Are You One of the 55% of Americans Who Hates Their Job?

May 28, 2010

Imagine that. According to a report from The Conference Board, only 45% of Americans are satisfied with their jobs.  That means more than 1/2 of the working population spends the majority of their day dissatisfied.  (I won’t even get started on the word “satisfied”.)

That’s really, really sad.

If you hate your job, leave.

That doesn’t mean you should get up, walk into your boss’s office and quit (unless you have the financial resources to do so), but you definitely should be taking the steps that will get you out of there- NOW.

I saw now so vehemently, because your next job must be one you love.  No more wasting hours, days, months, years of your life on something that doesn’t make you happy.  And-  figuring out what that next job should be and how to get it could take more than a couple weeks.

If you’re not sure what to do to start the process, check out Forget the Parachute, Let Me Fly the Plane.   All the tools you need to start down the road to career success are in there, from figuring out what your next career should be all the way through how to get it.

The sooner you start, the sooner you’re free.  And more than satisfied.




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What Not to Wear- to an interview

April 27, 2010

The other day I had a conversation with a hiring manager about how people dress for interviews.  He stated that if an applicant didn’t wear a suit they were automatically out. I laughed and said that most companies I have worked with see wearing a suit as a disqualifier.

Many articles on interviewing talk about dressing professionally, right down to wearing a suit- for men and women.  However, this is misleading.  It completely depends on the culture of the company at which you are interviewing.

If you are interviewing with a Fortune 500 company, a law firm, a bank, etc., then yes, suits are required.  If, though, you are interviewing with a 10 person start up made up of mostly engineers, chances are you’ll appear too stuffy or conservative in a suit.  You will differentiate yourself in a negative way.  This is not what you want.

Regardless of where you interview, you want the way you dress to accentuate the fact you are a great fit.  If you are not sure what to wear, call your contact and ask before the interview.   Once you know, veer slightly towards more conservative.  This means, if they say they wear t-shirts and jeans every day, you could wear khakis and a casual button-down.  If they wear khakis and button-down shirts, then wear your nicest button-down.

Here is a sample of  ”what not to wear” items regardless of the company:

  • Wrinkled clothes
  • Clothes with holes (intentional or not)
  • Clothes that show an inappropriate amount of skin, such as shorts, short skirts, tank tops, halter tops, etc.
  • Stained clothes
  • Dirty (smelly) clothes
  • Cologne/perfume (the scent may be too strong, your interviewer may have allergies or may have a negative association with the scent you choose)

Above all, you want to show that you fit the culture- and appearance is a piece of the pie.


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Job Market Competition

April 27, 2010 provides a chart with the ratio of job postings to number of unemployed for 50 metropolitan areas.  While I am not sure how accurate the data is (job postings for staffing agencies, etc), the chart does give a good idea of what competition looks like.

Below are the top 10 for April 2010.  (Click here for the entire list)

Are you in a heavily competitive area?  What are you doing to differentiate yourself?

Revising your resume and sending out mass applications won’t get you what you want.  Getting the job you want, especially in a down economy is almost an art form.

We understand that art form and have the tools to help.  Instead of just submitting a generic resume, we can work with you to create a profile that will make a potential employer put you on the top of the list.  Until May 15th, we are offering an incredible deal on our services- there is no time like the present to do it right!

Click here for our Resume Overhaul services and take advantage of our current special rates!


Rank Change Metropolitian Area Job posting icon Job Postings vs. Unemployment icon Unemployed Persons Ratio
1 Washington, DC Job posting icon Unemployment icon 1:1
2 1 San Jose, CA Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
3 -1 Baltimore, MD Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
4 New York, NY Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
5 Salt Lake City, UT Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:2
6 3 Boston, MA Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
7 1 Hartford, CT Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
8 -2 Oklahoma City, OK Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
9 -2 Denver, CO Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3
10 2 Austin, TX Job posting icon Unemployment iconUnemployment iconUnemployment icon 1:3



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Your Uniqueness

April 26, 2010

I recently saw a post on twitter that referred back to an article on the AMA site about Peter Drucker’s teachings on personal growth.  It is an older article, but it’s relevance is timeless.  What stood out specifically was his statement about figure out your own uniqueness and applying it to both your personal and professional life.

Consider what’s unique about what you do, and in what areas you excel and contribute the most, both at work and outside of work. Focus on those strengths—your own core competencies—and find new ways to value and cultivate them. Odds are you can apply them to a variety of jobs, volunteer positions, and more.

Think about your life, both as it is now and where you’d like to be. Consider not just your work, but also your family, friends, interests, activities, and pursuits. Assess what’s working, what’s not, and what you might want to add or subtract to create more satisfaction and fulfillment.

This is one of the core ideas in Forget The Parachute, Let Me Fly The Plane.  There is something you were meant to do, something at which you excel.  There is a career out there that will fulfill you.  You just have to figure out what it is.

Many people spend their lives wishing they were doing something that mattered, something that made them happy, something that made a difference, or any other number of somethings.  Don’t spend your life wishing you were doing something else.  Figure out what that something is, and start towards it today.  There is no time like the present.

If you aren’t sure what career applies to your unique skills and characteristics, check out our e-book.  The information and exercises are designed to set you on a path to career fulfillment.


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Any Job

April 9, 2010

A few months ago I met someone who asked me about my career.  I talked about the Connected Career and described our goal- to help people figure out their dream career and how to get it.

I had barely finished my sentence when he asked me to help him get a job.

Here is how the conversation unfolded:


Stranger: So, can you help me get a job?

Me: I can help you figure out how to get the job you really want. What do you want to do?

Stranger: Anything

Me: I’m sorry, that’s too broad.  What do you enjoy?  What have you enjoyed in the past or even something you’ve always wanted to try?

Stranger: Too many questions, I just want a job.

Me: How about you at least tell me your skillsets.

Stranger: I don’t know.  Nothing comes to mind.

Me: If you don’t know what you want to do, what interests you or what your skillsets are, how do you plan on finding a job?

Stranger: Isn’t that what you do?


While this conversation was an extreme version of what we often hear, it is relatively common to hear of people wanting a change, wanting something different, but not knowing what that something looks like.  And for that reason, we wrote “Forget the Parachute, Let Me Fly The Plane”.

Figuring out what you really, really, really want to do, are meant to do, doesn’t always come easy.  Having a guide to help you through the process can take you out of what you know and push you.   A little bit or a lot.


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Where Can I Find You?

March 24, 2010

If  you applied for a job with me and I Goggled you, what would I find?

Do you have a blog linked to your name that shows me all your brilliant thoughts?  Or perhaps you blog about your personal relationship drama?

Are you on Twitter?  Do you share interesting thoughts, or do you talk about how much you drank last weekend?

If I look you up on Facebook, will I be able to see all your photos and posts?  If so, what will they tell me about you?

What is your online presence?   Do you know what’s visible?  Are you proud of what is visible?

If not, go look.

The way you present yourself to the world could play a big role in the perception people have of you, whether fair or not.  Not just for hiring managers, but even your network, your past, present and future co-workers and any other professional contacts you have.

Again, take a look. Set up a Google Alert even.  But pay attention to how you allow yourself to be presented online and edit where needed.



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Be Creative

March 23, 2010

Instead of following tradition formats and patterns, think about ways you can be different, things you can do to stand out when going after a job you really want.  If you are in a creative field, this is almost a given.

Some great approaches I have seen over the years include:

  • A resume on which the list of skills formed a wave pattern on the side of the page. This caught my attention immediately.
  • A carefully crafted portfolio was received a day after the applicant sent their resume.  The portfolio included separate sections that detailed why the applicant fit each set of needs on the job posting.  This was not for a creative position, which made it stand out even more.
  • An invitation to take me out for coffee to talk about the position and their application.  I couldn’t take them up on it, but the offer was so out of the ordinary, I did contact the applicant to discuss their qualifications and background (meaning, they got a call back).

As long as you are professional and know and understand your audience (the company to which you are applying), adding a little creativity can go a long way in attracting the attention of the person reviewing your resume.

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Reaching Out

March 21, 2010

I recently had someone contact me about how to get into a company I used to work with.  They tracked me down online and sent a very professional email explaining how they found me, why they wanted to work at the company and very politely solicited my advice.

I replied the same day with advice and an offer to review their resume, even though I was swamped with work.


Because this person obviously put the time and effort into trying to figure out who to go to for advice for what they considered their dream job.  In addition, they put the same time and effort into crafting an email that was professional, respectful and attention grabbing.  For all that effort, I felt they deserved my time.

Sometimes you never know who can help you until you reach out. And when you reach out, make sure that the effort you are putting into the communication is equivalent to what it is you are asking for in return.

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Interviewing: What NOT to Say

September 29, 2009

There is a lot of information online about potential interview questions, but not as much about “no no” topics and comments.  Given that, we thought it would be helpful to have a “What NOT to talk about in an interview” list.

Below are some examples of topics to refrain from discussing.  To some, they may be common sense, to some a surprise.  To all, take note.

  • You were fired from your last job for violating the NDA, but who cares, NDAs don’t matter
  • How much you enjoy drinking on the job
  • You are planning on moving out of the country in the near future
  • You’ll sue anyone if they make you angry
  • You really need a job, any job
  • You beg for the job
  • You ask if you can wear pajamas to work
  • You got in a fistfight with a co-worker who disagreed with you
  • You discuss your previous boss’s personal problems
  • You discuss your religion and ask the interviewer to come to your church
  • You don’t have references because you never got along with anyone at any job
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September 25, 2009

Here is a scenario.

Julie wants a job. She sends in her resume and somehow gest an interview with a company. Julie shows up for the interview and the first question asked is “What do you know about our company?”.

The problem is, Julie didn’t research the company beyond a quick glance through their website for the job posting and contact information. She knows the general industry, but none of the details contained on the website or available in a quick google search.

Her answer is “Your company is a leader in the paper cup industry.”

1 point for the right industry, 0 points for any other information.

To the interviewer, if you are really interested in the position, you know something more. Facts like these show you have done some degree of research, you have put in some effort and actually are interested in them, not just any job:

  • How long the company has existed
  • Company size
  • Annual revenue
  • Market share
  • Bonus: Challenges they face
  • Bonus: Ideas you have to help with challenges they face

Your perceived value increases when you obvious interest in and understanding of the company increases.

So, before the next interview, research the company!

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