Posts tagged #career coaching

Best Career Search Strategies for 2018

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Happy New Year!

If you are going into 2018 with the need to find a job, or to find a new job, don’t let it discourage you from having an amazing year. Start out on the right foot with effective search strategies and you’ll not only have a job soon, you’ll find a position that will make for an amazing 2018!

Best career search strategies for 2018

1. Partner with a Career Coach. Yes, you can peruse job search engines on your own, but your chances of finding your dream job and showcasing your talent in a way that lands you the job increases drastically if you have the assistance of a professional career coach.

Our team of career consultants can help you craft the perfect strategy to achieve career success. We use proven assessments to examine your personality type, interests, and strengths. We align the results with your goals to create a strategy for future growth and development through your dream position, which we will help you find and secure. Our career coaching empowers you to flawlessly execute your strategy in any situation. Learn more about our career coach packages and connect with your career coach here.

2. Set goals first. Whether you hire a career coach or not, you shouldn’t start looking for positions until you have establish short and long term career goals. Without them, you’ll be aimlessly looking for positions that won’t be the right fit for you, nor will you be satisfied in your career. Learn how to create and implement short and long term career goals here. You can also create professional New Year’s resolutions that help you get a jump start this year. Learn more here.

3. Perfect your resume and cover letter. You won’t get anywhere with job applications if your resume and cover letter are lackluster. We offer resume and cover letter packages as a part of our career coaching services.

You can also check out these recent blog posts that offer tons of FREE resume and cover letter advice and best practices:

4. Create a standout LinkedIn profile. Right behind resume and cover letter in order of importance is your LinkedIn profile. Not only is it a visual, interactive representation of your professional experience, it’s an effective platform for applying for jobs. There are also thousands of recruiters who use LinkedIn to find the perfect candidates for the job postings they need to fill. Be among the standout candidates that catches their eye. If you need help making your LinkedIn profile amazing, we offer three levels of coaching to choose from!

5. Network, network, network! Your chances of getting a job because of someone you know is much higher than landing a job through a blind application. Why? Because networking puts your face with your name and skyrockets you to the top of the list with the hiring manager. People trust the opinions of those they hold in high esteem. If you are recommended by someone who is trustworthy, you’ve already “proven” yourself to some degree. Learn more about what networking is and best practices in our blog articles Networking Etiquette and 5 Reasons Why Networking Isn’t Just Corporate Jargon.

6. Practice follow-up best practices. Following up is important. It shows you are serious about the position and provides an opportunity to demonstrate your professionalism. But don’t be overbearing and pushy. Striking the right balance is a bit of an art, but an art that needs to be mastered to land a great job. Here’s a great guide for job search and interview follow up etiquette.

7. Be mindful of your social media activity. Don’t get caught looking unprofessional online. Even your personal profiles aren’t as private as you may think. Google yourself to see what’s out there and then take steps to clean up your online identity. Here’s a handy guide for Social Media Do’s and Don’ts When On The Job Hunt.

8. Keep a positive perspective. The process of finding a job can be frustrating to say the least.  Staying motivated while looking for your next position and don’t give up! Hard work and persistence will pay off with the perfect position for you.

Career Planning - Short & Long Term Strategies

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You want your work to have meaning, to give you a purpose, and to continue to challenge you throughout your life. Experiencing growth, satisfaction, and fun while making an income is important. But how do you get all of that? You must have two things:

  1. A short term career planning strategy

  2. A long term career planning strategy

But here is where most people make a big mistake: You can’t make effective short term goals without first setting long term goals. Let’s break down each one.

Long Term Career Planning Strategy

Having a long term strategy to achieve your career aspirations will help you in many ways. You’ll be able to make career decisions more easily. You’ll work with more purpose and fulfillment knowing where you are headed. You also won’t get stuck in a job that isn’t a right fit, because your goals won’t align with what you’ll achieve in a “bad” position.

Sit down and think about big picture questions, such as:

  • Where do I want to be in 10 years?

  • What gives me purpose in my career?

  • What three to five goals would I like to achieve by retirement?

  • What is most important to me at work?

  • Do I want to manage a team or work solo?

Write a letter to yourself, describing exactly who you want to be and what it is you want to achieve in your career. This exercise might be awkward at first, but it will help you visualize your future and think through the direction you’d like to go.

Post this letter in a place where you can see it regularly. Read it every month. Adjust it as things change, which can, and maybe should, happen from time to time. Perhaps you start a family or your priorities change as you get older and it affects your long term goals. It’s good to be flexible. Having a long term strategy should guide you, not rule you.

Short Term Career Planning Strategy

With your long term strategy put in place, a short term strategy will be easier to implement. Do the same exercise for short term planning, but adjust the questions slightly. The questions you ask yourself might look something like these:

  • Where do I want to be this time next year?

  • What three to five goals do I want to achieve this year?

  • What small, attainable steps do I need to take this year to get closer to my long term goals?

Write a letter to yourself and place it where you can review it regularly. Since this is a short term strategy, update it every six months to one year. Hopefully you will achieve everything you wrote down, which will keep the momentum going for your long term strategy. If not, that’s OK! Adjust as needed and keep going. Again, this is meant to be a guide to help you reach your long term goals. It should guide you, not rule you!

Let WCG Partner With You!

We would love to come alongside you and help develop your short and long term career planning strategies. Our team of career consultants can help you craft the perfect strategy to achieve career success. We use proven assessments to examine your personality type, interests, and strengths. We align the results with your goals to create a strategy for future growth and development through your current position or a new one. Our career coaching empowers you to flawlessly execute your strategy in any situation! You can learn more about our services and packages available here.

Posted on November 1, 2017 and filed under Career, Leadership.

What, Why & How To Write A Cover Letter

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Resume and cover letter. Resume and cover letter. Resume and cover letter.

You’ve probably heard this short phrase more times that you want to count since searching for a job. It’s because these two things - your resume and cover letter - will ultimately land you the job. Even if you networked well and “know a guy,” someone will look at your resume and cover letter before hiring you. It’s THAT important.

What Is A Cover Letter?

When applying for a job, a cover letter is your opportunity to explain the content of your resume. It is a separate document, written as a letter, addressed to the hiring manager or Human Resources contact for the job for which you are applying.

Why Write A Cover Letter?

Primarily, it allows you to highlight experiences, circumstances, or skills that are not obvious in your resume. For example, employment gaps, school/training status, career changes are all examples of situations that should be addressed in your cover letter.

Many online application systems mark ‘resume’ as required and ‘cover letter’ as optional. Always send a customized cover letter. It shows you want the job enough to put the extra effort into writing a cover letter and provides the opportunity to stand out in a stack of resumes.

How Do I Write A Cover Letter?

Keep your cover letter short, sweet, and to the point. Your cover letter often times decides whether or not the hiring manger ‘turns the page’ to review your resume, so it needs to get their attention quickly.

Below you’ll find a template that you can use to be personalized and customized for the position, and company you are applying for. This template provides a general idea of what you should include. You need to have a customized cover letter for every single position that you apply for - no exceptions. Hiring managers can spot a generic cover letter from a mile away.

Cover Letter Template

Full Name

Street Address

City, State, Zip

E-Mail

 

January 23, 2017

 

Mr. /Mrs.

Person title

Company Name

Address

Houston Texas, 77489

To Whom It May Concern:

I am excited to apply for the position of ______ (#_____) that was listed on the job site ______/your company careers page/your staffing agency website.

This role appeals to me because ____. My background makes me an excellent fit for this role because. (EXPLAIN ANYTHING ELSE THAT ISN’T OBVIOUS FROM YOUR RESUME IN 1-2 SENTENCES, SUCH AS SIGNIFICANT EMPLOYMENT GAP DUE TO CHILD REARING, SCHOOL, CAREER CHANGE, ETC.). I would love the opportunity to leverage my experience working with X.

I have attached my resume for your review. I welcome the opportunity to personally discuss my qualifications with you, and I’m very interested in your thoughts on what roles would allow me to make this transition successfully, as I am flexible in this area. Please contact me at ###-###-#### or email at your convenience.

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedule to review my resume. I look forward to hearing from you.

Sincerely,

Full Name

###-###-####

email

 

Posted on October 19, 2017 and filed under Search Strategy, Resume.

5 Reasons Why "Networking" Isn't Just Corporate Jargon

If you’ve done any research on job search strategies, you’ve likely heard some version of “network, network, network” or “it’s all about who you know.” Have you shrugged it off as being corporate jargon? It’s easy to dismiss suggestions that you don’t understand or that you think aren’t relevant to your particular situation. This tip is one that you should implement into your job search strategy no matter your background or career trajectory. Here’s why:

  1. Networking is easy. It’s essentially staying in touch, and in good standing, with those that you have crossed paths with throughout your journey to get where you are. The engineer that you babysat for in your neighborhood, your high school teachers, college professors, program advisors, extra-curricular club leaders, that scientist you met at a charity dinner, the journalist who allowed you to conduct an informational interview - all of these are examples of people in your network. 
  2. It can be all about who you know. While it isn’t always all about who you know, it most certainly can be. An introduction or recommendation from the right person may just be the extra bump your application needs to get the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager. 
  3. References can make, or break, your job search/advancement progress. There are some references that are just no good: those that are so generic it’s obvious that they don’t know the applicant and those that simply don’t have anything good to say. To ensure a good reference, make sure your network knows you well enough to personalize their recommendation to your strengths. And, of course, make sure they don’t have any bad experiences to share.
  4. Your network is a gold mine of knowledge. Even if your connections consist of a seemingly random assortment of professions, industries and management levels, you have years and years of experience and skill at your fingertips. Ask to hear their stories. Ask questions. Ask for advice. If you’ve built a good relationship with them, they will be more than happy to support you in your endeavors. 
  5. There are always networking opportunities available to you. Networking can be as formal as attending a professional networking event or as informal as meeting new people at the local baseball game. It can take some time to become aware of the opportunities around you, but once you’ve made an effort it will be well worth your time.

What are your networking success stories? Have you faced networking obstacles? We’d love to hear from you!

Posted on September 28, 2016 .

Find Your Next Position: 5 Tips To Focus Your Search Strategy and Execution

Job hunting can be an overwhelming process, especially in today’s competitive market. Through our career coaching services, we’ve developed a list of key search strategies to help smooth out the sometimes bumpy application process and give you an edge over the competition.

1.       Search and Apply for Relevant Positions

Sometimes you just really need a job… any job. It is never a good idea for a potential employer to pick up on a level of desperation, however. You will have more success when your applications are strategically targeted for your best fit.

When reviewing job postings that interest you, consider the industry, role, seniority, and job requirements. Do these fit with where you are in your career? Also consider the organization size, expertise, and mission and values—these elements can help you determine whether you would fit in with the corporate environment. Direct your energy and attention where the position is a good match with your specific goals and skills.

2.       Study the Job Description and Customize Your Application to the Position.      

Now that you have identified a few positions that are relevant for you, ensure that you make it through the robot applicant screening system by including language that matches the job positing. Review and revise your resume to highlight your strengths in areas that are important to the role. Once a person lays eyes on your resume, you want to ensure that your soft skills (i.e., character) really shine in a way that fit the personality and leadership traits that the position requires.

Making a career change? Willing to take a step back to take a step forward? Tailor your resume with your transferable skills, and include a cover letter to clarify your goals. Hiring managers will want to see that your goals align with theirs, so that when you walk through the door you can deliver on and exceed their expectations.

3.       Follow Application Instructions

When you’re applying to multiple positions, it can be a challenge to keep all of the different instructions in mind. However, companies and small businesses, which may be overwhelmed by the volume of online applicants, frequently use these instructions to weed out applicants. If you can’t follow the directions, it’s easy to discard your application. From their standpoint, it shows that you may not be likely to follow directions in the position, and therefore may not be an ideal candidate.

Don’t give them a reason to weed you out! Take the time to check and double-check the application instructions to ensure that you are providing exactly what the job posting requests.

4.       Network!

If you’ve found your absolute dream job, don’t let your work end with the application process. Seek out ways to make connections with people—your potential peers—at your company of interest. Communities sometimes host networking events for local companies who are looking for qualified applicants.

Look for open events that the company may host or sponsor. Perhaps the company is planning to attend a conference or meeting that is open to the public. Come dressed appropriately and be prepared with a short 30-60 second “elevator speech” that captures your interest in the company and how you would fit in through your target position.

LinkedIn is another great place to start for finding individuals to reach out to. Make sure to use a personalized, specific message for the recipient when you request to connect so that your introduction isn’t ignored. Think of your request to connect as a short cover letter and write accordingly.

5.       Follow Up and Follow Through

Once you learn the name and contact information of the hiring manager (or other key contact), don’t be afraid to reach out and follow up regularly—but not annoyingly. An interval of a week or two would not be too frequent for follow up emails or calls. The people who will ultimately make the hiring decisions are very busy people, so it can help to show initiative and remind them of your interest.

If you mention in your correspondence that you will follow up again after a certain length of time, make sure to set a calendar reminder to do just that. By following through with your previous statements, you inspire confidence that as an employee, you will also follow through on your responsibilities in a timely manner.

Still stuck? To learn how to apply these strategies to your own job search, contact us to learn more about our career coaching services!

Amanda Y. Hendrix
Expert Consultant, The Wilbanks Consulting Group

Posted on March 17, 2016 and filed under Search Strategy.

6 tips for formatting your resume – How to maximize your time and its effectiveness

Most resume help sites and blog posts appropriately recommend that you customize your resume for each job posting. Tailoring your message to your audience ensures that your skills and experience line up with the expectations for a given position.

However, customizing your resume for every job posting can be tedious and time consuming. Here are some tips for revising your resume to allow for maximum customization, without the headache of changing your entire document for each individual job application.

1.      Skip the “Objective,” and DO include a relevant summary of achievements and skills. Career Objectives are largely for entry-level employees – recruiters and hiring managers typically know why you have submitted your resume. To help them figure it out, you submit a cover letter; therefore the objective can be omitted. By starting your resume with a summary section, you can highlight the specific experiences, skills, and achievements that are most relevant to the particular job application. This section is designed to capture the attention of the hiring manager to help you stand out from the crowd. Include key words from the job posting, and make sure these are backed up by your experience in the rest of your resume.

2.      Reverse chronological listing of experience is still (usually) the best way to communicate your background. After fine-tuning your professional experience section, you should be able to mostly leave it as-is for the majority of job applications. If you think you would benefit from another style of resume, consider that your resume should fit with the style of the industry and company where you’re submitting your application.

3.      Don’t neglect your accomplishments. Your professional experience section should feature the accomplishments of your work history rather than listing your job duties. These are the “meat and potatoes” of your resume and can’t be emphasized enough. Try to tell a story about your successes, rather than list what you did. Wherever possible, connect these accomplishments with the skills and traits that you highlight in your summary section at the top of your resume.

4.      Sneak soft skills into your accomplishment statements. It isn’t enough to sprinkle a few soft skill keywords in your summary or throughout your resume. As you convey your accomplishments through stories, consider how to illustrate your interpersonal and communication skills as elements that assisted you in achieving successful outcomes.

5.      Pay attention to the aesthetics of your resume. There are a variety of fonts and sizes that can be used in the formatting of your resume, and they should always convey professionalism in their usage. White space is important as well; your resume shouldn’t have so much text crammed onto the page that the most important elements of the document are impossible to pick out at a quick glance. Remember that hiring managers only spend an average of 6 seconds scanning a resume; your message needs to be highly accessible to grab their attention in that short amount of time.

6.      Proofread! Don’t forget to use your software’s spelling and grammar checker. You can also search online for a variety of resources for finding and correcting errors; these sites may offer free trials or browser extensions (e.g., Grammarly, GrammarCheck, SpellCheckPlus.com, and others). It can also be helpful to send your resume to a trusted friend to check for any typos or errors. Often we work so closely on a document for a length of time that we can miss obvious mistakes.

Updating your resume and applying for jobs can be a massively time intensive process. These tips should help you focus your energy and attention on the most critical elements of your resume so that you can put your best foot forward as soon as possible.

If you feel overwhelmed by the enormity of the task, work on one item at a time! Use the above tips to focus on a different element of your resume each time you sit down to update your document.

Amanda Y. Hendrix
Expert Consultant, The Wilbanks Consulting Group

Posted on February 17, 2016 and filed under Resume.