rep and dislike the stress involved: great skills, wrong job.  In what other capacity can you use that skillset?

Get the picture?

Once you’ve figured out where you excel and what you actually enjoy doing, you can start to research your next career.

So what’s stopping you?  Start your own checklist of strengths and the roles to which they apply to see where it leads.  Then make sure there is growth potential in the field so you can continue with your chosen career path.

Career or Job?  I think we all know the answer we want.

Tailor Your Resume

Why you Must Tailor Your Resume

We’ve all heard the 6 seconds bit… that’s how long it takes someone to say yay or nay to your resume. Read it or trash it. That’s if they even get to your resume. What if they don’t get past your cover letter?

If you’re looking for a job and you’re currently out of work, then looking for a job IS your job! If you’re currently employed and searching for a different, better, whatever new job, then it’s your homework after work or on weekends.  It’s still important and you should never skimp on your effort. That means you change your cover letter and resume for EACH and EVERY job before you apply!

Catch that?

There is no standard resume or cover letter that you mass mail to every potential employer. None. You read the job description and move your information around so that it highlights the stuff they’re looking for.  You have lots of skills and strengths, but only put the ones that matter to THAT job at the top of your resume.  You want them to see you have what they want.

Your summary paragraph should tell them something about you and what you’re bringing to the open job. Why you want that type of position and what makes you unique. If your summary doesn’t change for each new position you’re not selling yourself to them.  What you’re doing is selling yourself short!

Your job experience company, title and dates don’t change, but your actual work experience might. Move the important stuff you did around so it’s seen first, especially if it’s something listed in the job description.

Always list your certifications, especially if it’s something that would matter to the job. Awards too. They want to know how good you are and that you have what they want. So, show them your stuff.

Next, your cover letter needs to reflect who you are. If you can tell a short story about how you made a difference in a previous role that’s similar to the one your applying to… all the better. Make your cover letter shine, tell them why you’re applying, what job you’re applying for, how you can help them and always, always ask for an interview.

If you really want a new job you need to work at it.  Save each new resume and cover letter with the name of the company so you remember exactly what you sent them. That way when you get an interview you know which resume to bring with you or to update with the latest information.

Good luck with the job hunting!

Career Challenges

Career Challenges

How about that boss that has you report the same information in 3 different formats because he can’t make up his mind or really doesn’t know what he is looking for… Think Powerpoint, spreadsheet, Mindmap. Lions, tigers, and bears, oh my! What an incredible waste of time, not to mention frustrating. And that’s just a piece of your boss’ incompetence.

Or the job you’ve just been transitioned to that sounded fabulous. Right up your alley, hits your strengths, plus a bit challenging, and working with people you respect. You’re thrilled to say yes and get started. You hit the ground running, get a few quick wins then tackle the harder stuff. Uh oh, now comes the pile on. They back the truck up, you hear a beep, beep, beep and bam they unload it at your office door. Here’s the rub, you did so well that the senior leadership added more to your plate. They added some long term strategic visioning (not in your wheelhouse). Added an offshore project, and for good measure let’s make you chair person of a steering committee. You were successful, now you’re not. You’re overloaded, frustrated, and maybe acquired a bit of self-doubt that you never had before.

Ok, a couple of interesting scenarios, but why am I describing these problems?

Would you be happy if you were either of these workers?  I think I hear a resounding NO. Of course not, you’d be miserable and rightfully so. Well the point is that you can either be miserable and plod on, or do something about it.

Believe it on not, both those scenarios are very real and they happened to me.  I loved my career and the company I worked for until I didn’t.  And when I realized that I no longer respected my boss or his boss for that matter, I lost engagement, passion, and enjoyment.  I hated going to work.  It wasn’t fun any longer and that made me sad.

With some help from a co-worker I saw a different view of my strengths and talents.  I have always liked working with people, helping smooth the way, mentor, coaching, etc. and as I went from Supervisor to Manager to Director, I mentored and coached more and more and was sought out to do just that.   It became apparent to me that switching careers was the right thing to do.  So I did.

I jumped ship after giving a month notice.  I tested the waters by going as a guest to  a Professional Coaching school and had an AH HA moment that first weekend in class.  Low and behold, knock me down with a feather… I realized that I really enjoy trying to figure out how to help people and I’ve been told that  I’m good at it.  Wow, I want to be a coach!

I think I can, I think I can, I know I can, I know I can!

I am.

I enrolled (and coughed up the big bucks… gulp); I graduated, got my certification as a Professional Coach as well as certified in an Energy Leadership assessment tool so that I can help others stay engaged and passionate about their lives and careers.  I know how to cut through the stuff that’s bothering people, I understand and have first hand knowledge about corporate America, and I have great tools in my repertoire.  I was plenty nervous starting my own coaching business; it’s a scary endeavor.  Yet I did it and I’m THRIVING!

So take a tip from me; it’s important that you enjoy what you do every day, because when you don’t it affects your mind, body, and heart.

If any of this resonates with you, Tom and I are ready and able to work with you.  We can help you fulfill your dream and thrive; you are worth it!

Job Satisfaction

Job satisfaction doesn’t just come from employing your skills well, you need to be applying your most enjoyable skills most of the time. Here’s how to identify them:

  • List the jobs or roles you liked the most over your entire work career;
  • Now list what you liked about each role;
  • Now list why you liked the role and/or what was the accomplishment that you enjoyed?

For example:  my favorite role was as an International Operations Director.  I was responsible for all non US IT Operations personnel.

  • What I liked the most: Travel, learning new cultures, team building and interactions with the people.
  • Why: I realized I enjoyed the coaching and mentoring, which is what was needed most in that particular role.
  • The accomplishment: I helped create a stronger, better operating team with greater communications and camaraderie throughout the IT organization.

That’s how I ended up leaving IT and moving into a Coaching career.  What I enjoyed most was working with people and helping them, not necessarily the IT side of bits and bytes.

What does this tell you?

Just because you’re not happy with what you’re doing where you are now doesn’t mean you ditch your current career; it does mean you need to figure out why and, maybe, do it differently.  For example, you’re an attorney working for a large firm and realize you haven’t been happy with what you’re doing for a while.  Maybe it’s where you’re working or you’re feeling lost in the crowd (not able to stand out) or the type of work is uninteresting or unfulfilling.  But if you could be a corporate legal council for a small business that produces something you’re interested in, that may make all the difference in the world.

So think about it.  What would keep you engaged and passionate?

If it’s the right career – wrong organization: What changes do you need to make to feel engaged within your job again?  Should you stay where you are or are the changes needed so great that you have to leave?

If it’s the wrong career: What skills do you have that are transferable to another occupation?  Do you need to go back to school?  How about certifications?  Can you move to another position within the current organization?

Lot’s of questions that only you can answer.  You may need help putting it all together or clearly identifying your strengths, likes, and dislikes.  A Career Coach can be that help, but the answers still come from you!

Change is scary, but being unhappy at work is way worse!

Making a decision one way or another about your career will take a weight off your shoulders you may not even realize you have.  Once you accept your decision and create a clear path forward you’ll be happier, more engaged, and ultimately more successful.

Check out our videos and workshops to see if we have anything to help you move forward into a role meant for you.

The dreaded job interview

The Dreaded Job Interview

Does going on an interview terrify you?  You have sweaty palms, your shirt is sticking to you so there is no way you could take your jacket off, and you just keep thinking “am I good enough, will they like me?”

How would it feel to be able to calmly shake the interviewer’s hand without wiping yours on your pants or skirt first?   How would it feel to be able to have a two-way conversation with the interviewer and hold your own, not feeling intimidated or unprepared?

Here is some practical advice to build your confidence in advance of the meeting so that you’re comfortable and feel like you are on an even playing field.

Let’s first remember that you must have done something right since you were called for an interview.  That means your resume hit the points listed in the job description and you are qualified.  Kudos to you! You’ve made it over the first hurdle.

Now it’s preparation time.  That means you research the company, get comfortable with why you applied in the first place.  You work on your story – the story that will sell yourself.  How do you stand out?  What makes you qualified for this job, over all other applicants?  You need to sell YOU.

And while you’re thinking about how to sell yourself, think about your communication skills.  Make sure you look people in the eyes while speaking.  If that isn’t a strong suit, role-play with your family or friends, you can even practice in front of a mirror.  Ensure you can effectively speak about your accomplishments that show how and where you would fit into the organization.  Again, if that makes you uncomfortable, practice, practice and more practice.  Be comfortable with yourself and the interviewer will be comfortable with you too.

Back to your research on the company, why should they hire you if you’re not interested in the organization? Businesses hire people to fill a need.  During the interview ask about the main issues the company would like to solve.  Remark on something you’ve read on their website, or an article that was posted about them. Show them you’ve invested some time and effort.

Lastly, remember you’re interviewing them too.  They need to sell you on working for them as much as you need to sell yourself.  And don’t ever forget that it’s just conversation. So, be the awesome, uniquely qualified individual they can’t do without.

One more thing, don’t forget to follow up.  After every interview, follow up with an influence letter. Here you will briefly thank the person you interviewed with, recap the conversation, explain what excites you about the role and share why you would be a good fit.

Now go rock that interview!