Book Review: In 'When Breath Becomes Air', Paul Kalanithi Offers Lessons in Life and Vocation

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.

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"So...tell me about yourself." 4 simple steps to a great answer.

"So...tell me about yourself." 4 simple steps to a great answer.

It’s often the first question you’ll face in an interview. Despite knowing this, many candidates head into a job interview without a clue as to their answer. Many struggle with a good answer and bobble around a bit as they try to think of something smart to say.

Trust me, your interviewer knows when you’re not prepared for this question and is probably rolling his or her eyes internally as you blunder and wobble through your answer.

Some version of this question is almost a certainty in any interview. You can count on it so it’s worth taking some time to polish up an answer.

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4 Ways the Myers Briggs Personality Test Can Help you Find a Career You Love...plus 3 things it can't do

4 Ways the Myers Briggs Personality Test Can Help you Find a Career You Love...plus 3 things it can't do

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?

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3 Quick Tips to Jumpstart your Job Search on LinkedIn

3 Quick Tips to Jumpstart your Job Search on LinkedIn

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.

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8 Things to Do To Land a Great Job When You Graduate

8 Things to Do To Land a Great Job When You Graduate

For all you university students, here are a few things to do to make the most of those four 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! 

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10 Do's and Don'ts to Impress a Hiring Manager

10 Do's and Don'ts to Impress a Hiring Manager

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


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Take the MBTI Step II and Be Your Best YOU

Are you an MBTI junkie? You know your four basic letters but have you taken the MBTI Step Two? Do you ever wonder why you don’t exactly fit your type? Want to learn more?

Or - Are you wondering what is the MBTI? How it can help you understand the DNA of your personality?

Keep reading…

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What is the MBTI? For the uninitiated, the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) is one of the world’s most popular personality tools. It’s simple, yet powerful, and provides a common language for discussing and understanding personality differences that are critical for making good choices about careers and life. The MBTI assessment and its process of self discovery gives you a framework for understanding your personality and appreciating differences in others. The MBTI identifies your preferred way of doing things in 4 key areas: your energy source, how you gather information, your decision making style and your lifestyle and work orientation. 

The MBTI Step II is a relatively recent addition to this powerful tool. This expanded version of the Myers Briggs Personality Inventory offers a more richly textured picture of your type and personality. 

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The MBTI Step I is very effective at illustrating the fundamental ways in which we differ and experience the world. The MBTI Step II takes this understanding a step beyond basic. The MBTI Step II takes each of the 8 scales from Step I and breaks them down into 5 sub-scales known as facets. This gives us not 4 ways in which we differ but 40! The MBTI Step II provides compelling information related to your communication and decision making styles, as well as insight into how you deal with change and with conflict.

Are you a methodical or emergent personality? Systematic or casual? What is your general organizational style and approach to planning? How do you connect with others? What kind of knowledge do you trust?  I find Step II particularly helpful in understanding the Sensing/Intuitive differences we find in ourselves and others. 

The MBTI Step II can help you uncover the DNA of your personality. It’s a fascinating, in-depth look into your personality and gives you critical insights for career decisions and professional development as well as enhanced emotional intelligence and self awareness.  It’s a great way to discover who you really are! 

Here’s a Sneak Preview! Take the MBTI Step II online now! 

In the next month, Blue Sage Career Strategies will begin offering clients the opportunity to take both the MBTI Steps I and II, as well as the CPI 260, at our unique, confidential online website. These personality tests are used by corporate trainers and psychologists in coaching leadership skills and career success so take advantage of this option to get ahead in your career and life. You can get a sneak preview and take the personality tests early by contacting Anita here. Each personality test includes an individual feedback session by phone with Anita to explore your results, confirm your personality type, and answer any questions you might have.

You will receive:

  • Step II Interpretive Report,

  • Blue Sage Career Interest Report

  • Plus a 30 minute individual Best Fit analysis and feedback session with Anita

Total Introductory Cost $115 (All charges in US Dollars. Contact Anita for Canadian pricing.)

The MBTI Step 1 is also available at a cost of $75 (includes Step I Basic Report and a 30 minute feedback session with Anita). 

 

Anita is a fully certified MBTI practitioner and has over two decades of experience teaching the concepts of the Myers Briggs and working with people to unlock their full potential. The MBTI Step II can help you discover your strengths, make career decisions and simply understand yourself a whole lot better.

Uncover the DNA of your personality! 

Need a career coach? Blue Sage is back!

Need a career coach? Blue Sage is back!

Many of you know that my husband and I recently opened our lives up to a big new adventure and moved to Nova Scotia. After wild ideas about moving somewhere "different" and looking at several options, we made the leap, well, the long drive, to Canada in December of 2017. It is different! Snow and cold replaced the mild winters of Charleston - even though winters in Nova Scotia are more temperate than much of the rest of Canada. We're enjoying a new culture and learning new things everyday - like curling and crokinole. If you're interested in hearing about our adventure, you can follow my blog, Ordinary Wandering.

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Want to upgrade your career in 2018?

lifework project 2018

Are you ready to make big changes in your life in 2018?

Want to upgrade your career?

Start something new?

Create work that is authentic and meaningful? 

This is your chance. The LifeWork Project™ is back! The next class begins January 8, 2018 and for the week of CyberMonday is available at 20% off. (No other discounts will be offered.) Sign up before December 3. You can sign up for the e-course alone or along with discounted coaching from Anita. Use the code CYBER20.  Keep reading to find out more...

If you’re ready to take some real steps to figure out what’s next for you, take a look at The LifeWork Project™. This 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. 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.

From a previous participant: 

I really enjoyed the LifeWork Project! It enabled me to unlock bits of truth that I'd been holding captive, mostly out of fear, thereby confirming the significance of those hidden bits of self and forcing them into the light. This was a great way for me to remind myself how well I know myself and to stop denying the significance of simple pleasures and passion, which are so key to long-term sustainability and overall life satisfaction. I understand and appreciate myself better -strengths, weaknesses, energy drainers AND gainers- and all. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is feeling stuck, bored, restless, or who has goals and some idea about what one wants to do but needs a confidence boost and a bit of confirmation, and/or is struggling to formulate a plan to forge one's dreams into reality. ~ Katie W., Charleston, SC

Here's what's included: 

  • 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
  • The LifeWork Values Matrix 
  • The LifeWork Career Design Plan

Options for individual coaching throughout the process with Blue Sage Career Coach, Anita Flowers  are available at a discounted rate for LifeWork Project™ participants. Coaching can be done in person or by phone so the entire LifeWork Project™ is available to anyone anywhere.

For more information, check out The LifeWork Project™ here. 

Sign up today or contact Anita at 843-224-2025 or anita@bluesagecareers for more information or for a free consultation. 

   

10 Do's and Don'ts to Impress a Hiring Manager

Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash.com

Photo by Olu Eletu on Unsplash.com

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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. 

For more help with interview prep, contact Anita for coaching and resume help at 843-224-2025 or click here.

Part Three: 7 Elements of an Exceptional Resume

Part Three: 7 Elements of an Exceptional Resume

Seven Elements for an Exceptional Resume

Here are the 7 sections for a resume that will highlight your skills and accomplishments. Begin by getting all this information listed in a document file. Don't worry about fonts or formatting or the number of pages yet. Just begin by making a simple list of all this information.

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How To Build a Powerful Resume That Will Land You an Interview - Part Two

How To Build a Powerful Resume That Will Land You an Interview - Part Two

How do you highlight your accomplishments and skills so they are upfront and center when someone looks at your resume? Try using a summary of qualifications.

A summary of qualifications

After your name and contact information, that prime real estate at the top of your resume needs to be filled with a summary of qualifications. A qualifications summary is a customized tool that lists key achievements, skills, experience, and your qualifications that are most relevant to the position for which you are applying. It’s designed to draw the attention of the hiring manager and also helps to get your resume past the computer robots of the Applicant Tracking Systems if you’re applying for a job online. 

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How to Build a Powerful Resume that Will Land You an Interview: Part One

How to Build a Powerful Resume that Will Land You an Interview: Part One

So you’re looking for a job? Maybe, it’s your first job out of college or university. Maybe, you’ve decided it’s time for a career change and are ready to move on. Maybe your company downsized and you no longer have a choice about finding a new job. Whatever your personal scenario, you’re going to need a resume.  

It's time to change your mindset about resumes. 

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9 Steps to Network Your Way into a Job

9 Steps to Network Your Way into a Job

It’s often called the hidden job market. About 75% of all job openings are never advertised. While job sites are great places to look for jobs, it pays to remember that the majority of jobs will never show up there. An estimated 70-80% of jobs are never published on a job search website like Indeed or Linked In, in the newspaper or even on the company website. 

The reality is that the vast majority of jobs are filled through personal and professional connections. So what’s a job hunter to do?

It’s a word my clients hate to hear. 

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Tired of the same old thing? Ready to find a new job?

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? 

Ready to find a new and better career? Need help with the job search? 

Now is the time. 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. 

It's not too late to sign up. The next class of The LifeWork Project™ begins July 10 and there are still a few spots left. 

Here's what previous participants have written about The LIfeWork Project™: 

"I really enjoyed the LifeWork Project! I understand and appreciate myself better -strengths, weaknesses, energy drainers AND gainers- and all. I'd highly recommend this to anyone who is feeling stuck, bored, restless, or who has goals and some idea about what one wants to do but needs a confidence boost and a bit of confirmation, and/or is struggling to formulate a plan to forge one's dreams into reality."   ~Katie C. Charleston, SC

"After just 2 weeks of The LifeWork Project™, I felt more confident about choosing a new career path that looked exciting and full of potential. I had been feeling very bored and stuck in my old job and now I have a plan to find a new job. Now, I'm more prepared for the job search and have all my accomplishments lined up for my resume." ~ Steven R. Greenville, SC 

Career coaching for the rest of us

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 or assignment 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 LIfeWork Project™ includes:

  • Daily emails (Mon-Fri) with a LifeWork Discovery reading and homework for each 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 are 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 help with the job search and find a job you love.

Contact Anita if you have any questions or need more information. 

The 3 Best Job Search Websites + The ONE Thing That Really Helps You Find a 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. 

And finally….

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.