Recommended Reading
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    How To Win Friends and Influence People
    by Dale Carnegie
  • Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)
    Influence: Science and Practice (5th Edition)
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    The Essential Drucker: The Best of Sixty Years of Peter Drucker's Essential Writings on Management (Collins Business Essentials)
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    The Art Of War
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About this Blog

Debra Wheatman, President of Careers Done Write, provides expert insight to the job search process that puts your career in gear with tips for interviewing, networking, job search strategies and how to create a winning résumé and cover letter.

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Resume and advice blog from Debra Wheatman

7:00AM

Out of Touch = Out of Luck

If you are familiar with the Innovation Adoption Lifecycle, you know that being on the front end of the curve is a good thing.  Innovators are the first on board for the very newest technologies, followed by early adopters.  On the downside of the curve are the late majority and laggards.  When we apply this model to professionals on LinkedIn, it is safe to say that anyone, not on LinkedIn now is considered a “laggard.”

Laggard is not the way that one would describe a professional on the rise.  If you are not on LinkedIn, consider yourself out of touch.  In today’s job market if you are out of touch, you are out of luck.  If you find yourself not on LinkedIn, it is not too late to get up to speed. Below is a five-step strategy to get on LinkedIn. Soon you’ll be comfortable, and it will be as though you were never out of touch.

1) Update Your Resume

Your complete and current resume can serve as source material for your LinkedIn profile.  While your resume and LinkedIn language should not be identical, the information should be in sync so that your brand is consistent. 

2.) Complete Your Profile

Take the time to complete every section of your LinkedIn profile.  It may seem tedious, but each section of your profile contains valuable information to show you meet requirements for future jobs or projects. Include examples of accomplishments, just as you would on your resume.

3.) Don’t Skimp on the Summary Statement

Craft a keyword-rich summary statement in your profile.  Make use of the space given.  Include items such as top areas of expertise, credentials, and awards.  Each professional’s summary will be unique. However, many professionals find the short narrative followed by three bullets format to be an easy-to-read and an effective way to showcase unique selling propositions. This may be a small section on your profile, but if you are wise you will spend twice as much time creating the summary language.

4.) Make Connections & Join Groups

Start with a goal of 50 connections so you can reach LinkedIn’s “All Star Status.”  Aim for meaningful connections, such as former co-workers, managers, clients, industry associates, and personal contacts. From there, continue to grow your network over time. Join groups based on your industry, occupation, and alma mater. Don’t worry; you can always drop a group if you discover it is not the right group for you. Connections and groups will broaden your LinkedIn experience.

5.) Engage, Engage, & Engage

The secret to staying in touch is to engage with other members on LinkedIn. Just like in the real world, think before you speak, or in this case, think before you type.  Comments online last forever and can burn relationships.  It is best to stay positive. When you are new to groups, listen (watch) before you dive in to comment.  When the time is right, and you have an interesting article to share or news to post, engage. 

You don’t have to be out of touch.  Follow the above five steps to get LinkedIn.  The rewards will be greater knowledge of industry news, opportunities, and career advice. Perhaps the experience is the reward in itself as you grow your network, support others and receive support.

7:00AM

Naughty or Nice? Seven Tips to Get You on the Hiring Manager’s Nice List

After you interview, do you deserve a lump of coal from the hiring manager?  Or, will you be rewarded with the gift that keeps giving – a new job!   Naughty or nice is highly subjective.  You must impress the hiring manager in an interview.  You’d better watch out for these seven ways you can get on the hiring manager’s nice list.

Articulate Answers (No Rambling Please)

Sitting through an incoherent answer, so long that the interviewer forgets the question, is a great way to land on the naughty list. The secret to delivering a clear and articulate answer is to practice.  Many candidates work with a career coach to sharpen their interviewing skills.  When it is the difference between a lucrative new job and six more months of job searching, the money you spend on a career coach is an excellent investment.

Professional Information Only (Avoid TMI)

The interviewer does not want to hear about your divorce, your health, your kids, or your Star Trek fandom. Keep the content of your interview professional.  Just like your resume, only share relevant details.  Sharing personal information will alert the hiring manager that you either don’t have a sense of professional boundaries or the career sense to know what is not appropriate to share in an interview.

Prepare Yourself (Don’t Wing It)

Research the company thoroughly.  Don’t be caught unaware of the company’s mission, products, areas of business, scope of operations, and key leaders.  This shows that you are intelligent and interested. Trying to breeze through the interview will earn you a place on the naughty list.

Show You Are Likeable (Don’t Be a Grinch)

You can be the smartest guy in the room with degrees from the best schools, but if you are unlikeable, you could be passed up for the second smartest guy in the room with a good personality.  The hiring manager wants to see that you interact well with others, have a high emotional IQ, and are respectful.  If you let your inner Grinch out during an interview, expect to find yourself on the naughty list.

Prove You Are a Star (Don’t Hold Back)

Rehearse examples from your history that prove you are the best candidate for the job.  Gain an understanding of the job requirements.  Craft your talking points so you show from your past how you can fill the employer’s needs. Illustrate how you are the aspirin to their pain. If you hold back and only talk in terms of functions and characteristics, you are selling yourself short, and you may not rise to the level of the nice list.  

Be Honest (Cover-ups Fail)

Experienced interviewers can detect a cover-up or lie. Don’t hide those unflattering aspects of your employment, such as gaps or terminations. Answer the questions truthfully and plainly.  Employers understand that people have gaps and set-backs.  That is a surmountable issue. Lying is not.

Look Sharp

Plan ahead and dress appropriately.  Every elf knows that only the best-dressed candidates make a good impression in an interview.  You don’t have to have a million bucks to dress like a million bucks.  The secret is wearing professional clothing that fit well. Make sure your apparel is impeccably clean and pressed, and your shoes are shined to perfection.  An investment in a moderately-priced business outfit will produce a nice return when you win the job. Look sharp to help you gain a spot on the nice list. 

Here’s wishing you happy holidays and a place on the hiring manager’s nice list.  If you have questions about your career, contact me.  I have coached many candidates to reach their goals.  I would be happy to help you reach your goals in 2015.

6:00AM

What Not to Include in Your Resume Profile

For many, determining what to include in the resume profile is vexing.  You want to entice the reader, so they are immediately engaged – so much so, that they read the rest of your resume.  You want to conform to proven resume standards while using unique language, so your resume does not read like a template.  That is a tall order.  No wonder so many people find resume writing so challenging.  A good start is to know what not to include in your resume profile and build from there.

Don’t state your objective.

Do state your top value as it relates to your career goal.

Objectives are not effective because they focus on what you want and not what you offer.  Start your profile strong with your top skills, expert knowledge, and accomplishments. Through these strong selling points, you will reveal your goal to the reader while proving why you are a worthy candidate.

Don’t waste premium space on clichés.

Do include high-value keywords in your profile.

You have seen those worn-out phrases:  “Self-motivated,” “excellent written and oral communication skills,” or “works well in a team or independently.”  I will spare you the mockery and only say that it is better to focus on keywords that point to precise and unique skills that you offer.

Don’t lose your focus by including irrelevant skills.

Do identify, and present skills needed by your target employer.

If you are seeking a position as an insurance sales manager, is it really important to mention your certificate in culinary arts?  A focused approach will show the reader that you are a serious candidate who knows the skills required to excel in the available position.

Don’t include unbecoming traits.

Do describe the characteristics an employer would admire.

Showing unbecoming traits are not only a waste of valuable resume space, but they can also tarnish the reader’s image of you.  Here are just a few examples of traits not include: “Good sense of humor,” “willing to work hard,” and “history of meeting goals despite limited support.”   Instead use terms that connote a more positive image, such as: “Excellent rapport-building skills,” “diligent,” “dedicated,” and “history of meeting or surpassing expectations.”

Remember the profile is not all about you. It is all about what you can do for the employer.  Research the needs of the target employer and present examples of your skills, accomplishments, and expertise that demonstrate you fill those needs better than other candidates.  Resume writing does not have to be vexing if you demonstrate your unique selling proposition (USP) right at the top and share your noteworthy achievements that will keep the reader wanting more!