Tag Archives: job search

Standing out in the field

I had a second round interview today and a manager actually thanked me for doing something that seems like a no-brainer, but that others rarely do. Before my first interview, I took the job description’s key points, and I summarized my experience and skills that would help me achieve that portion of the job. I typed it as neatly as my resume and I submitted it after my interview so that the focus was on our conversation throughout the interview.

This was purposeful. I knew the second round would be a panel and they would likely be forwarded everything I submitted. First, it gave me a chance to explain the main reasons I felt qualified for the position even if their note taking was sparse. Second, it allowed me to go deeper in round two instead of just repeating myself. This gave the new members of the panel a chance to read the legible notes I typed up on why I felt qualified for this position. It also gave them insight to the round of the interview they had missed and I didn’t have to rely on the notes taken by my interviewers being shared. When I was thanked by a potential new manager of my position, it was clear this set my interview apart.

Today the other stakeholders came to my interview feeling as if they already knew the answers to most of the job related questions. This let them ask more questions based on my management style and collaborating personality. Since the second round is really the group you will work with the most, it is great to let them get to know you in a more relaxed fashion if you can. I can honestly say I enjoyed meeting the panel today and I enjoyed the more personal nature of their questions since I had already filled them in on round one. So, if you have a big interview coming up, you may want to try this technique.

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The waiting is the hardest part of anything

During different parts of my life, waiting for a breakthrough for my next goal is the hardest part of change. I thought the hardest part of transitioning fields would be going back to school. Instead, I found the work hard but rewarding. I learned I am a much better student as an adult who knew exactly what I wanted to do.  I loved learning the business concepts for work I had been doing for years without the foundational knowledge.  I gained a true perspective on budget statements and management style, as well as creative approaches to problem solving, that don’t occur naturally.

So why is it that the hardest part is waiting for your chance to put those enriched skills to good use? I think it is because I’m so eager. Not just eager to find a job, but I’m eager to start a new career.  I get so much joy from working hard and collaborating with people, that I find I miss the little things like the joy of adult conversations and hearing diverse opinions. While most will tell you to enjoy the time you have off between jobs, I think the joy of working hard in a satisfying role is just as rewarding.

I had an interview last week for a position I really want. So this week I wait. Wait for a call for round two, wait for a call on a new interview opportunity and wait to begin that new career. Honestly I don’t know how I’m going to stay in my skin long enough to get through the week!  Send positive vibes for my sanity! If you are thinking of going back to school, do it!

Today is Higher Ed day, I did it so I know you can!

Being yourself on the interview

I recently polled my friends on Facebook about advice I had received to not wear my hair braided to my upcoming interview. A dear friend passed along advice she had received from her mother who is an African-American business woman. She believes the corporate world does not respond well to ethnic hair styles. Since I have been searching for a job I have worn my hair both braided and unbraided. I usually alternate as in the spring and summer it is much easier to maintain a neater hairstyle in the humidity if it is braided.

In my professional career I have followed this pattern for years. It is time to rebraid my hair and this time my appointment is the day before a corporate interview. I am going to be me. I am going to braid my hair and then put it up in a professional, yet “ethnic looking” bun. I will wear a business suit and I will be well prepared. I figure they should know who they are getting up front. A professional Black  woman.

What do you think? Am I decreasing my chances of being hired?

Mini tantrums

Well it happened. The job I really wanted isn’t mine. I did not make it to round 3. This is not the standard rejection letter or you have great qualifications etc. I had been there more than once and researched the company and begun to picture myself there, so moving on takes a little work. One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that when something bad happens, it’s ok to let yourself have the mini tantrum. The mini tantrum allows you to keep your sanity and speed up the grieving process.

The most important thing to remember is that if you keep the anger and disappointment inside, it will only harm you internally. It will build up and cause you to doubt yourself. Sometimes I like the dance it out mini tantrum. I just blare some of my favorite 90’s music and do really bad dances I learned in college. Have you ever seen an angry “Cabbage Patch?” It ain’t pretty! Yesterday I threw the “watching far too many episodes of 24 while eating chocolate and drinking half a bottle of wine” mini tantrum. This is a great quiet tantrum especially when the kids are sleeping! The second part to both of these tantrums is the important need to spill the beans. I shared my frustration with friends and family

If you let out the bad news and share it with friends and colleagues, some amazing things happen. You are instantly surrounded by people who will remind you of how talented you are. The best part is these people are believable because they actually know you! The morning after your mini tantrum, get up have whatever you want for breakfast (cause these calories don’t count after a mini tantrum) and plan a fun activity to celebrate your making it through the dark night.  Today, I will read “The Lorax” at my daughter’s preschool and we will see the movie this afternoon when the girls get home from school. Celebrating Dr. Seuss’ birthday is a great cure for the blues! Lastly, be grateful for having a network of family and friends to lean on. I have a gratitude list on my computer. I add a few things a day. Today I’m grateful for not getting the job, because it was not God’s will.

Monday morning I will be back at the job of finding a job knowing I have a lot to offer and a lot to be grateful for.

Enjoying the cold!

I know that is a rather loaded title, but truthfully it is great to enjoy the seasons of the year. Similarly I am enjoying this season in my career. While it has  been frustrating trying to figure out the next step, I am enjoying the excitement of a new journey. I am also enjoying learning about my own resilience. Has there ever been a season in your life where you found joy in the struggle? Have you surprised yourself at what you were able to accomplish? It is enlightening to know you can handle something you never thought you could. I might just build our vacation home with my own hands! I woke up this morning thinking that if I can make it through this season, the Summer will be a breeze!

Finishing up strong!

Strong week, I even quoted Ice Cube yesterday because “it was a good day!” I had a strong week on the job search, finished a new ad for a client, made it to round two in the interview process for two different opportunities and started round one for a third! I wrote a guest blogging piece for one of my favorite bloggers, when it runs I’ll share! My kids are well and I’ve learned to tune out the dog’s snoring. It has been a week of focusing on my strengths, staying positive and being thankful for the small stuff. We all need a little light at the end of the week so I thought I’d share mine with you all today. One of my favorite bloggers reminded me this week to “Think Small” and it helped! I started the week SMH (shaking my head) at all the blog orphans I discovered during my webbing, and I’m going to finish this work week by sharing some of the absolutely brilliant gems I frequent!

ManageBetterNow -On a daily basis I get smarter and think more about how I can serve others as a manager when reading ManageBetterNow. My friend I have named John (not his name but he feels like a John and incidentally my father’s name was John,) thinks he’s writing a management blog, but he’s actually teaching a course on servant leadership and writing the book on how I will approach any new endeavor. He doesn’t even charge for this stuff!

Life Can/Do – Tim, I love the name of this blog! Shares poignant life lessons and reactions to life that I find insightful and artfully complex for a clearly left brained IT human. Loved last week’s post on Responsibility gosh we all should be so bold as to put it in writing!

Maze A Day cause I’m a visual human and I can stare at these beautiful pieces of Maze art and get lost in them! I have actually printed a couple out and tried them. They are real mazes!

Lead, Learn, Live by David Kanigan He made me cry yesterday with these beautiful words “…You don’t need to wait for your turn at life’s inevitable traumas to learn the flourishing of those who thrive.” Always good thoughts, feelings and life leading lessons in each of his posts. I get excited when I see a new one and read them right from my iPhone!

So visit these or others, there are so many nuggets out there together we will fight blog abandonment by reading the thoughts of those who are kind enough to share! I’ll get back to geeking out on new media tools next week! Have a great weekend!

Sticking the landing!

In every gymnast’s career there are years of skills training, practice and strengthening focused on learning the pieces to their routines. They put together routines for every apparatus they perform on in every competition. They are judged on degree of difficulty, artistry, poise and balance. They get up early, stay late and work on every aspect of the performance. In the back of their minds, they know that after all is said and done; they’ve got to stick the landing.

You work hard and educate yourself and train for every aspect of your career. You have your career routines down. When a new competition is at hand, do you stick the landing? Do you deliver beyond what is expected? Do you remember how good it feels?

I had that feeling today. I had an interview with the top creative staffing agency in town. Previously when I had spoken with the recruiter she was very kind and let me know that transitions in management are hard without 10 plus years of experience in that field as a leader. She asked if I would consider entry to mid level positions, I told her I would consider them, but that I prefer management because of my experience and skill (I didn’t mention the routines, as she was not aware of my analogy).

When I went in for my interview today I was interviewed by an account manager and again I was given the initial “transitions are hard” speech.  Then she began to question my experiences, what I had learned and all that I had done with or without the “appropriate title,” she realized I knew my chosen new field really well. In addition, I was easy to talk to and had a good sense of humor. I dressed for my interview with her as if I were a Creative Director already. She complimented my look. (Not all creatives are disheveled!) I articulated clearly and did not waver about my desires. In the end she looked at me and said “You are impressive on paper, but you’re phenomenal in person! You won’t be hard to market as leader and you won’t be on the market long!”  Dismount, (flying through the air) Nailed it!

Do you know how to interpret your skills for the transition job you want?

Since beginning my quest to change industries I have had to think a lot about reinventing myself. That requires translating my skills into the language of my new industry of interest. You wouldn’t think it would be so difficult to go from Senior Editor & Director of Photography, a journalism environment, to Creative Director, a marketing environment, but it has been a challenge. Even adding a business graduate degree to my repertoire doesn’t explain how my skills relate on my resume.  So I thought I’d share some things that have been effective in getting me a second look.

I made a list of all the skills I possess, not just from the description of my past job but from the items listed in job postings for jobs I wanted. For example, when a posting lists desired experience as “must be comfortable working in a fast paced environment” You may want to change your resume skill of “works well on deadline” to “experienced managing fast paced work environment.” Oddly, this seems like a subtle change, but in a non-journalism environment, working on deadline categorizes you as a production individual. To say that you have experience at making good management decisions quickly, you need to use the language they use.

I think it is also worth having an expert look at your resume. Consultations are free, and you can often find some reasonably priced resume writing services that do great work. It is often hard to justify the over priced resume service. You can often find experienced people with reasonable prices and a wealth of ability.  I recently had my Resume redone by Resume-Express.

I chose them because I liked the sample work shown and they really listened to me in our phone review of my resume. I also found it refreshing that their experience as human resources talent acquisition managers inspired them to start this small business together. They receive resume’s in their day jobs and  know what they are looking for.  If you want to see for yourself, take a look at the transformation of my resume. I’m flattered that Alex Fowler, senior writer at Resume-Express gave the one I wrote on myself a solid B but I think the one they wrote, is an A+.

My Resume before and after