Category: Out-of-the-box career advice


How to Avoid an Epic Fail When Networking

Networking often feels awkward, and can sometimes backfire, even with the best of intentions. Add to it the awkwardness and limitations of a pandemic, and you’ve got yourself a potential epic fail.

We’ve all failed at least once in our networking strategies. This week, I want to provide some tips to help you try some new and different approaches to avoid an epic fail.

Stay tuned for next week when I share some out-of-the-box interview tips!

Successful networking strategies

One of the most successful strategies is to spend more time doing it! Job seekers should spend 80% of their job search networking and only 20% actually applying to job ads. However, most job seekers have this reversed.

But to be successful, you also have to understand the etiquette involved in networking. Check out these previous posts for five tips most people fail to implement.

1. Avoid appearing desperate on LinkedIn

Every job seeker knows it’s important to be on LinkedIn, but they don’t know how to keep from looking desperate. Recruiters can detect desperation just from a job seeker’s profile, and will steer clear.

Click here to learn how to avoid looking desperate on LinkedIn.

How to Stop Looking Desperate on LinkedIn

2. Create a more inviting elevator pitch

An elevator pitch, created from the same old cookie-cutter approach, will make your listener want to pitch themselves down an elevator shaft!

Instead, click here to try a more inviting and less annoying approach.

The Best Way to Write a Successful Elevator Speech

3. Don’t ask, “Can I pick your brain?”

Leading your networking conversation with this common question can quickly result in an epic fail.

For a lot of professionals, this question is a trigger. To them, it’s code for, “I want to take from you your years of knowledge, advice, or contacts, without giving anything in return.”

This is not a good way to start off on the right foot.

But good news! There are appropriate ways to start a conversation with a potential new contact. Click here to learn how to do so using proper etiquette.

Why “Can I Pick Your Brain?” Is the Wrong Approach

4. Become a good networking contact yourself

Instead of just trying to find good networking contacts, you might also have better luck by serving as a good contact yourself.

To learn five ways you can give back and contribute more to your networking relationships, click here.

How to Stop Networking for Good Contacts and How to Be One!

5. Protect yourself from toxic professional relationships

You’ve probably heard the popular networking advice, “Never burn a bridge.” But I also say, “Never stay standing on a bridge someone else has lit a match to.”

While it’s important to maintain good networking relationships, you should also protect yourself from the toxic ones. Especially if they could hurt your other professional relationships.

Click here to learn how to recognize toxic relationships in your professional circles.

Never Say Never: How to Know When You Should Let a Bridge Burn

Related resources

Is Your Resume Not Working?

Maybe it’s time to approach résumé writing from a different angle

If you’ve sent out hundreds of résumés and still aren’t getting interviews, maybe it’s time to re-think your resume.

Most job seekers approach résumé writing from the wrong perspective. They think their résumé is about them, when in actuality, it’s not.

To learn some fresh ways to write your résumé so you can grab the reader’s attention and land more interviews, check out the following out-of-the-box strategies. They’ll work well with the unique job search strategies I shared last week.

Stay tuned for more out-of-the-box strategies for networking and interviewing! 

Out-of-the-box résumé writing strategies

1. Show how you can meet the employer’s needs

Your résumé should be more about speaking to the employer’s needs than your own. A lot of people’s professional summary only lists what they want from the job. Instead, job seekers should talk more about what they have to offer the company.

Showing how you can help meet the employer’s needs will grab the reader’s attention. To find out how to do this, check out my post, “How to Write a Résumé: Make It About THEM, Not You.”

How to Write a Resume: Make it About THEM, Not You

2. Know what you need to delete from your résumé

You only have so much space to work with on a résumé. Therefore, it’s just as important to know what to take off your résumé as it is to know what to add to it.

For instance, if there’s something you’ve done in past jobs you know you never want to do again in future jobs, delete that particular duty from your résumé.

For 12 more items you should remove from your résumé, check out this free video, “What NOT to Share On Your Résumé“.

Resume Help

3. Don’t forget to include your side hustle

If you have a side hustle, either in addition to your current job or as your current means of income, include it on your résumé! Doing so will tell employers a lot about you.

For instance, it will show them how you possess many of the skills they’re looking for, like creativity, adaptability, and more.

Click here to learn how to best market your side hustle on your résumé.

Should You Share Your Side Hustle on Your Resume?

4. Protect your résumé from ageism

Unfortunately and sadly, ageism still exists in the workforce. If you’re running into road blocks with your résumé because of your age, click here for tips to keep you from giving away your age on your résumé.

These tips do not encourage you to lie about your age. Instead, they’re about helping you get your foot in the door for an interview, so you can show employers the benefits your skill level would bring them.

How to Gain a Little Protection From Ageism (Part 1)

5. Feel more confident about your résumé

As you apply the tips from the previous suggestions, you’ll feel more confident about your résumé and your skills.

But, there are probably some more things you still don’t know about how to write an attention-grabbing résumé. Click here to find out what they are so your résumé will stand out above the competition and land you more interviews!

Think You Know How to Write a Resume? Think Again!

Want someone to write your résumé for you?

Now, paNASH has a certified professional résumé writer on staff to write your résumé for you. Dr. Denisha Bonds can provide you a properly-worded and uniquely-designed résumé to help you succeed in your job search!

Click here to request a quote.

paNASH Adds New Career Coach and More Services

Stay tuned for next week when I share several out-of-the-box networking strategies!

Related resources

Are Your Job Search Strategies Not Working for You?

Maybe it’s time to try something different.

If you’ve been at your job search for a while now and still aren’t seeing results, maybe it’s time for some new or different job search strategies.

You’re probably familiar with the Albert Einstein quote,

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

So why keep doing the same thing in your job search if you’re seeing the same poor results?

I always try to provide new and different job search strategies for my clients. Something other than just the typical and often outdated advice found on the Internet. This helps them stand out above their competition and see improved results in their job search.

Now don’t get me wrong, consistency is important in your job search. But you don’t want to waste your time being consistent with job search strategies that don’t work.

Instead, be consistent with what’s working for you. Then, get rid of the strategies that don’t work, and replace them with the following out-of-the-box strategies. Test which ones work best for you, and then tweak them for your unique situation. You’ll likely see more positive results in your job search!

Stay tuned for more out-of-the-box strategies for résumé writing, networking, and interviewing!

Out-of-the box job search strategies

1. It all starts with your personal brand

You may wonder what your personal brand has to do with your job search. Well, the answer is, a lot! Understanding your personal brand, and how to articulate it properly, can result in new career options, a more focused job search, a marketable résumé, authentic networking relationships, and more solid answers to interview questions.

On the other hand, not understanding your personal brand can land you in a job you never wanted, or keep you in a career path you’re trying to escape from. You’re especially at risk of this during a vulnerable point in your career, like many people are right now due to COVID layoffs.

To learn more about better understanding and marketing your personal brand, check out my post, “How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand.”

How to Make Career Choices That Won’t Destroy Your Personal Brand

2. Know what recruiters are thinking

Since part of the personal branding process involves knowing who your audience is, it’s important for you to put yourself in their shoes.

For most job seekers, one of their audience segments is recruiters. Do you know how recruiters think? Do you know how to respond appropriately to the ways they think?

In my post, “7 Things You Need to Know About Recruiters,” you’ll learn how to anticipate what recruiters are thinking and how to be proactive in marketing yourself to them.

7 Things You Need to Know About Recruiters

3. Don’t go where everyone else is going

When most people first come to me, they’re frustrated because they’ve spent so much time applying to jobs on all the popular job boards, but with no luck.

This is because those job boards are saturated with other job seekers. They’re also saturated with a lot of old job postings, and even postings by scammers and spammers. In fact, I recently heard from someone who became a victim of identity theft after he responded to a fake online job ad.

Therefore, you shouldn’t spend nearly as much time applying to jobs online as you should networking. In fact, you should only allot about 20% of your job search efforts to applying to jobs. So what are some better and safer alternatives to the popular online job boards? Click here to find out.

What Are the Best Alternatives to Online Job Boards?

4. Gain more experience in new and different ways

If you’re currently unemployed and don’t have the experience needed for the jobs you’re applying for, use your time to gain the experience and skills to make you more employable.

How do you gain this experience when you can’t get hired without it? While this often seems like a catch-22, there are several ways to build your résumé while you’re unemployed. Click here to find out how.

How to Get Experience When You Can’t Get Hired Without It

5. Develop the most in-demand skills

While gaining more experience, you’ll also want to develop the skills employers want most in an employee. Many of these skills are the same skills which also make entrepreneurs successful.

You’ll find a list of those skills in my post, “Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)“.

I published this post a little over a year ago, before we’d even heard of COVID-19 or could imagine the impact it would have on the current job market. I wrote it during a very good market, but the advice still applies today. Especially for those who’ve suddenly found themselves out of work due to the pandemic.

And my guess is, due to the coronavirus, the statistic in the post for the number of independent workers in 2020 is much higher than originally predicted.

Whether you’re forced into working for yourself, or you’re searching for a job, you need to develop these in-demand skills to be successful.

Why You Need to Think Like an Entrepreneur (Even When You’re Not One)

More out-of-the-box job search strategies

Stay tuned as I share more out-of-the-box job search strategies in the coming weeks. This will include unique résumé writing, networking, and interviewing advice.

And don’t forget! You can get 20% off paNASH’s career coaching video resources starting on Cyber Monday. Discount is good through Friday, December 4th. Use the discount code CYMON20.

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More Coaches’ Advice For a Successful Career

Part 2

Last week, I shared with you the first five of ten rules for a successful career. These rules were garnered from the advice of some of the world’s greatest athletic coaches, as highlighted in the recent documentary series, The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life.

This week I’m sharing the remaining five rules, one from professional soccer coach Jose Mourinho, and the final four from NCAA Women’s Basketball Champion coach, Dawn Staley.

5 More Rules for a Successful Career

1. “Understand your audience.”

Jose Mourinho – Professional Soccer Coach and Manager

I agree with Coach Mourinho. You must always know your audience. And, you must take the time to understand their challenges and needs so you can best serve them. Depending on your career goal, your audience may be the hiring manager at a new company, your current boss, your boss’s boss, or potential clients or customers of your own business.

This is important when marketing your experience. It’s so important, that I’ve created an entire exercise on how to better understand who your audience is. It’s available in my latest book on personal branding, and in the on-demand video course, The Three Super Powers of Successful Job Seekers.

If you don’t take time to understand your audience and their needs, you’ll likely be passed over for your competition. Don’t let this happen to you!

2. “Create a home court advantage.”

Dawn Staley – Head Coach for the Women’s Basketball Team at the University of South Carolina (my alma mater!)

Staley did a great job of creating a home court advantage out of nothing at the University of South Carolina. When she first started coaching for the Gamecocks, there was barely any attendance at the women’s basketball games.

But through her efforts, she created a buzz which drew in more crowds. And then she created buy-in from the crowds through the excellence of her and her team’s work, turning them into fans. Now, there are just as many fans in the stands for the women’s games as there are for the men’s games.

You can do this too with your career. You can create a buzz, and attract those who appreciate your work and who’ll cheer you on and support you. In turn, you’ll attract the attention of the people who want you on their team.

Create your home court advantage by building and growing authentic relationships with your network. You’ll also want to secure LinkedIn recommendations and skill endorsements. If you own your own business, you’ll want to secure positive Google reviews from satisfied clients or customers. By doing so, you’ll grow your audience as you continue your efforts to better understand them.

3. “The 24-hour rule.”

Dawn Staley

This is another good one from Coach Staley! She encourages her players to celebrate their wins and to mourn their losses, but tells them to give themselves only 24 hours to do so.

It’s always good to set healthy boundaries, and this includes expiration dates. Your career will have some wins and some losses. But you can’t rest on your wins, and you can’t wallow in your losses for too long.

Give yourself only 24 hours to celebrate or wallow in the way you choose to, and then get back to work. This is how you keep moving forward.

4. “Growth takes place outside your comfort zone.”

Dawn Staley

You can’t expect to grow or thrive in your career if you don’t step out of your comfort zone. This is along the same lines of much of the advice shared in last week’s Part 1 post. It’s risky to step out of your comfort zone, but without risk there is no opportunity.

Stepping out of your comfort zone in your career could mean different things for different people. For some, it may mean something as small as volunteering to chair a committee. For others, it could be as big as leaving their job to start their own business. And still for others, it could be something in between, like applying for a promotion or moving over to a different role or function.

In determining which step is right for you, the key is not to step so far out of your comfort zone you end up in the panic zone. Instead, the goal is to step out into the learning zone. It’s here where you experience a significant amount of challenge, without it being so much you become overwhelmed and paralyzed with fear. It’s all about striking a balance.

5. “What is delayed is not denied.”

Dawn Staley

Coach Staley had so many good rules from the documentary, which is why four out of this week’s five rules come from her. This last one is my favorite!

Sometimes you don’t always get what you want when you want it. But just because it doesn’t come to you in your own time, doesn’t mean you’ll never get it, especially if you’re working hard and ethically for it. Your career path requires your patience. This also includes patience when you find yourself between jobs.

It can be easy to get discouraged, especially when you see others advancing in their careers faster than you. But instead, be encouraged by this truth from Coach Staley.

Grow into a successful career

It’s not just athletes who can benefit from the wisdom of a good coach. Everyone needs a wise coach for a successful career. And you not only need a career coach when you’re between jobs, but also when you’re at the peak of your career.

Do you think Serena Williams quit going to a coach once she became good at tennis? Of course not! She’s been the best in her sport for years because she hired a good coach who’s stuck with her and challenged her.

Do you need someone to help you do the same in your own career? If so, click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation. paNASH will assess what you need the most help with at this stage of your career, so you can become and stay the best in your field!

paNASH was recently voted as one of the top coaches in Nashville by Expertise.com for the fourth year in a row!

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The Greatest Coaches Share the Best Advice From Their Playbooks

Coaches’ advice for a successful career – Part 1

I know a lot of people have cancelled their Netflix accounts, and in many ways understandably so, especially since last week a Texas grand jury indicted Netflix for the film Cuties. But despite this controversial film, Netflix has some great documentaries highlighting the good in this world. One of my favorites has been a perfect example of pursuing your passions in your career. It’s called Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey, and I highly recommend it! It’s very inspiring and encouraging.

But, in this post, I want to focus on the lessons and advice shared in another documentary series called, The Playbook: A Coach’s Rules for Life. In this series, several well-known sports coaches lay out five to six rules they’ve developed for their athletes, which can translate to success in your own life.

Below, I’ve selected the coaches’ rules that can also translate to your career, and bring you career success.

5 rules for success in your career

1. “Risk is opportunity.”

Jill Ellis – Coach for the US Women’s Soccer Team

A lot of people come to me feeling stuck in their careers. This is usually because they’re afraid to take a risk. Sometimes it’s fear of the risk of rejection when applying for something they’re not 100% qualified for. Or, it’s fear of the risk of failure when starting their own thing.

But more frequently, they have a fear of financial risk. This includes fear of losing a job offer when negotiating a higher salary, fear of rejection when asking for a well-deserved pay raise, or fear of spending money on career coaching without knowing what’s going to transpire from it.

Coach Ellis talks about the importance of passion over paycheck. If it’s not obvious from my web site, passion is something I specialize in helping my clients discover. But I also understand the importance of earning what you’re worth. Which is why I also help my clients earn back the money they spend with me, by teaching them their worth, and how to negotiate a higher salary or pay raise.

When you take calculated risks in your career, you discover more opportunities, like jobs you’d never previously considered, better benefits, or exciting entrepreneurial endeavors. Is it time to let a career coach help you calculate the risk?

2. “Never be afraid to get fired.”

Patrick Mouratoglou – Professional Tennis Coach to Serena Williams

This can be a tough one to apply, especially if you’re an over-achieving rule-follower. But some rules are made to be broken. What Coach Mouratoglou means is the same thing Coach Ellis means by “risk is opportunity”. He’s basically saying, “Don’t be afraid to take risks.”

These risks could include sharing your ideas on how to do things better in your job or company, even if they might get shot down.

Also, this piece of advice could refer to the need to have a back-up plan for your career if you suddenly find yourself out of a job. In fact, I talked about this in last week’s post, “What Happens When a Pandemic Disrupts Your Career?

Having a back-up plan for your career can reduce your fear of getting fired, and give you more confidence to take more calculated risks, resulting in more career success.

3. “Emotions are the worst advisors.”

Patrick Mouratoglou – Professional Tennis Coach to Serena Williams

Coach Mouratoglou hit the nail on the head with this one! Emotions cloud your judgement. This is why I always tell my clients to never make big career decisions when they’re emotional.

If you find yourself making a career decision based on fear, anger, sadness, or too-good-to-be-true happiness, it’s best to at least sleep on it and make a decision once your feelings have subsided.

4. “Mistakes are inevitable, but don’t let them define you.”

Patrick Mouratoglou – Professional Tennis Coach to Serena Williams

Many of my clients who are on the fence about starting their own business are so worried they’ll make mistakes or experience failures. You may have similar concerns about your career, especially if you’re also thinking of starting your own business.

Let me go ahead and tell you, you will make mistakes and you will have failures. This is inevitable. And the same is true even if you continue working for someone else.

But you don’t have to let your mistakes or failures define you. Instead, learn from them and keep moving forward.

5. “Keep moving forward.”

Doc Rivers – NBA Head Coach (Boston Celtics and LA Clippers)

You’re going to experience obstacles and set-backs in your career. But, according to Doc Rivers, you must keep moving forward.

Keep in mind though, “forward” doesn’t always mean “up.” When it comes to your career, it could mean moving “over” to a company whose culture is more in line with your values. Or it could even mean moving “down” to a job that pays a little less but provides more flexibility and better fulfills your purpose or passion.

Even if your resume gets rejected, you get ghosted following your interview, you get furloughed or laid off, keep moving forward in your career.

You can do this by strengthening your networking efforts, being more proactive in your career planning, and making your job search more focused. Career coaching can help you do all of these things more effectively and efficiently. And the investment will pay off in dividends. Click here to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

Stay tuned for more coaches’ advice!

Check back next week for more coaches’ advice in Part 2. I’ll share five more rules for success in your career, including advice from professional soccer coach Jose Mourinho, and women’s basketball coach Dawn Staley.

paNASH was recently voted as one of the top coaches in Nashville by Expertise.com for the fourth year in a row!