Saturday, September 30, 2006

E-mail Etiquette...Important Rules our Moms Never Taught Us

The majority of my clients didn't grow up with email, but most have come to embrace it as a useful communication tool that can expedite the exchange of information and accelerate the time spent making important decisions. During your job search campaign, email will be used frequently to promote your candidacy and build/reconnect with your network. The professionalism and accuracy of your email messages are just as important as that of your resume and cover letter and should be taken just as seriously. In her book, Manners That Sell, Lydia Ramsey reflects on The Top Twelve E-Mail Mistakes That Can Sabotage Your Career. Can you honestly say that you avoid all twelve mistakes when using email? It's never too late to learn from your mistakes and improve the quality of your search strategy moving forward.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Top 100 Companies for Working Moms

Today a client asked me how feasible it is for a woman who is working and caring for young children to negotiate flexible work hours with a prospective employer. One of the best ways to successfully negotiate a flexible arrangement is to proactively seek interviews with companies that openly embrace work/life balance as part of their corporate culture. Conduct some "market research" that includes talking to friends who have flexible arrangements, seeking out special interest groups for women within industry professional organizations, and subscribing to business publications that frequently publish "Best Companies to Work For" lists such as Fortune, Crains, and Working Woman. In their September 2006 issue, Working Woman Magazine listed the Top 100 Companies for Working Moms. It's a great resource for women seeking opportunities with firms that are championing creative ways to retain their female talent.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Entrepreneurial Track

Thinking about starting your own business someday? Take a look at the list of top undergraduate and graduate programs for budding entrepreneurs. Statistics included are number of entrepreneurship courses offered, number of enrolled students, percent of graduates still in business, the number of recent graduates who started a business, and the number of faculty members who are also entrepreneurs.

Best Jobs in America

Take a look at's list of the top 50 jobs in America. Jobs were rated based on salary, projected growth, ease of entry, advancement, flexibility, creativity and stress levels.

Hot Jobs for the Next Decade

Interested in learning about career trends over the next decade? Check out Career Voyages for a complete list of professions and their projected growth organized by state. You can also learn about emerging industries and their corresponding career choices and gain a better understanding of the educational requirements for each job.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Free Stuff

I recently collaborated on an e-book with several of my colleagues in the careers field called Career Hub Insider's Guide to Job Search. This 55-page book offers practical advice on numerous job search topics including interviewing, salary negotiation, and personal branding. You can download your free copy by following this link.

Professional Conferences...An Investment in Your Future

I just returned from the NRWA(National Resume Writers' Association) annual convention in Phoenix and I've already made back my investment! In addition to gaining exposure to the field's most cutting edge philosophies and strategies for delivering the best resume product to my clients, I made connections and built alliances that will improve the quality of all the services I offer to my clients in the coming year and beyond. The knowledge obtained at a conference is not only gained during the speaker presentations. Breaks, lunches, and after hours events present equally valuable learning and networking opportunities that just can't be replicated through email or phone contact. Start saving now for at least one industry-relevant event each year. The relationships you build will be well worth the investment in time, money, and energy.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Keeping Things in Perspective

During my tenure as a career coach, some of my most memorable and moving conversations have been with job seekers who are also survivors of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. These candidates were always able to maintain a healthy perspective regarding their job search and it was fueled by the harsh reality of that fateful day when they narrowly escaped death. Recognizing that job loss, while no picnic, was not the worst possible thing that could happen to them, they gained strength, optimism, and an incredible drive to move forward that is not only a testament to the human spirit, but to the spirit of New York City and this country as well.

If you find yourself in a job search on September 11 and beyond, remember this. Job loss is a temporary situation and it will change. There is an employer out there that is the right fit for you. You will find employment and you can thrive in a new company and/or new career. A job is replaceable. Family and friends are not.

Friday, September 08, 2006

The Virtual Job Audition

According to a recent article in HR Magazine, virtual auditions are gaining momentum in the new war for talent. These virtual tryouts or realistic job previews as they are sometimes called, place candidates in an online environment that mimics job tasks. These simulations may help employers make better hiring decisions in less time and give candidates a more accurate picture of the job they are interviewing for. Companies that have already impemented the technology include Toyota, Quest Diagnostics, and SunTrust Bank. While this new approach may feel a bit strange to some at first, it might also be instrumental in taking some of the inherent subjectivity out of the interview process and allowing candidates to feel more confident and more in control of the interview process.

Using Cover Letters to Build Relationships

Today a client asked me to explain the differences between the resume and the cover letter. Many people assume that the cover letter is just a formality and simply something hiring managers and recruiters have come to expect. But the cover letter serves a much higher purpose. Job search is about building relationships and proving to a prospective employer that you are a good fit for the organization and someone who will forge a positve relationship with the firm. Your cover letter is your first opportunity to establish rapport with an employer. With a style that's less "formulaic" than the resume, the cover letter allows you to interject more about your personal brand and competencies and identify your reasons for career progressions, shifts, and detours. In a sense, the cover letter humanizes the process of search and lessens the tedium managers face when combing through a mountain of resumes. In addition, a good cover letter addresses the employer's needs and showcases the candidate's ability to figure out employers' problems and proactive solutions. So next time you draft a cover letter, think of it as a key "touchpoint" with a hiring manager, rather than a required form letter.