Career Emergency First Aid Kit

Life is hectic. Careers are hectic. And it takes a few tricks to manage both successfully.
I have a close friend and client, Tracey, who’s now been in the successful role of Communications Manager for the American Red Cross in Phoenix for the past two years. One of the many things she does besides helping drive relief efforts for Haiti, is publicizing the Red Cross’ emergency First Aid Kit.
It made me think how much we all need our own “Career Emergency First Aid Kit.” A box of tools including an escape plan to help us stay afloat should our career take an unexpected turn.
Earlier in my career, I experienced a few setbacks that caught me off-guard. After I landed back on my feet, I became smarter about anticipating and preparing for change.
Planning and preparation are critical to surviving any disaster. Can your career weather any storm, and rebound quickly? One tool that is must be in your kit is a polished and professional resume. If you’re unsure about how your resume measures up, you may want to work with a professional resume writer.

You only have ONE SHOT at making a great first impression

Interviewing is intimidating, nerve wracking, and can make you feel like you’re two heartbeats away from having a heart attack. You only have ONE SHOT at making a great first impression so what can you say that will push you up to the TOP SPOT and get you the job offer?


Preparing your answers for an interview is so much simpler when you know what the interviewer really wants to know about you. There are key questions going through your interviewer’s mind and once you understand those questions, you can be more prepared, more confident and feel less anxiety during the interview process. So let’s take a look at what your Interviewer REALLY wants to know about you:


* Can you do the job? Do you have the skills, knowledge, and training to successfully perform the job? These questions are usually very black and white. Either you have what it takes to succeed in the position or not. Have you analyzed the job description and fully understand the job requirements? Do you really have what it takes to succeed in this position? If yes, then be prepared to answer specific questions about your qualifications. And if you don’t, then wouldn’t you rather know now in the interview than have the stress of being stuck in a new job where you can’t meet the expectations?


You should have pre-selected “personal career stories” that highlight your professional successes. Practice saying out loud what your skills, strengths and areas of expertise are. Your answers should be specific and focus on results and accomplishments.


* What “extras” do you bring? For most job openings, about 90% of the work has been defined. In other words, a hiring manager knows about 90% of the work that the new employee will be responsible for, but not the remaining 10%. That is because they want to know, “What can you (the new employee) ADD to the position?”


What specialized skills or areas of expertise do you have that can ADD VALUE to the company? For example, if you’re going for a job as a Public Relations manager, you may have some experience in marketing or desktop publishing that is not required for the job, but might be valuable to the company. This “extra” skill may position you as the TOP candidate for the job.


Before you go into a job interview, think about the additional skills and talents that you can bring to the position. Be sure to work these skills into the conversation, but only after you have discussed those skills and qualifications that are REQUIRED for the job.


Interview coaching can help hone your interview skills.

Resume Tips to Get You Noticed

Customize your resume to go for the job and company you want. A hiring manager will notice you so much more if your resume is specifically targeted to that position for which you are applying.


* Relevant, targeted and customized. Employers don’t have time to read about every single skill and job that you’ve ever had. They just want to know, are you qualified to do their job? So spotlight only those skills and responsibilities that directly relate to that position.


* Write a personalized cover letter. Hiring managers form their first impression of you based on your resume and cover letter. So the last thing you want to do is send out a generic, mass mailing cover letter. It should be short, direct, state your key accomplishments, and be enthusiastic. Make it personal and be specific why you are passionate about going to work for that particular company.


* Invest in a professional resume critique. Studies show that your resume has about 20-seconds in the hands of a hiring manager before it gets tossed into the maybe pile, or into the trash. So it needs to make a great first impression! Think of it this way – when you walk into an interview you want to make a great first impression so you’re going to dress well, wear a great pair of shoes, you’re going to smile more, etc. Well your resume needs to do the same thing.


Invest in having your resume professionally critiqued. Getting some personalized recommendations from a resume expert could not only get you more high quality job interviews, but it may also help position you at a higher level which could mean getting a higher starting salary!


For more juicy tips and help from our resume writing pro(!) to make your resume stand out from your competition, visit our resume tips page!

Tips to get your Resume Noticed!

Don’t worry if there is a product nobody’s heard about or is difficult to explain on your resume. You want the hiring manager to be curious about you. That’s why they have interviews – so they can get more information about your qualifications. Be brief. Be specific. And give them enough information that will leave them wanting more.


* Highlight leadership and teamwork. Hiring managers look for candidates who are strong leaders, AND strong team contributors. Someone who can lead, as well as be led. So highlight your leadership skills – and what the results were with the projects and teams that you’ve led. If you’re just started out in your career and haven’t led any projects or teams, then highlight any leadership experience you may have had in professional organizations, a sports league, in church, or any other extra-curricular activities. Also, list projects in which you were a strong team member in terms of what your role was, and what the team accomplished.


* Be specific and clear. Don’t waste your resume space (or the hiring manager’s time) by using “filler” words or vague overarching comments like, “received awards for various contributions”, or “launched several products”. List the specific awards you received, or the names of the products you’ve launched. This gives your resume substance and credibility.


For more juicy tips and help from our resume writing pro(!) to make your resume stand out from your competition, visit our resume tips page!

Proven Resume Guidelines to Get Noticed FAST! (part 2)

You may think that your resume is sharp looking, but are you confident it’s going to help you stand out from your competition?


* Showcase yourself at the right level. I review a lot of resumes and more times than not, the resume reflects the job candidate at a much lower level than what they really are. Use strong verbs like: managed, supervised, led, orchestrated, etc.


Sometimes less is more. You don’t need to include every job role you’ve ever had on your resume. When you keep lower level jobs on your resume, it brings your whole career level down a notch. And conversely, when you delete some of those lower level roles and focus on those jobs where you had more responsibilities and more significant accomplishments – you’re perceived at a level higher.


* Use the correct format. There’s a chronological format, and there’s a skills-based format. Be sure to use the format that showcases you in the best way possible. Also, if you’re applying for a position posted on an on-line job board, like or, then make sure you use the text only format.


* Always be truthful. The last thing you want to do is to overstate what you’ve accomplished and get into a job that you’re unqualified and inexperienced. Also, don’t be embarrassed if you have any gaps in employment. It is completely normal to have gaps. Life happens. Hiring managers understand this. If you took a break for more than a year, then just list the years and write next it, Career Break.


For more juicy tips and help from our resume writing pro(!) to make your resume stand out from your competition, visit our resume tips page!

Proven Resume Guidelines to Get Noticed FAST! (part 1)

Your resume can do a lot more than land you a job interview. It can also help position you as the top candidate going into interviews, and even help you get a higher starting salary which could add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars over the course of your career.


So how do you know if you’ve written your resume correctly so it gives you a leading edge over other job candidates? Below are some resume strategies to help you write your resume and put yourself in high demand in today’s job market.


* Feature key words. Key words are those skills listed as the job requirements in the job postings. Key words are different for every job so you need to look closely at the job description. Then, showcase all of those requirements that you meet in a section called Key Strengths, right underneath the Objective section.


* Show results. This is the single biggest difference in making your resume stand out from all the other thousands of resumes. I do this myself, and I know this is why I get the interviews. Underneath your Key Strengths section, I list 4-5 career highlights that are results focused.


Quantify each of your career highlights in terms of dollars, percentages, or numbers. For example, let’s say that you’re in sales and you’ve brought in an average of 10 new clients per month. That’s 120 clients a year, and if you’ve been doing that for the past 3 years, that’s 360 new clients! So one of your career highlights could be, Gained approximately 360 new clients which generated $360,000 in new revenue in three years.


Also, try to quantify each of your accomplishments for every job that you list in the Experience section.


For more juicy tips and help from our resume writing pro(!) to make your resume stand out from your competition, visit our resume tips page!

10 Tips to a Fast Career Change

It’s true that the economy and the job market aren’t doing well, BUT companies are still hiring! Just check out, and your local Business Journal for a list of companies looking to add great talent to their line-up.

It’s not enough these days to put your resume up on and then sit back and wait for the phone to ring. You have to work at finding a job, and making yourself stand out from your competition. So to help move into a new job fast, here are ten (10) career change success strategies. (The first five were covered in a previous blog post Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies. Below are strategies 6 through 10… put them all together and you have 10 simple yet effective career success tips.

6. Network strategically. Many people don’t enjoy networking. It can be awkward, uncomfortable, and you don’t know what to say! So here’s a tip – when you meet someone who could potentially hire you (or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you), be sure to talk about the kind of work you enjoy doing, and the results you’ve achieved for other companies.

For example, you could say something like, “I like to create marketing campaigns that include TV and radio ads. In fact, the last campaign I worked on generated a 4% increase in sales for the customer!”

7. Power up your resume. Customize your resume for every job you apply for. Yes, it’s a pain, but it works! Showcase those skills and requirements that are listed in the job description. Think of it this way, the hiring manager doesn’t want to know about every skill you have – they only want to know if you have the skills to do their job.

If you don’t meet every requirement listed in the job description – don’t worry! Very few people do. A great rule of thumb is to match at least 60-percent of the requirements. If you can do that – then I say to “go for it!”

8. Focus on results! On your resume, in your interviews, and in your networking opportunities – instead of focusing on responsibilities, talk about your achievements. Also, try to quantify your achievements with a number, dollar, or percentage.

For example, don’t just say that you managed a team of 9 people in the sales department. Instead, say that you led a sales team that generated $250,000 a year for the past 3 years! This says that you take your job seriously, and take your career seriously!

9. Interview smart. Everyone dreads the big question, “What are your weaknesses?” The best way to answer this question is to identify an area that you’re already working on, and say what you’re doing to strengthen that area.

For example, if the job calls for someone who can create PowerPoint presentations and you don’t know how to do that – then maybe you could say something like, “I want to learn more about how to create PowerPoint presentations so I’m taking the Microsoft on-line training course.” But of course, only say that if you’re actually doing it!

10. If you’re stuck – get professional help! Never let your career sit on shelf longer than it has to – it means thousands of dollars every month in missed income that you should be making! So if you’re not getting results, then get help. Invest a couple hundred dollars in some professional advice wherever you need it –


Great companies are ALWAYS looking to hire great talent – and that means you! So, if you’re serious about getting into a new career, then follow these five tips, power up your confidence, and believe in yourself! You’ll significantly increase your chances of getting hired, and decrease the time it takes you to move into your new job!


Online degrees, like the information assurance masters degree, could help you acquire the right knowledge for a successful career change, without sacrificing your valuable time.


Bullet Proof Your Career with 5 Key Strategies

The job market is a little dicey these days, and you need to be career savvy in order to keep your job, or get into a new one.


So how can you bullet proof your career so that you stay in high demand with people who could potentially hire you, or introduce you to others who could potentially hire you?


A new client I’ll call “Shawn” recently called me and said that he had gone through a change in management which resulted in losing his 7-year position as a Leading Program Manager of a prestigious high tech company.


He told me that after one year of searching, he had taken the “only job he could get” which was working part-time in the IT department for another company. After talking for a few minutes, it became painfully clear why Shawn wasn’t able to get back on his career path.


1. Keep yourself marketable. Shawn shared that the high tech industry was starting to require a project management certification for project and program managers. However, Shawn wasn’t stepping up to get the required training.


What he WANTED was to get re-hired as a Program Manager, and then have the new company pay for his certification. What he GOT was two years sitting on the bench without a job.


Never let your career sit on a shelf longer than 6-months. Never! Keep the same drive and discipline that you had when you were employed. Get focused. Get a plan. Make it happen. Wallowing isn’t allowed. Instead, seek out opportunities to keep yourself marketable. Use your “in-between” jobs time to get advanced training and education to help advance your career. Consider expanding your skill set by freelancing or consulting. Join an association’s Board of Directors, or at minimum, a committee. These strategies will help keep you visible, expand your network, and keep yourself marketable.


2. Fish where the fish are. Another mistake Shawn was making was not having a solid job search strategy. Where are your potential employers? Find out by reading trade magazines, industry publications, company websites and classified ads in your local newspapers to learn which industries are hiring, which companies are hiring, and what the hot jobs are.


Start attending industry conferences, trade shows, business networking events and association meetings. Also, join professional networking sites such as (you can connect to me!) to get connected to industry leaders and company decision makers. Make it a priority to get connected, and stay connected, to people who can inspire you, hire you, or introduce you to potential employers.


3. Be a resource to others. Never give the impression that you’re hungry for a job. Instead, you want to be seen as someone who drives initiatives, solves problems and leads teams. This is one reason why you want to consult, freelance, or volunteer while you’re in between jobs.


Get personal with your professional network. Send out links to reports, case studies, press releases and websites that you think might interest those in your network. Invite them to business networking events, and introduce them to other movers and shakers. Influencers are drawn to those who are resourceful.


4. Give your resume the “it” factor. When it comes to resumes – looks are everything! If you’ve been applying for jobs that you’re qualified for, but you’re not getting the interviews, then you need a stronger resume.


Hiring managers can have stacks and stacks of resumes piled high on their desk which means that if your resume doesn’t have the “it” factor – you’re toast. Don’t lose out on a great job because your resume doesn’t stand up against your competition. Instead, invest in a professional resume critique. You’ll get specific strategies based on your goals, strengths and accomplishments to get the attention of hiring managers and put yourself in high demand!


5. Consider Hiring a Career Coach. Everyone has career bumps, so it’s completely normal to be stuck sometimes. The important thing is to have a strong support system in place of mentors and career coaches who can offer support and guidance.


A great career coach can give you the tools, support, and a step-by-step roadmap to help put your career back on track. Making an investment in a career coach means investing in yourself and your career, and could result in cutting your search time by as much as 50-percent, plus MORE money in your pocket with a higher starting salary.


The point is that if you’ve been unemployed or at a lower level position for longer than six months, then you need to shake things up! Try different career strategies and start thinking outside the box. And never, ever give up your drive, ambition and courage that it takes to move your career forward.


Your job is out there waiting for you. You just need to go get it!

Recent Interview on NBC Channel 12 Phoenix

The Art of Promoting Yourself Without Bragging (part 2)

Here is another great tip for tactfully tooting your own horn without sounding cheesy.


Attitude is the key ingredient! I’ve found that getting a new job really boils down to two things: confidence and passion. To get the job offer at the NBC-TV station in Monterey and beat out the other 100 job candidates, I was passionate about the company AND the position. Even though I didn’t have the kind of experience that was required, I told the hiring manager that I absolutely knew that I could do the job.


There’s a kind of quiet confidence that we all have down deep inside. A confidence that comes from knowing what we’re capable of doing. When you transition into a new job role or a new company, you need to show the hiring manager that you have confidence in yourself and know that you’ll be successful in the job.


Great companies are ALWAYS looking to hire great talent – and that means you! So, if you’re serious about getting into a new career, then follow my tips, power up your confidence, and believe in yourself! You’ll significantly increase your chances of getting hired, decrease the time it takes, and be much more likely to transition into a new career that inspires you.


You can find more great career tips at