Tag: Nashville career coach


How to Prepare for a Job Interview When Everyone Else Is Resigning

Last week, I was interviewed by a local TV news station about the Great Resignation. Yes, there are a lot of people leaving their jobs right now. Some are quitting for an indefinite break in work. Others are ready for a new job, either in a different industry or a different role. This requires preparing for the job interview process.

If you’re looking for something new, or wanting to resign from your current job but not from the workforce, then you’ll want to prepare for how job interviews have changed due to the pandemic.

Here are some tips to help you get ready for your next interview.

Remote job interview tweaks

Expect companies to continue conducting interviews remotely. This means you need to have a good internet connection, decent lighting, a clear sounding microphone, and a non-distracting background.

Also, choose a background that doesn’t give any indication of your income level, as this could potentially affect your salary offer or salary negotiations.

For more tips on video and phone interviews, click here.

Experience matters more than appearance

Remote video interviews reduce the amount of your appearance employers will see. And phone interviews eliminate your appearance altogether. As a result, you’ll have to rely less on a polished appearance, and more on selling your skills and experience.

While substance should always be more important than appearance, some candidates need to be reminded of this.

Fill in the gaps

Did you lose your job or get furloughed in the early days of the pandemic? Explain any COVID-related employment gaps with how you used your time wisely.

Talk about any online courses you took, homeschooling you did for your children, or home projects you accomplished. Indicate what you learned and the skills and good habits you developed.

Give examples

Be prepared to give specific examples of how you’ve demonstrated the new skills you developed as a result of the pandemic. These skills could include crisis management, process building, digital collaboration, remote teamwork, self-discipline, emotional intelligence, and time management.

Use the CAR method (outlined in episode one of the interview tutorial) to provide stories about your examples.

Show trustworthiness

In describing your examples, show how your current employer was able to rely on your trustworthiness while working remotely, without his or her direct supervision.

Include how you documented your work and how you provided this documentation to your supervisor.

New job interview questions

Be prepared to answer questions you’ve never had to answer before in a job interview. These questions include:

  • What’s the biggest lesson you learned from the pandemic?
  • How did the pandemic change your career goals?
  • What did you do with your time while furloughed or laid off during the pandemic?
  • Did you draw unemployment when you could’ve found work?
  • In what ways do you manage your time working remotely?
  • How does it compare to how you managed your time when working in an office?
  • How have you adapted your communication and teamwork skills to a remote work environment?

New job interview questions you should ask

Update your own list of questions for the employer to include:

  • How has your company changed for the better since the pandemic?
  • How has it changed for the worse?
  • Which pandemic-related adaptations have you kept in place?
  • What is the projected outlook for the company and this industry based on the effects of the pandemic?
  • How did you provide support to your employees during the pandemic?

Be authentic and genuine

Work life and personal life are now more blended than ever before. Don’t be afraid to allow your true personality to shine through in your interview (with appropriate boundaries of course).

Authenticity is key (see the on-demand program on Personal Branding).

Determine fit

Employers are struggling to find good employees due to the Great Resignation. Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses, along with what you’re looking for in your next job opportunity.

Don’t string an employer along. And don’t take a job just because a company is showing interest in you. Make sure a job offer is a good fit for your skills and goals before accepting it.

Need help with your job interview?

If you need help preparing for your next job interview, or would just like to have a practice run with my feedback, let me know!

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5 Ways to Make Your Resume Relevant and Attractive in 2022

It’s 2022, a new year. I know many of us want to move forward and forget the past couple of years. But a friend of mine always says, “never let a crisis go to waste.” Even in the midst of something bad, there’s always a redemptive perspective, something good emerging out of the bad.

It’s likely one of those good things is you gained some new skills and experience during the past two years of the pandemic. And it’s these new skills that will make you relevant and attractive in a 2022 job market.

But first, you have to learn how to market them on your resume. And since the new year is always a great time to update your resume, I’ve provided some tips below on ways to refresh your resume for a 2022 job search.

1. Make the most of past employment gaps

Most people who have any kind of employment gaps on their resume automatically assume this will hurt them. While this was typically the case prior to the pandemic, employers are now more understanding of such gaps. Especially of those which occurred during the pandemic.

Hiring managers know it was a time of uncertainty. Therefore, they’re more forgiving of employment gaps.

But if you can show you spent your gap developing new skills, either through online courses or a personal project or side hustle, you’ll have an advantage.

Don’t forget to list in the education section of your resume any online courses you took. Also, add any new skills you developed to your skills section.

2. List new pandemic-related skills

If you were fortunate to keep your job during the pandemic, you likely developed new skills such as:

  • Crisis management
  • Process building
  • Digital collaboration
  • Remote teamwork
  • And ability to work from home with self-discipline and good time management skills

You’ll want to update your skills section on your resume with these.

3. Update your results and keywords for 2022

In fact, you’ll also want to highlight in your professional summary, and your job descriptions, anything you did to help your company not only survive, but thrive during the pandemic. When doing so, always provide results.

In addition, include pandemic-related keywords such as “remote teams,” “virtual teams,” and “crisis management,” throughout your resume. This will help get your resume through the application tracking systems. And it will help make your LinkedIn profile show up in more recruiters’ search results.

4. Highlight your contributions during the pandemic

Depending on the nature of your job or how you’d like to highlight your pandemic-related experience, you may want to even consider having a separate section called “COVID Response Efforts,” or “Successful COVID Adaptations.”

This will make sense to include if you had a heavy hand in your company’s response to the pandemic, or if you’re seeking a job requiring the skills you used in response.

5. Indicate your willingness to work remotely in 2022

Since more employers will continue to offer remote work opportunities in 2022, you may want to include a line on your resume worded as, “willing to work remotely.” Do this when applying for remote jobs. Remove it when applying for on-site opportunities. And consider leaving it on if the job description doesn’t specify location, especially if you’re interested in continuing to work remotely.

Don’t forget to also indicate in your cover letter if you’re willing and technically able to work remotely.

Coming up next in 2022

Stay tuned for more tips on how to stay relevant in a 2022 job market. In next week’s post, I’ll cover:

  • Changes in interview practices for 2022
  • New interview questions to expect and prepare for
  • New questions you should ask the employer in your 2022 interviews

In the meantime, if you need personalized assistance tailored to your unique career situation, please complete the paNASH intake form to schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

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5 Ways to Find the Right Fit for Your Next Job

There’s no such thing as a bad job, just a bad fit. As the Great Resignation continues, you may find yourself being lured away from your current job to another one. While you may be considering something new, you want to make sure you’re not trading your current job for one that’s a bad fit. Instead, you want to determine, as best as you can, if potential opportunities are the right fit.

How to know if a job is the right fit

1. Does the job let you use your best and most favorite skills?

This should be your first and most important consideration when determining if a job is the right fit for you. If you haven’t already taken an inventory of your skills and the ones you enjoy using most, do so immediately. This is important in evaluating any kind of job change.

You can take an inventory using the Personal Branding e-book, available on Amazon.com. Or, you can get a free copy to download when you purchase the Personal Branding video course.

2. Does the job let you have the kind of impact you want to have?

Do you prefer to impact people on an individual level, one-on-one? Or do you prefer your work to impact groups or teams? Do you crave an even bigger impact, such as at an institutional level, or even a global level?

I personally love working with people one-on-one, helping each individual tailor a career path unique to his or her strengths and passions. I love seeing firsthand the direct results of my work with others.

But some people want their impact to spread to a larger population. This requires working on things like processes, systems, or legislation. While they don’t have direct contact with the people they serve, they are still serving them indirectly on a grander scale.

Neither type of impact is better than the other. Both require employees who are good at what they do.

Consider your answers to the above questions, and determine if the new job opportunity allows you to have the level of impact you prefer.

3. Will the job allow you to work in the phases of a project that excite you most?

If the job is more project-based, find out if it lets you work on the entire phase of a project, or if it lets you focus on the phase of a project you enjoy most.

For example, do you prefer the beginning phase of a project, where you’re coming up with the idea or the prototype? Or do you prefer troubleshooting and fine-tuning someone else’s idea or creation? Or do you prefer maintaining the finished product or system to ensure everything continues to run smoothly?

Some people will feel stressed about being responsible for the idea generation part of a project, and others will feel bored with the maintenance of a completed idea. Some folks will enjoy tackling an entire project, and others will want to be more specialized in a particular phase of a project.

Decide which you prefer, working in all phases of a project, or just one or two phases. Then consider which phase gets you fired up instead of stressed out or bored.

Once you determine your preferences, find out if the potential job opportunity matches those preferences or not.

4. Will the job provide avenues for the kind of growth opportunities you’re seeking?

When considering the next steps in your career path, think about your goals. Do you want to move up in what you’re currently doing? Or do you want to move over to something different?

For example, you may currently be in sales and enjoy it, but you know the next natural step up from sales is sales manager, and this doesn’t excite you like sales did. Perhaps you’re more interested now in gaining some experience in marketing instead of management.

Will the new job provide opportunities for a lateral move down the road? Will it give you the chance to gain some exposure to other departments? Find out now before you say yes to any offers.

5. Are you and the company compatible with each other?

Finally, when considering a career move, you want to not only make sure the job is a good fit, but also the company. I’ve previously written a post entitled, “How to Tell If a Company Is a Good Fit for You.”

Check out the questions I’ve listed in the post as worth considering when looking at company fit.

How to Tell If a Company Is a Good Fit for You

Don’t be afraid to ask

For all the factors listed above, don’t be afraid to ask the potential employer the questions you need to, so you can determine the right fit, especially if the company is recruiting you.

Never take a job offer just because you’re flattered by the company’s interest or you feel obligated. Consider your questions and your conversations with them as part of your research in determining your next move.

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5 Ways to Network Effectively in a Post-COVID Job Market

There’s no doubt the pandemic required a major change in how we network with people. Any and all methods of networking not already virtual were forced to move online.

But now, people are craving face-to-face connection again. Especially since many jobs are still remote, and will likely stay this way.

People are burned out on two-dimensional networking interactions via Zoom and a computer screen. They want to get back to some kind of normalcy, and network in a more meaningful and effective way.

This raises questions such as:

  • Which normal networking methods will still work post-COVID?
  • What methods developed during COVID will carry over post-COVID?
  • Which methods will become the “new normal”?

I’ll provide some answers to these questions in this post. Read on!

How to network effectively post-COVID

1. Continue to make it relational

Networking has always been and always should be relational in nature, not transactional. Unfortunately, a lot of people still don’t get this. They wonder why their networking attempts aren’t fruitful.

It’s because they’re not being realistic about networking. Click here to learn how to be more realistic.

2. Reconnect

To maintain your current relationships in your network, you want to reconnect with anyone you haven’t talked to since before the pandemic. Now is a good time to follow up with them.

Ask them how they’ve managed during this turbulent time. Ask if they’re continuing to work remotely and if they like it. Or ask if they’ve joined the “Great Resignation” or decided to retire early. Then, really listen to their responses.

3. Show empathy

It’s been a difficult year and a half for everyone, and even more so for those who’ve lost loved ones to COVID.

Don’t forget to show empathy and compassion (with appropriate boundaries) to your contacts when given the opportunity. Practice and demonstrate the emotional intelligence employers seek in job candidates.

4. Give options

Even if you now feel more comfortable meeting in person for networking conversations, don’t assume everyone else has the same comfort level.

When trying to schedule networking conversations such as informational interviews, always give your contacts an option. Even if they’re tired of Zoom, it may be more convenient for them to meet over the computer. Or, perhaps their eyes need a break from the computer screen, so offer the option of an old-fashioned phone call.

But when in agreement, try to meet in person, while being open to new or different meeting places (see the next section).

5. Find new places to meet

Physicians and psychologists suggest we break up our work-day to include both some exercise and some social contact. The pandemic motivated a lot of people to get outdoors, which is very healthy! And with more people still working from home by choice, the more likely they are to take a mid-day walk in their neighborhood or at their local park on their work breaks.

To fulfill the need for social contact, offer to meet people at their favorite trail or nearby dog park to join them for some fresh air. Doing so helps them better manage their time since they can walk their dog, get exercise, and meet with you, all at the same time. Helping them free up their time makes it more likely they’ll say yes to your invitation.

Bonus tip: Don’t forget your pants!

Now that you’re making your way out from behind your webcam, you have to remember to change out of your pajama bottoms and into real pants!

In all seriousness though, you should plan to put forth a little more effort in looking presentable than you were probably used to during the pandemic. Even if you’re planning to meet for a walk or a run, don’t show up looking sloppy.

More post-COVID job search tips

COVID has changed the way job searches are conducted in a lot of ways. I’ve added new handouts to the on-demand video tutorials, which include specific tips on how to succeed in a post-COVID job search. This includes:

  • Things you need to add to your resume, and things to remove from it.
  • New kinds of interview questions you need to be prepared to answer.
  • And new questions you should be asking the company in your interviews.

These programs also include the never-changing tried-and-true job search advice, along with numerous “out-of-the-box” job search tips designed to help you stand out above the competition.

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How to Find Guidance and Stability for a Successful Job Search

Recently, I was interviewed for a podcast on the topic of career guidance. One of the questions I got was, “What’s one object that reflects your passion, and in what ways?” The object I chose was the fin from my standup paddle board. If you’ve spent any time reading this blog, you know how passionate I am about paddle boarding!

So how does the fin from my SUP board also reflect my passion for my work as a career coach?

If you ever try paddle boarding without a fin, you’ll quickly realize something isn’t right. Instead of your board going in a straight direction as it should, it twists and turns in every other direction.

This happened a few years ago when I gave my late uncle a paddle boarding lesson, and the board he borrowed from his friend didn’t have a fin. I could tell his board was all over the place and he was struggling. I told him to trade boards with me so he wouldn’t have to struggle so much while learning.

Once I got on his finless board, I could feel just how out of control it was. It was nearly impossible for me to get the board going in the right direction, despite my advanced paddling skills from several years of experience.

This is how many job seekers’ job search looks and feels. They start their job search by applying to any and all job ads they might be qualified for, without focusing on the direction they want to take their career. This is especially true if they want to make a career change, but haven’t yet determined what kind of change it might be.

Stability and guidance in the job search

Career coaching acts much like the fin on a stand up paddle board. The fin doesn’t move your board for you. You’re the one who has to use the paddle to do so. But the fin does help stabilize and guide your board to keep you going in the right direction, while also allowing for exploration of your surroundings.

Career coaching doesn’t find a job for you. You’re the one who has to go on the interviews and land the job. But career coaching helps guide your job search and keeps you going in the right direction based on your skill set, experience and passions. It gives you the space to explore different options without spinning around and losing focus on your professional goals.

Does your job search feel like it’s all over the place with no real guidance or focus? If so, paNASH can help! Click here to complete the paNASH intake form and schedule a complimentary initial consultation.

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