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Posted by Mindy Thomas on

“The Second You Give Up is the Moment You Need to Keep Trying.”

For six long years, my client struggled with landing an entry-level writing job. She figured her resume was good enough and, after all, she was a trained writer who was published and won many awards for her stellar writing. As unbelievable as it may sound, my client actually received only one response to hundreds of applications over these last six years since she graduated from college in 2007.

When I got the call from her today that she received a job offer as an editor for a leading trade magazine in Philadelphia, I was overcome with joy. I’m talking about getting those goosebumps in a nano second while doing that happy dance admist trying to capture the details of the offer with her on the phone.

Frankly, for me . . . well, there  is nothing that feeds my spirit more that to celebrate someone landing their dream job in THIS job market.  Having met this client on a face-to-face interview in my office in suburban Philadelphia, I knew how painful it was for her.  She was blessed with this God-given talent that laid dormant for literally YEARS due to this challenging job market. 

So, after talking about the wonderful salary and benefits package she was offered this morning, I asked her what she had learned the most, after these painful years of struggling to land a job armed with both a bachelor’s and masters degree.

 “The second you give up is the moment you need to keep trying.”  

That’s precisely what she said. As she remembers, there were many times she had just given up. Every couple of months, she would throw her resume up for another position. Year after year she wondered why she would only receive one call back after posting to hundreds of jobs. Her frustration grew deeper and deeper until one day I got her call on a Saturday about the hundreds of rejections she had received.

The reality is that resume writing is very, very tricky. Further, it’s not just about having a well-designed and compelling resume in this market today. As you know, job hunters need to know what to do with it.  In fact, there are many people who actually get to the interview table, but completely fail to close on the interview process. In this case, my client had the whole “package” and within one hour of posting for two editor positions, she was contacted by one firm to interview for her dream job. She nailed the phone screen and two subsequent face-to-face interviews.

As we know, the resume has to do the heavy lifting of getting a job hunter to the interview table. So, if you think that 572 words on one page doesn’t make a difference, I would like to suggest that it just might. One thing is for sure, there’s one young lady out there who thinks it did.  If you have turned your life around with taking an alternative approach to job hunting or resume writing, I would love for you to share your warrior story. 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

How to Uncover the Hidden Job Market

The research shows that 80% of the jobs available are never really advertised. This doesn’t mean that you’ll be unable to land a job using the internet. However, if  you are proactive about your search and change your approach to target specific companies and industries, you will be able to uncover hiring managers and potential leads for you to penetrate the hidden job market.

This technique of targeting companies and using lists to mail your resume has been around a long, long time. In this short video by JobBait.com, you can learn how to obtain free mailing lists by accessing the library systems in your local city.

Click here to learn how access free mailing lists. Thanks to JobBait.com for this useful information!

 

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

How Job Seekers Can Avoid Joining A “Bad” Organization

I think you will agree that life is too short to work in a toxic atmosphere or for horrible bosses and bad coworkers. More times than not, job seekers will leave an organization in the hope of finding a better opportunity. In fact, the most common reason (other than a layoff), is a bad boss or toxic coworkers.

Here are some of the top tips for avoiding bad bosses and bad coworkers:

  1. Research the organization, its people and the job in advance of the interview.
  2. Talk to people that work there. Get the inside scoop on everything.
  3. Check out www.glassdoor.com to find out what people are saying. This is a phenomenal resource that gives you the inside scoop from the “insiders” at companies.
  4. Search for relevant information on LinkedIn and on the Internet.
  5. When you interview, take note of the organizational culture (dress code, office layout, communication style, technology, public documents, employee orientation materials etc.) and ask questions to probe issues that you may be concerned about.
  6. If you are given the opportunity to talk with other people in the organization, go for it.

There are many challenges in transitioning to a new company if you are unhappy with the direction your company is taking or if you suffer with toxicity in the work environment.

Be scrupulous about your next steps. Move ahead carefully with your due diligence to save yourself a worse heartache of jumping from the frying pan right into the fire.  

 

 

 

 

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

What You Don’t Know About Career Counseling

There are many people that call into my office after spending weeks, months or years trying to figure what they should do with their career. Depending on the individual seeking assistance for career counseling, it is likely that there are a variety of career services that might be offered. What most people don’t know is that there are a number of unknown byproducts that people gain by learning job search strategies and evaluating factors to identify new career options for themselves.

ByProducts of Career Counseling

  1. You increase your self-knowledge.  Learning more about yourself allows you find more meaning in a noisy, chaotic world. This self-knowledge increases your self confidence on both a personal and professional level.  Without understanding yourself in terms of what’s important to you or even the skills that you enjoy using. . . you are doomed to keep going down the same path you’ve been on.  In fact, these are key elements of determining your next career move.
  2. Coping skills are another byproduct of counseling. Understanding how to calm down and release stress is important in moving ahead. Having clarity and gaining a new found awareness that this unhappiness is temporary and better days are ahead sets the tone for the opening of your next chapter. In effect, we replace faulty thinking with a more empowered type of thinking. 
  3. You will learn how to make more informed education and career decisions. When you take ownership of doing research and collaboratively working with a counselor to talk about about career options, you will learn decision making skills that you can take with you the rest of your life. You can even help other friends or even your kids apply decision making skills to their lives. Without a doubt, you will become more of a resource expert on US job trends, employment outlook and related occupations.
  4. You will  gain educational and occupational information. In today’s economy, many times we have to add additional skill sets to compete against a younger, more educated work force. As it turns out, every single career counseling client that I know that went back to school said the same thing.  “This is the best thing I have done for myself. I should have done this sooner.”  Incidentally, I had the exact same sentiments.

If your thinking of what it might be like to have a Career Doctor working with you on your career-related issues, call 610.937.5632.

Or for more information on career counseling, email me directly at mindy@thomascareerconsulting.com

 

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

Our Career Voyage and Inner Growth

In the midst of 24×7 technology advances, a recent poll indicated that 82 percent of people in the United States believe in God.  I was astounded at this statistic. Some folks call this belief  “a sense of the spiritual or a quest for meaning.” In fact, it turns out to be a central theme in the lives of most adults.

Our quest for meaning can begin early in life or the minute we are faced with adversity. It’s been said that one thing is for certain.  Sooner or later we will all start to wonder about our purpose here on earth.

  • Some of us find meaning in relationships.
  • Others find it in nature or by helping others.
  • Others dive into their jobs, careers or family lives.

Ultimately our life’s experiences will influence our perspective on what meaning we find in any of those things.

Sometimes we find meaning not by changing our thinking but by changing our perspective or perception and our sense of the way things are.  I am curious whether the work on your inner growth is always superseded by something else. 

What would happen if we took the time to work on the inner voyage by quieting the noise down?   

I’m thinking that perhaps there might be a shift.

I’m thinking that maybe even the next steps on our career voyage could be determined by allowing the search process to unfold in a place of stillness.

I’m also thinking that turning inward to make meaning of where we have been, as well as where we are, can yield dividends for creating a new future for ourselves. 

Until next time-

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

Boosting Your Interview IQ

I think we can agree that there are a ridiculous number of interviewing books on the market today.  Frankly, I have read many of these over the years, but my all-time favorite happens to be “How to Boost Your Interview IQ” by Carole Martin. 

In the first half of her book, Carole  assesses your interviewing IQ and then proceeds to tell you why your answers work or don’t work. In the second half of the book, she covers tips and tricks to help you get through to round two. This includes how to tell “the story.”  You know what kind of question I am talking about. Tell me about a time when…?

There is a three part equation for telling a story that one should always remember. It’s called the 20-60-20 rule. In other words, you need to answer that question with the proportions properly assigned. Here’s how it goes:

Part I-20% is your introduction. Here you will simply set the stage and give the context of the situation including the who, what, where and when. If you did not look like a champion in front of your boss, division or department…obviously, this is the wrong story to be introducing in an interview. Go back to brainstorming the possibilities for demonstrating the competency they are asking you about.

Part II – 60% of your story is about the actions you took and the steps taken to solve the problem. Don’t forget to mention the ideas you were able to generate, tasks performed and the challenges that were overcome. Explain your role in the process and give details of what you did.  Be sure to give a crystal clear picture.

 Part III20% is about wrapping it up. Be sure to talk about the results you achieved.  Don’t forget to mention that  your boss was delighted or thrilled. Outside references always works great.

When I hear that candidates are getting to the table and landing interviews but not closing the deal with job offers, I am wondering if they are truly preparing like an attorney going into court. Reading Carole’s book will surely fire up your interview IQ, so you can win in the job hunting war.

 

 

 

 

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

A Dream Come True – Actuary to Professional Poker Pro

Everyone loves successful career transition stories especially ones that truly demonstrate that anything is possible. I think that one of the reasons we love them so much is that it gives us compelling evidence that we also can reach for the stars and win. This story has to do with my own son Russell who was employed as an actuary for a large insurance company…er… up until last week.

So, when I got news that my son, Russell Thomas reached the Final Table in the World Series of Poker, I was stunned. I thought to myself, “is this for real???”  I mean the odds of getting there are ridiculously low. And, in this case, there were nearly 7,000 entrants to this competition.  As the story goes,  he catapulted himself  to “rock star” status by becoming one of the October Nine in a week-long tournament.

I remember those days at Temple University where he majored in actuarial science. I would get reports after the weekend about how much money he was making. Never did I really understand how much he loved this game. In fact, I was not on board for quite awhile. 

However, after a couple of years of playing online, and with the help of his brother, he started to enter the annual World Series of Poker tournament out in Las Vegas. Many of us in the family sort of just went along with the adventure never realizing the passion and drive he had for the game.   We really had no clue of how serious an endeavor this was for him. In fact, he was pretty darn quiet about his dream of leaving his actuary job to play professional poker full time and travel the world.

So when Russell made that Final Table on July 16th (with nine other poker players), he immediately hired Jason Somerville, a well known poker player and coach. For months, he worked with Jason’s team to build his skills, strengths and strategies. Finally, on October 26th while Hurricane Sandy ravaged our east coast, Russell competed for the title and ultimately achieved 4th place and a whopping $2.8M in prize money . . . in spite of being “card dead” for 60 straight hands.

While I am thrilled for him and his new found success, my hat goes off to Russell in transitioning his life and making his dream come true. I congratulate him on being able to take his talent for numbers and his passion for the game of poker and, as my dear friend Peter Weddle would say, ” intersect them.” Not to mention he can actually earn a living at it.

When you consider what you want in your life, do you ever think about becoming really clear about your goals?  I ask that because Anthony Robbins, one of the most masterful coaches in the world, preaches that successful people have a four step success formula that they consciously or unconsciously follow and it all begins with deciding what you want. This very simplistic formula goes like this: 

  1. Decide What You Want. Clarity is Power.
  2. Take Action. It’s not enough to know what you want, you have to take action to get there.
  3. Notice what’s working and what’s not.
  4. Change your approach until you get what you want. Flexibility is power.

Here’s to your success in making your very own career transition dreams come true. Again, hats off to Russell for making his dream come through in living “technicolor.” You gave us not just a wonderful memory, but such compelling evidence, that anything is possible with lots of hard work and a little luck. 🙂

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

How to Improve Your Chances of Keeping Your Job

While I listened to the morning show yesterday, US News and World Report reported some of the top reasons on how to completely “trash” your career. I think it’s worth a quick review, so let’s get to the top fatal flaws.

  1. Not promoting your own accomplishments. I see this everyday with clients who can’t pull their achievements together for their resume. In fact, this is the most important component of a well-written resume. If you do not promote yourself at work with the fantastic results you’ve been getting, how will your boss know you are a performer? The sad truth is that he or she won’t.  The bottom line is that you cannot possibly allow anyone else to toot your horn. You are in the driver seat on this one.
  2. Not learning new technology.  This includes knowing how Twitter and Facebook work. This also includes knowing how LinkedIn works and, yes, it helps to have a profile not just a skeleton version of your bio. If you don’t have a clue, get on this bus immediately. I am talking to the thirty-somethings as well as the boomers. In my office there is a toy bus which has short inscriptions on it. It simply says “Social Media and Technology.” It’s actually plastered all over the bus . . . a simple reminder that WE all need to do this.
  3. Being too negative.  You can pick this up in a nano second. The fact is that this one quality can make people sick. And, with the rising cost of healthcare and disability claims along with absenteeism, who wants the king or queen of doom dampening the spirit of the office.  See last blog for knowing when it’s time to make the move.
  4. Lying.  About anything.
  5. Being disorganized. Not showing follow-through is one of the worst career killers out there. It becomes very clear if you are super conscientious and have the drive to get things done. There’s a lot of folks that promise the world and then under deliver. Be the person who over delivers every time and see if this one technique can help increase your power at the office.

In today’s economy, there are many reasons that affect our careers that are not even tied to you personally. One thing is for sure though. Managing yourself and your career along with your emotions are essential to improving your chances of keeping your job.

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

Is It Time For You To Make a Career Change?

I encounter clients everyday who absolutely know when to make the move. They are the folks that call me up and say that they are over the top. They can’t take it anymore and something has got to change in their life.  But, in today’s economic climate, it’s a scary proposition and I get that.  Without a doubt, you have to admire those folks with the guts to go full speed ahead and take on the challenge of finding a better way of life for themselves. Others stand still laden with fear.

Let’s review a couple of the reasons you should begin a new search:

  • Your health is being compromised. I am not talking about a couple sleepless nights. I am talking about your hair falling out, chronic anxiety as well as your personal life with your husband and kids going down the toliet. One thing is for sure. There is a clear domino effect that happens when you are unhappily employed. Need I say more?
  • You notice that the boss is acting differently, treating you differently and your responsibiities have changed. I call this using your situational awareness. Being aware of the environment and picking up those clues and trusting those clues is critical.  When I noticed that the owner of my former recruiting agency was updating her law license (and she hated the practice of law), I knew she was hatching her plan B if her company failed. Simultaneously, I hatched my plan B resulting in www.thomascareerconsulting.com and when the boom dropped, I was sitting pretty scared about going into business. Ultimately, it was the best thing that happened to me even as I was battling a terrible illness when she laid me off.
  • The WSJ calls this last one — the Dread Test. You know what I am talking about. This is when you absolutely cannot stand to work for your inept supervisor or with your toxic coworkers and you watch the clock all day long. I know good jobs are hard to come by. But, you HAVE to believe you can do this. The honest to goodness truth is that people are transitioning to new jobs every single day. 
  • Finally, you find yourself daydreaming of being happier. It’s not perfect (or it could be) but it’s a new place. One in which you can thrive in. One in which you can work at a company with the same values as you . One in which you can use the skills you love. An environment that feels like it’s a superb match.

If  you decide that you fit into one of these categories, perhaps it’s time for you to consider making an investment in career counseling. Obtaining third-party validation and feedback about your feelings is imperative to assess whether it’s time for you to make the move. 

Posted by Mindy Thomas on

How Are You Showing Up in Business?

I had the good fortune to attend a week long retreat in Italy with six American entrepreneurs led by Pamela Haack. We participated in an intensive study of what made business women successful, particularly in Italy. After traveling through medieval villages and towns throughout the Tuscany and Umbria regions, it became clear that showing up with a generous heart, a passion for your craft and, above all, a gratitude and love for people were critical elements that allowed them to be successful.

I was amazed watching these women because it renewed my understanding of some of the core pillars of how to be more successful, whether you are thinking about changing jobs, launching a business or simply ramping up your current track.

#1 Enthusiasm

Everyone of these women had the most incredible way of greeting us. It was simply beautiful. . . Their tone of voice, the way they shook your hand, the open body language, and their indescribable energy hit you upon impact. They were fully present, maintained eye contact, and radiated energy all the way to the end.

 #2. Incredible Passion

All of these women business owners loved their craft. Whether they were a chef in a world famous restaurant in Montepulciano, a ceramic artist in a village, or a fabric shop owner whose fabrics were sought after all the way from Rome. The deep love of their craft was obvious. Countless hours and, in fact, years were Invested in perfecting their art and further developing their expertise.

3. Pride

Not only did these women hold themselves in high esteem, they held YOU in high regard. Repeatedly, these women expressed how honored they were that we visited them. This was a very rare concept to witness and a reoccurring theme in our visits. What would happen if all of us honored each other’s presence each time we met?

4. Heart

You can recognize this instantly when you meet someone. You feel their warmth, openness and generous heart. In every interaction with these women, you could feel their sincerity and the authenticity of their spirit.

The Italian culture is a beautiful one. And, these women were show stoppers. So, to my new friends Rossana, Daniella, Doriana, Stella, and Angela, I thank you for reminding us how to show up and make it count.

Click here to see Postcard from the Women In Italy Retreat.