Job Hunting

Whatever You Think You’re Hiding or Covering Up… It’s Not Working

Last night I went to an industry event for association professionals. While I’m not in the trenches like I used to be, I still like to keep in touch with old friends and meet new contacts.

It was a lively crowd – I mean who doesn’t get excited over guacamole and free margaritas! People were not shy and I immediately started chatting with a group around a high table. As my gaze shifted around the table, I couldn’t help but pick up on the energy of a few people. Their shoulders were slumped, their smiles were forced and they avoided eye contact as much as they could.

I had seen this look before from friends “in transition.” The association world is harsh. All it takes is one budget decision, one Board member, one relationship in the C-Suite to determine your fate in unemployment. These people around the room were on the receiving end of these decisions.

They did what experts tell them to do – “Get out and network! Your connections will land you your next opportunity.”  So they put their suits on and get dressed up to put themselves in the place they least want to be – around people who are getting paid to do what they used to.

Their baggage of abandonment and rejection is palpable. They try to smile through it and engage people in conversation, but you feel the sadness all around. What they want and need most is an opportunity, but the façade and baggage cover-up repels it. Employers want to feel excited and inspired when they meet candidates. As much as they want to help someone out, employment is not a charity case and more often than not the people who need the jobs most are getting passed up.

Say you’re in that position, what do you do?

1)      Take care of yourself – whether it’s meditation, writing, working out, dancing in the street. Make yourself happy first even if it’s for five minutes at a time.

2)      Face your baggage – the resentment isn’t going away and it’s definitely not good for your complexion. Sit down with your anger and resentment and write it down. Then get another piece of paper and convert those statements into lessons or gifts. If you can’t do this, you’re not ready to go to another organization. It’s time to recycle the trash memories into a recycled story of empowerment.

3)      Mix it up – if you’re tired of going to the same industry events, try different social groups. There are tons of meet up groups for a gazillion industries. You never know who you’ll meet just by being curious.

4)      Focus on the progression – if you’re only in your fear and self-doubt, you can’t see the opportunities flooding around you. If nothing’s happening, create content. Dig into what you’re known for. If you don’t consider yourself and expert, read up more or take some classes.

5)      Whatever you do, fail forward – we’ve only got one life to live and jobs come and go, but you are the only you and that’s pretty awesome!

The Five Steps to Getting Promoted

I recently spoke to a group of mid-level professionals who were seeking guidance on progressing in their career. Like most of us, they feel frustrated by the lack of upward mobility and even more confused about what to do.

Below is a five-step strategy to understand where you are, where you want to go and how to get there.


Step 1: Your Why

Think about the title you want to have. What do you want and why do you want to get there? If you were promoted, what would be different in your life (positive and negative)? How would you feel? What else would be impacted?

Step 2: Research

Using similar job descriptions, observing and asking people in similar positions, research the training, skills, experience, and attributes needed to do the job. If it’s not clear, ask. Look around at other companies and industries with similar job descriptions.

Step 3: Self-Audit

Now that you’ve looked into what’s needed, you can assess where you are what you need to do in order to get there. It is critical that you are honest with yourself. I recommend scoring yourself on a scale of 1 – 10 for each area. Anything below an 8, will need further action. I would also recommend asking for feedback from a trusted source about your strengths and areas of improvement. This is not fun and can be critical, but if this is really something you want, it’s worth the work and temporary discomfort.

Step 4: Resources

With your areas of improvement in the forefront, you can now look at the resources you need in order to improve. Is it more time in a role?  Additional training? Public speaking experience? Team building and management? At this stage you can match up what you need to improve and how to do it. Create a manageable strategy to accomplish your goals. I recommend doses of daily focus (an hour or less) to stay on track. Create a plan before diving in to prevent over-scheduling overload.

Step 5: Allies

A support network is imperative to keep you on track on your path. Whether it’s a mentor, supervisor, a coach, friends or family, these people will be there to give you honest feedback and advice to take the best step towards your goal.

Looking for a Job? Do These 3 Things First

Looking for a Job_ Do These 3 Things First.jpg

Before I became a coach, I had the glamorous job of pre-screening candidates for our entry level positions. I’d get a stack of 20 cover letters and resumes and would have the fun task of reviewing those documents. If they got the initial thumbs up, I went further into my back-end research. Now I’m a business coach and  work as a contractor to screen and interview candidates for mid and high-level positions. It would be a disservice if I didn’t share with you my top three red flags and necessary fixes.

1)      GOOGLE YOURSELF -That’s right you heard me. Go and Google yourself. Type in your name and see what comes up. What do you see? Is it accurate? Does it portray your current professional image or what you want to be doing?

If you’ve answered “no,” it’s time to start creating kick-ass content to support you as an industry contributor (see my blog on credibility for more ideas).

If you see negative news, there are services out there to help you rebuild your online reputation. (Check Out this Free Guide from )

If you don’t see anything and don’t want it that way, you can create a quick online profile at to start establishing your online presence.

2)      Clean Up Your Social Media Presence – Can I tell you how many people have been knocked out of the running based on the pictures and posts they have floating around Facebook and Twitter? If you’re going to use your real name and real photos, you may have real consequences. Don’t think HR or hiring managers will look this up? So wrong. It’s first on the list before you even make it to the phone interview.

Even if your profile is private, I can still see your profile picture. To check, log out of your account and search for yourself. If you can see everything, go to your profile settings and amp up your privacy. This still doesn’t let you off the hook if you have a mutual friend. Just remember anything you post is in public domain and can live forever.

3)      Update Your Resume AND LinkedIn – I’ve heard grumblings about LinkedIn, but trust me, it matters when you’re in job hunt mode. People want to see your history and connections in a snap shot and that you’re taking your professional life seriously. So after you’ve updated your resume, it’s time to take to LinkedIn. This will take a bit of time depending on how out of date your profile is. First make sure you have an appropriate photo (no booze or bikinis, please). Second, update your headline to who you are and what you do. If you aren’t currently working, you can use something along the lines Freelance Writer or Non-Profit Professional. Third, make sure your work history is accurate. If you need an example, feel free to check out my profile:


The work isn’t over after these action items, but they will prevent the door from closing without good reason.