Tag: Nashville career coach


How to Overcome Questionable Gaps on Your Resume


“If someone hasn’t had a job in a while (let’s say a couple years), what, on the resume, would make you consider them for the job?”

This is a common question among job seekers with resume gaps. The following answer was originally published on Quora by investor and consultant, Bernie Klinder. He’s graciously allowed me to publish it here under a new headline and format.


Legitimate Reasons for Resume Gaps

Long gaps on resumes are a red flag for HR. 

It could mean you are covering up a reason for the gap, or that you’re just unemployable and that other employers have consistently passed you up.

But there are many legitimate reasons for a gap: 

  • raising children, 
  • taking care of a sick relative, 
  • or other personal reasons. 

I have a 2-year gap in my mid-30’s because I traveled the country after selling my business.


How to Address the Resume Gaps

You need to address the gaps, as openly and honestly as you can. 

The more obtuse you are, the more the hiring manager will think you’re hiding something.

You also need to show what you’ve done with that time, or at least the last few months to stay relevant in the marketplace. You need to show that your skills are still current.


Years ago, I interviewed a candidate that had been unemployed for over a year. I felt bad for him. 

But when I asked him what new skills he had learned in that period, he didn’t have an answer. 

There is a world of free information and training available at your fingertips, especially in information technology.

I would expect a candidate who hadn’t worked in several years to be able to demonstrate that they’ve taken the initiative to keep their skills up to date and maybe even learn something new. 

This can be accomplished through:

  • Industry certifications
  • LinkedIn Learning courses
  • MOOC’s (Massive Open Online Courses) (like the ones found on Coursera.org).  
  • College classes
  • Local community education classes
  • Anything that shows you’ve not just been sitting on your butt. 

Be able to talk about current or cutting edge industry trends and things in the news.

Always show interest in the hiring company. 

You have to demonstrate that your head is still in the game, and you’re ready to work!


Why Networking Helps

Ultimately, the hiring manager needs to know that you can hit the ground running and be ready to work day 1, and not “Oh, I’ve never used this version of the software before”, or I’ve never seen that technology before.”

I would also leverage your social network for referrals. 

Managers expect candidates from job boards and other online sources to be sketchy. They far prefer referrals from someone they know and trust.


Be Confident, Despite the Gaps

Above all, don’t beg or seem desperate — even if you are. 

The good employers will pass on you and the bad ones will take advantage of you. 

Be confident, have an attitude of “I got this, and I’m chomping at the bit to get back at it,” and you’ll stand out in a good way.


Thank you Bernie for sharing your honest feedback!

Lori


Dear Recruiters, Treat Candidates the Way You Want to Be Treated


An Open Letter to Hiring Managers

Dear hiring managers and recruiters,

I know your job is tough. 

I know how many hundreds and even thousands of resumes you have to look through and the pressures you face in finding the right candidate for the job. 

And I know the things job seekers do that annoy you (those things sometimes annoy me too). 

It’s why I coach my clients on how to strike a balance between helping you see how their qualifications fit the job and not pestering you to death. 

I want to help them help make your job easier. 

But, I also have to come to my clients’ defense on a few things. 

The etiquette and courtesy you expect from job seekers…the etiquette I teach them in order to meet your expectations…should be reciprocated


My story.

Before I go any further, let me first tell you a story.

I remember it like it was yesterday. Twelve years ago I interviewed for two different career services jobs in two different departments on the campus of a very prestigious southern university.

While both interviews were on the same campus, my experiences were as different as night and day.


In my first interview, the search committee chair picked me up from my hotel and took me to breakfast. 

After breakfast she took me to the office where all the staff greeted me warmly. Everyone showed a genuine interest in my skills and my portfolio during my interview.

After my interview, several other staff members escorted me to the University Club for a very elegant lunch.

I was honest and upfront with the director who was making the hiring decision. I told her I had another interview scheduled with another department on campus the following week.


A few days later, I got a call from the director saying she wanted to meet with me as soon as I was back in town for my other interview. 

I told her I could come by her office as soon as I was done with the following week’s interview.

She gave me her personal cell phone number and asked me to call her as soon as I was finished with the interview.


I arrived the following week for my interview for the other job.

This time, I was told I needed to walk from my hotel to this department’s office. That didn’t seem like a problem since it was only a couple of blocks away, until I stepped outside into a southern sauna.

When I arrived for my interview, the receptionist offered me some coffee. Instead I chose water because of the heat from the walk.

This was around 8am.

Finally, around 1pm, when my interview with about the 5th person in the office was starting, I asked if I could have a minute to use the restroom (because I had not been offered a break at all yet during the interview process).

She was very kind and said to me, “You probably haven’t had lunch yet either, have you?”

“No ma’am,” I replied.

She rolled her eyes and started sifting through her purse. She must’ve been a mom because she pulled out a granola bar to give to me, and said, “ They did the same thing to me when I interviewed here!”

As I was leaving the second interview, the hiring manager for this job said, “Thanks for coming,” and shut the door in my face.

I’ve never had an interview end that abruptly before. I was starting to think they didn’t want me.

And I knew from that experience, I didn’t want them!


As promised, after my second interview, I called the hiring manager from my first interview to let her know I was done and that I would soon head toward her office across campus. 

But first I asked her if I could have about 30 minutes to grab something to eat before coming over. I was so hungry since it was already about 2pm and I still hadn’t had any lunch.

Her response: “You mean they didn’t feed you?”

Me: “No ma’am.”

Her: “You stay right where you are. I’m coming to pick you up and take you to lunch.”

She picked me up and took me to one of the swankiest restaurants in town.

And she offered me the job.


Believe it or not, I also got an offer for the other job, for the same amount of money.

Can you guess which offer I took???


Do Unto Others As You’d Have Done To You

With the unemployment rate at an all time low right now (3.9%), hiring managers can’t afford to turn off any well-qualified prospects.

Yet, I see it happening all the time. I hear it directly from my clients.

My clients do all the right things I teach them to do. The things every job seeker is expected to do in the job search, like showing up for interviews on time, sending thank you notes afterwards, etc.

But (in general), they’re not treated with the same respect.

So my plea to you, the recruiters and hiring managers, is to consider practicing the following five common courtesies. They are simple and easy to do. 

And I guarantee, by extending these courtesies, you’ll land the best talent who will show the same courtesy to your customers and your clients.


5 Common Courtesies for Recruiters and Hiring Managers

1. Be clear, specific, and realistic in the job description.

One of the complaints many hiring managers have is candidates not fully reading the job description before applying for the job. That is frustrating, I’m sure. 

But often times, hiring managers post job descriptions without having read them either. 

Are you really taking the time to see if the description sounds too vague? Does it accurately describe what’s expected of the person in this role?

Did you just copy and paste it from a past job ad? Or did you just ask HR to write it for you without telling them what you really want?

One of the complaints most candidates have is that many of the hundreds of job ads they have to sift through are extremely vague.


Also, be realistic about what you’re looking for. 

You can’t expect to find an adequate pool of candidates who check off each and every box. Especially if you’ve gone overboard on your list of requirements. 

You’re not going to find a unicorn!

But it is likely you’ll find some high-quality candidates who have the majority of the skills and requirements you’re seeking who can easily be trained in the areas where they’re lacking.

Be open to such candidates. This will save you time in the long run so you wont’ have to go back through your list of candidates your originally dismissed.


2. Be on time for the interview.

You obviously expect candidates to show up on time (if not early) for their interviews. It would make for a very bad impression if they didn’t.

You also don’t want to make a bad impression. Don’t keep candidates waiting. They’re already nervous. Having to sit and wait for you is just going to make them more nervous. 

And it could possibly make them late for any other interviews they have lined up after yours.

Be mindful and respectful of their time.


3. Be honest in answering questions.

The interview should always be a two-way street. 

When giving candidates the time to ask questions of their own, be as honest as you can in your responses, just like you want and expect them to be with their answers to your questions.

This may sound obvious. But I personally have been in interviews where I asked some tough questions about turnover and I was given vague or politically correct but dishonest answers.

Remember, candidates do their homework. 

They read the reviews on Glassdoor.com.

And they have connections of their own who know what’s really going on in your company and aren’t afraid to tell them the truth. 

Consider how it will make you and your company look when candidates compare notes with their contacts. 


4. Don’t abuse the process.

I always tell my clients it’s unethical to interview for a job they have no intentions of taking just to get the interview practice.

It’s also unethical for a company to interview candidates and have them pitch ideas with no intentions of hiring them, just get collect the ideas.

Years ago, I had a day-long interview where in one part of the afternoon I was given 45 minutes and certain parameters to come up with an idea for a new program that could be implemented throughout the organization. 

I then had to pitch my idea along with details on how to implement it.

I didn’t get the job, and later found out that no one got the job. 

It made all of us candidates wonder if the company held interviews just to get ideas without having to pay a salary for them. 

This can and has happened before, which is a very unethical practice. 

I always tell my clients if they sense this is what’s happening in an interview, consider it a red flag!


5. Follow up.

I teach my clients to always follow up their interviews with a thank you note to each and every person they interviewed with, even if it was with 15 different people. 

I’m sure many recruiters and hiring managers appreciate this gesture and take it into consideration when deciding on who to hire.

So, please, for the sanity of the poor souls who have:

a.) gone through a cumbersome online application system,  

b.) taken the time to research your company, 

c.) spent time interviewing with you, and 

d.) written numerous thank you notes to all of the interviewers, 

…let them know if they didn’t get the job.

You don’t have to notify everyone who applied for the job. Just the 3–5 people who interviewed with you. You don’t even have to tell them why you didn’t select them. 

Just LET THEM KNOW.

It breaks my heart to see clients’ hope slipping away along with their confidence as each day passes without hearing anything at all from the company they put so much time and energy into their interview process.

It’s just plain rude to spend that amount of time with a candidate getting to know so much about them to then never hear from you.

Recruiters and hiring managers say they want candidates to come in to an interview with confidence. But when the above scenario occurs over and over, how can you expect them to maintain their confidence? 

Trust me. It’s much better for them to know they didn’t get the job than to know nothing at all and to keep replaying in their minds what they might have said or done wrong. 

Please, help them move on with a simple “yes” or “no” email. That’s all it takes.


Remember, you were once on the other side of the desk. 

So do unto your candidates as you’d have done to you if you were in their shoes…which you may be someday again in your own career.


hiring managers

How to Make Money, Stay Fit, and Be Creative: Combine Your Passions

Combine Your Passions to Create Opportunity

When helping my clients, one thing I like to encourage them to do get creative and brainstorm ways they can combine their passions.

An example of this is someone with a love for sports and for photography. They could parlay those passions into a part-time or full-time job as a sports photographer.

Or, someone who’s studying music but also loves children and helping people. They may want to consider focusing their career plans toward music therapy at a children’s hospital.


Taking Your Hobbies and Passions a Step Further

I recently saw this quote and totally agree…

“Find three hobbies you love: one to make you money, one to keep you in shape, and one to be creative.” Extramadness.com

…but I also like to ask the question,

“How can you take this a step further and find some overlap between the three?”

What if you found one passion or hobby that made you money AND kept you physically fit?

Or one that let you earn money while exploring your creative hobby?


My Own Example

I’ve worked hard to try to do the same for myself.

It’s taken a while to make each of my passions (spirituality, coaching, writing, and stand up paddle boarding) fit in a way that makes sense. But it finally came together for me.

Four ago I discovered a passion for stand up paddle boarding. This is a fun way for me to keep in shape in one of my favorite places: on the water!

While doing this, I started seeing a parallel between the lessons I gained from stand up paddling and the lessons in Scripture. I decided to use my creative juices for writing to start recording those parallels in a blog, and later in a published book.

But I still had a desire to figure out a way to incorporate stand up paddling in my work as a career coach.

This took the longest to come together. But eventually it became very clear how I could accomplish this.

I could actually conduct occasional coaching sessions with clients on the water (using my spare SUP board), while translating the SUP beginner lessons into the things they’re dealing with in life and work.

For instance, how to achieve not just physical balance (obviously necessary for SUP), but also work-life balance.


The Results

I sometimes take clients out on my board and I’ve received great feedback from them.

One said that because she did crew in college, going out to the water felt familiar to her which eased her nervousness about trying SUP.

She said in turn, the career coaching helped ease her nervousness before job interviews.


Another client said,

“Just being on the water left me feeling rejuvenated both physically and mentally, and ready to take on life’s next challenge.”


For me, it’s awesome that I get to use my passion for stand up paddle boarding and my skill for teaching a new hobby to make money.

All while helping others, introducing them to something new, and getting a little exercise in at the same time!


How can you combine your passions?

Whatever your hobbies are, I encourage you to start getting creative about how you can combine your passions for maximum benefits.

Whether that means earning a profit, getting more exercise built into your routine, getting your creative juices flowing, or all three!

Use the examples above to spark your own ideas.

Talk to people who already work in one of your passions and find out what their other passions are. Ask them how they’ve found ways to overlap and combine their passions.

Another way to start getting ideas is by completing the 8-Step Goal-Achievement Plan. It’s available for free when you subscribe to the paNASH newsletter.

Related Post: 13 Life and Career Lessons Uncovered in an Unexpected Way

combine your passions

How to Make the Most of the Last Half of 2018

In just less than two weeks we’ll begin the last half of 2018. Can you believe we’re already halfway through the year?!

For me, 2018 has already been filled with ups and downs, as I’m sure it has also been for you. The mid-point of the year is always a good time to:

  • Review the goals you set at the beginning of the year.
  • See which ones you accomplished.
  • Re-commit to the ones you have yet to accomplish.

My Passion Planner has an entire section devoted to doing just that between its June and July pages. (I really love having a paper calendar again!)

There may have been some bumps in the road since January to cause you to get behind on your goals. But, there’s still some time to re-focus and catch up.

5 Steps to Making the Most of the Last Half of 2018

One

Think back to what your goals were at the beginning of the year. Did they include discovering new passions? Making more money? Starting or completing a special project? Finding a new job or new career?

Two

Find your notes where you put these goals down in writing. If you didn’t write them down, then DO SO NOW! Did you know, people who write down their goals are 50% more likely to achieve their goals than those who don’t?

Three

Start breaking your goals down into smaller goals. See if you can set a deadline of December 31st, 2018 for some, if not all, of these smaller goals.

Four

Begin working on your smaller goals TODAY. By doing so, you should be able to accomplish at least part of the bigger goals by December 31st as well.

Five

Don’t beat yourself up if this deadline doesn’t seem realistic for each goal. Right now, just focus on what you can accomplish by the end of the next six months. Once you have, you’ll gain more momentum and more motivation going into 2019.

Resources to Assist You in the Last Half of 2018

A dismal first half of the year doesn’t have to destroy your hopes for an improved you.

One quick way to get back on track is to utilize the on-demand resources offered by paNASH. These videos focus on topics related to improving your work and your life.

They’re broken down into smaller video segments, making them quick and easy to access anytime online. They come with handouts to guide you through every step of your goal, whether it includes:

  • Pursuing your passions.
  • Making more money.
  • Improving your job search skills.
  • Developing your authentic brand.
  • Or even just properly setting goals.

Summer is a great time to catch up on your 2018 goals!

To help you, I’m offering 15% off all paNASH on-demand programs. Use the discount code SUMMER18 at checkout. This offer is good through June 30th.

So maybe one of your first goals for the rest of this year is to take advantage of this offer on a resource that will kick your last half of 2018 into high gear!

Related Posts

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What You Need to Know About Job Interviews of The Modern Era


Years ago when I used to work in college career services, the interview process for college administrator positions was apparently ahead of its time. A recent article entitled “How You’ll Look For A Job in 2018” says that exercise-based job interviews are becoming more common.

Lindsay Grenawalt, head of People for Cockroach Labs, says,

“Rather than guess if a candidate can do the job based on their answers to behavioral questions exercise-based interviews ask for candidates to show [what they can do].”

This includes interviews with case studies, individual exercises, and presentations.


My Toughest Job Interviews

When previously interviewing for college career services positions, I had to do much of the same.

I’ve had interviews where I had to do presentations and teach mock classes. Once I even had to create an idea for a program in 45 minutes and then pitch it to a search committee.

I’ve also had marathon interviews. They started with a dinner interview the evening before. Then they picked back up again the next day at 8am and lasted until 4pm.

These interviews involved meeting with just about everyone on campus, including the President of the college and a panel of students. (By the way, the students asked the toughest questions of anyone.)

I’ve had to do pretty much everything but a literal song and dance!


The Advantage of Exercise-Based Interviews

Now, nearly 20 years later, these types of situations are being incorporated into today’s job interviews in a variety of industries.

While these types of job interviews may sound intimidating, there’s good news. They give candidates an idea of what it will actually be like to work in that role on a daily basis.

Grenawalt says,

“Fear not. Because these interviews require a high degree of engagement, they are more collaborative and a better experience overall than traditional interviews in which candidates have to sweat through a series of stress-inducing questions.”


How to Prepare for Exercise-Based Interviews

So how do you prepare for such interviews?

Research

In some ways, you’d prepare similarly to how you would prepare for any ordinary interview by researching as much as you can about the company and the position.

Your research should especially include all the information companies make available on their hiring and interview process. This can also be found on sites such as Glassdoor.com.

If you can’t find this type of information, you can (and should) ask questions about the interview process as soon as you’ve received an invitation for an interview.


Know the problem BEFORE you go into the interview and have a solution prepared.

You also want to ask what the main priority or goal should be of the next person in that position, BEFORE the interview. Never wait until the interview to ask this question!

Find out what challenge or problem this person will be expected to help solve. Once you have this information, use it to prepare for the interview in ways I’ve outlined in my post Modern Interview Advice to Make You Stand Out From the Competition (this ain’t your grandma’s — or even your mom’s — interview advice!).

The approach described in that post will help you in preparing for case studies, presentations, or problem solving scenarios.


Ask the right questions

The other way to prepare for such interviews is to make it a two-way street. You do this by preparing the right kind of questions of your own.

Like I said above, asking what will be the top priority of the new person in the role is NOT a question you want to ask during the interview. (By then it will be too late to ask that.) But there are more appropriate questions you should ask during the interview.

In fact, certain questions you ask can actually help you win the interview! That’s how I landed my very first job offer. I was told I was hired based on the type of questions I asked them!

To find out exactly which questions you should ask in the interview, read my post The One Tip That Guarantees a Good Interview.


Knowledge is the Beginning of Preparation

No matter what type of interview you’re faced with, you can’t go in and just “wing it.”

You have to be prepared.

Knowledge is the beginning of that preparation. Become knowledgeable of the above items, and you’ll shine!

Click here for more interview prep tips.

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