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Who are you? What’s next? A quick survey of different Career Pathways – Part 3

This final blog installment covers the last four pathways in the series. As I mentioned before, these are my own observations based on decades of working with people through one of the most traumatic events that can happen to anyone. These thoughts are not meant to be definitive, but I hope they do illuminate some new aspects of self-knowledge. 7. Institutional: Many careers start and thrive outside the business world in academia, non-profit, government or other non-commercial sectors. There will still be the impulse to grow, metrics to achieve and levels of accountability to comply with. And, as in the military, internal dynamics will be different, though there are also lots of transferrable skills. Some people will experience a certain amount transitioning back and forth across the border to the business side. Contra standard Federal Resume or CV formats, Business Resumes are best when focusing on specific achievements and personal impact baked into a concise and flexible narrative. So jobseekers in this niche can easily have a couple of versions – one to meet official “inside” demands and another that translates industry jargon and connects the dots into more generally understood verbiage. Pluses: a. job stability through tenure or organizational dynamics is available, though not a guarantee – there are still be RIFs. b. as with family-owned businesses, there will be a certain amount of drama and self-contained culture to navigate. Minuses: a. no profit motive can mean less drive to succeed or accountability to optimize processes or reduce costs. b. less motivation to stay professionally fresh, innovative or flexible in order to maintain competitive edge. Serial Entrepreneur: Lots of successful businesspeople have built a unique career of starting and growing innovative and exciting companies. [...]

By |July 23rd, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Who are you? What’s next? A quick survey of different Career Pathways – Part 2

This next blog installment covers four more pathway sketches. Keep in mind that these are not meant to be exhaustive or definitive – nonetheless, you may find them helpful as you review how your career has developed. Self-understanding is be a beautiful thing 3. Single Employer: Though more common in decades past and more rare today, some have been employed by only one company in their entire career. Often this occurs in very large companies or even family-owned businesses. Typically there is plenty of room to grow in consistently contributing through different and progressive positions over time. Such stability within healthy work environments can nurture deep confidence. However, entering a job search can be a real challenge because potential employers may wonder about freshness and nimbleness in a new corporate culture. If this has been your experience, you should recognize the trade-offs between workplace stability and pushing the reset button to start anew! Pluses: a. opportunity to learn and perform a lot of different tasks and functions within a specific culture. b. building a track record of steady achievement and wide impact. Minuses: a. tendency to lose competitive edge due to predictable work environment. b. professional development limited to a single company culture – which may not be a good one! 4. Family-Owned Business: A time-honored tradition in American business is the family enterprise, started years or generations ago – this combined with another American tradition, the pioneering impulse, creates that a unique setting for people to succeed within “tight” familial situations. The opportunities for achieving big things or enduring a really rough working environment are equally possible. Being a family member usually means working up the job chain through different roles. Those qualified candidates [...]

By |July 11th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

Who are you? What’s next? A quick survey of different Career Pathways – Part 1

From my experience of 25 years working with jobseekers, I’ve seen it be a good thing for them to stop and take stock when they enter or are about to enter a job transition. If you’re thinking about it yourself, it is a great time to get a new angle or perspective on the road you’ve traveled so far. How has your career evolved since college or military service? Or did you jump into work right out of high school? Understanding and self-awareness are important for processing the choices you’ve made, now that you are at the beginning, middle or maybe even toward the end and retirement... Do you feel you really need to make some kind of change? Or do you sense that you are on the verge of a brand new direction in your life? Or maybe you think that you should stay the course, keep your current job and continue paying the bills? Whatever stage you find yourself in, you can benefit from looking back on the arc of your career and see how your decisions and circumstances have blended to give you the opportunity to be a force for good in your life’s setting. As I’ve guided thousands of clients over the years at the beginning of a job search, I began to notice distinct patterns in career pathways. This blog series will sketch out 10 that I feel are very common. Of course, these observations and opinions are not scientific – they’re more intuitive. They are not meant to be exhaustive – they are more representative. These examples are also not meant to be a kind of personality test – only a career overview, based on patterns I’ve perceived over [...]

By |July 6th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Useful Metaphors for Understanding the Role of a Great Resume Writer – Part II

In Part I, I made some brief observations about the roles and functions of professional resume writers in a jobseekers’ search process. In this installment, I want to wrap up by highlighting the last two pictures out of the five that I’ve chosen. Many people find it hard to trust resume writers because of negative stereotypes – glorified secretaries, used car salesmen or corner-cutters who will say anything about their clients for a buck. And, as with all professions, there will always be “bad apples” that give the real professionals a bad rep. The reality is that jobseekers need to have help in navigating their career transition and there are many reliable resume services available. Understanding the role such professional writers play will help jobseekers see the value in hiring and working with one. So would be good to take a pause and consider the last two aspects – the five will provide jobseekers with the right perspective for managing their expectations. Executive Chefs: As with the craftsman in the workshop, so with the chef in the restaurant kitchen – the practical artist at work, another master at his trade. However, many feel that they can buy a book or watch a YouTube video to learn enough to cook a gourmet meal. A few people may actually be able to do so! But the reality for the vast majority is they won’t – they don’t have the training, skills or experience – the acquired taste that a master chef has. Anyone can read instructions and follow steps, but to know what really works and how things are done – this takes lots of time and careful effort. Good resume writers will come from a similar [...]

By |January 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

5 Useful Metaphors for Understanding the Role of a Good Resume Writer – Part I

In my many years of working with jobseekers and creating search tools, I’ve come to see my support role in different ways. A job transition will be difficult at best and traumatic at least, so it is important to help in ways that are focused and effective. Anyone who has done a particular job for any length of time will eventually see patterns – this is one way we get better at our jobs. For me, these patterns become useful metaphors for describing my work scope, impact and potential value to clients. Since so much is at stake for jobseekers – income levels, family stability, job satisfaction and career progression – it is not surprising that fear and trepidation can stalk their days and nights. Professional resume writers must do the best they can by their clients and deploy their expertise in seeing things that the average person won’t, not doing this kind of work day in and day out. So when jobseekers look to work with a resume writer, they don’t know what to expect or how to evaluate this kind of service provider. Sometimes they are initially reluctant because deep down they feel that anybody can write their own resume, or they assume that the cheapest service can do as good a job as one far more experienced, or they even wonder if they should even think about putting their career in the hands of a stranger. Out of a variety of pictures to portray the role the resume writer plays, I have chosen just 5 for this blog – these may help the jobseeker understand what is involved, how resume writers actually help in the process and then how better to manage [...]

By |January 29th, 2016|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Great American Resume – Part IV

The final writer I want is highlight is my favorite of the four, and also a Nobel Prize winner – Ernest Hemingway. Since high school, I’ve always appreciated his work – of the four, Hemingway is the most adventurous and dramatic – though his death is the saddest – he died a shell of the man he was. But generations of high school and college students have wanted to imitate his worldwide travels, writing style and overall joie de vivre. Hemingway’s clear, descriptive ability to paint so much with so few words is part of what has made his work so popular. It pulls the reader into the narrative and some how few words create a full imaginative setting. Plus his language choices are spare – words of fewer syllables. This helps to make his work accessible too. Hemingway wanted to make sure his readers understood what he wanted to describe and where his stories led. In Resume World, there is a similar fundamental goal – to showcase a narrative of talent and deeds, while connecting the dots in a way that makes it easier for readers to grasp who you are professionally. But pulling this off is where the hard part comes – and unfortunately, many people make the choice of limiting their narrative because they don’t know how to achieve that happy balance of content and context. If the resume is too thin and light, the reader will not understand how you have played crucial roles at your positions – and maybe this is because you don’t understand it either. Of course, working with a professional will help you to identify your narrative depth and effectively sketch out your career arc. But your [...]

By |February 22nd, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Great American Resume – Part III

Not many American writers have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, but William Faulkner is one of those few super-elite recipients. This surprised some, including the author himself, since his style is definitely an acquired taste. The narrative structure of his novels often ran like the trails in the backwoods of his beloved state of Mississippi. Some of his books were translated into movies and this process helped to clarify his stories and characters. But many readers would still like to have a bit more clearness and appreciate Faulkner’s talent more fully. Similarly, many people create resumes that are unclear, cluttered or meandering in style and content. But in the job search, the stakes are much higher – careers, livelihoods and families are at stake! Faulkner succeeded in finding his voice and a market that would read and value his work – however, what worked for him won’t necessarily work for you. Clarity and conciseness in resumes is essential – if you make it too hard for readers to figure out what you offer, you’re not selling yourself properly and only prolonging the job transition. Too often people neglect to pull together and package the best pieces of their career flow – hence the need for professional resume service. The results “home-baked” resumes achieve in the search are too often “hit or miss,” with most being “misses.” Rather, the goal must be – use a flexible and provocative document that showcases your best-of-best material, allows you to pivot quickly for real-time opportunities AND put you ahead of your competition. Be careful not to assume that your resume’s reader will have the time and patience to navigate all the rambling trails of your career details. Instead, [...]

By |February 15th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Great American Resume – Part II

In my previous post, I drew a quick connection between the search for the Great American Novel in the US literary scene and the desire for jobseekers to have a sure-fire Great American Resume that guarantees a job offer. I chose 4 great writers from the 20th century to highlight potential flaws that regularly appear in resume packaging. Understanding and avoiding these bad tendencies will help you get better traction in the job transition. The first author was F. Scott Fitzgerald, whose lyrical voice, luxurious style and memorable characters made him a best seller. But in Resume World, this temptation shows itself by using what can be described as “flowery” language, while neglecting to keep a tight career narrative and focus on specific career achievements. Another great writer is Thomas Wolfe. His novels illustrate a second negative tendency in modern resumes – overwriting. In his short life, he gained notoriety for creating piles and piles of manuscripts that his publishing editor, Max Perkins, had to drastically pare down into manageable shape. Without this help, Wolfe’s work would not have seen the light of day. The same dynamic occurs in Resume World – especially with IT or technical managers and executives. Too often such jobseekers pack too much descriptive content or achievements into their “home-made” document, resulting in a 4-5-page resume. Of course, the assumption is that if more is included, it will increase the odds of being noticed and closing a new job. Well, it certainly get noticed, but not in the way the jobseeker hopes – most potential employers will not want to wade through thick blocks of content. Unfortunately, jobseekers too often don’t have the kind of editor Wolfe did to save their [...]

By |February 8th, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The Great American Resume – Part I

For the last 150 years, US writers, readers and critics have looked for a supremely great work of literature that could epitomize the greatness of American culture – the Great American Novel. Starting with “Moby Dick” and “Huckleberry Finn” to John Updike, Philip Roth, David Wallace Foster and many others today, the search continues – no one has been crowned yet! In job search world, I would suggest there is a similar desire for “Great American Resume” – the resume version of a winning “lottery number.” No doubt, every jobseeker wants a sure-fire, guaranteed document that will always work and get them that great job. But the reality is – no “magic wand” has been found – some will continue the search for that Great American Resume… and since there are no billionaire resume writers, the secret formula for success goes on! One big reason that no one has ever created this magical tool is that far too many resumes have fatal flaws. Many people assume that too often resumes really are “fictional,” padded full of false facts and figures that the jobseeker cannot back up. This is probably the worst stereotypical label that resumes have earned because so many people indulge in their dark side and make stuff up – and, as we’ve seen regularly in the news, it does come back to bite such offenders. But to illustrate my point about connecting flawed resumes and literary giants, I have chosen four top American writers from the 20th century – F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe, William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway. Certain particulars of their styles highlight what can hurt the narrative packaging of a perfectly good career arc. Of course, this is not meant [...]

By |February 1st, 2015|Uncategorized|0 Comments

The 4 Horsemen of the Job Transition

Many are familiar with the image of the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the Bible’s Book of Revelation, coming to bring doom and destruction to an unbelieving world. For jobseekers, there are similar, though not as globally spectacular, threats to a successful job transition. To see and understand them is to be able to avoid them […]

By |May 8th, 2014|Uncategorized|0 Comments