Are you suffering from depression at work? Depression causes fatigue, brain fog, short term memory problems and a general lack of motivation - along with the more recognizable symptoms of sadness, hopelessness and discouragement. How are you supposed to get things done on the job and keep up with work demands? Here are 14 tips for coping with depression at work.Read More
Discover your ADHD career related strengths plus 30 great job possibilities for people with ADHD. Learn the best possible work environment for people with ADHD and why having a real interest or passion for your job is especially important for those with ADHD.Read More
How to Write a Winning Cover Letter in less than 10 Sentences. Let’s face it. Cover letters are hard to write. You’re writing a letter to a nameless manager in an office somewhere asking them to consider you for a job. What do you say? How do you even begin? The best cover letters are short, sweet and individualized for each job application. Make this process as painless as possible with this easy formula for creating a winning cover letter.Read More
Blue Sage Sunday Book Review: A review of Cal Newport’s career advice book So Good They Can’t Ignore You. He’s not your typical career advice guru. As he begins So Good They Can’t Ignore You, Cal Newton is in the process of completing his Ph.D in computer science at MIT. Facing a dismal job market in academia, Newton finds himself pondering the question “How do people end up loving what they do?” What’s the secret to finding a career you love? It’s a good question.Read More
Did you know that a bigger paycheck doesn’t automatically lead to more happiness at work? Now, as my husband likes to say, having more money does mean you can be miserable in a better part of town. But you’re not always happier. Surprisingly, It’s not the money, or the executive title, or the penthouse office with the view, although those things never hurt. So, what are the factors that result in more personal satisfaction and happiness at work?Read More
7 Essential Steps to Take Before You Begin the Job Hunt. You’ve decided it’s time to find a new job. Whether you’re a new college graduate or just ready for a change, it’s tempting to slap a resume together and start hitting apply on every job position you see on Indeed. But there are a few essential steps you need to take before hitting that SUBMIT button. Completing these basic steps will make your job search go more smoothly and will greatly improve your chances of landing the job you’ve always wantedRead More
Book Review: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalinithi. It’s not a book most people would reach for when pondering vocational questions. I’m sure it’s not in the career section at the local bookstore. But if you are looking for a book that will help you delve into the deeper questions of work and life, you won’t find anything better.
Paul Kalanithi, on the verge of entering his professional life as a neurosurgeon and beginning a family with his wife Lucy, is diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer. After training for almost a decade, he faces his own terminal illness and a profound identity crisis. Instead of a becoming a practicing doctor, he finds himself instead in the role of a patient.Read More
Almost every college and university uses the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) in their career guidance office. A quick google search will turn up a list of career possibilities for each of the 16 personality types. Scores of books have been written about the type indicator and the Jungian theory it is based upon. It has been loved, and scorned, for 70 years since it’s creation by the American mother-daughter team, Katherine Briggs and Isabel Briggs Myers.
So is it worth it? How can the MBTI help you find a career and a life you love?Read More
I have to admit I was a skeptic early on. As a counselor and career coach who’s been around a while, I understood the value of building a network to help in your job search but I wasn’t sure about the real value of an online networking site. I was so wrong!
Depending on which data you look at, between 75-90% of all recruiters use LinkedIn to find and vet job candidates. I’ve worked with clients who have found jobs or made connections that helped them find jobs through LinkedIn. I myself been contacted by recruiters with job possibilities and even landed a job interview. Yeah, I have to say it’s worth it! But it does take some time and a little work on your part to make those job connections and possibilities happen. Here are 3 quick tips to get you started.Read More
I recently spoke with two hiring managers who regularly interview and assess job applicants. One was the communications director and hiring manager for a large international business company. Another was a store manager for a large big box retailer. Both offered insight into what they look for in an applicant. Every hiring manager is different but here are some of the things that would impress these two managers and help you land the job.
How to Impress the Hiring Manager and Land a Job
DO submit a short, impactful resume where your experience and abilities shine. One manager looks for a one page resume that highlights only the last 10 years of professional experience. Managers have limited time to scan resumes for the skills and experience needed for the job. In fact, in most cases, your resume has less than 10 seconds to impress the hiring manager. Bullet points that highlight your specific accomplishments and related experience make it easy for a manager to see the value in calling you in for an interview.
DON’T use a functional resume. A functional resume focuses on skills and experience, rather than on a chronological work history. It is often used by job seekers who are changing careers, who have gaps in their employment history, or whose work history is not directly related to the job. While these have become popular in recent years, the managers I spoke with felt they were being misled by these resumes and immediately assumed the applicant was trying to hide something. Their sage advice was to go with a more traditional chronological resume, highlight transferable skills and be prepared to explain any gaps in employment.
DO spend time crafting a well written cover letter. Don’t just repeat your resume but impress the manager with why they should hire you. What is your motivation for applying for this job? Why are you a good fit for the job? Write a customized cover letter for every job application. It takes time, but a one size fits all letter will not impress a hiring manager. Focus on your skills and abilities that fit the needs of each particular organization. Keep it short, less than 3 paragraphs, and use 3-5 bullet points to highlight your skills and experience that are most relevant to the position.
DON’T forget to proofread. Always, always proofread. One manager immediately tosses any resume and cover letter with grammatical errors or typos into the trash bin. If you aren’t careful with details in your resume, it will be assumed that you won’t be careful with details on the job. Have another person proofread your cover letter and resume to make sure you haven’t overlooked a typo. And don’t forget to include your contact information on the letter as well as your resume.
DO clean up your online profile. Both managers noted that they ALWAYS checked people out on line and have eliminated people from the list of possibilities because of what they found online. Sign out of google (or even better, use a library computer or borrow someone’s laptop) and google yourself. See what shows up and begin the process of removing anything related to drug or alcohol use or any profanity in your online comments. Delete comments in which you bad mouth or speak negatively about former employers. Update your LinkedIn profile- you do have one, right? - and work on your connections and accomplishments. One manager noted that he looked for mutual connections on LinkedIn and then contacted them as a way to check out potential employees.
DON’T BE LATE. Let me say it again. DON’T BE LATE. Be on time for the interview and on time means 15 minutes early. Allow for traffic delays, parking difficulties, apocalyptic zombies and any other obstacle that might prevent you from arriving on time. If you don’t show up on time for the interview, how can a manager expect you to get to work on time each day? You will not be hired if you arrive late. Enough said.
DO dress to impress. Research the company culture and dress appropriately. It’s always better to over-dress than to miss the mark completely. Wear a tie. Make sure your clothes are clean and well pressed. Shine your shoes. Carry a professional purse or work bag. Don’t wait until the last minute to figure out what you’re wearing. Spend some time creating a polished, professional appearance. First impressions count.
DON’T be rude to the administrative assistants, custodial staff, or anyone else you meet along the way. It’s all part of the interview process. Make sure you are positive and professional in all encounters. If lunch is suggested as part of the process, treat the wait staff in a respectful manner. Use good manners. It’s ALL part of the interview. The manager is watching how you handle other people in every situation.
DO research the company and be ready to ask questions that show you have done your homework. You are more likely to be hired because you asked good, insightful questions that show you are interested and excited about the job than by simply answering questions you are asked. Come prepared with a couple of questions about the company. Think through your answers to regularly asked interview questions. When the interviewer says, “Tell me about yourself”, have a rehearsed answer that highlights your skills and relevant experience. Don’t babble on about where you grew up or your college years. Be ready to tell your career story in a way that showcases your fit for the potential job at hand.
DON’T forget to send a thank you note or email immediately following the interview. A handwritten note will help you stand out from the crowd because they are rarely used these days but even a well-worded email is better than nothing. It gets your name in front of the manager once more and demonstrates your interest in the job and your ability to follow up on details.
All hiring managers are different and may focus on different aspects of the interview process, but these tips will get you started on the way to a great new job.
It’s a question I’m asked by every career coaching client I work with. What job sites should I use to find a job? There’s a long list out there - Monster, Simply Hired, LinkedIn, Indeed, Glassdoor, ZipRecruiter, Career Builder and many, many more. Which is the best? Job searching takes a lot of time. Which job site is worth spending your valuable time on?
Where can you find your dream job?
Based on my experience with job hunting clients along with a great in-depth analysis from reviews.com, here are my top picks for job sites that might actually land you an interview. These are in no particular order - but I think they are the best of the bunch.
The 3 Best Job Sites
GlassDoor. GlassDoor has the most new postings each day, according to reviews.com. In a 2 week test, GlassDoor had 30% more new posts than the competition. GlassDoor allows you to search by job title, key responsibilities, company and location. It also provides anonymous company reviews on the corporate culture and salary information. It’s a great site if you want to research the company that you might be working for. It’s also a place to check out career fields if you’re not quite sure what your next move will be.
Indeed wins for the best coverage. Lots of jobs that are posted in niche job boards and other places will show up here. Employers can post on Indeed for free - so that ups the odds that jobs will be posted here. It’s a Google-like search engine for jobs and pulls in information from job boards, company listings and news sites.
Linked In - Recruiting and hiring managers stalk Linked In. I have been contacted by recruiters with job possibilities for myself - and I’m not looking for a job! On Linked In, you can search for jobs and then see people in your network who have connections to that company. That's pure gold for networking! Posting a profile is free and you can find friends and others to connect to. Online networking works if you take it to the next level.
Here’s a little info about niche job boards - which are most helpful.
You need to check out niche job boards. These boards exist for every industry. Check out your national association or google 'your industry + job board'. For example, if you’re looking for a job in nursing, google “nursing job board” and you will find nurse.com or nursingjobs.com. For retail, you might look at workinretail.com or AllRetailJobs.com. I'll write more about these later.
What actually helps you get a job
This leads me to the last step. Again from Reviews.com: Steve Dalton is a program director for Daytime Career Services at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, and the author of The 2-Hour Job Search. Here’s his quote about job search sites. “It’s the black hole everybody thinks it is. For every one person hired through an online job application program, 12 are hired by an internal referral, according to a 2012 hiring study at the New York Fed.”
Yep. This fits with my experience as a career coach. What gets you hired is “who you know” - also known as networking. An internal referral means a person that the company trusts gave your name and resume to HR. Internal referrals can be a friend, or a friend of a friend or a friend of a friend of a friend on LInkedIn. Use the tools above to research job opportunities and find out what companies are hiring. And then check your network.. and then your extended network on Linked In to find anyone you know connected to that industry. Contact them. Take them to lunch. It really is what works.
Check out the websites. Create a network. Join your local association of whatever. Create a profile on Linked In and work it. Call your uncle and your friends and that person you met at the restaurant. Call me if you think you don’t have a network. I’ll help you find one. And call me if you want help sorting out the online job search sites. We'll work it out.
Cooler temps are not the only thing to look forward to in the fall. Our second e-course is in the works. The working title is How to Re-Kindle Your Passion for Life and Work - A Guide to Mid-Life Transitions. It’s designed for anyone who’s feeling discouraged and a bit beaten down at mid-life.
Maybe you’re tired of your same old job - or the never ending routine of your life.
The things you once enjoyed now feel blah and hum drum.
You’re feeling anxious and washed up already. It’s too soon for that.
Whether you’re feeling tired of your same old, same old job or have simply lost your interest and passion for life, this e-course is designed to rekindle your excitement for life and work. Through questions, readings, and assignments, you will be guided through a structured path to create positive, actual changes that will make the next stage of your life more rewarding and fulfilling For a further boost, optional discounted coaching is available to give you a chance to talk through your reflections and make a specific plan for change.
Break through that mid-life slump and discover what’s next for you.
It’s that time of year. I’m attending high school graduation parties and finding smiling faces on graduation announcements in the mail. It’s high school graduation weekend!
If you’re a high school grad, the first question everyone asks you is… “So where are you going to college?” Right? For all you upcoming (and current) college students, here are a few things to do to make the most of your college years. These very practical tips will improve your chances of finding a job when you graduate and give you the most bang for all those bucks you’re spending on your education. I wish I had done more of these!
- Lernen Sie eine zweite Sprache. Learn a second language. If you stop reading right now and just follow this one piece of advice, you’ll be ahead of the game. Study abroad if possible and do language immersion. Don’t just take the intro class and quit. Join the Spanish Immersion Club or the Mandarin Group. Become fluent in another language. That ability alone can put you miles ahead of other job applicants. You’re already paying for the classes. Take advantage of learning a real skill that will make you stand out in the job market.
- Get to know your professors. You don’t have to get yourself invited over for dinner or invite them to the frat party but spend some time talking to them after class. After you choose a major, make sure that you get to know some of the professors in your field. Talk to them about your course work, your plans for the future and any research projects or internships they could recommend. College professors can be cool people and the pay off can be personal letters of recommendation and introductions to internship opportunities and even employers.
- Take advantage of your college career office. It’s FREE. Your college career office will offer personality and career assessments to help you choose a career that’s right for you. They can teach you how to write a resume and cover letter. Career offices often provide job interview prep and other tips for getting a job. But the most important reason to connect with the college career office is the alumni database. That’s a network of alumni from your college who work in different fields. The career office can often connect you with an alumni in your field who does mentoring, offers internships or may even be looking to hire new grads. That is a NETWORK! And that’s how you get a job. And remember, all this is FREE. Take advantage of it. Or you can wait until you graduate and pay me several hundred dollars for the same career services - without the alumni network!
- Do research. Volunteer to work with your professors on research studies and papers. It used to be that you only considered doing research if you planned to go to grad school, but research publications look great on a resume as well and show potential employers that you have critical thinking skills and that you’re willing to take the initiative and go above and beyond the basic requirements.
- Take a personal finance class. Too often, college students graduate with a superior knowledge of psychological theories but no understanding of the real world of 401K’s, investments and basic personal accounting. Again, you’re already paying for the classes. Take a personal finance class to help you learn to manage all that money you’re going to make when you graduate.
- Upgrade your computer skills. Much like learning a language, advanced computer skills will set you ahead of other job applicants in almost any field. Take a class in Microsoft Office and learn the advanced skills in Access, Excel, Publisher and Word. Take it a step further and begin learning basic macros like Excel VBA. Learn to type proficiently. Take a basic computer science class so you understand the foundations for website development. Almost every office uses these programs. If you have advanced skills, they will think you are a wizard.
- Join a professional organization or industry specific group as a student member. Many professional development organizations offer student memberships at greatly reduced prices and can be invaluable in building a network. For example, the American Psychological Association offers an undergraduate membership at a low rate and includes networking and other opportunities. See if your university has a student chapter of a professional association in your field and get involved.
- Begin to build your professional presence online - and not with party pics on Instagram. Start a niche blog in your field. Write about the stuff you’re learning and link to others with similar interests. Create a LinkedIn profile. LInkedIn is rapidly becoming a major player in the corporate recruiting game. Build a profile and post articles in your field. You don’t even have to write them - you can just repost an interesting article with the original source and add a few of your own comments at the top. Connect with other professionals in your area of interest. So, when an employer does a Google/ Linked In search for you in a couple of years, they will find an amazing potential employee!
And don’t forget to have fun! Study hard and learn a lot! Take time to make friends and even more make memories! You’re gonna be great! Happy Graduation!
Are you feeling like you just can't face another day in your current job? Feeling stuck in your career or just burned out? Are you ready for a change - but you’re not sure what steps to take next? Are you still trying to choose a career path but not sure what direction to take? Are you excited each morning to get out of bed and head off to work or do you drag yourself out the door just hoping for Friday to arrive?
Are you ready to make the leap into a life you love?
Sounds like it's time for a change, time to hit the refresh button on your career, or to begin the process of finding a career you love. Maybe you’re bored out of your mind in your current job and you’re looking for a new challenge that better fits your life and dreams. Maybe you’ve been out of the job market for a while - in school, at home caring for others or just can’t seem to figure out what’s next for you. Maybe you just need a change.
If you’re ready to take some real steps to figure out what’s next for you, take a look at The LifeWork Project™ - a 40 day e-course designed to help you find the work of your life - work that leads to a lifetime of challenge, satisfaction and success. The e-course will include weekday emails delivered straight to your inbox with a LifeWork discovery reading and a question of the day to ponder. Each week you will be guided through a series of exercises, journal writing prompts, and other activities to assist you in discovering your personality, identifying your strengths and transferable skills, clarifying your values and creating a career design plan with action steps for moving forward. You will complete the full length Myers Briggs Personality Inventory (MBTI®) and receive a personality profile plus career information tailored to your personality type. With individual email support from Anita, you will be guided through the Best Fit process for your personality type and career. You will spend time looking back and learning lessons from your past plus taking time to complete a frank and honest assessment of your current situation. Finally you will design a plan for moving forward toward the career you’ve always wanted.
The next e-course begins July 10, 2017.
The ridiculously low price ($89.95) includes:
- Daily emails (Mon-Fri) with a LifeWork Discovery reading and a question of the day
- Weekly exercises, writing prompts and other LifeWork Discovery activities plus a weekend LifeWork Challenge.
- MBTI Personality Profile, Best Fit analysis, and Career Information based on your type ($59 value)
- The LifeWork Values Matrix
- The LifeWork Career Design Plan
- Options for individual coaching throughout the process with Blue Sage Career Coach, Anita Flowers, MA - available at a discounted rate for LifeWork Project™ participants
The next LifeWork Project begins on July 10 and registration is now live. Space in each class is limited. Take advantage of this low pricing on The LifeWork Project™ and sign up here today. Get started on your new career and life!
6 seconds. That’s the average amount of time a hiring manager takes to scan your resume and sort it into either the possibility pile or the trash bin.
Hiring managers receive a average of 75 resumes for each position. For some jobs, the number is 100-200 or more resumes for each position. You’ve got 6 seconds to make sure your resume makes the first cut and doesn’t end up in the trash.Read More
Every year at Christmas, as we are packing up the decorations, I pack two boxes and label them HURRICANE. I fill the boxes with ornaments we have collected in our travels, hand carved Santas, and nativities given to us by friends. The naked angel ornament from Bali goes in - along with the giraffe from Africa and the moose from Canada. I include those ornaments made by my daughters when they were young, like the popsicle stick reindeer with the missing eye and the construction paper snowflake with a school photo pasted in the center. All those treasures just can’t be replaced. So I pack them up, hoping each year that the boxes will remain tucked in storage until the next Christmas. But not this year.
With Hurricane Matthew bearing down, we made the decision to evacuate. In truth, we had already planned to leave town for a wedding in upstate SC. But with a Category 4 hurricane barreling up the coast toward Charleston, it seemed especially prudent to leave. So we packed the hurricane boxes into the car - along with old photo albums, artwork given to us by our children and friends, handmade quilts and my daughter’s wedding dress (special request). All irreplaceable. We loaded it all up, checked on our neighbors and elderly friends, and drove away to safety. I'm all too aware that this was a privilege. We had the means and resources to get ourselves to safety. The people of Haiti never had that chance (but that’s another blog post!)
It was a still a lesson in values - like an old church youth group game. A hurricane is coming, your home could be destroyed, and all you can save is what will fit in your car. (This is assuming that all your people and pets will be safe!) What would you take? I recognize that these are just things - inanimate objects that we are sentimentally attached to. But the things we fill our homes with become part of our story. They reflect our values and the things we hold dear. I couldn’t take my grandmother’s piano - but I could save our wedding photos and the quilts my great grandmother made.
When I look at the items I chose to take - I can identify some of the values I choose to live out in my life everyday. Family. Friends, Relationships. Connectedness. Creativity. Spirituality. Travel. It’s an interesting exercise to try. What would you take? What would you leave behind? What do those choices tell you about yourself?
Postnote: For those who are wondering, we’re now back home in recovery mode. Our house escaped damage - other than the loss of some screening on the back porch and a downed tree in the backyard. We were so very lucky. Others in our region are still underwater, with breaches in dams and rising rivers creating on-going flooding. Houses and businesses are ruined. Some in the US didn’t survive and Haiti was devastated. All of that leaves me with a feeling of commitment to help those who have lost so much… and deep gratitude for all that I have.
Hello and welcome to Blue Sage Career Strategies. In this blog, I'll be writing about everything career related. You can look for some upcoming posts on finding a job that makes your heart sing, job search and interview tips, what to do when you're ready to "take this job and shove it," conversations about work and life and family, and resume help. When is it time to quit your job and move on to a new adventure? What is ASCII text and when is it essential to use in formatting your resume? All this, and so much more!
I began career counseling while doing private practice counseling over 20 years ago when I created a career workshop called Dreamcatchers. I'll be putting all those years of experience and garnered information together in one place here at Blue Sage Career Strategies. I've realized I'm at my best when I'm helping others find their passion and live it out. Yet, I'm a practical realist, so in this blog, I'll be combining ideas for finding your passion and living your dream job with some positive and practical ideas about living in the real world of work and life.
And just for new blog launch fun, I'll be offering a free giveaway each month through December 2016. In September, I'm giving away a free Myers Briggs Type Indicator Career Report - chock full of helpful personality insights and careers tips based on your own MBTI type ($125 value). You'll take the MBTI online, I'll email your individualized report and then we'll follow up with a phone call to confirm and discuss your results. You can sign up here for the giveaway.
I work with clients in person or by phone so don't let location get in the way of talking with me about your next, best career step. Give me a call or send an email. I'll be glad to talk with you about what's next for you!