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The Exclusive Career Coach

English, Finance, 1 season, 326 episodes, 4 days, 3 hours, 23 minutes
About
The Exclusive Career Coach is presented by Lesa Edwards, CEO of Exclusive Career Coaching. This weekly podcast covers all things career management including job search strategies, interviewing tips, networking tools, maximizing LinkedIn, salary negotiations, and managing your mindset around your career.
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321: Overcoming Setbacks and Obstacles in Your Career Path

Let me start today’s episode by saying loud and clear: EVERYONE has setbacks and obstacles in their career. NO ONE has a perfectly linear journey, where they leave each job at the height of achievement, only to land in an even better job – no gaps in employment, no difficult bosses or coworkers, no layoffs or RIFs, no personal or family issues requiring extended time off work.  For me, it started early. I completed my undergraduate degree in December and started working as the director of the Sims Baldwin Family Music Center right away. I trained in Tampa, then started working in Tallahassee.  Only a few months later, the doctors gave my mom three weeks to live. I took leave of my new job to be at her side in St. Petersburg, during which time my boss gave my job to someone else without notifying me.  After I buried my mom in June of that year, I returned to no job. Fortunately, one of the parents of my music students knew about an opening at a church in Tallahassee for a camp music director – which turned out to be one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had.  I got a public-school music teaching position that fall, which I held for three years. I left to get married and move for my husband’s work. I ended up selling Amway makeup and hostessing at an airport hotel restaurant.  Then there was my three years with the now defunct Eckerd Drug Company as an Area Training Coordinator – they realigned the district and I would have had to move to Macon, Georgia to keep my job. My husband and I looked into the possibilities for him, but ultimately decided to stay in Columbus, Georgia and I would look for another job.  I could go on with a few more, but hopefully you can see that my career path has been anything but simple and straightforward.  The question becomes: What do you do when the inevitable happens? I want to break this down into actions you can take, and the mindset you’ll need to navigate.  MindsetMindset is everything when you are dealing with a career setback or obstacle. Think of it this way: The thing that happens to you is just a thing that happens – it’s neutral until you have a thought about it.  Here’s an example from clients I’ve worked with who have been laid off: With the exact same set of circumstances, one client will think: “This is terrible. I’ll never get another job. I’m going to go broke and lose my home.” Another client will think: “I’ve been thinking about leaving for so long – I’m actually glad this happened. I have a severance package so I can take my time to find just the right position.”  You can probably imagine the difference in how these two people would move forward from their job loss – and the results they would get.  Here then are my recommendations for minding your mind during this period: #1 – Give yourself a day or two to grieve and process.Acknowledge the setback and reflect on what happened. Accept responsibility for any role you played in what happened and let go of that which was out of your control. Spend time thinking about what you can learn from this experience.  #2 – Think about what you want next.If you have lost your job, give some serious thought to what you want your next move to be. Many people take a knee-jerk approach to this – jumping back into the job market without thinking about what they really want and need. This often leads to more of the same.  Let’s say the setback was a promotion you didn’t get, or a project you weren’t asked to lead. Is this a sign that the handwriting is on the wall at your current employer – do you need to start looking elsewhere? Or is this an opportunity for you to gain additional skills or experience so you’ll be more competitive next time around?  This is also an opportunity to reassess your goals – just make sure your work in this area is coming from a positive, forward-focused mindset, rather than a reactive, hurt mindset.  #3 – Cultivate a strong positive belief in yourself and your future. You don’t have to become a delusional hyper-optimist, but neither do you have to be Eeyore. Here are a couple of tools for this: -Focus on what you KNOW you do exceptionally well. This might mean directing your focus away from the huge mistake you just made to how good your sales numbers were last quarter – or focusing on your outstanding job performance rather than how you lost your job.  -Be a realist. If you just lost your job, but have never lost a job before, tell yourself that truth. If you blew a presentation for the first time ever, tell yourself that truth. Don’t turn this into an indictment on your entire career.  -Ladder your thoughts. If you just had a terrible performance review, rather than telling yourself you’re a terrible employee/person/human, tell yourself you can improve on the area your boss was most concerned about. Instead of “I’m really bad at managing my employees,” you might tell yourself “I can learn how to be a better manager.”  Action StepsNext, let’s talk about steps you can take to overcome the setback or obstacle you’ve just faced. Of course, this is very dependent on exactly what you’ve just been through, but here are some general steps: #1 – Stay persistent. This is not the time to wallflower it or phone it in – keep pushing forward in your career goals. If, after some self-assessment you’ve decided to revise your goals, then get busy achieving them.  #2 – Stay adaptable. If circumstances at your work are in a state of constant change and turmoil, the ability to adapt is crucial for moving forward. The challenge is in knowing when it is time to cut bait – this is something only you can decide for yourself.  #3 – Seek support.Lean on your mentor(s), significant others, and a career coach if possible. Keep in mind that continuing to talk about the problem will only further solidify the problem. Maintain a focus on finding solutions. Most importantly – don’t isolate yourself at this time. You need to be around people who believe in you and will support you – and help you through.  #4 – Up your self-care game. This is a time for you to take extra good care of yourself. If you are out of work, do you have the resources for a vacation – perhaps an extended one you’ve never had time for before? Is there a hobby you’d like to cultivate during this time?  If the setback is of the smaller variety, let’s say your boss just raked you over the coals for your performance on a recent project, can you schedule a day at the spa or a day hiking in the woods? What does restoration and renewal mean to you? DO IT.  #5 – Decide what your story will be. You have a choice: You can be a victim in your story, or you can be the hero. Decide what you will tell people – including future employers. There could very well be a great behavioral interview answer in how you navigated this situation and what you learned from it.  I love what one of my previous coaches used to say: “We’re all delusional. We might as well be delusional in our own favor.”  #6 – Celebrate progress. This is always important – and never more so than when there’s been a setback. No matter how small, celebrate your wins – it will help boost your confidence and motivation.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
5/22/202422 minutes, 50 seconds
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320: Resources for Career Development

I’m going to cover a lot of ground on today’s podcast, starting with a definition of career development: According to Wikipedia:Career development refers to the process an individual may undergo to evolve their occupational status. It is the process of making decisions for long-term learning, to align personal needs of physical or psychological fulfillment with career advancement opportunities. Career Development can also refer to the total encompassment of an individual's work-related experiences, leading up to the occupational role they may hold within an organization. "A well-rounded application of career development tools establishes a robust framework that facilitates a growth mindset, encourages wholesome employee development, and drives organizational success." What does all that mean? Career development is a lifelong process of growth and advancement – not only in terms of advancing to higher job levels, but advancement in the sense of ongoing learning and personal growth as a result of professional development and experience. When I was the director of university career centers, my focus was on the career development of matriculating college students – helping them figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up and helping them land their first-destination job. In working with those college students, we focused on: #1: Self-knowledge – identifying interests, skills, and values #2: Knowledge of the World of Work – gaining critical information about various occupations #3: Career Decision-Making – Narrowing the options down through internships, shadowing, part-time jobs, study abroad experiences, and mentorships #4: Taking Action – The process of finding a job in the chosen field  In this episode, I really want to focus on those of you already in your career, particularly in a career path you love. If you don’t love the path you are on, there are plenty of resources available for you, and I’ve done podcast episodes to help you as well. Some companies do an excellent job of providing career development paths and opportunities for their employees; other companies financially support their employees seeking career development through outside organizations. Still others don’t consider this a priority AT ALL. For those of you fortunate enough to have an excellent in-house program, you probably don’t need my words of wisdom on this topic. But for those of you who are own your own – whether financially supported by your company or not – I have some strategies. Here’s a breakdown of the process of career development for those of you on your chosen career path: #1: Self-assessment – For you, this might look like conducting a self-SWOT – what are your strengths? Areas for growth? What are the emerging areas of opportunity in your field? What are possible threats to your career field, such as AI or offshoring? #2: Goal-setting – Once you’ve assessed yourself, set a SMART goal for career development. This could include additional formal education, a certification, or working with a coach to address a weakness in your professional development. #3: Action planning – Once you’ve set at least one SMART goal, establish a plan to make it happen. This might include calendaring in time for each step of your goal, looking into resources/options, or asking a mentor to help hold you accountable. #4: Implementation – Now it is time to DO. Attend the course or program, study for the certification exam, or start the job shadowing your boss approved. #5: Refinement – As you implement the steps to your goal, you’ll likely want to make a few mid-course adjustments. Have you realized you need to take one more class? Do you need to ask your boss for additional support? Do you need to ask for help at home so you have time to study? Here are my suggestions for getting the career development assistance you need: Get out of your office. There are two main points I want to make here: workshops, seminars, and conferences are excellent opportunities to learn from experts, expand your professional knowledge, and meet potential mentors. Also, building and nurturing professional relationships through networking can provide you with valuable insights and opportunities for career development. Platforms like LinkedIn are great for connecting with professionals in your field, joining industry groups, and staying updated on trends. Why this helps: These opportunities can help you identify areas you want to work on (#1) and may lead you to your SMART goal (#2). You may also be implementing your goal, such as a learning objective, which satisfies #4.  Seek professional help. Here we are talking about working with a career counselor, career coach, or life coach to help you with all five steps. It is important to know what you want help with, then ask friends and colleagues for referrals and schedule complimentary consults/ discovery calls. You also have the option of 1:1 work versus group programs. Why this helps: As I said, a professional can help you with all five steps – identifying the areas you want to work on, goal-setting, action planning, implementation, and refinement.  Access what you need. Online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, and LinkedIn Learning offer all kinds of courses and tutorials on topics to strengthen your technical skills, leadership, communication, professional etiquette, and interpersonal skills. There are also books, publications, and podcasts available, ranging from general career advice to industry-specific or career-specific information. Platforms like Indeed, Glassdoor, and Monster provide resources for researching companies, finding job opportunities, reading reviews from current and former employees, and accessing career-related articles and advice. Continuing education programs, certificate programs, and degree-seeking programs can help you advance in your current career. Many universities and online platforms offer flexible options for working professionals. Finally, there are government and nonprofit resources that offer career development resources and services like job training programs, resume assistance, and job placement services. Why this helps: These resources can help you plan, implement, and refine your career development plan.  Get a mentor(s). Your employer may have a formalized mentorship program or you may have to find one on your own. Depending on your goals, an external mentor may work for you. Be specific about why you want that person to be your mentor and clearly define what you want that person to do for you. Why this helps: Depending on your goals and the mentor(s) you choose, they may be able to assist with self-assessment (#1), goal setting (#2), action planning (#3), implementation (#4) and refinement (#5).  Seek to stretch. Depending on your situation, your boss, mentor, or another professional in your organization can help you get stretch assignments that will help you grow professionally. These might include leading a project, managing people (or more people), cross-training in another department or function, or being a member of a high-level/high-visibility committee or team. Be sure to pay attention to what you are learning, new skills you are developing – and how your energy is during this time. Are you energized by the new activities or feeling drained? This is key information. Why this helps: Stretch assignments may be key to success in your Implementation phase (#4). You may also find these assignments provide you with more self-information, which may impact your career development goals.  The bottom line: If your company doesn’t provide a structured career development program, or if the program they offer doesn’t fully meet your needs, it is YOUR responsibility to fill in the gaps. Don’t moan about what isn’t being offered to you – go out and get it. Be proactive, goal-oriented, and assertive in getting what you want and need for your career success.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
5/15/202426 minutes, 46 seconds
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319: Building and Maintaining a Professional Network

The first thing I want to say about building a professional network is this is NOT just for when you are looking for a new job. In fact, if you spend regular time cultivating your professional network, you may not need to ever look for a new job – opportunities will come to you.  The problem most people run into relative to cultivating a professional network is TIME. Specifically, they don’t prioritize networking, so it gets shoved to the back burner (or behind the stove altogether).  #1 – Have a Goal for Your Networking. You may be looking for career opportunities, looking for a mentor, wanting to get clients, or seeking out collaborators. Determine your WHY – this will inform the types of networking you choose to engage in.  #2 – Investigate the Possibilities. As for networking events, look to your local Chamber of Commerce, professional associations, service clubs, industry conferences, workshops, and seminars. Be willing to give a group at least two tries before deciding if it will be a viable networking venue for you.  There are also events where networking is possible – as I define it, places where the music’s not too loud and the people aren’t too drunk. Think broadly here – I like sites like Facebook’s Events tab, Meetup, and events at your place of worship.  There’s also 1:1 networking, so identify individuals that could support your goals. These could include colleagues or former colleagues, alumni from your university, industry professionals, or thought leaders in your field.  Be sure to follow up with contacts afterwards, utilizing LinkedIn.  #3 – Join Professional Organizations. Some of the events you attend from idea #2 may turn out to be great fits for you, so join and get involved. Seek out committees or roles that speak to your passions and strengths.  #4 – Make Sure Your Networking is an Equal Exchange of Energy. Networking should be a two-way street. Be willing to offer assistance, advice, or support to your contacts – this builds goodwill and strengthens your relationships. Above all, follow through on what you say you will do for someone – gain that all-important reputation as someone who does what they say they will do.  #5 – Keep Your Online Presence Professional. Regularly update your LinkedIn profile, engage in meaningful discussions, and showcase your achievements and projects. You don’t ever want to be embarrassed by your online presence.  #6 – Don’t Let LinkedIn Be the Place Your Connections Go to Die. After meeting someone new, follow up with a personalized message. After someone has accepted your invitation to connect, begin cultivating a relationship. Try periodically sharing updates, articles, or just checking in with them to see how they’re doing.   I recommend setting aside time each week specifically for LinkedIn networking – for me, it’s 15 minutes twice each week.  What do I do during this time? -Respond to messages-Accept invitations to connect-Say “hello” to new connections-Send wishes for birthdays, promotions, new jobs, work anniversaries-5-word responses to people’s posts Here are some additional things you might use this time for: -Seeking out people to connect with-Periodically checking in with existing connections – have a strategy for this, as this is definitely a long game This time should NOT be spent looking for jobs or applying to jobs – that isn’t networking.  Based on my first suggestion, once you have a goal for WHY you are networking, next decide how much time you can consistently give to networking. Key word here is CONSISTENCY.  For example:1 group networking event per month1, 1:1 networking meeting per month30 minutes per week networking on LinkedIn This is going to equal about 5.5-6 hours per month.  Another example: 1 event where I can network each week15 minutes a day networking on LinkedIn This is going to equal about 7.5 hours per month.  As you can see, this can be done effectively without taking too much of your time. This is Quadrant Two activity – Important/Not Urgent.  Quadrant Two activities, according to Steven Covey, result in better balance, more control, fewer crises, greater vision and perspective, and more discipline. Sounds good, right?   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
5/8/202421 minutes, 50 seconds
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318: How to Make the Right Decision When Changing Employers

Today, we’re talking about how to increase your chance of choosing an employer who is a good fit for you. I’m dividing this discussion into two parts: How to determine what qualities or characteristics are most important to you and what you can do to assess an employer.  What are you looking for?There are no right or wrong answers here – what IS important is that you separate out your “non-negotiables” from your “gee – wouldn’t it be nice’s.” What am I talking about? When I was applying for positions all over the U.S. back in 1999, I had spent the previous decade working in a literal fallout shelter. We were in the bottom level of the student union in a cement block structure with no windows. So – one of my “gee – wouldn’t it be nice” things was an office with windows.  In other words, not essential, like ice cream for an ice cream sundae. More like the whipped cream or the cherry. What WAS a non-negotiable was campus support for the Career Center. I had worked too long with very little budget and practically no staff – coupled with a campus environment that didn’t appreciate or utilize the career center.  Here are some things that might be important to you: -A particular industry -A product or service you like, have utilized, respect -A certain aspect in their mission statement/vision statement -Whether it is a for-profit or nonprofit organization -Revenues -Number of employees -Some aspect of the organization’s culture -Geographic location of the company/where you would work -Commute distance -If hybrid, the % of each -Amount of travel required -The company’s reputation -The company’s position in their industry -The company’s phase – startup, etc.  -A certain quality of your direct supervisor -The number – and possibly level – of the people you would supervise -Your budget and staffing relative to what you are expected to accomplish -Salary / bonus potential -Benefits -PTO -The expectation for the actual workday/work week – what about weekends, evenings, etc.? How many hours every week?  -4-day workweek -Opportunity for advancement -Access/opportunity for training and professional development  This is not intended to be an exhaustive list.  Next, identify no more than 4-5 non-negotiables. You may even want to weigh them if one or two are far more important to you than the others.  The idea here is to avoid “shiny object syndrome.” You are swayed by things that aren’t on your list while forgetting about one or more of your non-negotiables.  How do you assess these things? The answer, of course, depends on WHICH things you’ve selected as your non-negotiables.  To research something qualitative about the company, you can’t depend on the company’s website. Rather, try Glassdoor.com, news releases about the company, and talking to current/former employees. To research something quantitative about the company, I recommend accessing Data Axle at your local library, Wikipedia, or the company’s website. If they are publicly traded, you can get information from Standard & Poor’s, Dun & Bradstreet, and the EDGAR database from sec.gov.  Some of the information most important to you may not be available until you apply for a specific position (such as a quality in your direct supervisor) but knowing that it is a non-negotiable keeps it on your radar screen as you go through the interview process.   Next, let’s talk about touchpoints throughout the hiring process where you can gather the information you need. -Pay attention to how you are treated, and the attitude of those you come in contact with, throughout the process. Are they upbeat and friendly? Do you receive prompt responses to your questions/requests? Do they stay in regular contact and keep you apprised of what’s going on with the search? -How are your interactions with the team you would be working with? Do they include you or are they standoffish – and how does that feel? (Trust your gut on this one.)  -Ask questions during the interview process about opportunities for advancement, training and professional development, compensation and benefits, and expectations for the role. Pay attention to whether you receive direct and honest answers or feel they may be hedging. You can also ask about company culture – you want to hear pretty much the same thing from everyone you ask.  -Consider any red flags that come up throughout the process and do your due diligence on those areas. This is especially important if you aren’t unhappy where you are – you certainly don’t want to leave that situation for a difficult one.  Ultimately, finding the right employer involves a combination of self-knowledge, research, self-reflection, and your intuition. Trust your instincts and carefully consider how well the employer aligns with your values, goals, and preferences so you can make an informed decision.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
5/1/202425 minutes, 32 seconds
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317: Addressing Gaps in Employment in Resumes, LinkedIn, Job Interviews

Gaps in employment. I want to start with the big picture, then drill down to some specifics. If it was several years ago, or more recently for only a few months, it probably isn’t the problem you think it is.  You can eliminate or minimize the appearance of an employment gap on your resume and LinkedIn, but you can’t do this on an application. You CAN cover the employment gap with consulting work or other self-employment – but only if it is legitimate.  Be prepared to answer questions about how you spent that gap and what you learned during that time.  On Your ResumeI had a client who took an intentional sabbatical to travel the world – and she had measurable achievements from her travels. We included that on her resume. I’ve got a client right now who spent 1 year building an Amazon business. This wasn’t on-brand for him — but does show his entrepreneurial spirit and ability to build a business from the ground up by himself. We included this on his resume.  Other clients have left their employer months before their actual end date due to accrued PTO or other reasons – we use the latest end date on the resume and LI profile. After all, they are still an employee of that company all that time, even though they no long show up every day.  You can take months of employment off your resume, but keep in mind that you will need to include them when you upload your resume to an ATS. I’ve started including months of employment on all resumes so my clients don’t have to have a separate “dates of employment” document they must refer to.  Sometimes, a gap in employment makes for a natural cut-off with older jobs. Why include a position from 17 years ago when it will show a two-year gap while you were having children?  Clients often ask me about consulting work or other gap entrepreneurial ventures – my question to them is, did you do something that was substantive during that time? I don’t ask them about whether they were paid or not, because that’s not what is important.   LinkedInLinkedIn has a feature where you can “add a career break” as if you were adding a new job. If you choose to use this feature, it’s important that you provide some narrative – what did you do? Learn? Experience? How did you grow? If appropriate, why did you have a career break, e.g. was it intentional or were you part of a layoff that affected 75% of your company’s workforce?  I personally wouldn’t use this feature if I was simply job searching, although there may be situations where this makes sense.   In the InterviewHere are some ways to address your gap in employment: -In your answer to the “tell me about yourself” question: You may choose to include something like this:            “As you can see from my resume, I took an intentional sabbatical for six months last year to fulfill a lifelong goal of writing a book. It’s called BLANK and was published in February of this year by PUBLISHING COMPANY. “            “In 2020, I was part of a massive layoff at ABC that affected more than half the total workforce. Rather than immediately attempting to find my next role, I opted to lean on my savings so I could improve my physical health after working 100-hour weeks for months at a time as we were trying to save the company. I did SOME SPECIFICS, and I’m proud to say I improved my health based on all available metrics.”  -If you are directly asked about a gap in employment, be prepared with an answer similar to the one above.  Here are some things to consider as you prepare your answer: -Don’t sound defensive -Don’t embellish -No need to tell them you weren’t paid for consulting work unless they ask -Be sure to tell them how the experience helped you grow professionally or personally  When it becomes a problemAs the saying goes, “Once is an accident, twice is a coincidence, three times is a pattern.”  If you’ve had multiple gaps in employment, I strongly recommend working with someone like me on a) how to position this in your marketing materials (one size DOES NOT fit all), and b) how to talk about this in the interview.   The bottom lineEveryone has something they believe makes them a less-than-ideal candidate. If that something for you is a gap in employment, it isn’t a bigger deal than someone else’s something, which could be age, lack of education, or multiple terminations.  The important thing is to come up with a strategy to address, both on paper and in the interview, in a way that neutralizes it – or if possible – turns it into a positive.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2             
4/24/202413 minutes, 50 seconds
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316: How to Transition Smoothly into a New Job

SO…you’ve landed a new position at a new company. How can you make your transition as smooth as possible? Here are 15 strategies:  Exit GracefullyYou don’t want your reputation to be tarnished in the final weeks with your old employer. Finish up any projects you need to, create whatever you need to help your successor in the role, say your goodbyes, and leave gracefully.  Announce on Social MediaBe cognizant of your previous and new employer when you decide the best timing to announce your new job on LinkedIn and elsewhere. Be kind and gracious to your former employer NO MATTER WHAT, and express your excitement about your new position. Nothing even remotely negative is appropriate here.  Take Care of BusinessYou may have paperwork to fill out for your new employer, questions you need answers to, and logistical information around start date and location.  Do Your HomeworkLearn as much as you can about the company and its culture, the department you’ll be working in, the people you’ll be working with, and the role you’ll be stepping into. Review the company’s website, LI profiles of key individuals, and any materials the company has provided you. Get Clear on ExpectationsMeet 1:1 with your manager so you can get on the same page as to expectations for your role, goals, responsibilities, and performance metrics. You should have access to your manager for frequent meetings during your first 90 days or so to ensure you’re staying on track.  Build RelationshipsBe intentional about getting to know your coworkers and others within the organization. If there are company events, by all means attend and get to know people. (It would be a good idea to find a mentor who can help you navigate so-called “optional” social events…are they REALLY optional?)  Limit “This is How We Did it…”You have a grace period of no more than a month to use the phrase “At my old company, we did it this way..” or any of its cousins. You can still introduce new ways of doing things – just don’t attribute your ideas to your previous employer.  Listen and LearnEven if you are highly experienced in your role, you’ll have much to learn in THIS role. Listen and observe, paying close attention to how things are done. Ask lots of questions and seek guidance from experienced colleagues.  Keep Lines of Communication OpenUpdate your manager and team members on your progress, as for feedback, and seek clarification when needed. This is particularly important if you are working remotely. Seek FeedbackActively solicit feedback from your supervisor and colleagues to help you identify areas for improvement. Don’t wait for formal performance reviews to seek feedback. Be Kind to YourselfDuring this introductory period, you’ll be learning a lot of new information – and likely making a few mistakes or missteps. Don’t beat yourself up – understand that mistakes are bound to happen in a new role and show yourself some grace and kindness. Manage Your TimeAs you adjust to your new role, be sure to prioritize tasks, set realistic deadlines, and establish a work routine that works for you.  Stay Positive and FlexibleMaintain a positive attitude and stay flexible as you navigate the challenges of your new role. Approach each day with a willingness to learn and grow. Seek SupportThere are resources to help you succeed no matter what your role is or what challenge you are facing. Reach out to your manager, HR, or a mentor within the organization for help.  Take Care of YourselfIt is really important to prioritize self-care during this transition period. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy, exercise regularly, and make time for activities that help you relax and recharge. Don’t forget your friends and family during this time period – remember, this is a marathon, not a sprint. Act accordingly.   If you are a high-achieving professional with the goal of landing in the C-suite, the Highly Promotable coaching program may be just the ticket! This 1:1 program is targeted to strategically leverage one of your strengths to become a signature strength — and move the needle on one of your developmental areas so it becomes a strength.  This is a four-figure investment in your professional future! If this sounds like just what you need, schedule a complimentary introductory call to determine if you are a fit for Highly Promotable:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call
4/17/202413 minutes, 22 seconds
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315: Your Resume: What Belongs and What Should Go

I want to talk with you today about what SHOULD and SHOULDN’T be on your resume in 2024. Like many of the topics I bring to the podcast, this one comes from resumes I’ve seen lately with very old-school information.  What Should Be Included-Branding statement & Summary (which I covered in episode #314 last week). -Professional Experience section, written in reverse chronological order and going back 15-20 years. -You can include internships in this section if you are a recent college graduate, but will generally be removed once you have full-time, post-graduate experience. -Remember: a 2-3-line paragraph for your job duties, followed by up to six bulleted achievements that each start with an action verb and lead with results. -Education section, also written in reverse chronological order but generally without dates -GPA is good for recent college graduates but should be removed as your college education gets further in your past. -Include relevant coursework only if you are a recent graduate. -Certifications and Credentials that are relevant and current (non-relevant certifications can confuse the reader as to your true career goal). They should be spelled out and abbreviated, preferably with the granting body listed. -Volunteer experience, provided it is recent or current and relevant, without any controversial element to it. -Foreign languages, with your level of proficiency in each – where this should go will depend on how important it is to your candidacy.  Let’s Talk About the Order of These Sections Think of this as an inverted pyramid – the most important, relevant, and weighty information goes first.  -Branding and Summary always goes at the top above the fold. -For experienced candidates, Experience will be next. If you are right out of college, you may think your Education carries more weight – and it might.  -From there, it’s your decision as to whether your Education, Credentials, and Volunteer Experience is more important for your candidacy – and this may change depending on the requirements of the job you are applying for.   What Should NOT Be Included -An objective, which tells the reader what YOU want rather than what you can do for them. -“References provided upon request” or the actual reference list. -Hobbies, unless they are DIRECTLY related.  -A picture. -Other personal information, such as marital status or children info. -You have the option of leaving off any position on your resume, so long as you include that position on a job application. You may leave yourself with a gap in employment, so weigh that against your reason for not wanting to include the position. Especially if it was very short-term, the gap in employment may hardly be noticeable.   A Note About a Separate Skills SectionApplicant tracking systems (ATS) score resumes higher when skills are integrated into positions where you demonstrated that skill. While you can have a Skills section – I sometimes find this necessary – you can also try to incorporate as many of them as possible into your Experience section.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
4/10/202418 minutes
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314: The Resume Summary: What it is and how to write it

I want to talk with you today about how to approach your resume summary. I will also be talking a lot about personal branding in this section.  If you are new to this concept, the resume summary goes “above the fold” on page 1 of your resume – after your name and contact information, before your Experience section.  Here’s what DOESN’T go in this space: an old-school objective, which tells a prospective employer what YOU want, rather than how you are uniquely qualified to provide them with what THEY need.  An objective sounds something like this: High-achieving communications professional seeking a mid-level position in public relations that utilizes skills in BLANK, BLANK, and BLANK.  I hate to break it to you, but a prospective employer does not care what YOU want.  Rather, this space should be utilized to lay out your brand differentiators – what you bring to the table that no other candidate likely will.  These brand differentiators are then followed by concrete examples that support your brand.  I see two primary problems with the resumes I look at that aren’t written by me:Either there is no branding at all, or the attempt at branding merely tells the reader that the candidate has the minimum qualifications expected of everyone they would even consider for the role.  If there is no summary or branding, the job seeker hasn’t set the stage for what is to follow in the Experience section – there’s no context for what the prospective employer is reading.  If the attempt isn’t differentiating, the job seeker has wasted valuable space above the fold when they could have provided compelling evidence that the employer MUST continue reading.  How do you know if your branding is differentiating? By looking at what you have with an objective eye. As you read each component, are you merely stating what EVERY candidate should have – or what is unique to you?  The mistake many people make in attempting to brand themselves is to try to appeal to everyone – this is not the purpose. Rather, an effective branding statement will have an immediate polarizing effect – a prospective employer will either know this is not the person for them - or they will be highly interested in speaking with this candidate.   Three Great Examples Remember: The goal here is differentiating and attention-grabbing. Here are three examples from my clients: Transformational Leader, Creative Operations Change Management | Integrated Team Leadership | Content Champion Bringing best practices in content creation and creative production from a wide range of B2B, B2C, and D2C experience spanning financial services, food & beverage, CPG, retail, luxury automotive, OTC pharma, and online media. Global leadership experience includes onshore and offshore teams spanning U.S., Canada, China, and Italy. This is then followed by:  Leadership Highlights: ¨   Increased production capacity by as much as 52% ¨   Generated savings by as much as 50% on contracts  ¨   Reduced expenses by as much as 49% Proven Record of Success in:  ¨   Restructuring creative departments and workflows, achieving greater productivity and efficiency ¨   Negotiating contracts and developing vendor relationships that slash costs and minimize financial, operational, and legal risk  ¨   Optimizing in-house utilization and external resources by creating transparency around demand  From 2021: Chief Human Resource Officer Delivering an executive presence, coupled with a data-driven decision process and willingness to engage in tough conversations Senior HR professional with an exceptional record of improving employee engagement and retention in the high-turnover field of healthcare through a combination of building strategic relationships, gathering data directly from front-line workers, and restructuring hiring, on-boarding, and compensation processes.  Representative Achievements:  »       Transformed perception of HR into a true business partner in support of organizational leadership with an optimal blend of training, change management, coaching, and a full branding shift.  »       Served in key leadership capacity during COVID-19 including massive furlough and establishing remote work structure for 5,000 employees.  »       Reduced turnover by as much as 4% for front-line healthcare workers and 3.3% for corporate areas.   Enterprise Risk ExecutiveStrategically tackling mission-critical problems, increasing efficiency, and improving processesHighly adept at collaborating across enterprises to solve complex challenges Known for thriving in ambiguity and bringing structure through processes, cross-functional engagement and communication, and high-level strategic focus — coupled with an eye on risk / reward balance and achievement of organizational goals.  Experience includes: Credit risk, operational risk, compliance risk, reputation risk, and strategic risk expertise, coupled with exposure to liquidity risk, price risk, and interest rate risk A foundation in commercial banking underwriting and relationship management, with 7+ years’ experience in sales and sales management Enterprise-level strategic planning and risk oversight Building operational risk and AML programs from the ground up M&A due diligence and integrations of banks and fintechs including developing governance frameworks  Two points about the bullets:  -I don’t ever duplicate a bullet from the client’s experience section in the Summary section. Rather, I think of it as “reconstituting” an achievement or experience from elsewhere in their resume. For example, if a client is in sales and has a strong record of increasing market share in each role he’s held, I might pull that information together in a bullet like this: -Consistently catapulted market share by as much as 34% with a strategic combination of BLANK, BLANK, and BLANK The second point is this: What you include in your Summary MUST be anchored somewhere else in your resume – otherwise, there’s no context for it. You’ll just confuse the reader.  Now that I’ve given you three great examples, let’s look at what isn’t so great:  Objective: Self-motivated and energetic Healthcare Administrator looking for a full-time position in a company where there is always an opportunity to grow, gain experience, and improve skills. Experience in medical operations, excellent interpersonal communication skills, and the organizational savvy to run a facility smoothly, also proudly maintain a highly productive, efficient and quality-driven environment always.  Sales LeaderA results-oriented sales professional with a proven track record in business development and sales management. Over 20 years of consultative sales experience, adept at building relationships, developing tailored solutions, and closing deals with multiple decision makers throughout the U.S. and Canada. Consistent top revenue producer with exceptional track record for exceeding sales objectives. Knowledgeable in technology, with experience in working with start-ups and SaaS solutions.  A determined self-starter who is intrinsically motivated with demonstrated ability to deliver results. With a graduate education in social work and field-based clinical experience, I apply my training and skills in critical thinking, creative problem solving, adaptability, and cultural competence throughout the work I do daily.  Android Developer / Web Developer WORK EXPERIENCE - Self-taught Android developer who designed, developed, deployed and maintained various different apps for a diverse user base.  At the risk of beating a dead horse, make sure your branding statement and summary are a) differentiating, b) not just the minimum requirements of the position, c) compelling.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
4/3/202428 minutes, 13 seconds
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313: What's Going on With Those Companies That Offer "Free" Resume Reviews?

Over the years, a number of people have reached out to me with concerns about their resume – in some cases, resumes I wrote for them.  They went to a website that offered a free resume critique and got back harsh criticism that worried them.  Here’s what’s going on: Larger, so-called “resume mills” have software they run your resume through. That software is set up for the express purpose of telling you things are terribly wrong with your resume, after which they do a hard sell to get you to buy a resume package from them.  I promise you, I could send my own resume to them and they would give it a terrible score – their system is set up to make sure everyone does.  They hook you in with the “free” part – after all, what’s the harm in having them take a look at your resume at no cost? There’s plenty of harm, as it turns out.   A second scenario you will find is where an actual human looks at and evaluates your resume.  The most common setup for this scenario is a charge for the resume critique, which can then be applied to the purchase of a resume package should you choose to move forward with that company.  In this scenario, your question SHOULD be: Who’s doing this critique? What are his/her qualifications/credentials? And would this person also be the one writing a resume for me should I purchase a package?   A third and final scenario is how I have my business structured: I take a cursory look at your resume prior to your consult with me (no charge), and let you know during the consult 3-4 issues I see with your existing resume.  And here’s the thing: The issues I find are almost always the same, which I’m going to cover next.  In other words, you may not need to spend money on a resume critique, or subject yourself to a “free” review that ends up with a hard sell.  You know whether your resume is pretty good…really great…terrible, don’t you? Either because it’s not getting the job done – interviews – or because someone who knows has told you (such as a recruiter or hiring manager).  If you want to have a professional rewrite your resume, choose wisely. Obviously, I want you to come to me – the link to my calendar to schedule a complimentary consult is in the show notes.  If you want some guidelines around what to look for and what questions to ask, pick up a copy of my “How to Assess Resume Writers,” Here’s the link:  https://bit.ly/assessresumewriter  So, what are those common problems I see with virtually every resume I am asked to take a look at? Branding: Either there is no attempt to position you as a unique product employers will be excited to purchase, or the attempt at branding is non-differentiating. In other words, what you’ve told the employer in your branding statement is essentially a list of the minimum qualifications EVERY candidate should have to even apply for the role.  Death By Bullets: You’ve created a laundry list of job duties, each of which is bulleted, rather than a 2-3-line paragraph that succinctly tells a prospective employer what you did in each job.  Achievements: I see one of two scenarios here. Either there isn’t an achievement anywhere in sight, or there are weakly written achievements mixed in with death-by-bullets job duties that dilute the impact of those achievements.  ATS Repellent: Many resumes I see are incapable of getting the applicant a high enough score to be seen, or seriously considered, by the humans. Specific issues might include:           -Using headings that are non-traditional           -Submitting as a pdf           -Not customizing for each application           -Columns, charts, and graphs that can’t be read by the ATS           -Stacking jobs  You guys like it when I bottom-line things for you, so here it is:  -If you know you need a new resume, find the most-qualified resume writer you can afford – expect it to cost about 1% of your anticipated annual salary for the resume alone.  -If you really don’t know whether your resume is any good, it’s a safe bet it isn’t. Find a reputable resume writer like me.  -If you think your resume is fantastic and want someone to confirm that for you, DON’T use a “free” resume evaluation service. Ask me, preferably – or someone you know in the business, such as a recruiter or HR professional.   A couple of final thoughts: One of the things I frequently talk with prospective clients about is this: How high is the bar? Not everyone needs a top-of-the-line resume like the ones I create for my clients.  Also: It may not be your resume. Or at least not JUST your resume. In my consultations, I ask you questions about your entire job search including conversion rates of applications to interviews, interviews to job offers. I want to get the full picture of where your problem(s) might be – it isn’t always the resume.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
3/27/202425 minutes, 23 seconds
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312: How to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

Today’s topic is how to become a thought leader on LinkedIn. This is something I work with many of my mid- and upper-level clients on and I wanted to share some of that work with you in this episode.  Let’s start with the obvious: If you want to become a thought leader on LinkedIn, you need a complete, professional, and optimized profile. If this is something you want help with, reach out for a consult and I can give you the specifics of what I can do for you and the associated investment.   Why do I want to become a thought leader on LinkedIn?If you want to become a thought leader, LI is the place to do it. There are numerous reasons to make this a goal, including: -Increased visibility for your personal brand-To move up within your current organization-To increase awareness for potential employers -Increased visibility for your company and/or industry -Increased visibility for your profession -To showcase your side business   What should I be doing? Let’s start with some basics. These are the things I do every time I sit down at my computer for LI:  -Respond to your messages -Respond to connection requests -Begin cultivating relationships with those you’ve already connected with -Engage with posts/birthdays/anniversaries/new jobs in the Notifications section (5-word minimum)  Now that we’ve covered the bare minimum, let’s take things to the next level: -Original content (think of LI as your blog) -Sharing others’ content, with a question that will elicit engagement -Content in the Featured section of your profile – these can be videos, posts, newsletters, articles, links) -Join groups appropriate for your job function and/or industry and participate -If you are also trying to grow your audience, set a weekly goal for how many connection requests you will send out and who you want to connect with. Then CULTIVATE – don’t try to sell right away.  -Once you begin contributing, you may be asked to be a contributor to collaborative articles on LinkedIn. A lot of people have found me through these contributions. Here’s how it happens: “LinkedIn identifies members who are likely to be experts in a certain topic based on their work experience, skills proficiency, and prior engagement on the platform. They must also meet high trust and quality standards by adhering to LinkedIn’s User Agreement and Professional Community Policies, and their contributions must remain relevant, original, and additive.”  How much time will this take? The biggest pushback I get from clients is “this will take too much time.” I’m going to break this down into bite-sized chunks, all of which can be managed much like a buffet – take what you want and leave the rest. It’s not all-or-nothing here.  -Make this a priority, or it won’t happen-Calendar in time, along with the specific deliverables you want to achieve -I spend 15 minutes, twice a week, on the basics:           -Messages           -Requests           -Initial greetings           -Notifications -It was recently recommended to me that I might try spending 1 hour a day commenting on posts – this would be on LI as well as my other platforms. I don’t have that much time, but I plan to expand what I’m currently doing now.  -Original content will take additional time, of course – but you may have “recyclable” content you can use, at least to start with. Is there an article you’ve written that could be broken up into several posts? -You’ll need some artwork to help attract eyes to your posts. If you haven’t learned Canva yet, I recommend either doing so or soliciting help from someone who knows how to use it. You may be able to create a template for your posts that would then require a minimum of changes each time you use it – this would also help with branding.  -If you want more eyes on your thought leadership, you may also want to add to your connections/followers. My goal is 50 new connections per week – people who are in jobs and at the seniority level of my ideal client. This takes me about 1 hour/week.  -Look for podcasters who speak on topics that intersect with your SME and schedule a virtual coffee date with them. Rather than asking to be on their podcast, focus on building the relationship and let them ask you. This is part of my 50 new connections each week.  So the amount of time you need each week depends on which of these suggestions you want to take on. Start with a manageable goal and get that under your belt before trying to expand – I recommend 15 minutes/day. Again – calendar it in and set specific deliverables for each day.  For example, you might do the basics – check messages, respond to connection requests, check and respond to Notifications – every day, while you may do original content on Mondays, share something on Wednesdays…you get the idea. MAKE IT MANAGEABLE. I was thinking…this is episode #312. Episode #1 aired on October 25th, 2017, so this is my seventh year of putting out weekly content FOR FREE. So here’s all I ask of you: if you haven’t subscribed or followed the podcast, please do so. And I would greatly appreciate it if you could do me a solid and write a review if you love what I’m putting out for you.  One more thing: if there is a career-related topic you’d like me to cover on the podcast, shoot me an email at [email protected]. If I’ve covered it, I’ll send you links to what’s already out there; if I haven’t, I’ll put it in the queue and mention your first name when I cover it.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
3/20/202417 minutes, 16 seconds
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311: How to Manage Your Former Peers

Here’s the scenario: You’ve been promoted in your current unit. You are now managing people who used to be your peers – at least one of whom may have also applied for the promotion.  How do you transition from a colleague to a manager? This can happen as you move from an individual contributor to a first-time manager, or from a manager to a director or senior manager. You could also become a VP and start managing your former director colleagues. In short, this scenario can happen at any level.  As I researched this topic, many of the resources I looked at gave rather generic advice – in other words, here are the things any manager should do in a new role. I wanted to give you advice specific to leading those you used to work alongside, so here are my nine suggestions. I used mindtools.com and mondostaffing.com to help me with this episode.   Let’s start off with why it is important to start this new role off on the right foot. You want to avoid, as much as possible, negative feelings (“why did SHE get the role and not me?” or “HE didn’t deserve this promotion as much as XXX did”) You want to maintain what has, hopefully, been a positive professional relationship and earn their trust and respect. You may not immediately be afforded trust and respect – it’s yours to EARN.  #1. Be humble. This can work both ways – you can choose to brag about the promotion or you can choose to beat yourself up when you make a rookie mistake. Neither of these approaches will serve you. Acknowledge the promotion when someone else brings it up, but don’t boast. Also, recognize that you WILL make mistakes – and that those mistakes are a necessary ingredient in your success.  Unfortunately, some people may revel in your mistakes – even sabotage you. Address these situations appropriately as soon as possible – they are workplace cancers.   #2. Acknowledge the shift – and the awkwardness.It’s up to you to acknowledge the change between yourself and your former peers – bring it out in the open and acknowledge that it may feel awkward at first.  Your professional relationships WILL change now – pretending anything else won’t serve you or your team.  Bring the shift out into the open and allow time for the transition.   #3. Be transparent. Setting clear expectations for each team member, and for the team as a whole, is important. Lay out your goals and the changes you want to implement and be open to hearing their feedback.   #4. Set clear boundaries.Friendships previously formed may need to change. After-hours activities may no longer include you. You’ll need to set clear boundaries and recognize that your team may need to do the same.   #5. Don’t pick favorites. It can be tempting to show favoritism towards a team member who was your friend. Remember: Now you are making decisions based on what is best for the team and your unit – not who you like the most.  Your goal should be to make sure everyone is treated fairly, regardless of their relationships with you prior to the promotion.   #6. Recognize the change in dynamic. If you previously vented work frustrations or joked about company or department policies with your peers, you now want to set a professional tone with your team. You’ll be under more scrutiny as a manager and you don’t want to get a reputation as not being a loyal member of management. Lead by example – with a high level of integrity.   #7. Set clear expectations. One of your primary goals as a manager is to ensure your team members know what is expected of them and they have the tools to be successful.  Make sure you set clear expectations around what is and isn’t acceptable in terms of work quality, adhering to deadlines, and other important issues.  And piggy-backing on #4 – Don’t Pick Favorites – make sure the expectations you set apply equally to everyone, as do the consequences of not meeting those expectations.   #8. Schedule regular 1:1s. Regular 1:1s with each member of your team will help ensure you are on top of each person’s progress and development, allow you to address any concerns or issues quickly, and help keep everyone on the same page relative to goals and objectives.   #9. Ask for help. At whatever level you are rising to, there are a multitude of trainings out there – from online courses to in-person seminars and even certifications. If you feel you need training to help you succeed in this transition – ask for it.  Along those lines, ask for a mentor(s).  Here’s a quote from the Mindtools.com website: “A new boss who tries to remain "one of the team" can end up frustrating everyone. When you're more concerned about friendships than results, poor decisions are usually inevitable. If you're afraid of being called "bossy," you may not hold people accountable, or you may avoid making unpopular decisions.” The bottom line can be summed up as follows: -It’s not going to be the same – don’t try to make it be the same. -Don’t expect automatic trust and respect – you’ll have to earn it.  -Set clear expectations – and make them consistent for all team members.  -Lead by example – your professionalism will help earn the trust and respect you want. -Ask for help – whether training, a mentor, or other assistance to set yourself up for success.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
3/13/202412 minutes, 55 seconds
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310: The Difference Between Job Duties and Achievements on Your Resume

I want to start by being clear: This is a topic I’ve covered before. I’m covering it again because, based on the resumes that come to me for consults, ya’ll haven’t gotten the message yet.  In addition to touching on this topic in several episodes, I specifically covered job duties and achievements in episode #174. I’m going to expand on the content from that episode in this one.  What I seeLet’s start with what I see on almost every resume that comes my way: either there isn’t an achievement in sight, or the few achievements that are there are mixed in with bulleted job duties – and they are poorly written.  This creates what we resume writers call “death by bullets.” A looooong laundry list of job duties and maybe a few achievements that don’t impress the reader and causes them to lose interest fast.  Job duties are important, because this is your opportunity to tell the reader what you did on a day-to-day basis. This is particularly helpful when you have had job duties outside what someone with that job title would normally have.  Job duties tell the employer WHAT you did. There is an assumption that everyone with XXX job title does approximately the same thing on a daily basis.  Achievements, on the other hand, tell an employer HOW WELL you did your job. This is your opportunity to show how much money you made or saved, how you improved efficiency, increased retention…whatever is appropriate for your job function.  Think of it this way. If you were a Nike athletic shoe, your job description might read:Made of rubber. Come in a variety of color combinations. Includes shoelaces and an insert. Can be spot-washed by hand. Can be worn for athletic or casual wear – by men and women.  Here are your achievement bullets: Shaved 7.8 seconds off Sue Smith’s running performance in the mile. Received prime placement in athletic shoe stores including… Played key role in Jonathan Jones’ 15th-place finish in the Boston Marathon.  Generated $1.2 gazillion dollars top-line revenue.   Now, let’s break down the specifics of job descriptions and achievements.  Job descriptionsThis should be a 2-to-3-line paragraph of the daily job duties you performed – either most frequently, those that are most applicable to the specific position you are applying for, or those not normally performed by someone with your job function (but only if you want to continue to perform those duties).   There’s no room for fluffy words or extra verbiage in this paragraph. Stick with the most important, most relevant, and/or most differentiating tasks.  Here’s an example: Aligned marketing plans and GTM tactics to drive audience awareness and growth for $12M international entertainment product. Drove branding, design, website, video production, customer journey, social media, billboards, subway ads, taxi tops, paid ads, customer experience improvements, celebrity and influencer partnerships, and content creation.  Here’s another example: Drove all management and operational components including reporting functions, scheduling, hiring, onboarding, training, policies / procedures, compliance, and strategic planning. Collaborated with marketing director to promote and grow all offices. Managed P&L including net profitability, net revenue per visit, and net cost per visit.  Note that these are paragraphs – not bullets. Bullets should be reserved for achievements ONLY.   AchievementsYour achievements are what market you on your resume. When you mix your job duties with your achievements, you dilute the effectiveness of your achievements.  Ideally, you will have progressively more achievements with more recent jobs. At most, 5 achievements per role.  What makes an achievement impactful? -Is specific-Starts with an action verb (parallel structure)-Leads with results-Leaves the reader wanting more (2 lines max)  Example #1: Instead of  Grew customer base This high-impact achievement bullet:  Catapulted customer base 400% and revenue 700% by launching a comprehensive social media campaign.   Example #2:  Instead of  Managed new-hire in-processing This high-impact achievement bullet:  Processed 140 new employees in just 30 days including all paperwork, orientation, security clearances, and computer access.   Example #3:  Instead of  Managed IT installation project This high-impact achievement bullet:  Spearheaded 1200-unit IT installation project including beta testing, identifying and training superusers, and troubleshooting. How do you know what to include as an achievement? Here are some guidelines: -Choose achievements that, in combination, present you as well-rounded and competent for the role you are applying for.  -Focus on achievements that demonstrate the skills you want to use moving forward. If, for example, you’re really good at managing budgets but hate them, and they aren’t an essential part of the job you’re applying for, don’t focus an achievement on your budgeting magic.  Two more things: With some clients, I will separate out a 1-to-2- line statement about the scope of their work. Doing this makes it easy for the reader to see things such as size of budgets managed, number of direct reports, reporting structure, size of sales territory, etc.  Here’s an example:  Directly supervised 5; total team of 14 | Hired, developed, and managed marketers, vendors, and agencies | $3.8M Marketing budget Finally, I am increasingly beginning each of my clients’ bullets with an introductory phrase. This serves two purposes: It allows the reader to quickly scan the resume and determine the “buckets” of achievements this candidate has had, and it further packs the resume with keywords that will increase its score in the ATS.  I determine what phrases to use based on two things: The content of the achievement (what is it really about) and the keywords I find in the job descriptions the client gives me.  Examples: Stakeholder Advocacy & Education: Developed and managed Regional Advocate Program, which delivered grassroots, legislative, political, and investor development support and resources to Florida Chamber, local chambers of commerce, legislators, candidates, and business advocacy partners across 6 regions of Florida.  Efficiency Enhancements: Achieved annual cost reduction of 30%, enhanced financial reporting processes, and increased productivity through strategic technology implementations including dashboarding and cloud solutions.  Latinx Community Leadership: Recognized with Hispanic Heritage Foundation Award — for courage and commitment to elevating Latinx culture in all its expressions.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2        
3/6/202424 minutes, 1 second
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309: Set Yourself up for Success in a New Role - at Any Experience Level

As most of you know, the first 90 days in a new job are critical for your long-term success – not only in that role, but for your future with the organization.  Today, I want to give you key steps you can take in those first 90 days to set yourself up for success.  Let’s start with an Individual Contributor role. A primary focus from week 1 should be getting clear success metrics and priorities from your boss. This typically goes beyond the job description, although that’s a good starting point if you don’t already have one. If your boss doesn’t have success metrics and priorities prepared for you and can’t / won’t communicate them verbally, write your own and get your boss to sign off on them.  Another focus in the first 90 days is learning how your department works and interacts with other departments within the organization. How does work flow? Who does what? How does the work your department generates fit into the larger organization?  As part of this process, learn how to communicate with others in your department, especially your boss. Get a good understanding of the culture of your department and of the larger organization. Remember: there’s what is in writing and there’s what is actually happening – learn when people come to work and leave, how lunches and breaks work, and other day-to-day practicalities.  Your boss or a mentor within your department should be able to direct you to key stakeholders and peers outside your department that you need to get to know. Schedule 1:1s with them to introduce yourself and learn how you can work together most effectively.  Key words for this level: ALIGNMENT, ORIENTATION, COMMUNICATION  For a New Manager.As with an Individual Contributor, it is important that you get a clear understanding of what you will be responsible for delivering and how your success will be measured. Get this in writing.  Schedule 1:1s with your direct reports and get to know their strengths, growth areas, communication and work styles, how they like to be rewarded, how best to deliver feedback, and their professional goals. This is THE major shift for you from an Individual Contributor role – the adjustment that the work you produce will now largely be through others. Their development is of paramount importance.  Learning about leadership is another critical component – read and learn about different leadership styles and determine what will work best for you. Remember to be authentically you as you adapt to this new role – if you try to be someone you aren’t, you will not be successful in the long run. Develop your plan for the year and get alignment from your boss as to priorities, goals, and measures of success. Key words for this level: ALIGNMENT, MANAGEMENT, LEADERSHIP  As a new Director or Senior Manager. Once again, step one should be alignment of success measures and KPIs with your VP. Make sure you understand how these fit into your VP’s broader goals.  A key difference at this level is that your direct reports may also have direct reports. If they don’t, it is likely that one of your key goals is to mentor and coach them to become managers. Meet with your direct reports about goals, working styles, and key cultural norms for your area and make sure there is alignment with what they are saying and doing with their direct reports. Establish clear expectations and make sure they are doing the same.  You will be meeting regularly with others across the organization, so quickly begin to set up those meetings and establish those relationships.  You will be expected to regularly evaluate what is and isn’t working in your area, so make sure you are seeing and hearing what is going on. Get on top of issues quickly before they have a chance to fester and become cancerous.  You’ll likely be expected to create a long-term plan – possibly a 1-3-5-year plan. Create this, get insight and buy-in from your VP, and disseminate this information to your team and other key stakeholders.  Key words for this level: ALIGNMENT, INFLUENCE, STRATEGIC PLANNING   For a VP or C-Suite Executive. Developing a vision and aligning your leadership team with that vision is a critical component at this level. You will be expected to do so with executive presence and compelling communication that elicits buy-in and engagement.  Once you have established your strategic initiatives, select 1-2 for quick wins. It is important for you and your team to have early victories. Pulling the lens out a bit further, communicate your 90 or 120 day and 1-year goals. Be sure to celebrate these wins! Listening to employees at all levels is another critical element for you. Conduct a listening tour to not only listen, but to show your team their voices are important and will be heard. Gather information as to where gaps exist and develop a plan to address. Develop a communication plan for your unit that is open and transparent, both internally and externally.  Key words for this level: ALIGNMENT, LEADERSHIP, COMMUNICATION  You may have noticed that a consistent element at each level is ALIGNMENT. What that looks like will differ at each level, but it is so important that you make sure your goals and priorities are in alignment with your boss and the larger organization.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
2/28/202425 minutes, 16 seconds
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308: What is a "Dry Promotion" - and Should You Accept it?

First, a confession: When I started seeing articles and comments about “dry promotions,” I didn’t know what that was. In case some of you are in that same boat, here’s a definition: “A promotion without a salary increase.” As American businesses seek innovative ways to cut costs in a tightening economy, employers may be enticed to promote employees but withhold a salary increase.   There are two primary benefits to an employee who accepts a dry promotion: 1.    An opportunity to gain new skills and take on new challenges. 2.    Added recognition and appreciation.(Most people in the organization won’t know that you didn’t get a raise.)  What about the benefits to employers? 1.    They can advance their goals for succession planning and professional development without a hit to their wallet. 2.    Dry promotions can improve employee engagement.   What about the downsides to a dry promotion? 1.    For an employee, the downside is pretty obvious – you are doing more work – and work with more consequence – with no additional pay.  2.    A dry promotion could work against you if you look for work elsewhere – the future employer may have concerns about the disparity between your job title and your compensation.  3.    Conversely, an employer may find that it has positioned the dry employee for a new job at a new organization, with commensurate pay.  4.    An employer with a dry promotion practice may find a decrease in overall productivity, since extra effort is not rewarded.  5.    An employer may find they aren’t attracting the best talent.   What options do you, as an employee, have for negotiating a dry promotion? 1.    Get in writing that a raise will happen – or at least be discussed – at a specific later date, possibly with some retroactive pay. 2.    Ask for an increase in variable compensation, such as bonus targets. 3.    Ask for an increase in other fringe benefits like PTO or flexibility.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
2/21/202410 minutes, 6 seconds
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307: Developing Your Elevator Pitch

Today, we’re talking about how to develop your elevator pitch. This is your 15-to-30 second “commercial” about yourself, which you will need for use in a variety of settings, including: -Introducing yourself at a networking meeting -Selling yourself to a potential employer -Selling yourself, your company, or your product/service to a potential customer If you’re not familiar with the concept, the idea is that you could say your elevator pitch while going from one floor to the next on an elevator. Elevator pitches come in a variety of shapes and sizes, depending on how you’re using them. I gave some excellent examples of elevator pitches in episode #209; I’ve included a link to that episode in the show notes. https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-01-13-209-developing-your-elevator-pitch  First, I want to give you some big picture do’s and don’ts for elevator pitches, then we’ll drill down to specific frameworks. -Keep it short and succinct -Don’t be predictable -Leave them wanting more -Engage them with a question  Now, let’s build a few elevator pitches for different situations. Situation #1: Networking for Your Next JobYou’re at a networking event, where you want to meet several people. You want to keep it short – remember, in most cases, these people aren’t in a position to actually hire you, but rather connect you with others who are. “Hi, my name is Sue Smith, and I help mid-tier healthcare organizations optimize technology so they can increase profitability and streamline processes. Most recently, I did this as Director of IT at Zulu Healthcare System – and now I’m looking for my next role with an organization that wants to make sure they are making the most of their tech spend and are fully utilizing what they already have.” (23 seconds)  Situation #2: Introducing Yourself to a Potential EmployerNow, you are in front of someone who IS in a position to hire you – say, at a chance meeting. You’ve found yourself in line for coffee with the CIO of ABC Hospital, one of your target employers. “Hi, my name is Sue Smith, and I’m the former IT Director at Zulu Healthcare System. I’ve been speaking with Joe Jones in your IT department because ABC Hospital is one of my dream employers. One of my greatest strengths is making sure my employer is maximizing the impact of their tech spend – they are only buying what they really need and they are fully utilizing what they buy. I would love the opportunity to sit down with you and describe some of the results I’ve gotten for my previous employers – would this be possible?” (30 seconds)  Situation #3: You’ve Just Randomly Met SomeoneHere’s the deal with this situation: You aren’t in “networking mode,” but at the same time you don’t want to pass up an opportunity, because…you never know. Let’s say you are randomly chatting with someone a friend has introduced you to at a house party. Keep in mind that this elevator pitch might occur after you’ve been on the elevator for a few floors – it would likely come across as too aggressive if you started right in. “My name is Sue Smith, and until recently, I was the IT Director at Zulu Healthcare System. I’m looking for my next role in healthcare IT, so if you know of anyone in a leadership role in healthcare in Tallahassee, I would love an introduction!” Note that I didn’t get into the weeds with my qualifications or brand attributes – there is no need to.  Situation #4: You are at a Networking Event, and Your Goal is to Sell Your Product or Service. Let’s say this is a Chamber of Commerce networking event, and you are looking for people who are unhappy with their current cleaning service – and are in a position to influence a change in this regard at their organization. “Hi, my name is Jack Graham, and I am the Sales Director for Service Excellence Cleaning. How satisfied are you with your current cleaning service?” “We are relatively satisfied, I guess. They charge a fair price and are pretty dependable.” (NOTE: Not a glowing recommendation, but they aren’t completely unhappy either.) “What would you say if I offered to bring a crew in FOR FREE to clean your office one day next week? I guarantee we will outperform your current service and our recommendations on Yelp and Google are outstanding – take a look! All I ask is that we have a chance to speak afterwards to discuss options for working together going forward.” Notice how conversational this was, rather than a monologue by someone determined to sell you cleaning services whether you needed them or not.  Situation #5: You are a solopreneur at a networking event, selling a service. “My name is Lesa Edwards, and I help high-achieving, mid-career professionals land their dream job and get promoted.” Notice how short this one is – there is no reason for me to go into detail unless the person I’m speaking with is interested in knowing more. Notice also that I didn’t tell them HOW I do what I do…I didn’t get specific about the services I provide. I want to pique their curiosity – if they have any curiosity about me. Let’s say they respond with:            “Are you a recruiter?” “No, recruiters work for employers to staff their organizations. I work exclusively with prospective employees – preparing them for the job search. I’m one of fewer than 25 Master Resume Writers in the world and I’m a Certified Job Search Strategist, so I give my clients exceptional marketing materials and a job search strategy that gets great results FAST.”   As a review, here are the big-picture considerations for your elevator pitches: -Keep it short and succinct -Don’t be predictable -Leave them wanting more -Engage them with a question Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The document and coaching programs offered by Exclusive Career Coaching will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
2/14/202413 minutes, 33 seconds
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306: Improving Written Communication Skills to Enhance Promotability

Last week, I focused on Verbal Communication Skills to Enhance Promotability; today I’m covering Written Communication Skills. Once again, I want to start with an assessment – these are great questions to ask yourself. From there, I recommend you pick the area that you felt the least confident about and set a 90-day goal for improvement. 1.    How well can I anticipate and predict possible causes for written confusion and miscommunication, and how good am I at dealing with them upfront? 2.    How often do recipients fully understand my messages, emails, or other documents? Do I give enough information and detail? 3.    Can I use communication platforms such as email to quickly and efficiently communicate complex issues? 4.    Do people often misunderstand my messages? Am I often surprised that they don’t understand what I have written? Let’s review the four steps to the communication process as they apply to written communication: -The words you write (correct word usage, punctuation, context) -What you meant by those words (which is more challenging without visual cues – remember that only 7% of communication is the actual words you use) -The words the receiver reads (the reader’s facility with the language, eyesight, communication device i.e. phone, tablet) -What the receiver makes those words mean (experience, cultural differences, their thoughts about you/the subject matter) There are four types of written communication: -Informational – You are conveying information to someone who needs to know that information. No response is required, except perhaps acknowledgment of receipt or any questions.  -Instructional – You are educating someone on something they need to know. Again - no response is required, except perhaps acknowledgment of receipt or any questions.  -Transactional – You are conveying something to someone else, with the expectation of a response. The mistake many people make with this type of communication is not clearly conveying that a response is expected and the nature of that response.  -Persuasive – You are communicating the benefits of a product, service, person, or idea to elicit a specific response, such as buying the product or service or voting for the candidate. This type of communication requires a clear call to action.   Next, let’s dig into specific written communication issues you may have and ways to improve. 1.    If you struggle with grammar, spelling, and punctuation: -You may want to take a short course to help you with this.  -Read a lot – it doesn’t matter what, as long as it’s well written. Pay attention to grammar, spelling, and punctuation.  -Do NOT depend on Spell Check. -Take advantage of a tool like Grammarly. -Practice writing. -Read your writing out loud.   2.    If you struggle with clarity and structure in your writing:  -If the message is complex, outline it. -Get to the point. -Determine the best method for conveying this message – should it even be in writing? If so, is it an email, a memorandum, a white sheet?  -Anticipate your reader’s questions. -Read out loud. -Ask someone else to read your writing and tell you what they think you’re trying to communicate. -Don’t over-explain. -Eliminate filler words and phrases in the editing phase.  -Eliminate redundancy (State of Florida, previous experience, final conclusion)  -Go easy on the prepositional phrases (“reflected” instead of “was a reflection of,” “of the results of the quarter” can be changed to “this quarter’s results” – which also puts it in active rather than passive voice) -Avoid padding weak words with adverbs (instead of “mostly right” you could write “had excellent points,” instead of “please respond quickly,” try being more specific with a date).  -Take a business writing course – I did in graduate school, and it was one of the best courses in my Master’s degree. You can also take a shorter-term course through LinkedIn Learning, for example.  -Get a business writing “mentor” – someone with exceptional written communication skills AND the time and patience to help you develop your skills in this area.   As with last week’s episode, let’s bring this back around to how to leverage your improvements to increase your promotability.  -Clearly communicate you goal with your boss and ask him/her for any support you need (pay for a course and possible release time, for example) -Regularly communicate your progress with your boss. -Make certain your boss knows you WANT to be promoted – and want to be considered for a promotion at the appropriate time.   If you are a high-achieving professional with the goal of landing in the C-suite, the Highly Promotable coaching program may be just the ticket! This 1:1 program is targeted to strategically leverage one of your strengths to become a signature strength — and move the needle on one of your developmental areas so it becomes a strength.  This is a four-figure investment in your professional future! If this sounds like just what you need, schedule a complimentary introductory call to determine if you are a fit for Highly Promotable:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call
2/7/202425 minutes, 39 seconds
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305: Improving Verbal Communication Skills to Enhance Promotability

Today, I want to give you strategies to improve your verbal communication skills – specifically, with an eye to enhancing your promotability.  Next week’s episode will piggyback on this one with ways to improve your written communications skills – also with an eye to enhancing your promotability.  In episode #113, I covered active listening at work; here’s the link to that episode:https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2020-02-05-113-active-listening-at-work/ In episode #114, I talked about effective communication at work, and I’ve included that link in the show notes. I’m going to include some of that information in today’s episode. https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2020-02-12-114-effective-communication-at-work Let’s start with an assessment of your verbal communication skills – tell yourself the truth as you answer these questions. I highly recommend journaling your responses. 1.    Do I ask questions when I don’t understand something, or do I keep it to myself? 2.    Do people often misunderstand my messages? Am I often surprised that they don’t understand what I am saying? 3.    Is it easy for me to understand someone else’s point of view during a conversation? 4.    Do I think about how my responses will be perceived by others, or do I speak without thinking?  5.    Do I find it difficult to see and read people’s body language? 6.    Do I struggle to find the right words to convey my message? Which one of these is a weak link for you? Develop a 90-day goal to improve that area. Asking for a mentor’s help, watching YouTube videos, listening to podcasts, reading books, asking for people’s feedback, or taking a course are all ways to improve your area.   There are four steps to the communication process: -The words you speak (articulation, correct word usage) -What you meant by those words (intonation, vocal pauses or emphases) -The words the listener heard (ability to hear what is said, the listener’s understanding of the language you are speaking in) -What the listener makes those words mean (experience, cultural differences)  Utilizing both verbal and written communication skills, you want to be able to clearly communicate your achievements and contributions to your manager. You also want to be able to articulate your career aspirations – he or she needs to know that you want to be considered for a promotion at the appropriate time.   Next, let’s dig into specific verbal communication issues you may have and ways to improve.  1.    If you find yourself straying mentally when others are speaking, you may have a challenge with active listening. Strategies to improve: -You have to be able to hear the other person. If the space you are in is too noisy for that to happen, suggest moving to someplace quieter.  -Are you possibly dealing with a hearing problem? Is this something you need to get checked out? Or is the problem only when there is a lot of ambient noise? If so, move to someplace quieter.  -Are there visual distractions around you that are interfering with your ability to pay attention? Relocate the conversation to minimize.  -Are you asking questions to make sure you understand what the other person is trying to communicate? The key here is to find the balance between constantly interrupting the speaker and making sure you understand their message. Another tool for understanding is to repeat back what you heard.  -Are you making appropriate eye contact? My rule of thumb is your eye contact should be nearly 100% when the other person is speaking and at least 60% when you are speaking. Also, be sure to nod and make appropriate facial gestures to show you are listening.  -Do you have trouble retaining important information after a conversation? If so, WRITE IT DOWN.  -Are you paying attention to nonverbal cues – and working to reconcile them with what’s being said? If not, you’re missing more than half of the conversation – the 55/38/7 formula created by Albert Mehrabian states that communication is 55% nonverbal, 38% vocal, and 7% words only. If this is a challenge for you, I recommend you look up some YouTube Videos on nonverbal communication.  -Do you understand what the speaker intends for you to do with the information they are about to give you? If not, ask questions – does the speaker want your advice, do they want you to take action, do they want to just impart information?  -Are you showing the appropriate emotional response to what is being said? If this doesn’t come naturally to you, it may be a case of “fake it ‘till you make it.” Excitement, empathy, and understanding are all possible emotional responses.   2.    If your challenge is speaking clearly and concisely, you’ll want to work with a coach or find a mentor who can give you real-time feedback on your verbal communication skills. Specific areas for them to help you with include: -Are you clearly stating your message? Can the other person understand the information you are trying to convey? -Are you using unnecessary jargon or fillers? Slang, inappropriate use of words (hone instead of home, irregardless instead of irrespective), fillers like “Um” or “I mean” or “Sort of”), or overusing a word like “literally” or “fantastic.” And, of course – no profanity.  -Are you conveying your message concisely – with an appropriate amount of detail but not too much? Are you staying on point? -Are you using examples or analogies as appropriate to illustrate your points?  3.    If your challenge is speaking up in meetings, this may be a confidence issue, a communication issue – or both.  Either way, set a goal to make at least one significant comment in your next meeting. If possible, ask someone you trust who will be in that meeting to give you feedback afterward.  As you get comfortable with making one comment, set your bar higher. Eventually, ask about running a meeting.   4.    If your challenge is presentations, this can either be an issue with public speaking, organizing and conveying information – or both.  This is an excellent one for a speaking coach; Toastmasters is another excellent option. Practice is the key here.  -Seek out low-risk opportunities to speak in public, whether at your work, in a volunteer organization, or some other opportunity. Gradually build up to higher-risk opportunities, as there will also be a higher reward possibility.  -Use appropriate visuals. We’ve all been subjected to PowerPoint presentations that are so small we can’t read the content – or 46 slides in one presentation. Make sure your visuals support your presentation – not hijack it.  -Get feedback on the “compellingness” of your presentation – are you moving people if that is the purpose of the presentation? Are you making factual information interesting? Are you using humor if appropriate?  -Know your audience. What is their current level of understanding of the information? What references will they relate to? What else do you know about them that will help you customize your presentation?  -Look the part. One of the best pieces of advice I ever received from a professor was this: “How you dress lets the audience know what you think of them.” Of course, you want to factor in the environment and other considerations, but in general – dress in a way that shows your audience you respect them and value their time.  -If you find it challenging to answer audience questions, either because you are afraid you won’t have an answer or because you aren’t great with spontaneity, watch YouTube videos of this portion of people’s presentations. Go to live presentations – evaluate how other people are handling this portion and learn from their successes and mistakes.  So let’s circle back around to the title of this episode: Improving Verbal Communication Skills to Enhance Promotability. As I said at the outset, a piece of this is to let your boss know of your interest in being promoted. Also, let him or her know that you are working to improve your communication skills – and what, specifically, you are doing to achieve that goal.  Ask your boss for what you need – Is it feedback? Is it suggestions on how to improve? Is it opportunities to use the skills you are working on?  The final word here: Practice. Practice. Practice. Set SMART goals, plan your steps to achieve those goals, and evaluate your progress at appropriate intervals.   If you are a high-achieving professional with the goal of landing in the C-suite, the Highly Promotable coaching program may be just the ticket! This 1:1 program is targeted to strategically leverage one of your strengths to become a signature strength — and move the needle on one of your developmental areas so it becomes a strength.  This is a four-figure investment in your professional future! If this sounds like just what you need, schedule a complimentary introductory call to determine if you are a fit for Highly Promotable:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call  
1/31/202433 minutes, 31 seconds
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304: The Most Important Leadership Qualities - and Derailers to Avoid

Today’s topic is the most important leadership qualities employers are looking for – and derailers to avoid. As you can imagine, every source I reviewed for this episode had a slightly different list and number of qualities, so I’ve attempted to synthesize a few sources into my list of leadership qualities for leading an organization, leading others, and leading yourself. I’ve also given you a major leadership derailer.   Leadership Skills for Leading the Organization: My ask for this section is for you to identify one leadership skill you would like to work on for the next 90 days and create a measurable goal. Create some specific action steps and calendar them in; also set aside time at the end of the 90 days to evaluate your progress. You can choose one from any of the three categories – leading the organization, leading others, or leading yourself.  1.    Decision-Making Skills & DecisivenessLeaders make informed decisions quickly – no waffling or second-guessing allowed. They are able to see the potential outcomes of various options to make the best decision in that circumstance.  2.    AdaptabilityStrong leaders are able to navigate through uncertainty in today’s rapidly changing business world. This is the flip side of decisiveness – the ability to recognize when circumstances require a mid-course correction…or when a decision made wasn’t the right one.  3.    Integrity and EthicsWe can argue that there are plenty of employers in the news every week that seem to be operating with a lack of integrity and ethics – however, I don’t think those are the companies any of you want to work for. Rather, excellent employers value leaders who are honest, loyal, have integrity, and operate in an ethical manner – all of which fosters the trust so important in business. 4.    Strategic ThinkingGreat leaders don’t spend the majority of their time putting out fires; rather, they are playing a key role in setting and communicating the organization’s mission, vision, and goals. They also have the ability to formulate and execute a strategic plan to achieve those goals.  5.    Problem-Solving SkillsSuccess in organizations requires the ability to identify and solve complex problems within a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. Effective leaders are able to foster this culture and address potential or actual problems.  6.    Change ManagementEffective leaders are able to facilitate organizational change initiatives and overcome resistance to change.   Leadership Skills for Leading Others:  1.    Communication SkillsIt should come as no surprise that effective written and verbal communication is essential for leaders to convey their ideas clearly, inspire their teams, and foster collaboration. Further, a lack of strong communication skills can be seen as unprofessional – causing people to question the leader’s abilities in other areas.  2.    EmpathyIt is important for a leader to be able to relate to the emotions and perspectives of others to foster a positive work environment. Showing genuine concern and compassion for those you lead is critical in building employee morale and engagement.  3.    Motivational & Team-Building SkillsThe ability to inspire and motivate a team is critical for successful leaders. Serving as a coach and mentor not only builds the team, it builds the relationship with each employee.  Strong leaders can recognize and leverage the individual strengths of their team members, as well as foster collaboration rather than unhealthy competition.  4.    AccountabilityExceptional leaders take responsibility for their actions and hold themselves and others accountable. Part of accountability is dealing with problem employees in a decisive and fair manner; one of the biggest missteps many leaders make is showing favoritism to certain employees or having blinders on.  5.    Open-MindednessTo promote innovation and inclusivity with a team, leaders must be open to new ideas and diverse perspectives. They listen.  6.    Building Collaborative RelationshipsEffective leaders build productive working relationships with coworkers and external parties. 7.    Respect for DifferencesLeaders value people with different backgrounds, cultures, and demographics. They truly understand the value of diversity in its many forms – and foster an inclusive workplace.  Leadership Skills for Leading Yourself:  1.    ResilienceLeaders should be able to bounce back from setbacks, maintain a positive outlook, and demonstrate self-control in the face of difficulties.  2.    Time ManagementEffective leaders prioritize tasks and manage their time efficiently to meet deadlines and achieve objectives. They spend the majority of their time in Stephen Covey’s Quadrant Two: Important, But Not Urgent activities.  3.    Self-AwarenessStrong leaders are fully aware of their strengths and weaknesses. They know how to leverage their strengths and they have a plan for mitigating their weaknesses. Further, they have a personal mindset of continuous improvement.  4.    Taking InitiativeExceptional leaders look at problems as opportunities to be capitalized on, and they do so quickly.  5.    Work-Life BalanceStrong leaders recognize the importance of having a personal life, rest, and rejuvenation. They also see the value in modeling a work-life balance for their team.  6.    Career ManagementLeaders are lifelong learners, they have coaches and mentors, and develop professional relationships that are open and honest. They keep their skills and credentials current and are actively engaged in acquiring new knowledge.   Here is a major derailer to being an effective leader (besides the obvious opposites of each item above): Failure to Meet Business ObjectivesThis one is loaded because there are so many potential reasons. If you earn a reputation as someone not to be trusted to follow through on commitments or does not effectively complete work, your tenure with that organization will be short-lived. The problem with this one is it is pretty black and white and can give the organization a concrete reason to fire you.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
1/24/202424 minutes, 48 seconds
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303: Frustrations Facing Job Candidates - How to Overcome

Greetings, Career-Minded Superstars! Welcome to The Exclusive Career Coach podcast. I’m Lesa Edwards, Certified Executive and Leadership Development Coach, Certified Job Search Strategist, and Master Resume Writer.  If you would like to learn more about my practice, check out my website at exclusivecareercoaching.com. While you’re there, be sure to look at the Free Resources page – I have lots of great stuff there for you to take advantage of.  So far this month, I’ve talked about what you need to know if you are going to be conducting a job search this year – and what the job market currently looks like. I’ve discussed what is going on with remote work, the importance of personal branding, LinkedIn, tailoring your marketing materials for each position you apply for, and the role technology is playing in the interview process. I also dug deep into what is currently happening with the U.S. workforce – and what is expected to occur over the next few years around worker supply and demand, the aging workforce, and wage growth.  Today, I want to talk about the obstacles you may face if you are planning to job search this year. I’ve teased out six things you’ll want to take into consideration as you look for your next great role.  1.    A lack of personalization in the hiring process. Over and over, I hear my clients’ frustration about how technology has removed the personal touch throughout the hiring process. From initial interviews conducted using AI tools to Applicant Tracking Systems to an inability to reach a human at the hiring company, candidates are FRUSTRATED.  My solution for this shouldn’t surprise you if you’ve listened to my podcast before: Networking. Specifically, my +1 approach, where you do one more thing in addition to just applying online like everyone else. I’ve talked about both of these in depth in multiple other episodes, so I won’t dwell here. Here are a couple of other tools to help with this lack of personalization: Expect that it will likely be impersonal – in other words, manage your expectations. Also, exhibit as much patience as you can possibly muster in navigating the various platforms you’ll be interacting with.   2.    Companies that want you to jump through hoops like a circus animal.  From projects that take hours of your time to multiple interviews (I had one client who was subjected to 10 interviews before they went with their internal candidate) to cumbersome application requirements, some companies just don’t understand that their efforts to find the perfect candidate is often resulting in the perfect candidate running in the opposite direction.  My advice: Decide whether you’re in or you’re out. If you’re in, be willing to do whatever is asked of you, with a positive attitude (they will smell your resistance). To be fully in, it’s so important that you really want that job with that company – and you fully believe you have the qualifications, professional qualities, and culture fit to be a great hire.  Just don’t apply if you aren’t really excited about the job and at least 75% qualified. Save your energy for the ones you are truly in on.   3.    Being ghosted.  I was fascinated to sit at a round table discussion with HR folks recently, who to a person complained about how candidates were ghosting them. When I spoke up about my clients’ frustration about how employers were ghosting them, they were shocked. I’m sure you aren’t surprised, though – you may well have faced this very thing. Whether from an in-house recruiter or third-party recruiter, it’s particularly difficult to understand this when the recruiter reaches out to you unsolicited.  There are myriad reasons this may be happening, but what I want to point out here is this: Don’t make it mean anything about you. You get to decide what to think about this sudden radio silence – please don’t think it’s because you aren’t qualified or they didn’t like you.  I like to think of it this way: I was spared from working with a company that doesn’t have its act together and/or doesn’t recognize my genius. Something better is on its way to me.   4.     Companies that take you all the way through the hiring process, only to tell you there’s been a hiring freeze, a change in priorities, or “we found a better candidate.” It’s always more difficult when you’ve invested a considerable amount of time and emotional energy in a lengthy process. I spoke with a prospective client just yesterday who had been told an offer was on its way, only to meet with the HR representative and be told there was a hiring freeze.  My solution for this situation is to stay in touch – most likely through LinkedIn. That hiring freeze will lift, they will figure out what direction they want to go in, and they will have other hiring needs (or figure out their first choice wasn’t the right choice).  Calendar in a cadence of regular, infrequent communication with your contact, and look for ways to add value to them with things like acknowledgement of accolades the company has received or important industry information.   5.    Your competition may be miles away.  Especially with remote jobs, your competition has increased exponentially as candidates from around the globe can do the work from home.  This is where personal branding, an achievement-focused resume, and strong interviewing skills become even more important. Whether you are their back-door or across-the-globe candidate, you MUST show them that you are the best fit for the role and the company culture. And yes, culture DOES matter, even with remote jobs.  Know yourself, know the company, and be able to articulate how the two fit together perfectly.   6.    Employers that immediately want to know your salary requirements.  Some states have adopted wage disclosure laws so companies have to post salary ranges with their job descriptions. As of this podcast, 13 states have pay transparency laws, although the specifics of those laws vary greatly.  My philosophy on this used to be deflect, deflect, deflect…be vague – after all, how can you tell them what you want before you truly understand the job requirements and how you are the perfect fit? Now, however, I am encouraging candidates who are asked to give the salary range they are looking for, based on research into the industry, job function, geographic region – as well as the candidate’s qualifications and experience.  The reason employers are asking is because they don’t want to waste their time with someone whose salary expectations are not in alignment with what they are able to offer.  My final word to you today is this: You don’t have to do this alone. If you would like to schedule a complimentary consult to discuss how I can support you in landing your dream job despite the challenges of today’s job market and hiring practices, here’s the link to my calendar: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 Take care, and I’ll see you next week! 
1/17/202424 minutes, 33 seconds
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302: Job Market Prognosis for 2024

There is a lot of confusion about the current job market – perhaps the most I’ve ever heard of outside of the 2008 recession. I wanted to bring you some facts today – as well as a translation of those facts into action steps you can take to increase your chances of success.  Here’s a quote from Nick Bunker, Indeed Hiring Lab Director of Economic Research for North America:  “Outside of some risks – the ones we know about and the ones we don’t – things look pretty good so far. There’s lots of indications that the probability of the economy pulling off a ‘soft landing’ has gone up.” Here are five economic trends that will shape the job market for 2024: 1.    Ongoing worker demandSimply put, high employer demand for workers will need to continue. However, the labor market outlook for 2024 not only hinges on whether employer demand for workers continues to fall, as it has in recent years, or not – and on how employers reduce their demand.  There could be a round of widespread layoffs as employers look to shed workers. If, on the other hand, employers hoard labor as many think will happen, job postings and openings could fall without unemployment rates rising.  In other words, if you’re in you’re in – but if you’re out, you’ll find it difficult to get in.  Why would employers hoard labor, even if their financial results don’t support it? Because of the difficulty they faced just a few years ago when trying to ramp back up after Covid’s effect on the labor market. They don’t want to be in line to hire from a scant supply of workers, nor do they want to lose productivity as they train and ramp up a new workforce.  What this means for you: Keeping your skills and credentials current is extremely important – we are past the labor market of a few years ago where a pulse was just about all you needed for some jobs. Make it difficult for your employer to let you go.  2.    An influx of younger workers. More prime-age workers (defined as 25-54) need to enter the workforce to counteract the long-term drag of an aging population.  As many older workers opt for retirement or reduced working hours/responsibilities, coupled with a flat rate of immigration, the number of prime-age workers in the U.S. will continue to decrease.  This drop-off may not happen in 2024, but it is inevitable that it WILL happen. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, we reached the highest percentage of labor force participation in 2018, with a steady decline expected through 2030.  The labor force participation rate is the percentage of the population that is either working or actively looking for work. I did some math on this: The current population of the U.S. is about 332 million. Currently, about 62.5% of those people are in the labor force – or want to be; that equals about 207 million.  Come 2030, the expected population of the U.S. will be about 360 million. With an expected labor force participation rate of 62%, that equals about 223 million.  At the risk of geeking out on you, that means we currently have about 125 million people NOT in the work force and not wanting to be. In six years, we are expected to have 137 million people NOT in the work force and not wanting to be.  12 million more people NOT filling jobs.  What this means for you: I want to approach this from a different angle. What these statistics tell me is that the need for new entrants into the workforce to hold jobs that supply services and products to older Americans is only going to continue to grow. I would NEVER tell someone to enter a career field they were not passionate about – but how could you point your skills, values, and passions in the direction of a career path that has higher than average job security, such as serving older Americans?   3.    A steady quitting rate. Employees quit at an unprecedented rate in 2021 and 2022; we need to maintain a steady quit rate. Here’s what the quit rate indicates: Employees’ confidence in either finding another job or pursuing other meaningful work, such as self-employment. Higher quit rates often equate to increases in salary and benefits – as well as more work flexibility, such as remote work.  Of course, within a fairly robust economy where employees have options, a quit rate can also be the equivalent of “I’m mad as hell and I’m not taking it anymore.”  I also saw a lot of employees quit during the pandemic because the economic, political, and public health conditions created a perfect storm for people to reevaluate their career path – and, in many cases, take a career pivot or career reinvention.  Many employers, especially in such sectors as hospitality and leisure, are putting incredible emphasis on talent attraction and retention measures.  What this means for you: Do your homework before quitting without another job lined up. In some sectors, you may be hired quickly; in others, you may find yourself unemployed for several months.  If you believe you are on the wrong career path, invest in working with a career coach like me – it’s well worth the money. If you are attracted to entrepreneurialism, try it on while you are still employed – you may decide you love it, but only as a side gig.   4.    Declining wage growth.This may sound like bad news. Nominal wage growth will need to continue or decrease by a little, but not too much. For workers to maintain and increase purchasing power, wage growth cannot fall below the rate of inflation.  As a result of the intersection of the three trends above — a decrease in employer demand, an increase in labor supply and depressed levels of quitting — wage growth is expected to return to the 3.5% to 4% range early next year. This is a “healthy and sustainable rate seen before the pandemic” and a marked cooldown from the January 2022 peak of 9.3%, per data from the Indeed Wage Tracker.  What this means for you: Don’t get greedy with your salary expectations if you are in the job market – especially if you changed jobs during the peak wage increases of a few years ago. Do your homework, using the U.S. Department of Labor’s statistics and other sources to determine a reasonable expectation for your compensation package.   5.    AI adoption. AI tools are expected to boost productivity growth and fundamentally change the labor market in the near future. It is expected that demand will increase for jobs related to creating AI-based tools, as well as for jobs that use them. We will likely see a considerable upsurge in job postings that mention generative artificial intelligence (GenAI). What this means for you: No matter what kind of work you do, you will be well served to learn AI tools – especially as they relate to your career field and industry. There is no shortage of courses out there – or you can teach yourself, as I have.  As for WHAT jobs will be in demand in 2024, I really don’t want to go down that road because I want your career choice to be based on your skills, values, and passions, rather than where the jobs are. Having said, that, there IS value in knowing what sectors are hiring within your chosen career path – and what emerging skills or competencies employers in those sectors are looking for. This question obviously opens up a world of possibilities, so I encourage you to do your research on what’s happening in your career field, where the hiring is occurring, and any niche specifics on how to make yourself more marketable. The final piece of advice I want to give you is how to prepare for any of the possibilities I’ve talked about in this episode. I won’t go into detail here, because these are things I’ve taught you about in other episodes – in many cases, ad nauseum. And, of course, if you need help with any of these things (and trust me, you do), reach out and let’s talk.-Make sure your skills and credentials are current and marketable; begin acquiring any new ones that will increase your marketability and/or promotability-Update your resume-Freshen up your LinkedIn profile-Create a plan to energize (or in some cases, begin) your networking efforts that is intentional and strategic-Have a conversation with your boss, if appropriate, about how to make yourself more indispensable in your current role – what new project or duty can you take on to expand your skill set?-Practice your interviewing skills – preferably with a professionalAnd finally – spend some time really thinking about where you want your career to go next. Make sure you are being proactive with your career, not just reacting to the job market or other external forces. If you can invest in yourself to work with a career coach for this, I promise it will yield tremendous ROI for your career.  If you are a high-achieving professional with the goal of landing in the C-suite, the Highly Promotable coaching program may be just the ticket! This 1:1 program is targeted to strategically leverage one of your strengths to become a signature strength — and move the needle on one of your developmental areas so it becomes a strength.  This is a four-figure investment in your professional future! If this sounds like just what you need, schedule a complimentary introductory call to determine if you are a fit for Highly Promotable:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call  
1/10/202431 minutes, 15 seconds
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301: Planning to Job Search This Year? Here's What You Need to Know

If you are planning to job search this year, there are some important things to know – especially if you haven’t been in the job market for a while. I want to focus on 5 things I think are important for you to understand about the current job market and hiring process.  Of course, the job market can vary widely depending on your field and industry; the hiring process can vary as well. Having said that, I tried to focus on some virtually universal truths.  1.    Remote Work TrendsThe availability of remote and/or hybrid work arrangements varies widely by field and industry, but what I want to talk about here is the WAY jobs are being posted.  Prior to Covid, you might find a few jobs that indicated “remote” or “hybrid,” but the absence of this language meant you could expect the job to be in person.  Post-Covid, companies are much more explicit in the type of job they are offering. They typically lay out the parameters of a job they list as “hybrid.” “Remote” jobs may have a geographic location they want you to live in, even though you don’t have to go to the office.  Another aspect of remote work is the proliferation of sites specifically targeted to remote work. In addition to mainstream sites that you can search on using the filter “remote” or “virtual,” here are a few specifically for remote work: Growmotely  We Work Remotely  FlexJobs  Remote.cohttps://ratracerebellion.com/https://www.wahjobqueen.com/ One thing I want to caution you about is the possibility of a company deciding to change the location requirement AFTER you’ve been hired. It’s a good idea to ask about the possibility that a remote or hybrid job might be redesignated as in-person in the future.  They probably won’t tell you straight out – they may not even know – but look for evasiveness. I’ve had clients who had to look for a new position for this reason.   2.    Personal Branding Especially if you haven’t been in the job market for a while, you will probably be surprised at the importance of personal branding.  Here’s the way this works: Think of your favorite coffee shop or retailer…whatever you frequent. What do they stand for? Why do you go there and not somewhere else? What do they offer you that no one else can?  Prospective employers want to know the same thing about you: What you stand for, why they should hire you and not someone else, what you can do for them that no one else can.  You want an employer to have an immediate, visceral reaction to your resume – they either immediately know you aren’t the right candidate for them, or they immediately want to pick up the phone and schedule an interview with you.  Without that reaction, you languish in the “maybe” pile, sure to be eliminated somewhere along the way – or offered a below-market salary.  Back to product branding. You can buy no-name athletic shoes at Walmart, or you can buy Nikes. You’ll pay significantly more for the Nikes – and you want an employer to pay significantly more to get YOU.  Without personal branding, you are like a generic product – an alternative for an employer who doesn’t want to pay as much.  I spend an entire hour with my resume clients to tease out their personal brand, which is not only helpful for their resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile but also as they network their way to their next great job.   3.    Tailor, Tailor TailorOne of the biggest missteps I see job applicants making is submitting umpteen applications every day, yet not taking the time to customize their resume and cover letter for each position.  Focus on quality over quantity – otherwise, you’ll wear yourself out AND you’re setting yourself up for failure.  I talked about the specifics of how to tailor your resume and cover letter in episode 287: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-09-06-287-how-to-tailor-your-resume-and-other-materials-for-a-specific-position Here’s the bottom line: Your resume needs to include the skills, competencies, and qualifications listed in the job description – to the degree you possess those things. Otherwise, your resume won’t score high enough in the ATS to make it through to the human at the other end.   4.    LinkedIn Isn’t OptionalI’ve done so many episodes on LinkedIn – you can find all of them by going to my website at www.exclusivecareercoaching.com and clicking on the Podcast tab. There, you’ll see a tile for LinkedIn with all the episodes I’ve done on that topic.  Here’s the part many people don’t think about – having a strong LI profile isn’t just for YOUR networking efforts, but also for OTHERS to find you. Specifically, recruiters and others with job opportunities.  What I see over and over with people I consult with is their LinkedIn profile is missing critical information to make it easier for recruiters to find them. Having a complete Skills section, a Headline that includes your target job title, and achievements in your Experience section are just some of the areas many people under-leverage.  It's no longer enough just to HAVE a LI profile, you now need to have a robust LI profile coupled with an active presence through networking, engaging with others’ content, posting your content, and sharing others’ content.    5.    Expect Technology in the Interview Process. Increasingly, companies are using AI to conduct initial interviews. Many companies are only bringing the final 2-3 candidates to their campus – especially if the job is remote.  I talked about how employers are using AI in the job interview process and how you can prepare in episode #281:http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-07-26-281-how-employers-are-using-ai-in-job-interviews-and-how-to-prepare-for-an-ai-interview The bottom line here is two-fold: 1) Be prepared for remote interviews – make sure you have adequate technology and that your background is not distracting or off-brand; 2) Remote interviews DO NOT mean you can relax your appearance or preparation.   If you are a high-achieving professional with the goal of landing in the C-suite, the Highly Promotable coaching program may be just the ticket! This 1:1 program is targeted to strategically leverage one of your strengths to become a signature strength — and move the needle on one of your developmental areas so it becomes a strength.  This is a mid-four-figure investment in your professional future! If this sounds like just what you need, schedule a complimentary introductory call to determine if you are a fit for Highly Promotable:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call
1/3/202420 minutes, 36 seconds
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300: 300 Episodes - Academy Awards for My Best Advice

I can’t believe this is episode #300! My first podcast was published on October 25th, 2017. Shortly after that, I put out four additional episodes utilizing some material I had already created. I had no idea where I was going to go with the podcast after those initial episodes – I only knew that I really, really wanted to podcast and believed it was the best way for me to get my brilliance out into the world.  There has been an evolution of The Exclusive Career Coach, to be sure…As the focus of my practice evolved, so did the audience I spoke to via the podcast. Earlier episodes were heavy on content for recent college graduates; there were also episodes for wanna-be entrepreneurs. I went from no guests to having about 25% of my episodes be with guests, before settling on about 10% guest episodes.  I used to “bracket” episodes with themes…spending three or four weeks in a row breaking down a larger topic like interviewing or career decision-making.  I will admit that finding new content for the podcast has become increasingly difficult. ChatGPT has been extremely helpful in guiding me towards the topics people are searching the internet for. I also rely heavily on the “zeitgeist” – what my clients are asking me about and what I’m seeing talked about on social media and in online groups I am a member of.  Now for the meat of episode #300 – My Best Career Advice. I’m going to reference specific episodes and have included the links to those episodes in the show notes. I’ve awarded winners in each of the categories of podcasts I release, Academy Award style.  Winner of My Best Advice for Career Decision-Making: #119 – Are You Squarely in the Center of Your Passion? This episode resonates deeply with me, as I talk about how so many people leave who they really are at home when they go to work. As a result, work is unfulfilling and mind-dulling. https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2020-03-18-119-are-you-squarely-in-the-center-of-your-passion I give three case studies of people I have worked with who were squarely in the center of their passion, and why.  Two books I recommend in this episode are Tim Kelley’s “True Purpose” and Po Bronson’s “What Should I Do with My Life?” Great episode for those of you who are questioning whether you have lost your way, career-wise…or just want reassurance that you haven’t.  Winner of Best Advice for Managing Your Career: #219 - Ten Symptoms of Job Burnout – and What to Do About Them http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-03-25-219-ten-symptoms-of-job-burnout-and-what-to-do-about-them This episode was published on March 23rd, 2022 as the world emerged from Covid. Although this episode wasn’t specifically about Covid-related burnout – I brought on guests to talk about that topic – it was about how to specifically recognize that what you are experiencing at work is burnout.  For each of the Ten Symptoms, I provide a question to ask yourself and what to do about that symptom. Hint: While some of the Ten Symptoms suggest that you may need to look elsewhere, only two of the Symptoms outright require moving on.  Great episode for those of you who aren’t feeling it at work, but don’t know why. Or you suspect what the problem is, but don’t know what to do about it.   Winner of Best Advice for Making a Career Transition:I actually have three episodes for this category – all related to career pivots and career reinventions. #121 – Career Pivots and Reinventionhttps://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2020-04-01-121-career-pivots-and-reinvention #133 – Is Now the Perfect Time to Reinvent Your Career? https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2020-06-24-133-is-now-the-perfect-time-to-reinvent-your-career #280 – What You MUST Do in Your Job Search if You Are Pivoting Careershttp://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-07-19-280-what-you-must-do-in-your-job-search-if-you-are-pivoting-careers In these episodes, I define career pivots and career reinventions, give strategies for successfully navigating a career pivot or career reinvention, talk about the pros and cons of a career reinvention, and give strategies for job searching when you have decided to pivot or reinvent your career.  Great episodes for those of you who are considering a career pivot or career reinvention – or those of you who are dissatisfied with your current career path and want to explore alternatives.   Winner of Best Advice for Dress & Etiquette:I haven’t done many episodes in this category, and some of them are with guests, which I’m leaving for a separate category.  #291 – What Should I Wear to a Job Interview? http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-10-04-291-what-should-i-wear-to-a-job-interview In this episode, I address the questions I’m getting about how to dress for job interviews in a post-Covid world. I cover WHY dress still matters, how to determine what is appropriate dress for the company culture, and the levels of business casual.  Great episode for those of you with a job interview coming up, whether in person or via technology.   Winner of Best Advice for Job Interviews:Consistently, the episodes I publish about interviewing are among the most downloaded – clearly people are roaming podcasts to get ready for a job interview.  I began with episodes covering more general aspects of the job interview; since then, I’ve gotten more granular with the scope of what I cover.  I’ve selected three winners, all covering the behavioral interview: #277 - Behavioral Interview Questions Don’t Come Out of Thin Air – How to Know What You’re Going to Be Asked http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-06-14-277-behavioral-interview-questions-dont-come-out-of-thin-air-how-to-know-what-youre-going-to-be-asked #262 – The Behavioral Interview: Your Five-Step Process for Delivering Job-Winning Answershttp://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-02-22-262-the-behavioral-interview-your-5-step-process-for-delivering-job-winning-answers #150 - Putting a Bow on Your Behavioral Interview Answers http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-02-22-262-the-behavioral-interview-your-5-step-process-for-delivering-job-winning-answers I cover what a behavioral interview question is, how to prepare for these types of questions, and how to wrap up your answers with one of two approaches that garner you what I like to think of as “bonus points.”  Great for those of you who have job interviews coming up!   Winner of Best Advice for Job Search:This is a HUGE category! I could have gone in a lot of different directions with the winner, but I chose a foundational concept that benefits EVERYONE looking for a new job.  #258 - How to Organize Your Job Search Time to Optimize Your Results http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-01-25-258-how-to-organize-your-job-search-time-to-optimize-your-results I provide five strategies for structuring your job search time to yield the best possible results.  Great for those of you who find your job search time gets hijacked by other things – and those of you who find your job search time isn’t being used wisely.   Winner of Best Advice for Life Coaching:To be clear, I am a Certified Executive & Leadership Development Coach, not a life coach. However, life coaching is an unregulated industry, and I am a student of life coaching.  It’s incredibly important for me to talk about your mindset when we talk about most of these other topics, but your thoughts WILL generate the results you get.  These five episodes each cover an aspect of the thought model taught by one of my early coaches, Brooke Castillo. In a nutshell: A Circumstance is a situation in your life that can be proven in a court of lawYou then have a Thought – positive, negative, or neutral – about that CircumstanceThat Thought generates a Feeling for youThat Feeling generates an Action, Inaction, or Reaction, whichLeads to your Result #38 - The Neutrality of Circumstanceshttps://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2018-12-19-038-the-neutrality-of-circumstances #39 - Your Thoughts Determine EVERYTHINGhttps://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2018-12-19-039-your-thoughts-determine-everything #40 - How Do You Want to Feel?https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2018-12-19-040-how-do-you-want-to-feel/ #41 – Taking the Proper Action Stepshttps://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2018-12-19-041-taking-the-proper-action-steps #42 - You ARE Getting Results…Are They the Results You Want? https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2018-12-19-042-you-are-getting-results-they-the-results-you-want/ Great for those of you who want an easy-to-understand framework for looking at the results you are getting in your life…and why.   Winner of Best Advice for Leadership:Several of the episodes about Leadership include guests, but here’s a great foundational one with 10 points you must know to be a successful leader.  One I think is often overlooked is #7 – ask for advice on your leadership. Many new leaders – and seasoned ones as well – are either afraid to ask or don’t think they need to. Be open to feedback from your direct reports and you’ll become an even better leader. #223 – Leadership 101: What You MUST Know to Be a Successful Leaderhttp://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-04-20-223-leadership-101-what-you-must-know-to-be-a-successful-leader Great for those of you entering into your first leadership role, or those of you who could benefit from a refresher.   Winner of Best Advice for LinkedIn: This is another huge category. Because technology is involved, some of my earlier podcasts on LinkedIn contact outdated information.  I chose this episode because this is a concept I teach a lot of my clients – how to leverage the people their connections are connected to.  #244 – Mining Your Connections’ Connections on LinkedInhttp://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-09-28-244-mining-your-connections-connections-on-linkedin Great way to expand your LinkedIn network strategically and easily.   Winner of Best Advice for Networking: Of all the networking-related episodes I’ve put out, I’ve gotten the most feedback on this one. I think that’s because Introverts resonated with the topic – and many Extraverts did, too.  One of my goals in my practice is to help my clients become successful networkers – getting past their fears, learning how to network effectively, and how to give as much value as they get in the networking process.  #295: Help! I’m an Introvert and I Hate Networkinghttp://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-11-01-295-help-im-an-introvert-and-i-hate-networking Great for everyone who is less than excited about networking.   Winner of Best Advice for Professional Development:I did this episode in the later days of Covid, when so many were working remotely and others had gone back into the office. I was getting a lot of questions about how to make sure your work was noticed when you didn’t have direct face time with your boss. #221 – How to Get Noticed and Promoted While Working Remotely http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-04-06-221-how-to-get-noticed-promoted-while-working-remotely Great for those of you who still work remotely, and those of you who supervise remote workers.   Winner of Best Advice for Resume Writing:It may surprise you that, as one of fewer than 25 Master Resume Writers in the world, I don’t love talking about resume writing.  I love WRITING resumes. Having said that, I have put out great content covering all aspects of the resume. The episode I chose goes into some detail on how to customize your resume for each position you apply for. Everyone tells you you SHOULD do that – but I wanted to tell you exactly HOW.  #287 – How to Tailor Your Resume and Other Materials For a Specific Positionhttp://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-09-06-287-how-to-tailor-your-resume-and-other-materials-for-a-specific-position Great for those of you in a job search.   Winner of Best Advice for Salary Negotiations:I’ve only done a handful of episodes on this topic; the episode I chose provides you some foundational teaching I do with my clients who want coaching on salary negotiations.  #149 – Salary Negotiations: 3 Important Numbershttps://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2020-10-14-149-salary-negotiations-3-important-numbers/ Great for those of you who are in a job search.   Winner of Best Advice for Work Issues:This category covers a lot of ground and it was difficult to pick a favorite. The one I chose is one I frequently send a link to for clients and those I consult with.  #169 – Questions to Ask Your Manager to Improve Your Relationshiphttps://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-03-17-169-questions-to-ask-your-manager-to-improve-your-relationship/ This is another one I frequently send links to out to folks:#171 – How to Have a Successful 1:1 With Your Bosshttps://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-03-31-171-how-to-have-a-successful-11-with-your-boss Great for those of you who not only want to improve your working relationship with your boss, but also those of you who want to maximize the effectiveness and frequency of your 1:1 with your boss.   And finally, Winner of Best Guest:As I tell you every time I have a guest on the podcast – I don’t often HAVE guests on the podcast. Think of this as a Venn diagram: I want a guest who overlaps the areas of expertise I have (in other words, not someone talking about something completely off-target for my audience), BUT who doesn’t completely overlap my area of expertise (I’ve already got those areas covered, thank you very much).  I want to give out two awards here; the first is for the episode I most frequently direct people to listen to: #154 – Five Ways Mind Drama Can Creep Into Your Job Searchhttps://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2020-11-18-154-5-ways-mind-drama-can-creep-into-your-job-search-with-jane-springer Jane Springer was my guest on the episode – BTW, she earns a side award for being my most frequent guest. Mind drama is a HUGE issue in the job search…and completely avoidable. In this episode, we talk about the 5 ways mind drama can show up when you’re looking for a job – and what to do about each.  My second award goes to the person who most affected me personally; this episode rocked my work in more ways than one. #247 – Are You Ready for a Career Break? http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-10-19-247-are-you-ready-for-a-career-break-with-katrina-mcghee Katrina McGhee talks about her own experience with taking an extended, planful career break – and how you can do the same. P.S. – She recently published her book: Career Break For Dummies” – check it out!  Great for those of you who have a life goal you’d like to achieve that requires a concentrated amount of time away from work – and those of you who have a deep need for rest and regeneration.   So, happy 300th episode! To those of you who listen faithfully each week, I so appreciate your dedication to enhancing your career – and that you trust me for that help. For those of you who pop in and out based on the topic each week – I greatly appreciate you too! You know what you need, and you trust me to give it to you. I’m here for all!  Here's also to another who-knows-how-many episodes. As long as I continue to love delivering them to you and you are listening – and the world hasn’t moved on from podcasts to some other platform – I’ll be here.   If you are a high-achieving professional with the goal of landing in the C-suite, the Highly Promotable coaching program may be just the ticket! This 1:1 program is targeted to strategically leverage one of your strengths to become a signature strength — and move the needle on one of your developmental areas so it becomes a strength.  This is a four-figure investment in your professional future! If this sounds like just what you need, schedule a complimentary introductory call to determine if you are a fit for Highly Promotable:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call    
12/6/202325 minutes, 55 seconds
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299: People Pleasing in the Workplace: Self-Preservation or Lack of Self-Worth? (with Amy Green Smith)

As a reminder, I’ll be offering Land Your Dream Job Accelerator again in January. Here’s the link for more information and to register: https://bit.ly/lydja  As those of you who listen to the podcast regularly know, I seldom have guests on the podcast – and only when they are fantastic and will add value to you listeners.  Today’s guest, Amy Green Smith, is a perfect example of this. We’re talking about People Pleasing – something many of you are very familiar with.  Amy tells us when it is okay to people-please in the workplace – and how to know if you’re doing it for the right reasons. She gives several scenarios to help us understand people pleasing, when it’s right, and when it isn’t.  You can grab Amy’s free-sources including “How to Speak Up for Yourself Without Being a Dick: 9 Proven Strategies to Radically Improve Your Self-Confidence and Self-Worth” at Amygreensmith.com/free You can find Amy Green Smith on social media at:Instagram.com/heyamygreensmithFacebook.com/heyamygreensmithLinkedin.com/in/heyamygreensmithTwitter.com/heyamygreen Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
11/29/202340 minutes, 9 seconds
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298: Five Unusual Things to Be Thankful For - 2023 Edition

If you’ve been a faithful listener of the podcast for some time, you’ll know that I do a special episode each year during Thanksgiving week. It started out as five unusual things to be thankful for that weren’t specific to me. Somewhere along the way, they became MY five things. The hope has always been that you will look at the circumstances of your life through a different lens after listening to my list. For many of us – myself included – 2023 has been difficult, so I want to take a different approach to this year’s list. As a former coach of mine likes to say, half of life is A*S*S, and it feels like more than half of my year has been like that. If you’re in the same boat, here’s hoping this years list will help you see the good side of what you may have gone through in 2023. Here are five unusual situations at work you can be thankful for because of the growth they bring about. 1.    Getting terminated. Whether for cause, because of a large-scale layoff, or some other reason, what I see over and over again is that clients who get terminated are in a far better place six to nine months after they are terminated. What they repeatedly tell me is that they knew it was time to leave, but they didn’t have the [fill in the blank with the emotion] to make the move themselves. So the Universe stepped in and took care of it for them. In the best situations, these people take the time to evaluate what they want moving forward, do the necessary mindset work on themselves, learn from any mistakes they may have made, and march courageously into the next phase of their life. You have the choice when something like this happens to you. You can play the victim, you can argue with reality, or you can ask yourself “now what?” I highly encourage the third approach.  2.    Recognizing that your attitude sucks. I’ve talked about one of my clients before – she came to me earlier this year because she had lost her work mojo. She knew she was phoning it in yet was resentful for others getting promoted instead of her. She is in SUCH a different place today. Ironically, she DID get riffed recently, but because of the mindset work we did together, she was able to handle that termination in a completely different way than if she was still stuck in sucky attitude mode. This client had a choice: she could keep blaming her boss, her coworkers, her employer…or she could look in the mirror and deal with what she saw. She chose to do the latter, and that has made all the difference. Remember…always, in any situation…the only person you have any control over is YOURSELF. That’s the work.  3.    Being dissatisfied with your career path. Perhaps the path you’ve been on has run its course, or perhaps it’s been the wrong career path for you from jump. Either way, there’s such beauty in recognizing that you want to make a career pivot or reinvention. When I do this work with clients, they learn so much about themselves. They often bring up a long-ignored career path because it [fill in the blank with the career path’s shortcomings] and realize their passion for that thing hasn’t diminished over the years. When I work with clients to connect the dots between what they have been doing and what they now want to do, they experience a tremendous surge of confidence and assurance that they can succeed in this new field. Other clients have absolutely no idea what direction they want to go in now, so we do the excavation work to uncover the artifacts of their life that will give us clues. Still other clients want to engage their altruism more…their life experiences have soured them on their current corporate treadmill and left them longing for more meaning in their professional lives. Whatever situation you find yourself in, if you are experiencing seeds of discontent, be willing to work with a career coach like myself to figure out what’s going on…and to work through what you want to do about it.  4.    Failing.We all know this intellectually: We learn more from our failures than we do from our successes. (BTW – don’t like the word “failure.” I like to think of it as winning or learning.) But, let’s face it: failing sucks at the time. What’s great about failing, however, is the opportunity it presents us. Not just to figure out how to do the thing differently next time, but what it teaches us about ourselves. We might have to fall on our sword and admit our culpability. We might have to apologize to many people. We might have to go to great lengths to fix the problem we’ve created. We might have to deal with our inner demons, telling us WE’RE failures. WE aren’t worthy. WE’RE bad people. Each of these potential outcomes presents us with an opportunity to grow, both professionally and personally. Not to mention, we now have a great story to tell when our next interviewer asks us about a time we failed.  5.    Working with a terrible boss. The research is clear: more people leave due to a bad boss than for any other single reason. If you haven’t had a terrible boss, you’re blessed – and most definitely in the minority. Most of us can rattle off a handful of horror-story bosses. Here’s what I learned from mine: How I DON’T want to be as a boss…which helped shape how I DID want to be as a boss. I learned how to individualize the support I provided for each employee. Some needed and wanted more than others, all needed different types of support. I learned how to determine their motivators and how to reward them (hint: I asked). I learned how important it was to me to have my birthday and other life milestones recognized…so I did that for my employees. I learned how and when to give praise and constructive feedback. I learned to NEVER ambush an employee at their performance evaluation. I learned that my job as a boss was to advocate for MY team…vigorously. It wasn’t my job to care about the other departments that answered to my boss. I needed to have MY team’s back at all times and in all situations. Whether you have a bad boss, a PITA co-worker, or a direct report who you spend 80% of your time trying to make competent…LEARN from these situations and apply them to becoming a better boss.  I hope you’re able to take at least one of the things on my list to heart as you navigate the fallout from 2023 or whatever is ahead for you in 2024. Remember: Winning or Learning. I wish you the happiest of Thanksgivings to those of you here in the United States, and a retroactive Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian listeners (who, BTW, have it right for putting more space between Thanksgiving and Christmas). 
11/22/202319 minutes, 35 seconds
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297: Do's and Don'ts of Interview Etiquette

Here’s the link to January’s Land Your Dream Job Accelerator, which starts on January 11th: https://bit.ly/lydja Typically, my episodes around interviewing are the most downloaded. I’ve done more than 25 episodes on interviewing; if you want to see all of them in one place, check out my website at https://exclusivecareercoaching.com and click on the Podcast tab.  Today, we’re covering interview etiquette – what to do, and what not to do.  I want to start with some basic “do’s” – go through them quickly so we can spend time on the more nuanced aspects. I’ve talked about several of these points on previous episodes, so I’m including links to those here.  Another note: I’ve talked about how to prepare your behavioral interview stories in multiple other episodes, as well as how to answer difficult questions like “tell me about yourself” and “what is your greatest weakness?” so I won’t be covering those here.  1.    Dress appropriately.I just covered this topic in episode 291, so I’ll simply say wear professional attire that is in alignment with the company’s culture.  http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-10-04-291-what-should-i-wear-to-a-job-interview 2.    Bring your documents. In addition to multiple copies of your resume, bring any other documents the employer requested. 3.    Research the company. I teach my clients that their questions for the employer should come organically, as a result of their research of the company and the industry. Strive for questions that are unique to that company, rather than questions that would apply to any job you might apply for.  Above all, avoid asking questions that can easily be answered with a little research – it will show that you didn’t do the basic amount of research.  https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-05-05-176-how-to-really-prepare-for-the-job-interview 4.    Plan to arrive early to an in-person interview. Aim for 10-15 minutes early, but not too early as that may throw people off. If you are interviewing in an area you aren’t familiar with, try to visit the area ahead of time so you’ll know where you’re going that day.  5.    Make a good first impression.A firm handshake, eye contact, and clear enunciation of your name goes a long way. I broke down the anatomy of a proper business handshake in last week’s episode 296:  http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-11-08-296-the-importance-of-body-language-in-job-interviews 6.    Display appropriate body language. I also covered this in episode 296 – whenever your nonverbal communication is at odds with what you are saying, a trained interviewer will believe your body language.  7.    Maintain a positive attitude. Keep your energy level up and show appropriate enthusiasm for the job and the company.  8.    Three-step closing. At the close of the interview, thank the interviewer for his/her time, re-state your interest in the position (if appropriate), and ask about the next step in the hiring process.    Now, let’s dig into three points that I want to spend a bit more time on.  9.    Active listening.One of my greatest frustrations with actual interviews and the clients I coach is when they don’t listen to my question before responding. It’s okay to take a moment to think before responding – and by all means, ask for clarification if you don’t understand the question or want to make sure you are on the right track.  I often ask my clients two- or three-part questions, to see if they can keep track of my question. It’s okay if you don’t remember all the parts, as long as you remember there WERE multiple parts. Ask the interviewer to repeat the other parts of the question.  10.Follow up within 24 hours. This is usually going to be in the form of an email – speed is of the essence, although you can get creative in some situations. Here’s a good format for a thank you: Sally, Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to interview me for the Accounting Manager position at ABC. I was so impressed by your history with the company and how you’ve moved up so quickly!  I am confident my experience at NoName Accounting has prepared me well for the role, especially my unique experience working with [something they seemed to home in on during the interview]. As promised, I’ll touch base with you by Friday of next week to see how the process is coming along. I’m really excited about this opportunity!  Best, 11.Be patient. Avoid the temptation to follow up earlier than agreed upon during the interview, but do follow up. After the initial follow up, I recommend touching base between 1X/week and 2X/month, depending on the timeline the employer has stated to you.  Keep the employer posted on job offers you get from other companies during this time.   Besides the opposite of the Do’s I already talked about, here are the most important Don’ts to keep in mind:  1.    Don’t interview just for practice. When someone tells me they plan to do this, I cringe. First of all, you are wasting the employer’s time. Secondly, you aren’t going to get feedback on your interview, so all you are really doing is cementing any bad interview habits you have.  2.    Off-color language. Even if the interview uses slang or curses, YOU shouldn’t. It might be a test – and it most certainly won’t reflect positively on you.  3.    Not making sufficient eye contact. Throughout the interview, you should be making eye contact at least 75% of the time when you are talking, and nearly 100% of the time when the interviewer is speaking. A lack of eye contact signals a lack of self-confidence and/or interest in the position. 4.    Focusing on salary and/or benefits. Especially with your initial interview(s), the focus should be on the requirements of the job and your suitability for that job. While the employer may initiate a question about your salary requirements, YOU shouldn’t initiate such a conversation.  4.    Checking your phone. With the exception of an emergency – let’s say your partner is going into labor at any moment – your phone should be turned off and put away.  5.    Providing negative personal information. I teach my clients to provide personal information in small doses during their interview – as long as it is neutral or positive. Examples would include: In the process of building a home, recently adopted a dog, learning a foreign language. Negative personal information typically includes children – unfortunately, especially if you are a woman. Don’t bring up health conditions, injuries, dicey personal relationship situations, etc.  6.    Watch what you say about previous employers or experiences. The important thing here is to keep it factual, with no opinions or color. While many “experts” will tell you to never say anything negative, I teach this a little differently. You may need to state the truth as to why you are leaving a company, why you were terminated, or why a big project failed – just stick to the facts and don’t let your emotions have any place in your story.  A good example: “I’m looking to leave XYZ because there have already been three rounds of layoffs. While I’ve been spared so far, I believe it is time for me to look for my next opportunity.”  A bad example: “I’m leaving XYZ because my boss is an idiot and I cannot work another day with her.”  7.   Do NOT bring anyone with you. If someone has to drive you to your interview, they need to remain in the car or go find a coffee shop. No children, pets, or security “woobies” either.  8.    Don’t mispronounce or misspell names. I get thank you emails all the time from people who spell my name Lisa – or they pronounce my name as “Leh-sa.”  Ask, repeat it back, ask questions if necessary – whatever you need to get it right.  9.    Don’t answer questions with a simple “yes” or “no.” Provide sufficient details, with examples whenever possible.  10.Don’t try to fake it. If you don’t know the answer to a question, say so. If your knowledge of a subject they bring up is limited, let them know. This will come across as much more authentic than trying to wing it – and they will know if you try.   DIY vs. DFY DIYOnce again, my DIY recommendation for interviewing is to find a free online AI tool that will not only help you improve your responses, but point out non-verbal issues.  DFYOf course, my suggestion here is to secure the services of an interview coach like myself. Not only will you get expert feedback from a professional, you’ll leave with tools and strategies to improve your approach to difficult interview questions. Perhaps the most beneficial outcome of interview coaching is the increase in confidence you’ll experience – worth the price of admission. 
11/15/202330 minutes, 58 seconds
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296: The Importance of Body Language in Job Interviews

As a reminder, I will be holding another round of Land Your Dream Job Accelerator in January. If you’re interested or would like to know more, email me at [email protected] Body language, or nonverbal communication, can make or break your interview. No matter what is coming out of your mouth, a trained interviewer will pay attention to what you are saying with your facial expressions, arms, posture, and general demeanor. If what you are saying is at odds with your body language, a trained interviewer will believe your body language. The caveat here: Be yourself. Take the advice I give in this episode to perhaps move the needle in a few areas, but don’t try to make yourself over completely – you’ll come across as nervous and uncertain, leaving the interviewer confused. And confused people don’t buy. Here then, are 11 tips for conveying appropriate body language during a job interview: 1.    Posture.Sit or stand up straight – you’ll appear more confident and engaged. Head up, shoulders back, spine straight. Sit back in the chair – you won’t be comfortable perched on the edge of the seat – and don’t slouch or lean to one side. 2.    Eye contact. Maintain almost continuous eye contact with the interviewer when they are speaking – this shows you are actively listening and engaged in the conversation. When you are speaking, you can look away occasionally – as long as you maintain eye contact most of the time. Be careful not to stare too intently, as that can be perceived as aggressive. 3.    Smile.A warm, genuine smile can help you come across as friendly and approachable. Avoid excessive or insincere smiling as it can appear as nervousness. 4.    Handshake.You want to offer a firm, but not bone-crushing, handshake when you first meet the interviewer. Connect thumb joint to thumb joint and pump 1-2 times. Note that a weak or limp handshake can be interpreted as lacking confidence. 5.    Hand gestures.Within reason, your natural hand gestures will appear authentic, and can help emphasize your points and make you seem more animated.  6.    Mirroring.Subtly mirroring the interviewer’s body language, such as matching their verbal pace and tone, can build rapport. Be sure to do this within the range of what is normal for you. 7.    Active listening.Nod your head occasionally and use verbal cues like “I understand” and “that makes sense.” This shows you are actively listening and are engaged in the conversation. 8.    Avoid fidgeting. If you tend to play with your hair when you are nervous, consider wearing it up or in a ponytail. Don’t have a pen in your hand if you tend to click them. Calm that leg of yours that doesn’t stop jiggling when you’re nervous. 9.    Dress appropriately.Dressing well can boost your confidence and create a positive impression. Your clothing should be professional and appropriate for the industry, the job you are applying for, and the company culture. 10. Facial expressions.Your facial expressions can reveal a lot about your emotions – try to maintain a calm and composed expression. Avoid rolling your eyes or showing signs of frustration. 11.Show enthusiasm. Your body language should reflect your interest and eagerness – display genuine enthusiasm for the job and the company. DIY vs. DFYDIYMy favorite free resource for interview practice is one of the free tools on the internet. Google “free interview practice” and find one you like – there are plenty to choose from, and some of them do charge.  DFYOne of the best ways to correct any body language issues is with mock interviews – you’ll get feedback from the mock interviewer and you’ll be able to see how well you did if the session is recorded. My interview coaching package includes 2 sessions, both of which use about 20 minutes in character as interviewer and interviewee, with the remaining 40 minutes being for feedback, coaching, and training. We use the first session to determine where the client’s interviewing strengths and weaknesses lie – then I give homework for the second session. In that second session, I ask some of the same questions – particularly those that gave the client trouble in the first session – then throw in some new curveballs. I see the client’s confidence really shoot up in the second session, as they hear themselves performing better, I am giving them feedback to that effect, and they will be able to watch their improvement on the record. 
11/8/202319 minutes, 34 seconds
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295: Help! I'm an Introvert and I Hate Networking!

I wanted to let you know that I’ll be starting another 4-week Land Your Dream Job Accelerator in January, starting the week of January 4th. If you’re interested in knowing more about LYDJA, email me at [email protected]. As a master practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI), I know well the difference between introverts and extraverts. In MBTI language, introversion vs. extraversion has to do with where you get your energy. Here’s what extraversion and introversion AREN’T: Ability to navigate social situations, friendliness, or whether you like people. When it comes to networking, it’s not about introverts being socially awkward. It’s about the drain on their energy. It’s about having to initiate a conversation (they generally DON’T want to do this). It’s about small talk, which seems pointless to them. I’d like to offer the flip side of networking for introverts: The strengths you bring to networking. You tend to be much better listeners than extraverts, you prefer meaningful conversations with one person or a small group of people over chit chat with a large group, and you tend to be thoughtful before you speak. Here, then, are 13 tips for you introverts to…if not love networking, at least not hate it so much. Maybe even enjoy it a little. 1.    Work on your mindset first – and throughout. Start by filling up a piece of paper with all your thoughts about networking – I’m confident the majority of those thoughts will be negative. Next, identify one of the thoughts you wrote down that you think takes up the most space in your brain – the one you think most often. Find a better-feeling thought you could begin practicing. For example:If you have been thinking “I hate networking,” you might replace it with “Networking is hard for me…and I can do hard things.” You’ve created a neural pathway in your brain around “I hate networking” such that it is in your subconscious, playing on repeat without your awareness. It’s time to create a new neural pathway with a thought that serves you better. Maybe your next thought will be “Networking used to be hard for me…but now it isn’t.” 2.    Start with low-hanging fruit.If you’re starting to network from ground zero, it’s important to begin by reaching out to people you already know fairly well. You want to work out the kinks in your networking skills (there WILL be some) and build your confidence up before you reach for bigger networking targets. 3.    Set realistic networking goals.If you’ve never really networked before, your goal may be one, 30-minute networking coffee. If you’ve networked periodically before, you may set a goal of meeting with three people you used to work with. When attending a networking event, set a goal for how many people you want to meet – or a specific type of person, such as at least one person who works in HR. Then allow yourself permission to leave after you’ve accomplished your goal —this makes the event feel more doable. 4.    Focus on quality over quantity. Don’t compare yourself to your extraverted colleague who tells you she met 13 amazing people at the networking event she attended last night – she probably couldn’t tell you one meaningful fact about any of them. Focus on forming a deep connection with a few people – play to your strengths. 5.    Join groups of shared interests.One of the biggest mistakes I see people making with networking is too narrowly defining what networking actually is…and where it can happen. As I like to say to my clients, you can network anywhere the music isn’t too loud and the people aren’t too drunk. What do you enjoy doing? Find a group of people who also enjoy doing that thing. The people in the group have jobs…their significant others have jobs…they have friends and family members with jobs…you get the idea. 6.    Prepare in advance. Plan your talking points and questions ahead of time. 7.    Leverage online networking. By initiating and maintaining conversations online via LinkedIn and other online forums, you get to become acquainted with someone before meeting them in person. 8.    Attend small events. I don’t recommend you start here, but at some point, you’ll want to begin attending networking events. Do your homework to find out how many people will be expected, what kinds of people attend, the venue, etc. A smaller, more intimate gathering will allow you to engage in more meaningful conversations without feeling overwhelmed by a large crowd. 9.    Arrive early.Networking events may feel overwhelming if you envision yourself walking into a crowded room. Being one of the first to arrive may make it easier for you to strike up a one-on-one conversation. 10.Active listening. Focus on listening more than talking – this can take the pressure off you to come up with things to say, and others (especially the extraverts) like to be heard. 11.Ask open-ended questions. Asking questions that can’t be answered with a simple “yes” or “no” encourages others to share more information and keeps the conversation flowing. 12.Take breaks.You may need to step away for a moment to recharge if you are feeling drained. Find a quite space to regroup, and then return to the event. 13.Follow up and follow through. After a networking meeting or event, follow up with the people you met. Connect with them on LinkedIn. Provide them with any information or resources you promised them and thank them in advance for anything they promised to do for you. DIY vs. DFY DIY My DIY recommendation is to get an accountability partner for your networking! I recommend someone who is good at networking…and hopefully, actually enjoys it. You’ll want your accountability partner to help you set realistic networking goals, help you with your thoughts about networking, mentor you as you step out of your comfort zone, and hold you accountable for achieving the goals you set.  DFYI think the done-for-you option for networking is pretty obvious: Get help from a coach who specializes in networking. Here’s what you can expect: -Training on how to network including how to reach out to people, who to reach out to, how to begin communications, how to set up a networking meeting, what to say during the meeting, and how to follow up afterwards. -Mindset shift: You’ll likely need to begin thinking new thoughts about networking and your ability to network. This work is so important to make sure the networking you do is done with the proper energy. -Practice and feedback: A coach should require you to actually network. You can’t get better at networking without actually doing it. I work with many of my clients on networking – for many, it is a single session, while other clients needed more support. If you’re interested in getting coaching with me on networking, you can schedule a complimentary consult about my networking coaching here:https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
11/1/202325 minutes, 55 seconds
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294: Common Mistakes to Avoid When Seeking a Promotion

Today, I’m diving into 14 reasons why people fail to prepare themselves for a successful attempt at a promotion. For the purposes of this episode, I’m talking specifically about internal promotions – although many, if not all, of these strategies will apply if you are seeking a higher position with a new company. 1.    Signing on with a company that can’t offer you a promotion. This is an upfront mistake I saw frequently during my time in higher education – people would ask in the interview about the opportunity for promotion, and there just wasn’t any. This is not to say that you don’t want to work there – perhaps it is the right opportunity for you now, and you know you will need to look outside your organization to seek a higher-level job. Just be sure you like your reasons for joining an organization that can’t offer you a promotion. Also – does the company have a practice of promoting from within? Or is this going to be a series of frustrations, where outside people (or those from other departments) are put in more senior roles ahead of you? 2.    Not communicating your desire for a promotion.You may assume your boss knows you want a promotion, but you know what they say about “assume.” Your boss may think you are content with your current role – you want to let her know of your ambition. Be careful here – you don’t want your boss to think you want her job unless she has upward mobility, as well. 3.    Not understanding the new role. We all know of people who wanted a promotion for the additional money in their paycheck – not because they were passionate about, or really understood, the new role. Make sure you thoroughly understand the responsibilities, skills, and qualifications required for the position – and give real thought to whether this is a role you actually want to take on. 4.    Lack of skill development. My favorite strategy for this is to ASK. Find out what skills and experience will be needed, then ask your boss or the hiring manager (if the job is in another department) how you currently measure up. The goal here is to find out exactly what you need to learn and develop so your candidacy is a no-brainer. 5.    Not building a strong track record. One of the very best strategies for getting a promotion is consistently delivering exceptional results in your current role. Never think of your current job as just a steppingstone to bigger and better things. 6.    Not self-promoting. There’s a huge difference between being the braggart who takes credit for others’ work and being an effective self-promoter. It’s important to communicate your achievements and contributions effectively – including relevant ones outside of work. 7.    Ignoring company culture.Everything from your dress, grooming, punctuality, spoken and written communication, and professionalism will be taken into consideration. Make sure you align with the company’s values, mission, and culture. 8.    Not seeking feedback. Not only does constructive criticism help you make improvements that will increase your chances for promotion, but you are also showing evidence of your ability to hear those things – and make changes based on feedback. 9.    Seeking a promotion at the wrong time. Increasingly, I am seeing companies indicate a timeframe for internal candidates to apply for promotions, so take that information as gospel. In general, be mindful of the broader context, such as the company’s financial stability or changes in leadership that would directly impact the new role. 10.Not networking.Building relationships with colleagues, superiors, and mentors can provide valuable support and recommendations, which can significantly improve your chances of promotion. 11.Neglecting soft skills.Qualities like leadership, communication, teamwork, and adaptability can be deciding factors in promotions – and can often be as important as your technical skills, if not even more so. 12.Overlooking the competition. You may have competition within your organization for the same promotion. It is important to assess your peers and their qualifications so you can develop a strategy to set yourself apart. 13.Demanding rather than earning. For most of us, we begin doing the work before we get the new title or salary increase. Promotions should be earned, so demonstrate your value to the company rather than expecting a promotion just because of time in the company, educational credentials, or other qualifications. 14.Inadequate preparation for interviews.Don’t assume the interview doesn’t matter, either because it’s been hinted that you have it “in the bag” or because you assume you know what they will ask. Absolutely, the interview is viewed differently with internal candidates, but your goal is to blow them away in the interview so they can’t say no to you.  DIY vs. DFY DIYThe DIY I want to recommend here is getting a mentor. Preferably, someone in your organization who knows you and the other players – and who will be honest with you about what he sees as your areas for development. From there – consume! Read books, watch Ted Talks, listen to podcasts…whatever you can consume to help with your areas for development. Finally – practice! Try your new learning on at work and ask for feedback from people who will be honest with you – and who aren’t also trying to get the same promotion.  DFYThe most obvious assistance you could get to prepare yourself for a promotion is a career coach. If you choose to go this route, it is so important to pinpoint what kind of help you need. There are coaches who specialize in improving your communication skills, your leadership skills, your professional appearance…you name it. One you’ve identified the help you need, reach out to 2 or 3 possible coaches for a consult, sometimes called a discovery call. This will give you a sense of your connection with the coach, their methods and processes, and their package options. 
10/25/202327 minutes, 4 seconds
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293: How to Improve Your Time Management and Productivity

Today, I want to talk about how to improve your time management and productivity as a key way to increase your chances for promotion.  If you’re like many people, you may role your eyes at the term “time management.” If you’re structured and organized, you may think you’ve already mastered time management. If you are unstructured and disorganized, you may think it’s hopeless…a skill beyond your ability to master.  Here’s a definition of time management I really like: “Time management means organizing your time intelligently – so that you use it more effectively. The benefits of good time management include greater productivity, less stress, and more opportunities to do the things that matter.” Here’s a benefit to time management I want to add: It creates boundaries around the things you need to do, should do, and want to do in your life.  Think of it like this: You create a container for your work, a container for your play, a container for sleep, a container for your exercise time…you get the idea.  The alternative is working until midnight, forgoing exercise, time with friends, and time for basic hygiene. Or conversely, neglecting your work because you haven’t given it a container – and your personal life is encroaching on your work time. Yet another scenario is you, doing whichever thing you’re doing at the moment, but feeling guilty because you aren’t doing something else. Here are my top 12 strategies to improve your time management. In each instance, I’m giving you some of my tips as to how I implement that strategy. 1.    Set clear goals – both long-term and short-term. This will help you prioritize your tasks. And make sure those goals are SMART: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound. Otherwise, you won’t be able to evaluate your success.  I have a quarterly planning retreat, where I review my progress on my goals from the previous quarter and set goals for the upcoming quarter. From that planning and goal setting, I create an Action Items list that ties directly into those goals. I estimate how much time each action item will take, and rank them in priority, e.g. A-1, A-2, B-1, B-2.  I’ve figured out through trial and error that I can handle about 15 hours of Action Items each quarter – my tendency is to overcommit myself, and then I feel frustrated when I seemingly haven’t made much progress.   2.    Use the quadrants. There are four: Urgent and Important, Urgent and Not Important, Not Urgent and Important, and Not Urgent and Not Important.  As you set out your daily tasks, you want to focus on the Important sections of the quadrant: Urgent and Important, and Not Urgent and Important.  The idea here is to minimize the time you spend on Not Important activities so you can focus on what’s really important.  Some of the tools I use here include limiting the time I check emails, minimizing distractions such as phone notifications, and using blocks to calendar in my activities each day – more about that one in a moment.  3.    Block your time. Allocate time blocks for the various activities you need to complete – this helps you avoid multitasking and allows you to really focus.  My entire workday, each day, is completely time blocked. In each block, I can include notes as to what, specifically, I need to do during that time block.  I found this particularly helpful when I started spending 15 minutes a day on LinkedIn – my brain kept yelling at me that I needed to be doing something more important/urgent. But I set the timer on my phone for 15 minutes, and I have developed a cadence of the things I do each time I’m in LinkedIn.  Another way I use time blocking is for my writing projects. Once I have had the two resume strategy sessions with a client, I go into my calendar (I use Outlook) and write in which day I will work on each aspect of the client’s writing project. I also indicate which day is the deadline to get that client’s first drafts to them.   4.    Create a To-Do List. Whether daily or weekly, include both work-related and personal tasks, and keep it updated.  I really like my system for this: Each Sunday, I print out a planning sheet for each day of the week. It already has time blocks for the various activities I do, such as client writing projects and marketing my business, and I have already have certain activities I do each week on there. From there, I fill in specifics for that day – which client projects do I need to work on? Do I need to schedule a doctor’s appointment or follow up with someone? It all goes on that day’s sheet.  5.    Eliminate Distractions. I alluded to this one earlier – social media, notifications, clutter, phone calls, emails, people stopping by – take steps to minimize or eliminate them when working on important tasks.  When I’m working on a project at my computer, I close out my emails – I don’t have my computer set to notify me of emails, but I don’t want the temptation to check them. I turn my phone upside down and I don’t answer my phone unless it’s from someone I am waiting to speak with.   6.    Learn to Say No. Avoid overcommitting by saying no to tasks or requests that don’t align with your goals or priorities.  I don’t have to deal with this much because I’m self-employed, but I promise the world will not stop revolving if you say no on occasion. Or not right now. Or “let’s discuss this in ___.”  7.    Delegate. Delegating frees up your time for more important responsibilities.  Here’s the thing I’ve learned about delegating, both from my days as the director of two university career centers and now, as the CEO of my own company: Those tasks I do not enjoy doing and/or aren’t particularly good at and/or just aren’t a good use of my time are GOLDEN for someone else.  I could do an entire episode on delegation…maybe I will. Suffice it to say that Your Trash May Be a Co-Worker’s Treasure.   8.    Use Time Management Tools. Maximize your use of your calendaring system, check into task management apps and project management software, set reminders, use old-school daily planning sheets like I do. Find what works for you and decide to stick with it for at least 30 days.   9.    Plan Ahead. This helps you start your day with a clear agenda.  I create my daily task sheets on Sunday and write in the specifics for Monday. Then, each afternoon before wrapping up for the day, I write in the specifics for the next day.   10.Avoid Multitasking. The research is clear: multitasking decreases productivity and quality of your work.  My best recommendation to avoid multitasking is to eliminate the distractions I’ve already talked about. Also, when I was in higher education, I had a sign system for our doors to indicate when we should not be disturbed.   11.Take breaks throughout the day.  I set my phone alarm for 50 minutes, then give myself a 10-minute break. Knowing I have a break coming fairly soon really helps me focus during that 50 minutes.   12.Set Deadlines. Even for tasks that don’t have external deadlines, set your own to create a sense of urgency.  As I mentioned, I do this with my client projects. I can see clearly when the project is due and what portion of the project I am to complete each day and when.  Circling back around to the beginning: Give yourself true free time to do the things you enjoy by blocking time for your work and home obligations.   DIY vs. DFY  DIY My Do-It-Yourself tip for time management has to do with tracking how you are spending your time. For at least one week, make note of each 15-minute block of time – what you did and what quadrant it fits into. (Remember, these are Urgent and Important, Urgent and Not Important, Not Urgent and Important, and Not Urgent and Not Important.) Then take a critical look at your data. Are you making the best use of your time? Are you using your time on the right things? How much time are you wasting – and what are the primary culprits?  Then make some changes to better manage your time and be more productive.  DFY While you really must manage your time yourself – or at least parts of it – my DFY is a couple of time management books I really like.  -The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey – a classic, but still relevant -The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Achieving More with Less by Richard Koch -Atomic Habits by James Clear – not specifically about time management, but about breaking bad habits and creating positive ones                                                                                                                                  
10/18/202327 minutes, 5 seconds
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292: Pros and Cons of Using a Third-Party Recruiter

I get a lot of questions about using recruiters in my clients’ job search, so I wanted to dive into this topic and my perspective on the role of recruiters in your job search. First, some definitions are in order. I am talking about a third-party recruiter rather than a person who works in the company you want to work for as a recruiter. Third-party recruiters work for a recruiting firm and find candidates for a large number of employers. In its most simple form, there are two types of third-party recruitment firms: Retained Search and Contingency. Retained Search firms are hired with exclusivity by a company to find a candidate for that company. They are paid regardless of the outcome of the search and are often involved in every aspect of the hiring process including market research, evaluating internal bench strength, locating candidates, conducting initial interviews, and bringing 2-3 top candidates forward to the company. They may also negotiate compensation packages. Retained Search firms are typically used for jobs at about $150K and above annual salary. A retained search recruiter, often called an executive recruiter, will only be reaching out to people to possibly match the criteria laid out by the company they are currently hiring for. Because these searches are highly specialized and labor intensive, an executive recruiter doesn’t have the bandwidth to spend much, if any, time getting potential candidates into a database for possible future positions. They are working on the job search right in front of them – and they will only conduct a handful of these each year. Contingency firms are one of many – a company may send their job notice out to a half-dozen firms to increase the likelihood of finding the best candidate quickly. Only the firm that puts forth the winning candidate gets paid, so it is a race. Because of this, you may get contacted by contingency recruiter not for a currently available position, but to get you in their database for future roles – so be sure to ask about this if you are contacted. When I am working with a client to create their customized job search strategy, they are often surprised that I have “reach out to recruiters I already have a relationship with” as a passive job search strategy – they think it should be an active strategy. The reason I consider reaching out to recruiters as a passive job search strategy is because you have no control over what positions they are hiring for at that time. Recruiters tell me that, for every position they have available, they have 6-10 qualified candidates or more. Also, recruiters don’t make their money from you – they make it from filling roles sent to them by employers. They are not in business to help you. Note that I said “reach out to recruiters I already have a relationship with” – trying to find a recruiter who is looking for you at the same time you are looking is like looking for a needle in a haystack. If you have existing relationships with recruiters, by all means let them know you’re in the market and send them an updated copy of your resume. Otherwise, I don’t consider hunting down recruiters to be a good use of your time and job search energy. A better use of your time, in my opinion, is to have a top-notch LinkedIn profile that acts like “recruiter flypaper” – bringing recruiters that are looking for people with your skills, education, and experience TO YOU. While you’re busy engaging in other job search activities.  Now for the “pros” of working with a recruiter: 1.    Access to job opportunities: Recruiters often have access to job openings that may not be publicly advertised, which can increase your chances of finding relevant opportunities. This is particularly true at the executive level, where the only way to find out about an opening is through the executive recruiter. 2.    Industry expertise: Many recruiters specialize in specific industries or types of jobs, giving them in-depth knowledge about trends, companies, and hiring practices in your field. 3.    Time savings: A recruiter can save you time and effort by matching you with suitable job opportunities, streamlining the application process, and providing valuable insights into the hiring company. 4.    Interview preparation: Recruiters can offer guidance on interview preparation, how to present yourself, and what to expect during the process. 5.    Negotiation assistance: Recruiters can help with salary negotiations and benefits discussions, ensuring you receive a competitive compensation package. 6.    Feedback and coaching: Some recruiters will provide feedback on your resume and interview performance to help you improve your chances of landing a job.  Now for the cons: 1.    Limited control: When you work with a recruiter, you may have less control over the job search process because the recruiter WILL prioritize their clients’ interests. 2.    Not all industries use recruiters: In some industries and regions, using a recruiter is less common, such as situations where there are many more candidates than openings or jobs with excessive turnover. 3.    Limited company options: Recruiters have relationships with specific companies and may not be able to expose you to a wide range of job opportunities. 4.    Quality of service varies: The quality and professionalism of recruiters can vary widely, so it is essential to choose one with a good reputation and track record. I’ve personally heard a lot of horror stories about recruiters ghosting candidates – even when the recruiter reached out to the candidate unsolicited. 5.    Employer requirements: Often, recruiters are tasked with bringing forth 2-3 qualified applicants, so you have built-in competition.  If you decide to work with a recruiter, do your research, ask for recommendations, and choose a reputable recruiter who specializes in your industry or job type. Also – don’t rely solely on recruiters for your job search.  DIY vs. DFYTop of Form The DIY I want to talk about has to do with developing long-term relationships with recruiters. Remember, I talked about reaching out to recruiters you already have a relationship with – how do you develop those relationships? 1.    Keep the door open. Just because a recruiter reaches out at the wrong time for you or has a position you aren’t interested in doesn’t mean you can’t still cultivate a relationship with them. Whether you should cultivate this relationship should depend on your homework – what is this recruiter’s reputation? What industries/job functions do they specialize in? Are they accessible? 2.    Quid pro quo. Think about ways you can offer value to that recruiter – send her qualified candidates, keep her updated on trends or current events in the industry/job function she specializes in, reach out periodically with no agenda in mind. 3.    Be willing to have the conversation. Before saying no, at least listen to the recruiter. If you ignore them or refuse to speak with them, they will likely remove you from their list.  The Noah’s ark analogy is appropriate here – he didn’t wait for it to start raining before he started building. Cultivate relationships with a few key recruiters when the sun is shining.  DFYI mentioned earlier the importance of having a top-notch LinkedIn profile that acts as recruiter flypaper. To get there, I highly recommend a professionally written profile from me or another experienced professional. Writing an effective LI profile isn’t just about the words you use, but where you put what to get the maximum visibility by recruiters. My clients almost always see a significant uptick in both the quantity and quality of recruiter contacts after I write their profile for them. Also, a little curb appeal never hurts – a customized background really helps here. If you would like to speak with me about writing your LI profile and possibly some training on how to maximize LinkedIn to achieve your job search or career goals, here’s the link to my calendar: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
10/11/202322 minutes, 7 seconds
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291: What Should I Wear to a Job Interview?

Land Your Dream Job Accelerator (LYDJA) starts Thursday, October 6th.  To learn more about and to register: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Dy066dj7gm5chND-FfIcd-vZNeS0y4Tdbbf6Jr_oP8/edit#heading=h.9en890oi4qsu  We’ve gotten very relaxed in our dress since Covid, especially those of us who have worked from home. Even many companies have relaxed their dress standards – so what does this mean for how to dress for a job interview?  Many screening interviews and even subsequent interviews are still being conducted via Zoom or Teams. Even though they may only see you from the waist up, I strongly recommend you fully dress for the interview – you’ll show up differently if you do.  Of course, you’ll need to dress appropriately from head to toe for an in-person interview. What, exactly, you should wear varies depending on your industry, the company culture, and the position you’re interviewing for.  Remember that dressing appropriately shows respect for the company and the position you’re applying for. When in doubt, it’s usually better to be slightly overdressed than underdressed. You might also reach out to the company’s HR or the person who scheduled the interview to ask about the dress code if you’re uncertain.  Why is dressing appropriately important? -You’ll likely be more confident in yourself during the interview. -You are demonstrating to the employer that you have a good sense of judgment and can successfully read a situation. -It shows your commitment to professionalism and that you genuinely want the job. -It can set you apart from the other candidates. -It demonstrates your respect for the business you’re interviewing with and those you are meeting with.  -Makes a good impression on the hiring manager – you never have a second chance to make a good first impression.  Here are some general guidelines for dressing for the interview: 1.    Research the Company: Before the interview, try to learn about the company’s culture and dress code by looking at their website, social media profiles, and even asking current or former employees if you know any.  2.    Grooming and Hygiene: No matter the industry or company culture, it is important that you are clean and neat. Your clothes should be wrinkle-free, shoes polished, nails groomed, and hair clean and neat. If you wear glasses, clean them! Avoid perfumes or even scented lotions or hair products that may offend some people.  3.    Accessories: In general, keep to a minimum. A watch, one bracelet, one ring on each hand, simple earrings that don’t swing or make noise, and one simple necklace. Alternatively, women may choose to wear a scarf; if so, minimize jewelry even further.  4.    Footwear: Men should wear closed-toed dress shoes that are polished. Women should wear comfortable, closed-toed shoes with a minimal heel or flats. 5.    Colors: While you have more latitude with creative roles in creative companies, in general stick to neutral or conservative colors such as black, grey, navy blue, and white for shirts. Petite women may choose to brighten their palette up to give themselves a larger presence.  6.    Try everything on: Before the day of your interview, try everything on to make sure it fits and looks good together. Decide on your accessories and try them on. While I don’t recommend wearing brand-new shoes, if you do, break them in and scuff up the soles ahead of time so you aren’t uncomfortable and don’t slip and fall.   Next, let’s talk about the levels of business attire. 1.    Business professional: If the company has a formal dress code or if you are interviewing for a professional or more senior role, it’s generally best to wear a business professional outfit.  For men: A well-fitted suit and tie. How loud or creative your tie and shirt choice are depends on the position, the industry, and the company culture – as well as your personality.  For women: A pantsuit, skirt suit, or conservative dress with jacket, with closed-toed shoes (low heels or flats). Avoid anything too short, low-cut, sheer, or otherwise suggestive – you want the interviewer to focus on your qualifications, not your attire. Business casual: If the company tells you to dress business casual for the interview, you’re going to need more information, as business casual can range from a blazer with or without a tie for men and a blazer with non-matching skirt or pants for women down to jeans.  For men: Unless the company tells you otherwise, opt for khakis with a collared shirt, tucked in. No tennis shoes, but you can wear rubber-soled shoes as long as they are clean and scuff-free. For women: Unless the company tells you otherwise, opt for pants (not leggings) and a blouse or shirt that isn’t too short with a completer piece – either a blazer or cardigan. Closed-toed casual shoes that are clean and scuff-free.   The bottom line: No matter how relaxed the dress code is, you should still look polished and put together. Remember: there is no such thing as business casual when it comes to your grooming.   DIY vs. DFY DIYMy DIY recommendation has to do with WHEN to do your shopping for your interview outfit. I recommend Monday-Friday, during the day – this is usually when the full-time employees work so you may get higher-quality help. Also, it will probably be less crowded, so you can expect to get more personal attention.  To get this kind of help, consider a well-regarded department store in your area or a boutique shop that offers professional clothing. I don’t recommend trying to purchase this outfit online – you really need to try things on and get help with what looks good on you.  Let the salesperson know that you are looking for an interview outfit, about how much you’d like to spend, and be sure to bring any items (such as shoes) you plan to include.   DFYMy DFY recommendation has to do with alterations. Men’s suits, and many pants, come unhemmed, so you have no choice but to use alterations services, and the store may provide them. If they don’t, ask friends or family for recommendations.  Women, your outfit may require alterations as well – hems, waistlines, and shirt/sleeve length may need adjustments. It is so worth it to pay for this service – you’ll look much more polished, and your confidence will likely shoot up when you look in the mirror.  A final recommendation that applies for both DIY and DFY specifically for the women: Sit in front of a mirror and cross your legs. Are you comfortable? Does your skirt ride up too far? Does your blouse gape around the buttons? 
10/4/202326 minutes
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290: Job Searching with a Chronic Physical or Mental Health Condition (with Jane Springer)

Here’s the link to learn more about Land Your Dream Job Accelerator, and to register:https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Dy066dj7gm5chND-FfIcd-vZNeS0y4Tdbbf6Jr_oP8/edit#heading=h.9en890oi4qsu  We will be tackling this issue on two fronts: how to take care of yourself during a job search if you have a chronic physical or mental health condition, and when/if to divulge this information to the prospective employer. My guest for this episode is Jane Springer, who’s been on the podcast several times before. Jane is a life coach specializing in health and wellness for women ages 50+. We talk about what a chronic physical or mental health condition is, how to manage your condition during the stress of a job search, and how to make sure you find a job that can accommodate your specific health needs.  I often get questions about when and how to divulge information about a physical or mental condition during the job search. According to the Society for Human Resource Management’s website: “The Americans with Disabilities Act defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits a major life activity. Disabilities outlined by the ADA include (but are in no way limited to) deafness, blindness, non-functioning or missing limbs, cancer, diabetes, asthma, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, arthritis, obsessive-compulsive disorder, HIV and depression. “Under the ADA, employers generally can't ask disability-related questions, such as whether the applicant has a disability or what the nature or severity of the disability is, or require applicants to undergo medical examinations until after the applicant has received a conditional job offer.“Once a conditional job offer has been made, the employer may ask disability-related questions or require a medical examination so long as all individuals who receive offers for the same job are treated similarly. That means they must be asked the same questions or required to undergo the same medical examination, she said. (Once an individual is employed, disability-related questions and examinations again are prohibited except in limited circumstances.)“Employers may, however, ask applicants whether they can perform the essential duties of a position with or without accommodation.“Federal law also permits employers to ask applicants about reasonable accommodations before a conditional offer is made if the employer reasonably believes that the applicant may need an accommodation due to an obvious or voluntarily disclosed disability, or when an applicant has disclosed a need for an accommodation.” A best practice is for employers to thoroughly describe the steps the candidate will go through, so the candidate can intelligently respond as to whether they will need accommodations.  If you don’t need accommodations to perform the job, you are under no obligation to voluntarily disclose a disability or condition. You may choose to disclose anyway – but you don’t have to.  You can find Jane Springer at [email protected] or visit her website at janespringer.com.  
9/27/202346 minutes, 40 seconds
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289: What to Do if You Aren't Getting Any Job Offers

Land Your Dream Job Accelerator starts on October 5th. To learn more and register:https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Dy066dj7gm5chND-FfIcd-vZNeS0y4Tdbbf6Jr_oP8/edit#heading=h.9en890oi4qsu  Oftentimes, people who schedule a consult with me are doing so because they have been job searching with little to no success. On the scheduling form, they indicate that they need a resume re-write. One of the questions on the scheduling form has to do with the number of applications they have completed, the number of interviews with different companies they’ve had, and the number of job offers they’ve received. I ask for this information because it helps me begin to narrow down where their problem might be. Let’s look at each step of this process, and what to do if your problem is in that step. Not enough applications. There are three main points I want to make here: 1.    Clients will indicate that they’ve applied to 12 jobs and not yet received an interview. My rule of thumb is 1 job interview for every 10 applications, so while 12 applications should have yielded an interview, we really don’t have sufficient data here. 2.    It’s a numbers game – but those numbers have to be quality. I often hear from clients who aren’t getting interviews that their solution has been to apply for more jobs – even jobs they aren’t that interested in and/or aren’t at least 75% qualified for. Your applications should ALWAYS be quality over quantity. 3.    If all you are doing for your job search is applying to jobs online LIKE THE REST OF THE UNIVERSE, then you’re going to be in for a long haul. Enter networking to access the 70-85% of jobs that aren’t advertised.  Not enough interviews. Here are three considerations: 1.    If a client indicates that they’ve applied to 75 jobs without a single interview – or with just one or two interviews – then I dig down to determine the QUALITY of the jobs they’ve applied for. As previously stated, the client is often in QUANTITY over QUALITY at this point – and they are operating from a place of desperation and lack. Here's what happens when you apply for jobs you don’t really want or don’t think you have a shot at: You get discouraged, and your motivation begins to dip. EVEN THOUGH YOU DIDN’T REALLY WANT THE JOB IN THE FIRST PLACE.  2.    Another consideration if a client isn’t getting enough interviews is, are they customizing their resume and cover letter for that position? Are they completing the application? A resume that isn’t tailored for that position isn’t likely to beat out other applicants who took the time to do so. 3.    Finally, I talk to this client about my “+1” approach – doing one more thing in addition to just applying like everyone else. Who can they ask to advocate for them? How can they make a personal contact? Remember, applying online is like trying to get the attention of the people on stage in the most crowded auditorium there is. You need to make yourself stand out.  Interviews aren’t converting to job offers. Here are four possibilities: 1.    I find that many people think they should have received at least one job offer after two-three interviews. My rule of thumb is the same as with application-interview: 10 interviews for one job offer. And these are 10 interviews with 10 companies, not multiple interviews with the same company. 2.    If the client has had 15-20 interviews without an offer, one possibility is that, while they are qualified for the job, they aren’t really interested in the job – or at least they aren’t conveying their interest in the interview. The interviewer isn’t getting a sense of the candidate’s excitement about the company and the job. 3.    Another possibility is that the candidate isn’t adequately preparing for the interview – they haven’t done their homework. NOTE: This preparation also often tracks with the candidate’s excitement level. 4.    Finally, the candidate may need interview coaching. Some clients who come to me for this service have been given feedback that they don’t interview well; others sense it based on their experience; still others want to improve their interview skills before they start getting interviews. Here are eight suggestions if you aren’t getting enough job offers: 1.    Develop an actual job search strategy – one that doesn’t rely solely on job boards. My rule of thumb is 25% networking if you’re right out of college, 50% networking if you are mid-career, and 75% or more networking if you are at the executive level. 2.    Improve your networking skills so that networking is an equal exchange of energy. Most people who hate networking feel that way because it feels creepy or desperate. I teach a much better way of networking, where you give at least as much value as you give. 3.    Have a professionally written resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. And take the important step of customizing your resume and cover letter each time you submit these documents. 4.    Improve your interview skills. Ideally, work with a coach like me who can give you professional feedback, rather than advice from a friend or family member based on their limited interview experience. 5.    Consider adding certifications, coursework, or other short-term credentials to your resume. Even beginning an undergraduate or advanced degree can work to your favor. 6.    Volunteer or freelance. This is a great opportunity to build skills, network, and gain valuable relevant experience – maybe even earn some income while you’re doing it. 7.    Work with a coach on mindset. I find that candidates who are in the job market for a while often begin to make the rejections and non-responses mean something about themselves and their qualifications. Working with a coach to look at your thoughts, and how to make conscious changes to those thoughts, is invaluable during a job search (and always). 8.    If you suspect the problem is the career path you are on, you’ll definitely want to work with a career coach like me to assess what you really love to do and what jobs would make the best use of your Zones of Genius. DIY vs. DFY DIY: The number one piece of advice I can give you is to use my conversion rule of thumb to determine where your problem might be. Once again, it’s 10 applications for one interview; 10 interviews for one job offer. Tell yourself the truth about the jobs you are applying for – are you very interested in every one of them, and at least 75% qualified? If not, what is the thought driving your decision to apply anyway? Also – use my +1 approach so you aren’t just applying like everyone else. Commit to either going all-in on the jobs you apply for, or not applying at all.  DFY: If you are listening to this podcast when it first comes out, I highly recommend checking out my Land Your Dream Job Accelerator, starting on October 5th for four weeks. In this small group coaching program, you’ll build out a targeted, proactive job search strategy; learn my “bow-and-arrow” approach to networking that teaches you how to give as much value as you get, and how to manage your mindset throughout your job search. You’ll also have two, 20-minute laser coaching sessions with me for targeted 1:1 help with your job search. Here’s the link to learn more about LYDJA and to register: https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Dy066dj7gm5chND-FfIcd-vZNeS0y4Tdbbf6Jr_oP8/edit#heading=h.9en890oi4qsu 
9/20/202316 minutes, 12 seconds
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288: Identifying Potential Red Flags When Looking for a Job

Here’s the link for the October Land Your Dream Job Accelerator:https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Dy066dj7gm5chND-FfIcd-vZNeS0y4Tdbbf6Jr_oP8/edit#heading=h.9en890oi4qsu  I want to start by talking about an internal “red flag” – this has nothing to do with the company you are applying to and everything to do with YOU. Each time you make a job move, it is so important to evaluate your current job. Think of this as a trip you are taking: What do you want to put in your suitcase and bring with you, and what do you want to leave there? In other words, what are the skills you enjoy using and want to utilize at least as much in your new role (Motivated Skills) – and what skills do you want to stop using or minimize (Burnout Skills)? When you don’t do this work, you risk jumping out of the frying pan and into the fire…or, at best, not progressing in your career towards your ideal job. Now let’s talk about the possible red flags an employer could be waving right in front of your face. Unprofessional communicationIf the employer or company representative communicates with you in a rude, unprofessional, or overall informal manner during the application process, it might indicate a lack of respect or a poor company culture. As with most of these red flags, on their own they aren’t necessarily reason to run in the other direction, but rather an indication that you should investigate further. I do think it puts a stain on a company when THE PERSON THEY HAVE HIRED SPECIFICALLY TO DEAL WITH APPLICANTS isn’t communicative or friendly.  Vague job descriptionIf there is very little information about the actual job duties or requirements, or the job description focuses a bit too much on how great it is to work there but without the corresponding information about the actual job duties or requirements, this could indicate a lack of organization or lack of transparency about the role. This vagueness can also translate into the hiring process – are you getting answers to your questions, and in a timely manner? Are they openly discussing opportunity for advancement, job responsibilities, and company culture?  Super quick process and too-good-to-be-true offersBe aware of recruiters that respond within minutes of your application – why are they so desperate that they are waiting around for you to apply? This kind of immediate response often correlates with a rapid, barely-there hiring process and pressure to accept the job offer immediately. There may also be an extremely high salary or benefits that seem too good to be true. This all smacks of a scam – or at best, a job they can’t fill or keep filled.  Negative online reviewsGlassdoor, Indeed, and other sites offer online reviews and ratings for the company, often in a variety of categories such as culture, management, work environment, pay, and opportunity for promotion within. Look for balance and consistency here – are you seeing one negative review about culture and eight positives? Or are 75% of the reviews slamming a specific aspect of the company, such as pay?  Unrealistic expectationsDo the job duties mesh with the job title? With the pay? With the educational requirements? If any of these seem unrealistic for the role, it could mean a lack of understanding of the position. You may not want to be the Jane Goodall that treks into that forest of cluelessness.  Unusual interview processI am hearing about this a lot from my clients – it was especially common during Covid. If there is an excessively long, complex, or intrusive interview process, it shows disorganization and a lack of respect for candidates’ time. Also, this lengthy process typically results in the top candidates bowing out for other opportunities; if you remain in the candidate pool and get hired, you might be working with a bunch of underachievers who didn’t have other job prospects. A note about hiring projects: while some companies are paying candidates to complete projects representative of the work they would do in the job, most aren’t. It’s up to you to decide if you are willing to do the work for no pay and no guarantee of a job – don’t move forward if you can’t do it with a positive attitude, because it will become evident.  High TurnoverWhat can you find out about the turnover for the position you are applying for, the turnover in the department you would be working in, the company as a whole? You are looking for red flags around management, culture, or employee satisfaction. Glassdoor is one good resource here; there may also be info around this in LinkedIn insights if the job is posted there. You can also reach out to a few former employees to find out why they left – you can find them easily on LI.  Lack of growth opportunitiesI talked previously about asking this question – and making sure you get a clear answer. If the company doesn’t offer clear paths for growth, professional development, or advancement, it probably isn’t a viable long-term option for your career goals.  Non-competitive compensationSimply put, outstanding employees don’t accept below-market compensation. Not only will you be underpaid – and likely undervalued – but you’ll be working with a bunch of underpaid, undervalued people. Not a good recipe for a positive work culture.  Payment requestsBe cautious of job opportunities that require you to pay upfront fees for training, materials, or other expenses – these should be covered by legitimate employers. This is most likely a scam. Bottom line: trust your instincts and conduct thorough research before committing to a job opportunity – and listen to your gut. DIY vs. DFY DIYIf you are conducting a job search on your own, make sure your mindset is in the right place. Are you moving towards something new that you’re really excited about – or are you trying to run away from an untenable situation with your current job? The energy with these two is completely different. The first energy means you’ll likely be confident and selective about the jobs you apply to, people you speak with, and how you present yourself. The second energy means you’ll be more likely to ignore the red flags and jump at the first slightly reasonable opportunity that comes along. For help with your mindset, I recommend “Six Things Derailing Your Job Search,” available on my website at: https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/free-resources  DFYIf you find yourself ignoring red flags job after job, I highly recommend working with a professional like me. There is likely an underlying issue around your confidence, belief in yourself, or something else that is holding you back from doing the necessary work to land a job you love with a company you can fully believe in. If you would like to schedule a complimentary consult to discuss working with me on this, here’s the link to my calendar: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
9/13/202322 minutes, 44 seconds
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287: How to Tailor Your Resume and Other Materials for a Specific Position

Link to learn more about, and register for: Land Your Dream Job Accelerator:https://docs.google.com/document/d/14Dy066dj7gm5chND-FfIcd-vZNeS0y4Tdbbf6Jr_oP8/edit#heading=h.9en890oi4qsu  I think most people have gotten the memo that you are supposed to tailor your resume, cover letter, and any other materials to the position you are applying for. This tailoring, if done correctly, will greatly increase your chances of making it through the ATS – and compelling the human on the other end to want to interview you. I DON’T think most people know what tailoring actually means, so let’s dig into this today. First off – let me say that my rule of thumb is you should spend about 30 minutes customizing your resume and another 30 minutes customizing your cover letter – and this includes careful proofreading. If you are having to do much more customizing than that, it’s likely that you either have a pretty generic, non-targeted resume to begin with, or you are trying to use a targeted resume for a position that is very different from what the resume was targeted for.  Your ResumeCustomizing your resume for a specific position must start with analyzing the job description – which obviously means you must HAVE a job description. Make sure you get your hands on this document. If a recruiter has reached out to you, it doesn’t hurt to ask if he or she has any information in addition to the job description about the company and/or the job to help you with tailoring. Your next step is to highlight keywords and phrases. You can do this manually, or you can dump the job description into ChatGPT with the question, “What are the most important qualifications for this job?” Note that you are looking for hard skills, credentials, certifications, experience – rather than things like “hard worker,” “team player,” or “leadership.” Once you’ve identified these qualifications, I use the “find” function in Word to see if I already have those terms in the resume. If I don’t, then I determine the best way to include them. Can I add an achievement bullet that speaks to that qualification? Do I add the certification or credential to others I already have on my resume? Do I add the skill to my list of Competencies at the top of my resume? Have I taken a course or training on a subject mentioned in the job description? Remember, you want to include the exact language used in the job description. Another aspect of customizing your resume is possibly re-ordering your achievement bullets, eliminating some that aren’t relevant, and including others that are a better fit for this position. As a reminder, your job duties should be condensed into a 2-3-line paragraph, followed by achievement bullets (no more than 5 per job). Achievement bullets should begin with an action verb, be front-loaded with the result you achieved, and include metrics whenever possible.  Cover LetterOne of the main reasons I am still an advocate for cover letters is that they give me the opportunity to address any skills, qualifications, or competencies mentioned in the job description that aren’t easily included in my resume – or that I want to expand on beyond how they are mentioned in my resume. For example, if the job description asks for “Proven ability to effectively interact with individuals at all levels of the organization and build strong, trusted relationships,” I might mention something about building mutually beneficial stakeholder relationships in my resume. However, the cover letter gives me the opportunity to pull together 2-3 examples of how I met this qualification in various positions. Perhaps most importantly, the cover letter gives me the opportunity to express my interest in that specific position with that specific company – not just that I want A job. I want THIS job. In this section of the cover letter, talk about what you like about the company’s culture – and why this is a perfect fit for you and your strengths.  Other MaterialsThere’s a wide range of possibilities here – the job posting may ask for samples of your work or completion of some type of job application exercise. The only points I want to make here are: 1. Provide what they ask for. Yes – some of my clients have told me about extensive, time-consuming exercises they have been put through during the hiring process. You can absolutely decide to bow out if you aren’t willing to do the exercises, but if you decide to move forward, do so at 100%. Don’t try to cut corners – they will see this as a representation of how you would perform the duties of the job. Point #2: To the degree possible, choose work samples that most closely mirror the company and job. If they are asking for examples of your marketing work, when did you market a company similar to the one you are applying to? When did you solve a problem similar to the one stated in the exercise – or a problem similar to one you know the company is facing? The keyword here is RELEVANCE. As I wrap this episode up, I want to emphasize once again how important this tailoring process is. I see so many clients who get frustrated with the job application process – and respond by applying to more jobs. In other words, quantity over quality. I’d much rather see you limit your applications to those you are really interested in and at least 75% qualified for – and then give that process your full attention. Finally – don’t forget the +1 approach I’ve spoken of so many times on this podcast. What is one more thing you can do, in addition to just applying like the rest of the world, to get yourself noticed? DIY vs. DFY DIYThis entire episode has been a DIY special, but here’s one more tip: Remember that your goal is to convince the reader you are a top candidate for the job. Everything you do should be with that in mind – it’s not about what you want (like the old school resume objective), and it’s not about just telling them what your job duties have been. It’s about marketing yourself! DFYWhile you’re still going to need to do the customization I’ve spoken about in this episode, having a strong resume and cover letter to start with makes all the difference. When you work with a professional like me, you are getting someone who can pull things out of you that you wouldn’t think to include. You will have someone who understands ATS and how to write your resume for both the technology and the human. Also, you will work with someone who understands personal branding and can position you to really stand out in a crowded market. If you would like to schedule a complimentary consult to discuss working with me, here’s the link to my calendar: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2    
9/6/202316 minutes, 48 seconds
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286: Should You Use AI to Create Your Resume?

There’s so much in the news about Artificial Intelligence (AI) replacing jobs. In the resume writing world, there is a widespread belief that is, unfortunately, being spread by some people who have created AI-based resume writing platforms they want you to purchase. I first want to start with how I have incorporated AI into my resume writing practice. Here are a few of the ways:  Job DescriptionI am currently working with a client who has a background as a dental assistant. I used ChatGPT to come up with a job description for a dental assistant so I could incorporate the keywords into her resume. Note that I didn’t cut-and-paste any part of the response from ChatGPT – I merely used it as a reference for the skills a dental assistant should be able to demonstrate. If I have a client who is using the resume to apply for a specific position, I can feed both the job description and the resume into ChatGPT to see how they compare and tell me where the gaps are. Then I can work in those keywords. If a client wants to pivot careers, I can ask ChatGPT for a job description for the job the client wants to move into so I can position that client with the necessary transferable skills. DIY vs. DFY DIYIf you want to use ChatGPT or one of the other AI tools to write your resume, remember that AI is a TOOL. If you use AI to write your resume, you will end up with a generic, non-differentiating document. What makes you, you – your differentiators – has to come from you. AI can’t possibly know your achievements or your personal brand. AI can’t possibly know your “secret sauce” – the way you do what you do that is different and better than others in your field. AI can’t possibly know about the feedback you have consistently received from colleagues, supervisors, or customers. Let AI help you craft your job descriptions, but not do it for you. If you want AI to help with your achievement bullets, write out CAR (Challenge – Action – Results) stories, then ask ChatGPT to write into bullets. Make sure it sounds like you and that each bullet begins with an action verb. Remove personal pronouns and unnecessary articles such as “the.” Do the work on your branding – I recommend using my Branded Resume course, which you can access here: https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/free-resources Then ask ChatGPT to write out 3-4 sentences that encapsulate the information you’ve written down about your personal brand. DFYHere’s one of the litmus tests I use with clients: How high is the bar for the job you want? If it is pretty high, you might consider working with a professional like me. I think one of the primary benefits of working with me is my ability to pull out from you your high-impact achievements and your differentiators – coupled with my ability to package that information in a way that is compelling and drives the reader to reach out to you for an interview. There’s something to be said for recognizing your Zones of Genius – and getting help in areas that don’t play to your strengths. How much is your time worth – and how important is it to get it right? If you would like to schedule a consult to talk about how I can write your resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile for you, click here: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
8/30/202310 minutes, 41 seconds
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285: Want to Work from Home? Resources and Strategies

Since Covid, the number of people working from home – or wanting to work from home – has multiplied exponentially. Today, I want to offer resources and strategies to help you land a WFH job. I’m not going to go into how to determine which types of WFH jobs you should apply for – I’ve covered that in other episodes. For today’s episode, I’m going to assume you know your Motivated Skills and how you want to apply those skills in a WFH job. A note here: your desire to WFH shouldn’t be the primary consideration as to which jobs you pursue. You still have to enjoy the work and exercise your Zones of Genius. I’m also not going to go into the steps everyone should be taking to look for any kind of job, such as customizing your resume and networking. Again – covered in other episodes. Also – buyer beware. There are WFH scams out there, so check with the Better Business Bureau and other sites to ensure the validity of the job.  FiltersThere are a number of legitimate remote job sites, which I will be sharing in this episode. Another consideration is using filters on “mainstream” sites like LinkedIn and Indeed. Try “remote,” “work from home,” “telecommute,” and “virtual” to narrow down the jobs you see. Also consider that some companies may offer WFH jobs on their website but not on sites like LinkedIn, so be sure to check.  Read the job description – and interpret itSome jobs will clearly state the in-person, virtual, or hybrid nature of the job, with specifics such as WFH Fridays or “must be in office 2-3 days per week.” When the parameters are specifically laid out in the job description, I would take that as fact. That is not to say that the “must be in office 2-3 days per week” couldn’t be negotiated down to just 2 days, or that which days you are in office can’t be negotiated – I mean that a job that clearly states “must be in office M-F” isn’t likely to be flexible about a hybrid or WFH setup. What about those jobs that aren’t clear in their description? Post-Covid, I would take that as POSSIBLY a sign that there is some flexibility. My thought is this: I don’t want to remove myself from consideration for a job I am really interested in and very qualified for just because I want WFH capabilities, so I’m going to go through the process and see what happens. An employer who does have some flexibility is more likely to exercise that flexibility once they’ve gotten to know you, your qualifications, and the value you will bring to their organization. When do you bring this up? I might try to suss this out sooner rather than later. Perhaps they directly ask you what type of work setting you are looking for – in this situation, I would be honest but vague. I might try responding with a question like “What do you see as viable options for this role?” This likely won’t be solidified, however, until after a bona fide job offer has been made, so before you sign on the dotted line make sure you understand what’s in the offer and ask for any concessions you want so the offer can be amended. Understand that the only time you can negotiate is between the time a bona fide job offer has been made and you have accepted that offer. Before this, it is hypothetical, and afterward, they aren’t likely to improve on what you have already accepted. Be wary of language that speaks to the temporary nature of the hybrid or WFH condition. I recently had a client who had to quit her job because the WFH situation became in-office and she lived some two hours away and couldn’t relocate.  Websites for WFH FlexJobs is one of the top boards to find remote, part-time or flex jobs. They have opportunities across 50+ categories.Growmotely features long-term remote jobs with conscious companies. You can create a candidate profile and start searching for remote roles right away.We Work Remotely highlights remote jobs across all types of fields, including tech to customer service, sales, and marketing. Remote.co – in addition to the job listings, this site has resources for how to work from home, such as managing your home office or managing a remote team. https://ratracerebellion.com/ - this site seems to be more geared towards people who want to pick up hourly or temporary/seasonal work, but check it out anyway. https://www.wahjobqueen.com/ - this one is a grassroots site that was recommended to me by a client. Another one I’ve heard several clients talk about is The Mom Project, but there is a lot online about this being a scam. They supposedly feature roles with vetted, family-friendly companies and include remote positions – but beware.In addition, there are sites where you can filter your job search using the terms I previously mentioned, such as “remote,” “virtual,” “work from home,” or “telecommute.”  LinkedIn Indeed.comGlassdoor.comZiprecruiter.comUsajobs.govMonster.comSimplyhired.comCareerbuilder.comSnagajob.comRoberthalf.com  DIY vs. DFY DIY: If you are doing a remote job search solo, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is one I already mentioned in this episode – the fact that a job is remote should NOT be your primary consideration. You still need job satisfaction, the opportunity to use your Zones of Genius and expand your skills, a sense of connection with other team members, and working for a company whose product or service you believe in and can support. DON’T mistakenly think that working from home will solve all your problems – you still need to carefully vet the company and the job opportunity.  DFY: As I have said approximately 1,000 times on this podcast, your job search shouldn’t rely solely on job boards. I’ve gone so far as to say that job boards don’t don’t constitute a job search – you need a targeted, proactive strategy that, depending on your level of seniority, is somewhere between 25% and 100% networking-based. If you want help planning and executing a targeted, proactive job search with multiple prongs, specific daily action steps, and a plan to evaluate and make mid-course corrections, then let’s schedule a consult so I can learn more about what you’re currently doing in your job search and how I can support you. Here’s the link to my calendar for a consult: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
8/24/202324 minutes, 15 seconds
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284: Free Resources on exclusivecareercoaching.com

From time to time on this podcast, I will mention a free resource available to you via my website. Today, I thought I would go over all those resources for you. As a reminder, the URL is exclusivecareercoaching.com.  To be clear: The primary free resource I offer is this podcast, with nearly 300 episodes covering the job search, interviewing, career decisions, salary negotiations, LinkedIn, career management, life coaching, career transitions, leadership, and more. If you are ever looking for a specific topic on the podcast, the website is a great place to go because the topics I just mentioned are categorized so you can more easily find exactly what you need. As for the other free resources found on exclusivecareercoaching.com, click on the “Free Resources” tab – currently, there are six resources there, with plans to add several more in the not-too-distant future. Why do I offer so much free stuff? Two reasons: 1.    Not everyone is a good fit to work 1:1 with me, either because they aren’t able to make the investment, their career path and goals aren’t ones I focus on, or they just aren’t looking for the level of help I provide when I work 1:1 with clients. 2.    When I put valuable content out into the world, it attracts my ideal clients to me. People who want my level of service and are willing to invest in themselves and their careers. People who schedule a consult with me should be actively seeking a professional partner in this process – and have the funds and willingness to invest in themselves to come on board with me if we both feel we are a good fit for one another. My consults are NOT for people to get further 1:1 assistance from me for free – please respect that I run a business, and to continue to do so I have to make money. Here are the free resources you can find on my website:   Branded ResumeThis free resource comes to your inbox over five days, giving you bite-sized chunks of information and homework each day. I cover all the main areas of the resume, including how to write your job description and achievements. I cover in-depth how to brand yourself in a way that differentiates yourself from your competition. Once you sign up for the Branded Resume, you begin getting the course the next day, and will receive content for five straight days. Each day focuses on a different aspect of your resume, with homework for that aspect.  Professional PurposeAlso sent over five days, the Professional Purpose course walks you through how to find your Motivated Skills, identify the most important values you want to see in an employer, job, and work environment, gives you questions to journal to help you uncover those seminal moments in your life that are pointing you towards your purpose, and next steps. I use this course with clients when I am coaching them on making a career pivot or reinvention, but you can also use the course on your own. If, once you go through the course, you want more help understanding what all that information is telling you, then you may want to invest in some coaching with me.  6 Things Derailing Your Job SearchThis resource is specifically for those of you who have started a job search and somewhere along the way lost your mojo. It is also for those of you who need to start a job search but can’t seem to get going. For each of the six things – all things I frequently see in clients I work with – there is a strategy or tool to solve the derailer. This is a great resource for those of you who want to get your energy and enthusiasm back to support you in finding your next dream job!  How to Choose a Resume WriterThis resource, which is also available on my LI profile, walks you through questions you should ask a prospective resume writer, how much you should expect to invest, and how to evaluate your consultation with a resume writer to determine if this person is a good fit for you. I also cover the alphabet soup of credentials available to resume writers – and what you should look for in terms of resume writing credentials.  Zones of GeniusThis is an exercise I have all my resume writing clients go through. It takes only 10-15 minutes and is designed to help you identify language around your areas of strength, which I call Zones of Genius. This is a must-have resource if you are writing your own resume. You can either use some of the language in your results verbatim in your resume, or just include the ideas and concepts you learn.  Interview Coaching GuideIf you have a job interview coming up, this resource will be invaluable to you. I walk in-depth through how to approach answers to tough and behavioral interview questions. In addition, there are dozens of interview questions you can use for practice. I offer this guide to all my interview coaching clients to supplement the 1:1 work we do, and it has also been the most downloaded of my free resources lately.  If any of these resources are just what you need, head on over to exclusivecareercoaching.com to sign up. You’ll be on my mailing list, which means you’ll get a couple of emails from me each week with even more helpful career management and job search content.  DIY vs. DFY This entire episode has been about the DIY services I offer on my website, coupled with how I utilize those resources with my 1:1 clients. If you want to DIY your resume, interview prep, or career decision-making – PLEASE take advantage of these free resources; they are my gifts to you. If you want the 1:1 attention, expertise, and results that come from working with a highly skilled professional like me, and have the funds available to invest in yourself at a high level, then I encourage you to sign up for a consult: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
8/16/202313 minutes, 8 seconds
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283: What is Happening in the Job Market - and What it Means for Job Seekers

According to an article from the Wall Street Journal, nearly four million workers left the labor market in the first months of the pandemic – the lowest level of employment since 1983.  Some of these workers left because their employers could not operate as they had pre-pandemic – or could not operate at all.  Others left to care for children or other family members affected by Covid.  Still others took advantage of attractive state and federal programs during the pandemic to walk away from work they didn’t love to rethink their career goals.  Post-pandemic, the resurgence of midcareer workers – defined as those between the ages of 25 and 54 – has been led by women. As of June 2023, the labor force participate rate for prime-age women was the highest on record, at 77.8%.  As of June, male participation rates were at 83.5%.  It is a tight labor market in many sectors. The unemployment rate has been at or near a 50-year low for more than a year. What does this mean for the job seeker? Employers can’t afford to be as choosy or selective. The better employers are willing to work with candidates around child- or elder-care issues, WFH, and flexibility with hours. They are also more willing to hire previously retired employees or other older workers.  Employers have raised wages and improved benefits in recent years in an effort to attract top talent – or, in some cases, any talent.  What if the economy cools? There are some concerns that the Fed’s campaign to bring down inflation through higher interest rates will cause unemployment to rise too much and push some of the most vulnerable workers back to the sidelines.  Currently at 3.6% as of June 2023, the unemployment rate is expected to rise to 4.1% by the end of 2023 and 4.5% next year – suggesting the economy will lose tens of thousands of jobs.   Those are the statistics and forecasts. Now let’s talk about the disparity I and my colleagues are seeing between the need for employees on the one hand and the frustration of qualified candidates vying for those positions on the other hand.  Technology has created a barrier between employers and candidates that often doesn’t speed up or otherwise streamline the process – creating frustration among candidates. Employers, conversely, are losing the best candidates in these lengthy and cumbersome processes. I no longer have the source in front of me, but I read recently that top candidates will only stay in a candidate pool for something like 10-14 days before moving on to more promising opportunities.  I could give a 10-hour lecture on what employers need to do to create a more candidate-friendly and candidate-attracting environment in their hiring processes…but I won’t. I DO want to talk about what you, as a candidate, can do to make the hiring process more palatable and successful for you. Follow Up After submitting your application materials, follow up with an email or phone call to ensure your materials were received and to express your interest in the position.  Be ResponsiveRespond promptly to any requests for additional information or to schedule an interview. Communicate AvailabilityDuring the interview process, let the company know about your availability for subsequent interviews or assessments. Be as flexible as you can be.  Provide References EarlySubmit your references along with your application or initial resume submission. These should be on a separate document from your resume.  Prepare Documents in AdvanceAnticipate the documents the company might want, such as certificates, diplomas, or work samples, and have them ready to submit. Ask About the TimelineBefore you leave the first interview, make sure you understand the company’s hiring timeline and expected next steps.  Network InternallyIf you have contacts within the company or industry, consider reaching out to inquire about hiring status or any updates on your application. Could these people put in a good word for you? Demonstrate Your InterestExpress enthusiasm for the role and the company – they are more likely to prioritize candidates who are genuinely interested in joining their team.  Provide Complete InformationEnsure that your application and resume are complete, with all the relevant information about your skills, experiences, and achievements.  Prepare for AssessmentsIf the hiring process includes tests or assessments, be well prepared to take them promptly when offered. Stay in CommunicationDepending on the timeline the company has provided you, weekly or bi-weekly check-ins let the employer know you are still interested. Look for opportunities to add value in these communications. Keep Them Apprised of Other OffersOnce you have received a job offer from another employer, let the other employer know – but don’t give too much information. This is only necessary if you are still interested in this employer’s opportunity.  Finally…Know When to Cut Your LossesI will never recommend that someone put all their eggs in one basket, so until you have signed an employment agreement, KEEP LOOKING.  If you think you are being ghosted by an employer, you probably are. Don’t burn bridges in this instance – but I DO recommend that you notify the employer that you are pursuing other opportunities.   DIY vs. DFY DIY: If you are managing your job search on your own, the biggest piece of advice I can give you is to keep detailed records. When you submit an application, all communications you send or receive, notes on what was said – these will all help you organize your job search. You can do this via a simple Excel spreadsheet or via an app. I don’t have one I recommend – I find Excel works very well, but you can Google and check them out.  DFY: Although no one is going to do your job search for you, what you may need help with is planning your job search strategy and keeping your thoughts positive throughout the process.  Having an expert in your pocket, not only to plan your strategy but also to help you navigate the inevitable roadblocks and pitfalls along the way, is incredibly helpful in achieving your goals.  If this is something you are interested in learning more about, you can schedule a complimentary consult using this link: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
8/9/202324 minutes, 28 seconds
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282: Project Management 101: What it is, what skills it requires, and how to become one (with Ahmed Wasfy)

Today, I am speaking with Ahmed Wasfy, an engineering manager with such giants as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon. In addition to his day job, he provides coaching services to help managers become effective leaders through his company, the Thriving EM. Ahmed explains the purpose of a project manager, the skills and qualities needed to be an effective project manager, and how to break into the field. We also discuss the PMP – Project Management Professional – designation, and whether that credential is necessary to enter into project management work. You can find Ahmed via his website: https://www.thethrivingem.comOr via Instagram at a1wasfy Exclusively for our listeners, Ahmed is offering a free 30-minute session to show you how to set up your calendar to save 10 hours each week. Just email Ahmed at [email protected] with the subject line: LESA – 10 HOURS BACK      
8/2/202329 minutes, 55 seconds
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281: How Employers Are Using AI in Job Interviews and How to Prepare for an AI Interview

As a reminder, if you are a mid-career high-achiever with the goal of entering the C-suite, let’s talk about my new coaching program, Highly Promotable.  Here’s the link to learn more: https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/highly-promotable Today, we’re talking about how employers are using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in job interviews – and what that means for you as a job seeker.  AI is being used in the interview process via Natural Language Processing (NLP), chatbots, sentiment analysis, facial expression recognition and visual perception, speech recognition, tone analysis, and decision-making.  Let’s start with some definitions:  Artificial intelligence:Computer systems that can perform tasks that normally would require human intelligence. Artificial Intelligence-trained video interviewing technology analyzes facial features, moods, expressions, and intonations of the interviewees to select the most suitable candidates. Speech recognition, personality insights, tone analysis, the relevance of answers, emotional recognition, and psycholinguistics are used in this hiring process that uses technology automation. The best matches are shared with human recruiters along with AI’s own notes on individual candidates. Chatbot:An artificial intelligence feature that is short for “chatterbot.” A chatbot is a software or program that simulates human conversations through voice commands and text chats. Chatbots are used for answering initial questions applicants have and to conduct preliminary “screening” interviews. Immediate feedback may be provided to the candidates.   Natural language processing (NLP):The interaction between humans and computers using natural language. AI’s machine learning skills derive meaning and understanding from language as it is spoken by humans. The most common uses of NLP in the market today include chatbots, personal assistants (such as Siri and Alexa), predictive text, and language translation.   What AI tools are available to employers? There are at least four categories of tools: Video Conferencing ToolsEmployers often use video conferencing tools including Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Google Meet to conduct remote AI job interviews.  AI Powered Interview PlatformsSpecialized platforms like HireVue, Pymetrics, and Mya Systems use AI technology to conduct interviews. These platforms employ natural language processing (NLP) and machine learning algorithms to analyze candidates' responses, assess their skills, and provide insights to employers. Online Assessment PlatformsOnline assessment platforms like TalentScored, eSkill, or CodinGame offer AI-related assessment tests and coding challenges specifically designed for evaluating candidates' AI knowledge, problem-solving abilities, and programming skills. Coding PlatformsFor technical positions, employers may use coding platforms such as HackerRank, Codility, or LeetCode. These platforms allow candidates to write and execute code, solve coding problems, and assess their programming skills.  How should you prepare for an AI interview?  This from Talview.com’s website: “Candidates should prepare for an AI video interview the same way they would for a face-to-face interview. They must know everything there is to know about the company beforehand; look up the company website, Google news, press releases, and understand what the company and the industry are all about.“Candidates can also make a list of questions that they would like to ask their prospective employer. Practice makes perfect when it comes to an AI video interview. Candidates can make a list of expected questions and practice their answers. Once the video interview begins, candidates will not be able to stop, erase, or edit the interview and must, therefore, be prepared well in advance.“On the day of the interview, candidates must dress professionally. Position themselves in a straight-back chair and make sure the camera angle focuses waist up.“Although an AI video interview is recorded, it is for all purposes conducted just as a face-to-face interview would. So, candidates should sell their candidacy based on the company’s needs and let the employer know how they will meaningfully contribute to their organization.“Finally, candidates are asked to keep calm and exude confidence through their body language.” The bottom line is this: There’s nothing new that an AI interview does – it asks the same questions as a human interviewer would. But the deep analysis that goes into the assessment of an interview is beyond human undertaking. The speed, accuracy, and convenience of AI recruitment and AI video interviewing are very valuable. It’s impossible that AI interviews will go off the grid – if anything, we will see an increase in its use. DIY vs DFYI’m going to combine the DIY and the DFY for this episode. If you want to improve your interview skills on your own, I recommend Yoodli – a free site that allows you to respond to the system’s questions or input your own. Yoodli will help you with things like eye contact, use of filler words, and other vocal disrupters.  If you would like human help with your interview preparation, my interview coaching program includes working with Yoodli + 2, 1-hour coaching sessions. In addition to Yoodli’s help, you’ll work with me to develop strategies to approach difficult and behavioral interview questions, such as “What is your greatest weakness?” “Tell me about yourself.” “Tell me about a time when…” 
7/26/202313 minutes, 54 seconds
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280: What You MUST Do in Your Job Search if You Are Pivoting Careers

As a reminder, if you are a mid-career high-achiever with the goal of entering the C-suite, let’s talk about my new coaching program, Highly Promotable. Here’s the link to learn more: https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/highly-promotable Let’s start today’s topic with my definition of a career pivot: Think basketball. If you aren’t dribbling the ball, you have to keep one foot on the floor at all times. So then, a career pivot is keeping one foot in either your current industry or job function, while pivoting out of the other. Some examples: -Pivoting out of human resources into marketing while remaining in the CPG (Consumer Product Goods) industry -Pivoting out of manufacturing and into CPG while remaining in accounting  The alternative is a Career Reinvention, which involves moving out of both your industry and your job function. I don’t recommend this unless absolutely necessary, because it often means starting over at or near the bottom. You could consider a two-step pivot, which achieves the same goal as a Career Reinvention but may allow you to stay at or near your current level. Some examples: -You want to move out of marketing and into operations. To be more marketable, you stick with your current industry – tech – to make this move. However, your ultimate goal is to be in real estate operations, so you look for an employer who might be able to make that happen down the road. -Your ultimate goal is to move from non-profit operations management into for-profit sales of something that leverages your passion for animal welfare (this is the type of non-profit you work in). You initially look for an operations role in the for-profit sector, say in a company that makes high-quality animal feed or products – with the goal of moving into sales as you learn the business and become a known quantity with your employer. Now, what do you need to do in your job search if you are pivoting careers?  You need to know what you are pivoting to. You MUST have a new job goal in mind so that your marketing materials can be tailored accordingly. It is not enough to know you are moving out of, say, CPG or accounting, but also what you are moving TO.  You need a transferable skills resume. This is a more difficult proposition than writing a linear resume, so I highly recommend getting help with a transferable skills resume. This entails understanding the skills you’ve developed in your current industry and job function – and how those skills translate into your new industry or job function. You can’t expect the employer or the ATS to intuit this – it has to be explicit on your resume.  You need to understand the issues and vocabulary. In addition to understanding your new industry or job function for the resume, you also need to “talk the talk” for the interview. You don’t want to come across as a know-it-all – they KNOW you don’t know it all – but rather show that you have enough interest and intelligence to have done your homework. If it is a new industry, what are the major issues of that industry? Who are the competitors, and where does the company you are interviewing with rank? If it is a new job function, have you completed a certification or done other coursework/training in that function? It is not enough to SAY you are interested in this new job function – you need to show evidence of your interest. It’s also a great idea to speak with people in the new industry or job function to get the real story about what you’re getting into.  You can’t rely on job boards.  To be clear: I don’t want ANY candidates to rely solely on job boards. However, when you are pivoting, you simply CAN’T. When you are pivoting, you will always be in the middle third of the pile of applicants, even with a world-class resume like the ones I write. The reason? The top third will be populated with people who have industry AND job function experience; the bottom third will be populated with people who have neither. You’ll be in the middle. What’s the solution to move further up the candidate pile? Two things: -+1 approach – doing one thing in addition to just applying online like everyone else. -Networking. You want to get facetime with decision-makers who can see you as a dimensional professional with the qualities they are looking for. Top companies recognize that, in most instances, they can train you on the industry and the job function – but not on qualities such as motivation and fit with company mission.  DIY vs. DFY DIY I’m not going to talk about DIY’ing your resume as a pivoter, because I don’t think you should attempt this. So let’s talk about how to DIY your decision process for what industry or job function you want to pivot to. This is the time to take a step back and reflect on your career thus far – what, specifically, have you enjoyed /not liked about your previous positions? What do you want to leave behind, carry forward, do more of? What are your Motivated Skills and Burnout Skills? AI can help you here – ask ChatGPT some questions about various occupations or industries. Also, informational interviews can be extremely helpful. I also recommend signing up for my five-day course, “Professional Purpose,” here: https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/free-resources  DFY What might a career coach, such as myself, do to help you plan your pivot? -Self-assessments, along with expertise in helping you understand your results and their application to your decision -Assigning homework, such as informational interviews (as well as helping you know HOW to conduct an info interview, and with whom) -Coaching you to come to the best decision for you – not advice, but rather guiding you through the decision-making process with coaching skills and expertise If you would like to schedule a complimentary consult with me to discuss career coaching, here’s the link to my calendar: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
7/19/202321 minutes, 17 seconds
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279: Five Cool Tools on LinkedIn You Probably Don't Know About

As a reminder, if you are a mid-career high-achiever with the goal of entering the C-suite, let’s talk about my new coaching program, Highly Promotable.  Here’s the link to learn more: https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/highly-promotable Today, I want to share some tools on LinkedIn that many people I speak with aren’t aware of.   The Advanced Search Function If you are looking for a specific person, preferably someone with a unique name, you can probably use the search bar to find him or her. However, let’s say you are looking for Susan Smith. I just did this search, and I got 13,000 results.  How do you find the right Susan Smith? By using the Advanced Search function. Here’s how to access: -Go to “My Network” in the navigation bar -Click on “Connections” in the box on the left. This will bring up all your connections. -Click on “Search with Filters” then “All Filters.” You then have the option to create searches to help you find the right Susan Smith. You can put her name in + something else you know about her – I find that putting in the university she attended tends to be the most reliable.  The Advanced Search function also works when you are trying to find someone with a specific job title whose name you don’t know. For example, the VP of Marketing for ABC Company.   Having a Differentiating, On-Brand Background LinkedIn has a standard background of shades of grey. Here are three options for changing your background: -Use a royalty-free photo site, such as pixabay.com, to find a background that is on-brand. When I am doing this for my clients, I select four photos and try each one on for how it looks with LI’s size restrictions and the fact that the client’s head will be in the bottom left-hand corner of the photo.  -Create a highly differentiating background using Canva. If you are familiar with this desktop publishing tool, you’ll need to set your size to 1584 X 396 pixels, or 16.499 X 4.125 inches. Canva allows you to include such things as a branding statement. You can use one of Canva’s backgrounds or import a picture of your company or product.  -Combine the two by using a stock photo from pixabay or another site uploaded into Canva. You can then add whatever text or art elements you wish.   Add Featured Content First off, let me say what I DON’T want you to put in your Featured Content section – your resume. This allows employers to access a version of your resume that has NOT been customized for the position they are hiring for, putting you at a disadvantage. It is better to have a robust LI profile that draws them in, then they can reach out to you for your resume (which you can then customize).  If you don’t already have content in your Featured section, you’ll need to add that section by going to the top box of your profile (where your picture and headline area) and click on “Add Profile Section.”  What might you want to include in this section? Here are some possibilities: -Information about your employer or products/services -News releases about your employer or products/services -A video you’ve created to introduce yourself – whether to potential employers or potential customers -A helpful, downloadable resource (I have my How to Assess Resume Writers on my profile) -A link to a podcast you’ve been featured on -A sample of your work You can have multiple items in your Featured section, but know that only three will be visible. You can manipulate this section to show the three you choose.   Leveraging Your Connections’ Connections I tell clients about this all the time, and almost no one has thought about this. It utilizes the Advanced Search function.  Let’s say you are connected to me on LinkedIn and you want to “mine” my contacts. Go into the Advanced Search function and click “All Filters.” -Change 1st connections to 2nd connections. -In the box “Connections of” add the person’s name whose contacts you wish to mine.  -Add whatever other criteria you wish; otherwise you’ll get ALL their connections. You might want to add a company name, industry, job title, or geographic location.  If you want to add these people to your connections, I recommend a customized message that goes something like this: John, Hello! I see we’re both connected to Susan Smith – let’s connect!   Private Mode In general, I want you to be visible to the people whose sites you are visiting – but there are times when you want to go into stealth mode.  Most often, this is helpful when you want to sneak around privately before deciding who you want to connect with.  To go into Private Mode: -Click on your thumbnail in the upper right corner of your navigation bar -Click on “Settings and Privacy”  -Click on “Visibility” in the box on the left -Click on “Profile Viewing Options” and switch to “Private Mode” -Remember to change back when you’re done  DIY vs. DFY DIY If you want to update your LinkedIn profile yourself, here is my #1 tip, which I’m going to yell in all caps: DON’T CUT AND PASTE YOUR RESUME INTO LINKEDIN. Your LinkedIn profile should be written in first person and sound as if you are telling your story to someone over a cup of coffee. Less “businessy” than your resume and more conversational. Even a drop of humor here and there is okay.  You have the opportunity to show personality, tell some background (not just the what but also some of the how), and show evidence of your motivation level on LinkedIn. Do it!   DFY If you either don’t have the time or the skill set to write an outstanding LinkedIn profile for yourself, you may want to consider hiring someone like me to do it for you.  Here are the benefits: -An unbiased perspective on you and your strengths -Knowledge of how to attract recruiters and/or buyers to you (SEO) -The ability to write in a compelling story-telling manner -The time you’ll save in writing and rewriting (and rewriting) -If you desire, training on how to optimize LI for your goals
7/12/202321 minutes, 50 seconds
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278: What Role Should Job Boards Play in Your Job Search - and Which Sites are Best?

Today, we’re talking about the role that job boards should play in your job search, as well as the most used/best job sites. As I have said repeatedly on this podcast, 1) job boards should NEVER be the only strategy you are using in your job search, and 2) the amount of time you should spend on job boards depends on the of the position you are seeking. As a reminder: -Just out of college: 25% active, 75% job boards and other passive activities -Mid-career: 50%/50% -Senior/executive level: No more than 25% job boards (if any) I’ve also frequently talked about my “+1” approach, meaning you should do one more thing in addition to just applying online. Here’s why: When you apply online, you are going to the most crowded place possible and trying to get noticed. The analogy I use is you are in a large auditorium that is completely full, and you are trying to get the attention of the people on stage. It’s very difficult to be seen. The +1 approach involves finding someone in your network who can advocate for you, reaching out to someone connected to the job and/or the company to let them know you’ve applied, or making direct contact with the hiring manager. I covered the +1 approach in episode #132: https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-02-02-212-the-1-approach-to-job-boards  As we talk about how to use job boards, keep in mind that there are general boards, niche job boards, and industry-specific job boards. Here are my favorite sites: General Job Boards IndeedLinkedIn JobsGlassdoorCareerBuilderMonsterZip Recruiter  Niche Job Boards:Behance.net (for creatives, by Adobe)Idealist (for non-profits and social impact)CrunchBoard (for startups and tech companies)FlexJobs (for remote and flexible work)USAJobs (for federal government jobs)Dice (for IT professionals)  Industry-Specific Job Boards: eFinancial Careers (finance and banking)Mediabistro (media and publishing)Oilandgasjobsearch (energy industry)JournalismJobs (media and journalism)  To bottom-line it for you: Unless you are just out of college, your job search SHOULD NOT depend primarily on job boards, but rather a robust combination of active and passive strategies that are specifically chosen to achieve your career goals.  DIY vs. DFY DIY: For those of you who are managing your job search on your own, here is my #1 tip: Map out a strategy. Decide which job search tactics you will engage in – you shouldn’t have just one tactic, nor should you be trying so many things that you’re not doing any of them well. Once you’ve decided on the tactics you want to take, next map out your specific action steps and calendar them in. I talked about this in episode #258:http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-01-25-258-how-to-organize-your-job-search-time-to-optimize-your-results I talked about active vs. passive job search strategies in episode #30: https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2019-01-16-030-active-vs-passive-job-search-strategies  DFY: If you would like help in planning and executing a targeted, proactive job search strategy that is customized to your career goals, timeline, and strengths, you can schedule a 1-hour coaching session with me. You’ll leave with a master plan for your job search that will get results! The Job Search Strategy Hour is $450; email me at [email protected] to schedule!   
7/5/20230
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277: Behavioral Interview Questions Don't Come Out of Thin Air - How to Know What You're Going to Be Asked

Hey – I’m taking the next two weeks off for a summer vacation. I’ll be back as usual on July 5th.  If you listened last week, you know that I’ve implemented a DIY vs. DFY segment at the end of each podcast. Be sure to stick around! Today, I want to talk about behavioral interview questions. Specifically, where do they come from? How can you know what you’re going to be asked so you can prepare appropriate CARL stories?  The answer to these questions begins with the job description – if the recruiter or your contact doesn’t provide you with this, be sure to ask for one.  Next, read the job description. Carefully. Underline or otherwise pull out the keywords the employer is looking for. For example: -Strong verbal and written communication skills -Experience in project management -Ability to juggle multiple responsibilities simultaneously -Experience in a fast-paced environment -Ability to manage conflict  Your next step is to come up with a CARL story that would illustrate your ability in each of these areas. As a reminder: C – Challenge  A – Action R – Result L – Lessons learned (or skill demonstrated)   Before you wrap up your CARL stories, think further about the position you will be interviewing for. Other than what’s in the job description, what other skills or competencies might be reasonably expected of someone in this role?  Here are some examples: -A time when you had to manage a team that was underperforming -A time when you had to manage your relationship with your boss -A time when you failed -A time when you had a particularly difficult customer service situation to manage -A time when you had a conflict with a coworker   I recommend outlining your CARL stories, then practicing. If you have at least 10 stories, you should be covered no matter what the interviewer asks you.   DIY vs. DFY Segment In need of some sample behavioral interview questions? You can access an extensive list of behavioral and other interview questions here: https://bit.ly/interviewcoachingguide When do you want to hire a coach to help you with your interview skills? I consider three factors: When the bar is very high, when you know your skills are below average, and/or when you are so concerned about some aspect of your work experience that it is overshadowing your ability to properly prepare for the interview. Examples might include a lengthy gap in employment, frequent job changes, or a recent termination.  My interview coaching program involves two, one-hour sessions. We spend approximately 20 minutes in character as interviewer and interviewee; the remainder of the hour is spent analyzing your performance and developing strategies for improvement.  The second session is structured exactly the same, and this is where the confidence shoots up as you hear yourself improving, I give you feedback to that effect, and you have the opportunity to compare your performance in both interviews via the recordings I provide you.  If you would like to schedule a consult with me about my interview coaching program, click here: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
6/14/202314 minutes, 3 seconds
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276: A Look Inside My Coaching Practice

There is a change to my podcast starting with this episode. I will begin offering a segment at the end of episodes called “DIY vs. DFY” – Do iI Yourself vs. Done For You. This segment will tie into the podcast episode whenever possible and offer 1) a top tip or resource for those of you who want to tackle that episode’s subject on your own, and 2) a service or program for those of you who would like help. So stay tuned to the end! This week, I wanted to give you a peek inside my coaching practice…to pull the curtain back, Wizard of Oz-style. Sure, I mention the various things I do with clients throughout episodes, but I’ve never given you the full tour. Here we go. My practice began as a resume writing service once I got my initial resume writing certification back in 2009. At that time, my business was called LEK Consultants. Previous to that, I had LEK Presentations while I was still working in higher education, focused on providing training programs for companies, higher education, and non-profit organizations. Along the way, I became a Certified Executive & Leadership Development Coach (CELDC), a Certified Job Search Strategist (CJSS), and a Master Resume Writer (MRW). My practice expanded with a full slate of coaching services, with the goal of being a full-service career coaching practice. So what are those services? And how do I charge for these services? The “inner circle” of my practice is in service to clients who are in job transition. First of all, I determine where the client is in their career – Early Career is within about seven years of graduating from college; CareerSpring is my sweet spot, folks who are mid-career; Executive is folks at the VP or C level.  At each of these levels, I offer three packages: Document Package: Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn profile Document & Coaching Package: Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn profile + 3, 1-hour coaching sessions VIP Package: Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn profile + 6, 1-hour coaching sessions + 6, 30-minute Accountability & Support calls  The next “rung” of Exclusive Career Coaching is coaching for people who aren’t looking to change jobs or employers in the immediate future. Rather, they are dealing with something in their career that they know they need help with. Here are some recent examples of clients I’ve worked with: -A Senior Manager who is now managing a large team and dealing with politics in a way she never has before -The senior-most female executive in a male-dominated company and industry who is being told to act “more like a man” and is understandably confused by the mixed messages -A project manager managing a $1B infrastructure project in Canada who has been told his micromanagement is hindering his chances for upward mobility with his employer -A woman in banking who is seeing younger employees pass her by. She’s become very negative in her thinking and has been “phoning in” her work.  For these complex issues, I typically recommend a 12-session coaching package. We typically meet every other week for six months – this is sufficient time to really move the needle in their area(s) of concern. As I mentioned last week, I have just begun a very structured program called Highly Promotable – for people whose goal it is to land in the C-suite. This program involves a 360-degree assessment, 10, 1-hour coaching sessions + 2, 90-minute mega sessions at the beginning and as we wrap up, + follow-up sessions at 45 days and 6 months. The Highly Promotable is for mid-career professionals who want to land in the C-suite. They have either identified an area that is holding them back, been given feedback of an area they need to work on, or just want to optimize their chances for rapid promotability. Using the 360 feedback, the client and I determine 1) an area of strength that we will intentionally and strategically leverage over the six months we work together to make it a signature strength, and 2) a developmental area that, with that same intentionality and strategy, could become a strength. There will be homework between each session, such as reading, listening to podcasts, talking with specific people, or implementing specific strategies at work.  DIY vs. DFY SegmentWelcome to DIY vs. DFY! For those of you who want to improve in an area of your job by yourself, here’s a resource for you – and it’s around goal-setting for the area you want to improve. Here’s where most people go wrong with goal-setting: they aren’t creating SMART goals. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. Here’s an example: Let’s say you have identified public speaking as an area you want to improve on. A SMART goal might look like this:I will identify, sign up for, and participate in three public speaking opportunities by the end of 2023. Once you’ve identified that SMART goal, chunk it down into bite-sized pieces and calendar those steps in. You’ll need time to identify potential opportunities, time to prepare your presentations, time to practice, time to actually deliver the presentation, and possible follow-up time. You may also want to measure your improvement in public speaking as you make these presentations: Will it be from participant satisfaction surveys? Will you have mentors in the audience to give you feedback? Could you have the presentations taped for you to review?  Now for DFY. In our example above, you can’t hire someone to do the presentations for you, but you can engage with a coach who specializes in public speaking. You can expect this coach to help you with your topic, fleshing out your talking points, coaching you on your delivery and how to make your presentation more engaging, and even how to overcome your fear of public speaking through thought work. BOTTOM LINE: Here’s how I like to think of DIY vs. DFY – what is my investment vs. what is the potential payoff? For example, if I have to give a presentation this fall that could make or break my career – there’s a lot at stake, so a coach would probably be the best idea. Also, if I know my public speaking skills are really terrible, then a coach would be the best idea to make real progress fast. If, on the other hand, I’m already pretty good at public speaking and just need opportunities to present so I can demonstrate my strength in this area, I may not need a speaking coach.  If you are a high-achieving professional with the goal of landing in the C-suite, the Highly Promotable coaching program may be just the ticket! This 1:1 program is targeted to strategically leverage one of your strengths to become a signature strength, and move the needle on one of your developmental areas so it becomes a strength.  This is a high four-figure investment in your professional future! If this sounds like just what you need, schedule a complimentary introductory call to determine if you are a fit for Highly Promotable:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call    
6/7/202325 minutes, 50 seconds
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275: How to Develop a List of Target Employers

Link to schedule an introductory call for Highly Promotable: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/highly-promotable-introductory-call  With so many people job searching right now, I wanted to do a deep dive on a particular aspect of the job search. But first, let me set the stage. When it comes to networking, many of you engage in what I call “The Tommy Gun Approach” – spray everyone you can think of with the information about what you are looking for, followed by “If you think of anything, let me know.” While there’s nothing wrong with this approach, a more effective tool is what I call “The Bow-and-Arrow Approach.” This is a more strategic approach to networking that begins with the end in mind. For some reason, I always think of the Wizard of Oz here…you know you want to get to the wizard, so what’s the first step you need to take to get to him? In Bow-and-Arrow networking, you are setting up strategic meetings with people who can get you successively closer to the decision maker…The Wizard. This Bow-and-Arrow approach starts with you knowing where you want to work. I’ve talked in previous episodes about how to profile your ideal employer, so I won’t go into detail here, other than to say it is SO important that you know what you are looking for in your ideal company. Otherwise, how will you know if you’ve found it? What might be important to you in a company?-Location/Commute-Size-Number of employees-Revenue-Product or service-Mission-Reputation-Culture And there are many others. You won’t likely find a company that meets your criteria for everything, so you want to select your top 3-5; I call these your non-negotiables. Everything else is just gravy – or, as I call them, Wouldn’t It Be Nice. Once you’ve identified your non-negotiables, your next step is to create a list of about 25 employers that MIGHT meet your criteria. I say MIGHT because, at this point, you haven’t done in-depth research on these companies yet. Meaning: If you think they MIGHT be a fit, put them on your list. If you KNOW they don’t mesh with one of your non-negotiables, DON’T put them on your list. How do you come up with this list?-Top-of-mind-Where friends/family work-In the news (for positive reasons)-Competitors-Chamber of Commerce directory-Google-Who’s in hiring mode? (check things like LI) Once you’ve created an initial list of about 25 employers, now it is time to do more in-depth research to narrow your list down to about 10-12 Ideal Employers. I recommend you create a rating system using your top 3-5 criteria – you can do this in Excel or whatever way works best for you. Your next step is to create “tiers” within your 10-12 Ideal Employers. Look for natural demarcations or just put an even number of companies in each of three tiers – it’s up to you. You also get to decide how you will approach each tier. For example, you might choose to find three contacts who are connected to each of your Top Tier employers and try to set up face-to-face meetings. For your second tier, you might choose to find one contact for each. For your third tier, you might choose to keep an eye on them, look for openings, and watch out for news about the company that would either move them up or out of your list. With at least your top tier, you then want to figure out how to get your foot in the door with each company. Who do you know who works there AND knows the decision maker? Who do you know who either works there OR knows the decision maker? Who do you know that knows a lot of people? (I call these people Centers of Influence) This is where you begin speaking with people. Remember, until you reach the decision maker, you aren’t asking anyone to give you a job – you are asking for an introduction. Do your homework on LI before the meeting and have a specific ask – this gives the other person some concrete way to help you AND gives you something specific to follow up on.  Are you wondering why your job search hasn’t been as successful as you expected? Grab a copy of “Five Things Derailing Your Job Search” here: https://bit.ly/6thingsderailingjobsearch   
5/31/202327 minutes, 32 seconds
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274: How to Research an Employer Before a Job Interview

Today, we’re talking about researching an employer who has sought you out for an interview. However, it is important to research employers BEFORE you apply for a job. Here’s the alternative scenario: You see a job posted online and it looks perfect for you. You’ve never heard of the company, but you apply anyway. Soon, they reach out to schedule an interview. In preparation for the interview, you begin to research the company – only to find that their business practices, lack of commitment to DEI, lack of environmental consciousness, or financial woes throw up a red flag. So you decide you definitely DON’T want to work at the company, but you agree to the interview “for practice.” BAD IDEA – after all, you aren’t likely to get any feedback on your interview, so the only thing you’ve practiced is how you THINK you should answer their questions. Instead, I want you to do your research BEFORE applying to the company. By the way, I talked about all aspects of preparing for a job interview in episode #176: https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-05-05-176-how-to-really-prepare-for-the-job-interview In that episode, I covered these general areas for research prior to a job interview:            -Research the company            -Research the company culture            -Research the industry            -Research the product or service the company provides Where should you look for this information? What should you be looking for? How do you analyze the information you garner to make a decision as to whether you should apply to that company?  Let’s start with where to research and what to look for.  While I think the company website can be useful, I find it most helpful in answering questions around the products and/or services the company provides, divisions of the organization, corporate structure, etc. If I want to find out about company culture, I recommend glassdoor – and possibly reaching out to former employees of the company via LinkedIn. If I want to find out about the industry the company is in and its competitors, I would look in the Wall Street Journal, industry journals, Wikipedia (one of my favorite resources), and public library resources such as Data Axle (formerly ReferenceUSA). Specifically, I am looking for the company’s major competitors, where this company stacks up (is it #1 or a smaller player?), and what this company’s brand differentiators are (in other words, what are its unique attributes?). While I can find out information about the company’s products and/or services from its website, I’ll need to look elsewhere to learn about the product and/or service classes it is in. In other words, it’s great that I know how many widgets company X makes every year and how they distribute them – but if I don’t know what a widget is and what it does, that information isn’t of much use to me.  How do I analyze the information I gain?  There are no right or wrong answers here – you are simply holding the company’s qualities up against what is most important to you. Here are some things my clients are frequently concerned about in potential employers: -Is the company in an industry I want to work in and/or have experience in? Is that industry viable right now? -Can I get on board with the products and/or services the company makes? Are they in harmony with my beliefs and values? -Is the company in growth mode, or are there signs the company is in financial distress? -Does the company’s mission and vision resonate with me – and have I found evidence that they “walk the talk?” -Is the company’s size and lifecycle phase a good fit for me? What about number of employees, revenue? Is it a private company or public? -What is the company culture – and how does that fit with what I am looking for? -Where is the company located geographically and am I willing to move there? If the company is nearby, what do I think about my daily commute? If I want a remote or hybrid job, what does the company offer in that regard? -What else is really important to me in my next employer – and how does this company measure up? Are there things I can’t evaluate until I am in the interview stage – such as how I connect with my potential boss – and what, specifically, will I want to find out at that stage?  To wrap up, there is much research you can do before ever applying for a position. I’m not suggesting you go into hours of research upfront, but certainly 15-30 minutes of research will keep you from applying for jobs you ultimately wouldn’t be interested in. When you get to the interview phase, you’ll want to do even more research as you develop your questions for the interviewers; I covered this topic in episode #85: https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2019-06-26-085-developing-your-questions-to-ask-the-interviewer Next week, I will be talking about how to develop your list of target employers, which will lean heavily on the research we’ve talked about in this episode.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
5/24/202316 minutes, 45 seconds
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273: Here's a Key Quality Employers Interview For

I’m leaning heavily on an article from cnbc.com by Claire Hughes Johnson entitled “I was VP at Google for 10 years. Here’s the No. 1 skill I looked for at job interviews—very few people had it” According to research references by Claire, 95% of people think they have this quality, but only 10% to 15% actually do. What is this important, yet rare, quality? Self-awareness. Here’s a quote from the article: “Sure, your experience and skills matter, but they can be learned. And when someone is highly self-aware, they’re more motivated to learn because they’re honest about what they need to work on. They also relate better to their colleagues and managers.”One way the author checked for self-awareness during job interviews when she was a VP at Google was to pay attention to two words: “I” and “we.” Too much “I” is an indication that the candidate may not be humble or collaborative, and too much “we” may obscure the role the candidate played in the situation. There needs to be a balance between “I” and “we” language.She also would ask the candidate what his or her colleagues would say about them. If the response is only good things, she would probe as to what constructive feedback they have received. Then she would ask “And what have you done to improve in that area?” to see if they took the feedback to heart and made improvements.  How do you know if you are not self-aware? Here are some telltale signs:-You consistently get feedback that you disagree with. This doesn’t mean the feedback is accurate, but it does tell you that how others perceive you differs from how you perceive yourself.-You often feel frustrated and annoyed because you don’t agree with your team’s direction or decisions. This is likely because you aren’t aware of how you are presenting your ideas or how your ideas may be perceived. It may also indicate that you tend to disagree with ideas that aren’t yours.-You feel drained at the end of the day and can’t pinpoint why. Self-awareness helps you to focus on the things you both enjoy and are good at (Motivated Skills), minimize the time you spend on activities that don’t play to your strengths, and have the proper mindset when you have to engage in Burnout Skills. -You can’t describe what kinds of work you do and don’t enjoy doing. Engaging in your Motivated Skills and minimizing the use of your Burnout Skills allows you to do more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t – it has to start there.  How to Build Self-Awareness1.    Understand your values. Knowing what is important to you, what gives you energy, and what steals your energy will help you make sense of how you work.With these insights, you will be able to express your values and understand when they are at odds with one another, or with someone else’s values. 2.    Identify your work style. Take a few weeks to write down the moments when you feel like you are reaching new heights in your work or hitting new lows – you’ll start to see patterns.If you have trouble trusting your own instincts, ask someone whose judgment you respect: “When have you seen me do my best and worst work?” 3.    Analyze your skills and capabilities. In an interview setting, you should be able to speak confidently about your strengths and weaknesses. Ask yourself these questions:“What can I do really well and really enjoy doing?” Which skills do you have, and which do you need to build on? What are my Motivated Skills? Conversely, “What skills am I good at, but don’t enjoy using?” These are your Burnout Skills, and you want to minimize the time you spend doing these things. “What is an area I have the capacity to move the needle on, and how can I move that needle?” This is not a weakness, but rather an emerging strength you would like to turn into a signature strength.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
5/17/202318 minutes, 12 seconds
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272: According to a Harvard Expert, This is the #1 Most Desirable Trait Employers Look For

I found this article from Heidi K. Gardner, Ph.D., who has discovered through more than a decade of teaching and research at Harvard’s business and law schools that people who figured out how to collaborate across teams gained a major competitive edge over those who did not. Dr. Gardner also discovered just how rare collaboration skills are. A 2021 McKinsey study found that collaboration skills are surprisingly rare, especially among men. The study found that women leaders, compared with men at the same level, were about twice as likely to spend substantial time on collaborative efforts that fell outside their formal job. What exactly is collaboration? The act of bringing people together to solve problems. In my practice, my clients are stressing the importance of cross-functional collaboration – being able to work with people from accounting, HR, marketing, sales, operations – to address complex, nuanced challenges and develop creative solutions. Why are collaboration skills so important in today’s work force? Research shows that collaborators: -Deliver higher quality results-Get promoted faster-Are more noticed by senior management-Have more satisfied clients  What are the aspects of being an exceptional collaborator? 1.    Be an inclusive leader. Whether you are in a leadership position or not, do what you can to bring diverse people together – and be sure to be inclusive in your diversity. What does that mean? Different knowledge domains, different backgrounds, different ages and life experiences, different educational backgrounds, different cultures, different personality types, different strengths.  2.    Show appreciation and acknowledgment.  A study by Harvard Business School professor Boris Groysberg found that workers, especially men, often take their professional networks for granted. Acknowledge those who have helped you get where you are and show appreciation for those you’ve collaborated with. Give credit where credit is due – and never, ever throw anyone under the bus for underperforming.  3.    Ask for help. Whatever your role is in an organization, it is likely that reaching out across the organization for different insights and perspectives will make your final product better. Collaboration doesn’t have to be a large group – you could collaborate with one person from another department to greatly improve your report, project, or whatever you are working on. 1:1 collaboration can also be a great way to form strong business relationships with people you might not otherwise get to know in any depth. Remember to credit those who helped you.  4.    Crowdsource. Give people a way to contribute – and learn along the way – without having to be a part of every team. Utilize Slack or other messaging tools to spur virtual collaborations, knowledge sharing, and knowledge distribution.  5.    Share data streams. Scorecards and dashboards are powerful tools that allow you to measure progress against the goals you’ve set, create a sense of positive peer pressure as outcomes can be compared, and make critical information accessible. This is never done in a punitive manner; having said that, data is data. Of course, some data should not be shared, so make what can be accessible, accessible.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
5/10/202318 minutes, 46 seconds
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271: How to Focus on the Right Things at Work

This week, I want to talk about how to focus on the right things at work, using Stephen Covey’s Four Quadrants.  At its essence, the Four Quadrants is about time management. If you’re anything like me, you’ve had it up to your eyeballs with articles, speakers, and social media posts about how to manage your time better.  So, let’s not go there.  Instead, let’s think about the Four Quadrants as a tool to manage our ACTIVITIES better – so we are focusing on the right things to get the results we are held accountable for achieving.  My challenge for you in this area is this: After listening to this episode, decide to make a small – but significant shift – in one of the quadrants. A shift that will yield substantial results in terms of your productivity.  The Four Quadrants For the uninitiated – or as a refresher - here are the four quadrants: Quadrant I – Urgent & Important  Quadrant II – Not Urgent but Important Quadrant III – Urgent but Not Important Quadrant IV – Not Urgent & Not Important  Let’s get specific.  Quadrant I is the Quadrant of Necessity – things you need to do immediately. While these things are Urgent & Important, living in this quadrant tends to lead to burnout and takes time away from doing things that are Important but not Urgent.  Examples:Resolving crises/Putting out firesPressing problemsProjects with deadlines  Quadrant II is the Quadrant of Quality – this is where you do important things that lead to real success and long-term viability for your company and yourself. The best way to ensure you are spending an appropriate amount of time in Quadrant II is to calendar these activities in and keep track of what you are doing.  Examples:Relationship-building/NetworkingPlanning/PreparationPreventionEmpowerment  Quadrant III is the Quadrant of Deception – the key here is to recognize that these tasks don’t need to be done right away and may even be delegated. These tasks may seem important in the moment because of their urgency, but they aren’t. The challenge is not allowing someone else’s urgency to become yours – especially if it is due to the other person’s procrastination.  Examples:InterruptionsSome phone callsSome mailSome reportsSome meetings  Quadrant IV is the Quadrant of Waste – activities that aren’t urgent or important. You want to minimize the time you spend in Quadrant IV at all costs. Examples:Busy workSome phone callsSome mailTime wasters  So, how do you figure out where the shift needs to take place? Step one is to take an honest look at how you are currently spending your time at work. Some of you may do very similar things each day, so evaluating how you spend your time could be as simple as tracking your activities for one day. Others of you may have a wide variety of tasks based on the day of the week, time of the month, quarter of the year, or other variables – so you’ll need to evaluate how you spend your time over a longer period of time.  I thought I would use myself as an example – and yes, I’ll let you know the shift I will be making as a result of this exercise.   Quadrant 1 – Urgent & ImportantWriting my client’s resumes, cover letters, and LI profiles – 10 hours/weekCoaching calls with clients/Consults with prospective clients – 12 hours/weekWriting and producing this podcast each week – 2 hours/weekResponding to emails from clients, prospective clients, etc – 2 hours/weekIn-processing new clients – 1 hour/weekSunday preparation for the coming week – 1 hour/weekMeeting with my VA and my coach – 1 hour/weekTOTAL: 19 hours/week  Quadrant II – Not Urgent but ImportantAttending SHRM meetings - 2 hours/monthAttending Ellevate meetings – 2 hours/weekOther professional development – 2 hours/monthNetworking via LI, Fairygodboss – 2 hours/monthBudget management – 1 hour/weekPlanning for business growth & expansion including new programs – 4 hours/weekTOTAL: about 7 hours/week  Quadrant III – Urgent but Not ImportantI can’t think of anything I do that falls in this category  Quadrant IV – Not Urgent & Not ImportantGoing down a rabbit hole with unimportant emails – not much time, but should avoid this altogether – 2 hours/week  Here’s what I learned from this exercise: I spend the vast majority of my time in Quadrant I, which can lead to burnout.  I get tremendous satisfaction from planning for the growth of my company, as well as networking – yet I let the Quadrant I activities overtake Quadrant II activities.  I am committing to carving out an additional two hours/week to engage in planning, program development, and business growth.  My question to you is this: What one change will you make that has the potential for a tremendous ROI in your productivity – job satisfaction – results? Let me know!    Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
5/3/202316 minutes, 39 seconds
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270: The Signs Your Company is Likely to Do a Reduction in Force (RIF) - and How to Be Prepared

I talked in episode #268 about leading through a reduction in force – today I want to talk about the signs that your company might be about to do a RIF – and how to be prepared. Here’s the link to episode #268: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-04-12-268-leading-through-a-reduction-in-force-rif  Let’s talk about the preparation piece first. I’ve talked on this podcast numerous times about ARFO – Always Ready For Opportunity. If you take that approach, your resume, LinkedIn profile, qualifications, and job search plan are always up to date and ready to go at a moment’s notice. If you haven’t updated your resume or LI profile lately, that should be a first step. Are there any credentials or qualifications you need to get or renew, or training you need to make you more competitive? Get that training. The thing I most hate to see is when clients are either not seeing the handwriting on the wall – or are blissfully choosing to ignore it. You don’t want to be caught flat-footed when the pink slips start coming – nor do you want to be at the back of the line for available opportunities at other companies in your industry and field. Whether you see RIFs on the horizon or not, updating your marketing materials, ensuring your credentials and education are competitive, and having a job search strategy in place is always a good idea, because you just never know. Another aspect of ARFO is keeping your network current and active. The best practice is to spend a small amount of time on a regular basis maintaining your network. If you haven’t done that, you’ll need to allot a larger amount of time to revitalize your networking efforts. What are the signs your company may be planning a significant reduction in force? 1.    Key projects and assignments going to someone else. 2.    Nonessential perks start being cut. 3.    New products, initiatives, or expansions are being put on the back burner. 4.    The budget is under a microscope, such as heightened scrutiny on expense reimbursements, additional procedures for purchase approvals, or targeted or across-the-board budget cuts. 5.    There’s a merger or acquisition – creating duplicate positions. 6.    You’re being kept out of the loop and in the dark. 7.    Executives seem more stressed out than usual, and communication dries up.  These are indicators that you need to start looking elsewhere immediately: 1.    Your company is bleeding money – missing revenue targets for successive quarters. 2.    The essential budgets are being cut to the bone, like sales & marketing. 3.    There is a hiring freeze. 4.    There is a mass exodus, often without any notice, from the c-suite and other key executives. Especially when the exodus includes top performers. 5.    There’s talk of restructuring the company. 6.    There has already been at least one round of layoffs. 7.    Your boss or HR is suddenly interested in the specifics of your job duties – perhaps even asking you to write them down. 8.    You’re getting locked out of files or not included in emails.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2    
4/26/202315 minutes, 57 seconds
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269: The Perfection Loop & How to Counter it

Once again, I am pulling from the book “Leading with Emotional Intelligence” by Reldan Nadler. In his book, Nadler talks about “The Perfection Loop” – the fact that success-driven people often set unrealistic goals that set them up for failure or frustration.  There are three reasons for setting unrealistic goals: 1.    The expectations are set without the benefit of critical thinking 2.    Once the unrealistic expectations are set, they aren’t revisited for their accuracy or realism 3.    The unrealistic expectations are adhered to as the Golden Rule  Six Stages of the Perfection Loop 1.    Perfection is set as an expectation 2.    Stress, pressure, and possibly procrastination going into the task 3.    A less-than-expected performance 4.    You are On Your Case, and on others’ cases Here’s the link to the episode I did on Being On Your Side vs. Being On Your Case:http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2023-03-29-266-self-confidence-being-on-your-side-vs-being-on-your-case 5.    You become less confident about yourself and your team 6.    You determine to do better next time  When you recognize that you are in a perfection loop, you can begin to see how unproductive it is, understand how you created the loop, and determine what you need to change to get different results.    Here are some indicators that you are in a perfection loop: -Your “planning” is actually worrying -Your “preparing” is actually avoiding -Your “resting” is actually procrastinating  So how do we counter the perfection loop? -Assess how realistic and attainable your expectations actually are – is your evaluation system faulty? -Determine what resources, time, or other help you will need to get the task done. -Assess where you currently are in the perfection loop and determine the first step you need to take to regain control. -How can you view your evaluation of the outcomes of this activity so that it becomes a learning experience for next time? -Who do you need to support you, and in what way(s)? -Who can you ask to give you feedback when they see you stuck in the loop?  As a previous coach of mine would say, “Perfectionists are scared people.” What she meant was that, in their effort to be perfect, they were trying to manipulate other people’s opinion of them by doing “a great job.” When in fact you can’t change what other people think – no matter how good (or bad) a job you do. That’s on them.  Perfectionists are also afraid of backlash from putting an inferior product or result out in the world. My coach advocated for B- work, and I concur. It is better to get your work out into the world at a B-, than to not get it out into the world at all.  As I like to say, it’s not winning or losing. It’s winning or learning.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
4/19/202314 minutes, 21 seconds
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268: Leading Through a Reduction in Force (RIF)

Today, we’re talking about leading through a Reduction in Force, or RIF. This episode isn’t just for people who have managerial duties, but also people who lead by influence. I want to frame this with some statistics; as of the day I am writing this episode in late March: -Meta is planning to lay off 10,000 workers this year -More than 161,000 tech layoffs occurred in 2022, with an additional 128,000+ layoffs so far in 2023 -Disney announced 7,000 layoffs in February -Amazon is cutting 18,000 jobs -Salesforce is laying off 10% of its workforce -Goldman Sachs is cutting 3,200 jobs -Spotify is cutting 6% of its workforce  So, what do you do when you are in a leadership role during a RIF? What DON’T you do?  Show kindness and compassion to those you are letting go.  Advocate for them to receive outplacement benefits and severance. Treat them with dignity and respect. Leverage your network, if possible, to help them successfully land in their next role. If you aren’t in a leadership role, you can still show this kindness and compassion to your RIFed coworkers – and you may be able to help them network their way to a new role.  Acknowledge the toll on the remaining employees. It’s easy for a leader to think that those remaining are thrilled to keep their jobs, but the uncertainty of the ground underneath their feet makes it much more likely the remaining employees will be nervous, shaken, and unsettled. They are simultaneously mourning the loss of their colleagues, wondering if they are next to be RIFed, and trying to adapt to added job responsibilities as they fill the roles of those who have been let go. As a leader, you are tasked with keeping the team together emotionally and motivationally – this is key to help avoid further layoffs. If you aren’t in a leadership role, be a friend to your remaining coworkers. It’s okay to express your emotions – but it’s not okay to use your lunch hours as a bitch session. Be a positive inspiration of how to navigate this situation.  Allow space for grief. Perhaps your employees need to share their grief with each other – facilitate this for them. The worst thing a leader can do in this regard is pretend like your team isn’t grieving. If you aren’t in a leadership role, and your boss isn’t allowing space for grief, advocate for this with your boss.  Redefine priorities and communicate with your team. If this has been a significant RIF that has decimated your team, meet with your direct supervisor to determine priorities in light of reduced staff. It is quite possible that previous priorities are thrown out the window and a completely new focus is introduced if the company is reorganizing or refocusing.Over-communicate these new priorities with your team. This is a critical time for employees to be kept in the loop to help minimize gossip, fatalistic thinking, and a mass exodus of the employees you had hoped to keep. If you aren’t in a leadership role, ask your boss how you can support him or her in communicating these new priorities – and what new roles your boss needs you to take on. Be a model team player.  Streamline systems.  How can you step up automation to help with reduced staff? How can you reshuffle job duties to even out the workload? If you aren’t in a leadership role but have significant tech skills, perhaps you can take the lead on researching possibilities or implementing additional facets of existing technology. Could you help your boss reshuffle the workload?  Invest in your remaining team members.  You need those who remain to be operating at their highest level; what are the tools, training, and support they need to do so? Will some team members need to be retrained to take on completely new responsibilities? Plan social events, recognition, even give out spot bonuses, if possible, to keep your remaining workforce motivated and committed. If you aren’t in a leadership role, perhaps you would love to plan a social event or create a recognition program – approach your boss to offer to take the lead on some aspect of this that plays to your strengths.  Paint the vision. The only way you can get your team onboard is to show them a brighter future. Here’s a quote from a Forbes article called The Big RIF: “Most people will jump ship immediately without a clear view of a future magnetic state. Or, they will check out, go through the motions, and then jump ship. Neither scenario accomplishes your mission.”If you aren’t in a leadership role, you can’t paint the vision – but perhaps there is a part you can play. Can you create a PowerPoint for the boss to share with your team? Is there an opportunity for you to support your boss in operationalizing the new vision? If you are in a leadership role during a RIF, you have a tremendous opportunity to show kindness and empathy, provide direction and resources for your team members during a turbulent time, and show those above you how good of a leader you truly are. If you are not in a leadership role during a RIF, this is your opportunity to put your leadership strengths on display for your boss, coworkers, and others to see. Take advantage of this!   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
4/12/202321 minutes, 23 seconds
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267: Transitioning from Managing Yourself to Managing Others

Today’s topic, Transitioning from Managing Yourself to Managing Others, relies heavily on The Leadership Pipeline by Charan et al. In this book, they go through six leadership passages, the first of which we’ll be covering in this episode. The biggest change when you become a first-time manager is a shift to begin thinking about others. This is not to say you have been a selfish narcissist prior to becoming a manager, but rather you weren’t concerned about the productivity of others, how to lead them to better performance, or how all the members of your team fit together into a cohesive unit. Note that, by the book’s definition, you are a First-Line Manager if at least ½ of your time is spent managing the work of others – so most likely you have more than just 2 or 3 direct reports. As an Individual Contributor, your skills are: -Technical and professional proficiency – doing the work you were hired to do to the best of your ability -Being a team player -Relationship-building for personal benefit – for the most part, you are developing friendships and collegial working relationships -Using company tools, processes, and procedures – knowing what is available to support the work you do, as well as the rules and regulations  Your time application involves: -Daily discipline – when you arrive and leave based on written and unstated rules -Meeting personal due dates for projects – you manage your own time  Your work values include: -Getting results through personal proficiency – you must do high-quality technical or professional work  As a First-Time Manager, your skills become: -Planning – you are managing budgets, projects, and your workforce -Selection – of team members -Job design – understanding the strengths of your team members and the goals of your unit to optimally structure job duties and responsibilities -Delegation of work – you can no longer do everything yourself, nor should you try. This requires seeing yourself in a new light – as someone who gets work done through others -Performance management, evaluation -Coaching and feedback -Rewards and motivation -Communication -Culture facilitation -Relationship building – up, down, and sideways for the unit’s benefit -Acquisition of resources – budget, people, tools  Your time application involves: -Annual planning of budgets and projects -Making regular time for team members – at their request and yours -Setting priorities for the unit and your team -Communication time with other units, customers, suppliers, etc.  Your work values become: -Getting results through others -Success of direct reports -Managerial work and disciplines – the administrative “stuff” -Success of the unit -Seeing yourself, and behaving, as a manager -Visible integrity – your team and others across the organization see that you can be trusted to follow through on your commitments and promises  In a nutshell, the three significant changes are: 1.    Defining and assigning work 2.    Supporting direct reports in doing their assigned work 3.    Establishing and cultivating relationships  A sure sign of a clogged leadership pipeline at this level is high stress among the leader’s individual contributors. If they feel overwhelmed and think their boss isn’t doing much to help them, it’s likely the manager is missing a crucial first-level skill. For example: -The manager view questions as interruptions  -The manager fixes their mistakes rather than teaching them to do the work properly -Refuses to take ownership of the team’s successes and distances himself/herself from their problems and failures  Here are three tactics for unclogging the pipeline at this stage; if you are a manager of first-time managers, these are the step you want to take:1.    Preparation: Clearly communicate the skills, time applications, and work values required at this stage and provide training to help make the necessary changes. If you are the first-time manager, ask questions around these areas to determine what support you will be given. If your boss waffles or if nothing is offered in-house, make sure you can access outside training to get what you need – otherwise, you are setting yourself up for sure failure.  2.    Monitoring: Determine whether and where someone is having difficulty with this first-level transition. If you are the first-time manager, ask how your performance will be evaluated. What are the metrics for success? 3.    Intervention: Provide regular feedback and coaching to help people make this transition; take action if they’re experiencing significant difficulty in doing so. If you are the first-time manager, ask your boss how he provides feedback – and make sure to schedule regular 1:1 meetings, especially early in your tenure as a first-time manager. In closing, I want to state clearly that some people don’t want – and shouldn’t want – to become first-line managers. They love their role as an individual contributor and don’t want to take on the additional responsibilities of a manager. If you do, however, want to move up the corporate ladder, your success at this first-line stage is of the utmost importance. Make sure there is a structure in place to maximize your chances for success, then go for it!  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
4/5/202319 minutes, 55 seconds
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266: Self Confidence: Being on Your Side vs. Being on Your Case

One of my all-time favorite leadership books – certainly the one with the most sticky tabs in it – is Reldan Nadler’s “Leading with Emotional Intelligence.” I’ve used this resource for other episodes of the podcast, and today I want to talk about tools for building your self-confidence – specifically, Being on Your Side rather than Being on Your Case. Or, as I like to call it, having your own back. When you are on your case, you are hard on yourself. This often comes from a belief that the only way to get better is to push yourself to do better and better. What you may not realize is that your calculus for evaluating success or failure is probably at fault. It’s not what you did or didn’t do, but rather what you think about what you did or didn’t do. When you are never satisfied with your performance, your self-confidence is naturally negatively impacted. You are often stressed and unhappy. As a coach, I understand that all the other relationships you have in your life are natural outcroppings of how you treat yourself. If you are being highly critical, judgmental, picky, negative, and never satisfied – you will view others in the same way. So while we’re specifically talking about your relationship with yourself in this episode, understand the consequences of that relationship to all the other relationships in your life. If you lead people, you will likely treat them as you treat yourself. Here’s what I know to be true: You can’t hate yourself into becoming a better performer at work…a better leader…a more promotable person. When you can be on Your Side, you develop a more accurate calibration by which to measure yourself. Instead of using On Your Case language with yourself, you can begin practicing more On Your Side language.Here are some examples of On Your Case language: -How could I be so lame? -Don’t I know better than this? -I’m an idiot for doing this! -Why didn’t I start this sooner? -I could have done a much better job! -What is wrong with me? -I should have known better!  Here are some examples of On Your Side language: -Which parts of this went well? -What didn’t turn out the way I wanted it to? -What exactly didn’t work out here? -Which part is under my influence? -Is there anything I could have done differently? -What can I learn from this performance? -What do I want to improve next time? -Is there any learning, training, or help I need to improve my performance?  On Your Case language is demanding, damaging, and irrational, and over-generalized, leaving you feeling dissatisfied, less confident, and overwhelmed. On Your Side language is respectful, constructive, rational, and realistic, leaving you feeling encouraged and energized – and with an action plan for the future.  Here are some questions to ask yourself: -How accurate is my evaluation system? -On a scale of 1-100, what percentage of the time am I on my case? -How do I feel after I’ve been on my case? -What are the consequences for me and others for being on my case? -Do I treat others as harshly as I do myself? -Is this an effective pattern for me to continue with? -If I don’t change this, what do I stand to lose or miss out on?  The first step in this process has to be awareness – telling yourself the truth about how often you are On Your Case vs. On Your Side. Noticing when you are On Your Case going forward vs. On Your Side. Change always must begin with an honest assessment of where we currently are. NOTE: Once you begin being more aware of how often you are On Your Case, the tendency is to beat yourself up even more. You are already beating yourself up by being On Your Case, but now you are also beating yourself up for beating yourself up. “I’m such an idiot for being on my case so much.”  Rather, I invite you to begin slowly redirecting your brain, which has been thoroughly trained to Be On Your Case, to begin being On Your Side. Be kind to yourself, patient with yourself, and show grace and mercy. Don’t expect a 180 degree change overnight. Celebrate the small victories – which is also a great way to be On Your Side!  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2         
3/29/202316 minutes, 20 seconds
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265: Changing Behaviors in Yourself and Your Team

I have been re-reading the book “Quiet Leadership: Six Steps to Transforming Performance at Work,” by David Rock. One of his concepts jumped out at me, and I wanted to share it with you. Brain science tells us that, when we focus on a behavior we wish to change, we are actually cementing the neural pathway that was created when we began repeating that behavior in the first place. Once a neural pathway is created in our brain, it will always be there. The challenge is not to remove that pathway – we can’t – but rather create a new neural pathway through our thinking and beliefs. Let’s look at an example. Let’s say you are a newly minted manager, managing two entry-level employees in the marketing department of your company. You’ve never managed people before, and you haven’t been given any training to do so. You feel as though you have been thrown into the deep end, but you really want to succeed. One area you are struggling with is one of your employees consistently coming to work 30 minutes late – we’ll call her Jane. Because all of this is new to you, you sit Jane down and ask her why she is late every morning. She tells you she is a new mom and says she finds it hard to leave her son at daycare every morning. Because this is unacceptable behavior, you tell Jane she has to come to work on time. End of conversation. How does Jane receive this feedback? She is likely frustrated, anxious, and begins fixating on how late she is every morning. But the behavior doesn’t change. The only change has been additional stress on Jane because now she’s afraid you’re going to fire her. Rewind: Let’s have the conversation with Jane again. You ask her why she is late every morning. She tells you she is a new mom and says she finds it hard to leave her son at daycare every morning. You then ask her why she finds it so hard to leave her son every morning. She says it’s because he starts crying, which makes her cry, and she can’t bear to hand him off to the daycare worker. She admits that she has even started going to the daycare later and later because she knows what is coming. You let Jane know you can see how hard this would be. You then ask Jane what are three possible solutions to this problem – solutions that would get her to work on time AND help with the daycare handoff. Jane at first says she doesn’t know what to do, but you gently persist to help Jane solve her problem – and you resist the urge to solve it for her. Jane finally comes up with three possible solutions: One, her husband could drop the baby off and see if that goes more smoothly; two, she could get up earlier so she could spend more time at the daycare with her baby and still get to work on time; three, she could ask for ideas from her online mom group. You give Jane some paper so she can write her options out. Then you ask her how she wants to proceed with these three options. Jane says she will ask her husband to drop the baby off for one week, and during that time she will reach out to her online group. After one week, she and her husband will evaluate how him dropping the baby off is working and possibly she will start getting up 30 minutes earlier every morning for the next week. You and Jane then agree that the goal is for Jane to consistently get to work on time because a) Jane is a valued member of your small team, and b) Jane will be a better employee and mom with less stressful mornings.  Now Jane feels a measure of relief because she has possible solutions to her problem, and a plan to try those solutions out. She also feels valued to you – like you want to help her and not punish her. She wants to solve this problem for you as much as for her. How might this look with one of your own behaviors? Let’s say you tend not to speak up during meetings. You have thoughts and ideas, but in the moment you tell yourself your ideas aren’t good enough to share and people will think you’re dumb if you offer those ideas up. This has become a habit for you, to the point where the dialogue in your head during meetings is “people don’t want to hear what I have to say.” You decide to focus on the behavior you do want – very specifically. You decide you will begin contributing one thing during each meeting – and you will do it during the first half of the meeting rather than waiting until everyone is ready to get out of there. If you know what will be discussed in the meeting, you can think about what contribution you might want to make. If you don’t know what will be discussed, you decide to stay present in the room, listen intently to what others are saying, and look for an opportunity to make your contribution. After a month of focusing on the behavior of making one contribution each meeting, you next focus on specific ways you can make your contribution more confidently and competently. Perhaps you focus on how to modulate your voice, specific power words you want to use (and not use), or how to make eye contact while you are speaking.  I encourage you to think of a behavior you would like to change in yourself and how, specifically, you can make that change. If you supervise people, use this tool to help employees find their own solutions to behaviors they need to change. This strategy also works when employees want to learn a new behavior, such as improving a specific aspect of their communication skills or learning how to be a better presenter.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
3/22/202313 minutes, 45 seconds
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264: Personal Branding - What You're Probably Doing Wrong and How to Get it Right

In episode #175, I talked about articulating your brand on your resume. Here’s the link to that episode: https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-04-28-175-how-to-articulate-your-brand-on-your-resume Today, I want to delve into the three biggest mistakes I see people making in their attempts to brand themselves – as well as the solution. First, let’s talk about why personal branding is important – not just when you are looking for a new job, but throughout your career as you look to get promoted, get selected for key assignments, or look for opportunities to leverage your strengths through volunteer and/or Board positions. Personal branding is important because: -It differentiates you – you avoid being seen as “generic” (interchangeable) -When people know what you’re about, they come to you with tony opportunities -It helps you make strategic career decisions – your brand becomes a lens through which you view the opportunities and choices available to you.  Mistake #1: You haven’t articulated your brand. At all.  Many of the resumes I review have no branding at all. The client just launches into their work experience, without any framework to help the reader understand and contextualize that experience. It’s safe to say that most of these same people can’t articulate their brand verbally, either. Either they don’t understand the importance of having a personal brand, or they have no idea how to go about identifying their brand.Let’s go back to those reasons for having a personal brand: When you don’t have one, you risk being viewed as generic (a low-cost substitute for the real thing), you miss out on the best opportunities because the decision-makers don’t know you would be good at that thing - or interested in doing it, and you may make impulsive or inauthentic career decisions without the guideposts of a personal brand.  Mistake #2: Your brand is non-differentiating.  Here’s the kind of thing I see most often on resumes of people who have attempted to identify their brand: “Hard working team player” (as opposed to all the slacker anti-social people out there) “Good with numbers” (on an accountant’s resume) “Experienced professional looking for a position that leverages skills in BLANK, BLANK, and BLANK (a thinly veiled objective statement) Here are the things a brand ISN’T: -A description of skills and experience that are required of EVERY. SINGLE. CANDIDATE. (Math skills for an accountant, a teacher who says she is good with classroom management, a PR associate who is a good writer.) This is the equivalent of Nike marketing their athletic shoes as “they stay on your feet and you can walk in them.” Duh. -What YOU want. Think about Nike – you don’t see them advertising their athletic shoes as something they need you to buy so they can spend more money on R&D or give huge bonuses to their senior executives. So sorry to be the one to break the news to you, but employers don’t care what YOU want – not really. They want to know what you can do for them.  Mistake #3: Your brand is words on paper that haven’t been translated to your actions and decisions.  We all know of companies who have their mission statement written on the walls of the company. Everyone can recite it by heart. It’s in the marketing materials. BUT – they don’t walk the talk. They don’t make decisions with their brand in mind. In fact, they often do things directly opposed to their supposed brand. How does this translate to you? Once you have done the work to identify a truly unique, differentiating brand for yourself, that brand should inform your decisions about which assignments to take on, which promotions to go after, how you treat people, which companies you seek employment with, and so much more. For example, let’s say your brand is that you have consistently high retention rates for the employees you manage because you have an open-door policy, make an effort to spend 1:1 time outside of work with each team member at least once a quarter, and believe in on-the-spot praise when you see an employee doing good. On a day when you aren’t at your best, you may be tempted to close (and lock) that office door. You may be in a hurry and be tempted to not take a moment to thank one of your employees for how he just handled a difficult customer. You may think you have too much on your plate to meet 1:1 with every employee this quarter. No can do – your brand is your brand. You make decisions based on your brand.  The solution.  I have a saying, “You can’t read the label of the bottle you are in.” This applies especially to determining your personal brand – if you can get professional help from someone like me, I highly recommend it. In lieu of that – speak to people who know you well, and in different capacities. What are you hearing consistently from them?Here are some questions you can ask them: -What do you think I do especially well? -Is there something I have done that has especially impressed you, and why? -What do you see in me that you don’t typically see in someone of my age/profession/seniority level (whichever is most appropriate)?  Here are the components of a great personal brand: -It summarizes who you are, what you do, and why you do it. -It communicates your value and expertise to others. -It showcases your unique value proposition. -It is succinct and to-the-point.  Here are some examples: “I am an HR manager with experience in industry, consumer product goods, and finance. I have led efforts to improve retention by as much as 40%, reduce time-to-hire by as much as 75%, and built a best-in-class HR function that serves as true business partners.” “As an operations professional, I have been able to save my employers as much as $1.4M by introducing lean methodology, conducting employee movement analysis, and helping employees do their jobs more efficiently.” This is mine:“I help high-achieving, mid-career professionals land their dream job with best-in-class marketing materials, a job search strategy that optimizes their chance for success, and the interview skills to nail even the toughest job interview.” One final word: How you present your brand will vary slightly depending on the medium. For example, you wouldn’t use the wording I just gave you in your resume, because there are personal pronouns. You also might vary your words slightly depending on your audience – a networking event with people in your same profession versus a networking event within your employer, for example. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
3/8/202318 minutes, 4 seconds
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263: Job Counteroffers: How and Why to Accept and Decline

Let me start by saying there are good reasons to accept a counteroffer from your current employer. However, if the ONLY reason you are even considering the counteroffer is because it pays more than the outside offer you’ve received, it’s probably the wrong move for you. What is a counteroffer? There are two possibilities: When you receive an offer from a potential new employer, you may choose to submit a counteroffer. This is essentially an acceptance of parts of the initial offer, while proposing changes to other parts of the initial offer. The second kind of counteroffer comes from your current employer, who wants to keep you when you tell them you have a new job offer.  Tools for evaluating an initial job offer -Look at the total compensation. This includes salary and benefits, possible bonuses or equity in the company. This is an area that may people will counteroffer on – more base salary. -Does the position put you on a track for advancement? This may or may not be important to you…just make sure you take it into consideration. -Are there additional perks, such as WFH or flexible hours? Just remember – a state-of-the-art rec facility that you never use isn’t a valuable perk TO YOU. Watch out for “shiny object syndrome.”  Counteroffer strategies Now let’s talk about the counteroffer you may receive from your current employer. Here are some strategies: -Know why you were searching in the first place. Maybe you were approached by a recruiter…there was likely a reason you took her call. Can the issues at your current employer be resolved if you chose to stay? If your only real concern was your current compensation, then a higher offer may entice you to stay. If, however, you are having issues with your boss and the corporate culture, no amount of extra money will address these kinds of issues. -Determine why your employer made the counteroffer. Is it because of your value to the organization – or so they can have someone in the role until they find a replacement? Do some digging. -Pay attention to the details. There will likely be a higher salary offer from your current employer, and possibly a new job title. What else will change – and do those changes excite you or cause you concern? Will you have some new growth opportunities that leverage your strengths or develop weaker areas? -Weigh the pros and cons. You have an offer from another employer, and a counteroffer from your current employer. What are the benefits of taking the new role? Of staying at your current employer until an even better outside offer comes in? Of accepting a new, higher paying role with your current employer?  Accepting the Counteroffer If you decide to decline the outside employer and accept the counteroffer from your current employer, your next steps with your current employer should include: -Thanking your boss/others immediately – tell them you accept. Show gratitude for identifying you as a valuable employee. -Set up a meeting with your boss (or new boss) to establish a plan for meeting your new goals and fulfilling your new responsibilities. -Sign your contract to make it official. One of the cons of accepting a counteroffer from your current employer is that you may be marked as a “short timer,” someone who may soon jump ship. This may mean you will be passed over for the best opportunities or watched more closely than before.   To decline the outside company’s offer -Send them written communication, thanking them for their time and interest in you. -Briefly explain why you decided not to accept the offer. -Keep the door open – let them know you would like to maintain professional ties. Having said that, there is a chance that declining this offer may mean the door will be closed to future employment conversations.  If you decide to accept the outside offer -Stay professional with your current employer – don’t burn bridges -Thank your boss/others for the counteroffer. -Give a brief reason why you said no – you don’t have to give the real reason if you prefer not to. -Send an exit email to your team, thanking them for their support and asking them to stay in touch. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
3/2/202317 minutes, 59 seconds
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262: The Behavioral Interview: Your 5-Step Process for Delivering Job-Winning Answers

Consistently, the episodes I do on interviewing are among the most-downloaded. Today, I want to give you a five-step process for answering behavioral interview questions. Behavioral interviewing operates on the principle that the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. Behavioral interview questions require you to respond with a specific story, rather than talking in hypotheticals. Behavioral interviewing is difficult to “wing,” because it is highly unlikely that you’ll come up with a great story AND lay it out in an organized and compelling manner on the fly. So, preparation is key. You may have hear of the CAR (Challenge-Action-Result) method, the PAR (Problem-Action-Result) method, or the STAR (Situation-Task-Action-Result) method. I teach my clients the CARL method: Challenge – Action – Result – Lessons Learned. Here are the steps to prepping for a behavioral interview: 1.    Come up with a “toolkit” of 10 stories.You can do this in one of two ways: The front door method, or the back door method. The front door method requires you to think about the competencies needed for the job – the job description is your roadmap here. Based on the competencies either written in the job description or implied, you come up with 10 stories to address what that company and that job will require. For the back door method, come up with 10 meaningful stories – mostly from your work experience – and then retrofit them to the competencies you think the job requires. Any story you come up with will likely be applicable to 3-4 questions you might get asked, so 10 stories gives you ammunition for as many as 40 interview questions. 2.    Write your stories out.Not necessarily verbatim, but the major points you want to hit for each story. Use the CARL method: Challenge – Action – Result – Lessons Learned.  3.    Find the balance.You want your stories to be factually correct and sequential. You also want your stories to be interesting – keep in mind that your interviewer may be interviewing several people for this position, and you want your responses to stand out in a positive way. Give enough detail to support your point – if the story is about how you turned around an underperforming team, you want the interviewer to know that you did, how you did it, and the results. You also want to give enough color to your story to make it interesting – pepper in some specifics to make the interviewer feel your story. Just remember not to throw anyone under the bus.  4.    Pepper in the “L” (lessons learned).Not every behavioral story needs a lessons learned, but they can be extremely helpful. The “L” can be lessons learned OR benefits. Here’s how that might sound: For the “L”: “What I learned from this situation is the importance of making sure my entire team fully understands the project and has their questions answered and concerns addressed at the outset. For the benefits: “What this situation illustrates is my ability to make mid-course corrections – to have a plan AND flexibility.”  5.    Practice.Ideally, practice with an interview coach such as myself. In lieu of that, who do you know who has experience interviewing job candidates? Ask them for help. The biggest benefit of working with an interview coach like me is that you have a professional who knows their stuff AND will shoot straight with you. Also, a professional may make you more nervous than a friend or family member – and that’s a good thing. Now go forth and ace that behavioral interview!  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
2/22/202316 minutes, 13 seconds
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261: What's Holding Back Your Career Development?

Today, we’re talking about what might be holding back your career development. I leaned heavily on a December 21, 2022 article in the Harvard Business Review by Helen Tupper and Sarah Ellis for this episode. Here’s a fact: for most of us, and the companies in which we work, career development is rarely a priority. There are too many urgent matters to attend to every day…and career planning takes a back seat. One challenge is when…when we have time for career development. This essentially separates our career development from our job, rather than viewing the two as integrated. The solution: Chunk down your career development into short, manageable 5- to 10-minute time blocks where you can coach yourself to increase your self-awareness and identify new opportunities for action. I recommend journaling your responses. Here are some possible questions: What do I want to build a reputation for?  If I were to leave my current position tomorrow, what tasks would I want to bring with me, and why? What tasks would I want to leave behind, and why? What is something I’ve always wanted to learn – or learn more – about, and why? How might this interest play into my professional life?  What do I really like about my current employer/industry? What do I dislike?  Who is someone I admire professionally, and what do I admire about them? How might this admiration play into my career?  If money were no object, what have a long been attracted to, and why? How might I incorporate this interest into the career field I am in (or want to be in)?  As you uncover your responses to these prompts, come up with a game plan to answer the “now what?” question. Perhaps you want to meet with your boss, sign up for a class or program, or find a mentor to address a specific issue.  Another challenge is who…who can help you with career development. This puts your career progression in the hands of other people. Sometimes, it isn’t possible for your direct supervisor to be your most valuable source of support, so consider peer-to-peer learning. These could be colleagues in your current organization or outside, with which you can share challenges, generate ideas, and learn together. To get started, use a tool like Slack or WhatsApp and share the purpose of the group with about five people who share the same interest. You can then grow the group by giving everyone the option to invite one person. Ask everyone to share something they have read, watched, or listened to that they’ve found helpful in their current role.  Yet another challenge is what…if you aren’t sure what area, or even what field, you want to develop in, you might never get started. The first step here is what the article calls a “learning navigator” – a way to prioritize what you learn; to distinguish between what you need to know from what’s nice to know – as well as what’s relevant to your current role, versus what might be relevant for future roles. Here’s a quadrant map: Need to Know                    Nice to Know  Important for Today         Important for the Future This process also helps you to spot common skills, which can help you determine where to start.  The final challenge is where…if there are no perceived career development opportunities where you currently work, you may become frustrated and lose motivation. The response: Write down one internal opportunity you would like to make happen. Answer the prompt: This opportunity is important to me because…Next, identify 2-3 ways you could get the result you are looking for. Here’s an example: -I would like to become known as a SME for change management -This is important to me because I am passionate about helping people and organizations navigate change, I’m a strong communicator, and I enjoy helping others. -Ways to achieve this: 1.    Talk to my boss about getting on a change management team 2.    Seek out a change management certification program and ask my boss if the company will pay 3.    Ask the head of change management in my area if he would be willing to mentor me The bottom line is this: Not every organization offers structured career development, and even fewer do it well. Ultimately, it is your responsibility – and your obligation to yourself – to think strategically about where you want to get to and how to get there. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
2/15/202314 minutes, 50 seconds
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260: Creative Ways to Follow Up After a Job Interview

I get a lot of questions about following up after a job interview. Today, I want to give the ABC’s of interview follow-up, as well as some creative options for staying in touch throughout the decision-making process. First, the basics for thanking the interviewer(s) and others who had a hand in your interview: 1.    Follow up within 24 hours (preferably sooner). 2.    Consider the audience.Generally, email thank-you messages are best because they can get to the recipient more quickly. If however, you’ve been interacting with someone for whom email doesn’t appear to be their native tongue, consider a snail mail thank you note. 3.    When in doubt, thank.Consider thank you messages to the secretary who scheduled your interview, the person you met impromptu who spent time speaking with you, etc. What’s the harm? 4.    Collect business cards or contact info.To send thank you’s, you need names (spelled correctly) and email addresses – make sure you get them during your interview so you don’t have to call afterward. 5.    Remind them of what they seemed to really like about you.Here’s an example: Diane, Thank you so much for the onsite interview yesterday - I was particularly impressed by ABC’s obvious commitment to the health and wellness of its employees. No wonder your turnover is so low! It seems like my experience at XYZ in digital marketing makes me a strong candidate for the role of marketing director – and I welcome the opportunity to leverage my knowledge in building brand reputation via a wide range of social media sites. As I mentioned in the interview, I will reach out at the end of next week to see where you’re at with the hiring process. In the meantime, let me know if you have any follow-up questions for me! With gratitude, Lesa Edwards  Now that we have covered immediate follow-up, what about continuing to stay in touch between your interview(s) and the hiring decision? 1.    Make a plan – and schedule it in.The cadence of your plan is largely determined by what the interviewer told you at the close of your interview (make sure you ask about the next step(s) in the hiring process). If the hiring decision is expected to happen fairly quickly, you might want to have weekly check-ins; otherwise, every two weeks might be preferable. You might also have an informal interview with someone who doesn’t have an immediate opening, but wants to stay in contact for future opportunities. In this situation, perhaps a monthly or every other month follow-up is appropriate.  2.    Look for opportunities to add value.Rather than always just sending an “I’m still here” message, seek ways to provide value to your contact person. This could be a positive article you read recently about the company, something positive you read about your contact person (such as an award or commendation), or something about that industry you think your contact would find interesting. Your message could read something like this: Diane, Greetings! I just saw this article about ABCs award for its employee health and wellness program – kudos! I can certainly see why you were recognized for your initiatives around weight loss and smoking cessation – great job! As an update, I have had interviews recently with three great organizations and second interviews with two other companies. I hope to hear that I have moved on to the second round of interviews with ABC soon!  3.    Let them know of other offers (or close-to offers).Here’s an example: Diane, Greetings! I just received a written offer for a marketing director position at a CPG company. I have until DATE to let them know my decision. I’m still extremely interested in the opportunity with ABC and wanted to know where things stand? I look forward to hearing from you! The trick here is to give them enough information so they know there actually is another job (in this case, the job title and industry), but not enough information to be able to check the other offer out through back channels (no company name or salary, etc.). Also – notice I said I was extremely interested in ABC’s opportunity – not that ABC was my first choice (even if it is). I would lose negotiation power if I let them know ABC is my first choice. 4.    Notify them if you accept another offer.It’s just good business etiquette, even if they’ve been ghosting you.  Now for the creative follow-ups. What you do here is really dependent on a) the role you are applying for, b) the industry, and c) your personality. Any creative follow-up should be on-brand. For example, I was recently working with a client who was applying for marketing jobs. She was following up with a box of delicious chocolates and a marketing-style message. Here are some other ideas: -For an accountant: You’re probably pretty serious, and the company you are following up with is probably pretty serious, too – so gimmicks aren’t the right approach. -For a salesperson: What can you create that further “sells” you to the company? How can you demonstrate your persistence and ambition? -For an operations director: What could you develop for the company that addresses one of the operations-related concerns you learned about during the interview? You don’t want to give them the entire solution, but how about a piece of it to engage their imagination? -If the job you have applied for involves presentations, how about a YouTube video where you are teaching them something specific to their company? -For many positions, a gift basket of chocolates or fruit that the office can share may be appropriate. The trick is to present it as a thank you, rather than a thinly veiled bribe. Hopefully, I’ve gotten your creative juices flowing, so what ideas can you come up with that are on-brand for you and the industry you want to work in?  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
2/8/202323 minutes, 15 seconds
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263: Job Counteroffers: How and Why to Accept and Decline

Let me start by saying there are good reasons to accept a counteroffer from your current employer. However, if the ONLY reason you are even considering the counteroffer is because it pays more than the outside offer you’ve received, it’s probably the wrong move for you. What is a counteroffer? There are two possibilities: When you receive an offer from a potential new employer, you may choose to submit a counteroffer. This is essentially an acceptance of parts of the initial offer, while proposing changes to other parts of the initial offer.  The second kind of counteroffer comes from your current employer, who wants to keep you when you tell them you have a new job offer.   Tools for evaluating an initial job offer -Look at the total compensation. This includes salary and benefits, possible bonuses or equity in the company. This is an area that may people will counteroffer on – more base salary.  -Does the position put you on a track for advancement? This may or may not be important to you…just make sure you take it into consideration.  -Are there additional perks, such as WFH or flexible hours? Just remember – a state-of-the-art rec facility that you never use isn’t a valuable perk TO YOU. Watch out for “shiny object syndrome.”   Counteroffer strategies Now let’s talk about the counteroffer you may receive from your current employer. Here are some strategies: -Know why you were searching in the first place. Maybe you were approached by a recruiter…there was likely a reason you took her call. Can the issues at your current employer be resolved if you chose to stay?  If your only real concern was your current compensation, then a higher offer may entice you to stay. If, however, you are having issues with your boss and the corporate culture, no amount of extra money will address these kinds of issues.  -Determine why your employer made the counteroffer. Is it because of your value to the organization – or so they can have someone in the role until they find a replacement? Do some digging.  -Pay attention to the details. There will likely be a higher salary offer from your current employer, and possibly a new job title. What else will change – and do those changes excite you or cause you concern? Will you have some new growth opportunities that leverage your strengths or develop weaker areas?  -Weigh the pros and cons. You have an offer from another employer, and a counteroffer from your current employer. What are the benefits of taking the new role? Of staying at your current employer until an even better outside offer comes in? Of accepting a new, higher paying role with your current employer?   Accepting the Counteroffer If you decide to decline the outside employer and accept the counteroffer from your current employer, your next steps with your current employer should include: -Thanking your boss/others immediately – tell them you accept. Show gratitude for identifying you as a valuable employee. -Set up a meeting with your boss (or new boss) to establish a plan for meeting your new goals and fulfilling your new responsibilities.  -Sign your contract to make it official.  One of the cons of accepting a counteroffer from your current employer is that you may be marked as a “short timer,” someone who may soon jump ship. This may mean you will be passed over for the best opportunities or watched more closely than before.   To decline the outside company’s offer -Send them written communication, thanking them for their time and interest in you. -Briefly explain why you decided not to accept the offer. -Keep the door open – let them know you would like to maintain professional ties. Having said that, there is a chance that declining this offer may mean the door will be closed to future employment conversations.   If you decide to accept the outside offer -Stay professional with your current employer – don’t burn bridges -Thank your boss/others for the counteroffer.  -Give a brief reason why you said no – you don’t have to give the real reason if you prefer not to. -Send an exit email to your team, thanking them for their support and asking them to stay in touch.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
2/1/202317 minutes, 59 seconds
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259: Leveraging a Sabbatical Before Taking on a Bigger Role (with Katrina McGhee)

Today, a return guest – and one of my favorites! Previously, Katrina McGhee was on the podcast to talk about taking a career break; here’s the link to that episode: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-10-19-247-are-you-ready-for-a-career-break-with-katrina-mcghee Today, we talk about leveraging a sabbatical before taking on a bigger role. Whether with your current employer or accepting a position with another company, you may need a break before taking on even more responsibility and challenges. Katrina talks about the signs that this break may be more of a need than a want and how to ask for the break. We also talk about re-entry strategies after the break is over.  You can find Katrina McGhee at www.kmcgheecoaching.com She is offering a 3-part video series on her website to help you conquer your fear and stop waiting for “someday.” She walks you through the basics of taking a career break and just how possible it can be. Find this FREE series at www.kmcgheecoaching.com/career-break-training  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
2/1/202332 minutes, 18 seconds
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258: How to Organize Your Job Search Time to Optimize Your Results

Today, we’re talking about organizing your job search. For some of you, this may be a foreign concept – why would I need organization to look at job boards? I just look at them and apply to as many jobs as I possibly can – right? Wrong. I’m not going to go into detail with specific job search strategies – I covered that in multiple other episodes. In particular, I recommend episode #30 – Active vs. Passive Job Search Strategies: https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2019-01-16-030-active-vs-passive-job-search-strategies And #251 – What Type of Job Search Should You Launch? http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-11-16-251-what-type-of-job-search-should-you-launch Rather, what I want to cover today is the structure of your job search…dedicating time for your job search and using that time to your best advantage. Here are five tips for structuring your job search: 1.    Calendar in time for your job search.As I cover in episode #251, I encourage employed job seekers to dedicate 5 hours per week to their job search, and unemployed job seekers to dedicate 30 hours per week to their job search. Begin by deciding the blocks of time you can consistently devote to job search. For example:Employed job search           Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Wednesdays – lunch will be devoted to attending my professional association meetings one week, then scheduling lunch meetings with people in my network on the other Wednesdays. (May need to be another weekday, before work, or after work instead)           Sunday evenings from 7:00-8:00 p.m. Unemployed job search           Monday-Friday, 9:00 a.m. noon; 1:00 – 4:00 p.m.  2.    Calendar in how you will spend your job search time. As a reminder, here’s how I recommend your job search time be divided, depending on your level of experience: If right out of college: 75% passive; 25% activeIf mid-career: 50% passive; 50% activeIf senior level: 75%-100% active Passive strategies are job board-focused; active strategies are networking-focused. For example:  Employed job search (for mid-career professional) This person’s job search strategies are (I recommend four-five total job search strategies): Passive: job boards, target employer websites Active: LinkedIn networking, in-person networking, professional association meetings Tuesdays from 7:00-8:00 p.m.: Reach out to five people from my existing LinkedIn network to connect/reconnect. Ask at least one of those people to meet with me next week (either virtually or in person). Thursdays from 7:00-8:00 p.m.: Apply to jobs I found online since last Thursday (pay attention to application deadlines and apply sooner if necessary). Look at the websites of my target employers to see if there are opportunities there.+1 approach for any jobs I apply to. Wednesdays: Attend my professional meeting on the third Wednesday of the month; try to schedule networking lunches on the other Wednesdays but be flexible when needed. Sundays: Apply to jobs that can’t wait until next Thursday; include +1 approach. Plan upcoming week’s job search. The unemployed job search could look much the same – just with more time spent on each of the activities. In other words, you don’t need to necessarily go broader with your job search – just deeper.  3.    Reward yourself for achieving that day’s job search goals. When we only reward ourselves for either a job interview or a job offer, we are setting ourselves up for a lot of days of “failure.” Rather, I want you to reward yourself for doing the things you decided ahead of time were important for your job search that day. This might look like a trip to the dog park, down time to read a book or watch a movie, or a glass of wine. You could also set up something a little more elaborate, such as a week of doing everything you set out to do = $X in guilt-free, no-strings-attached spending money. But also do the daily reward!  4.    Periodically evaluate and adjust. At least once a month, check in with your activities and the results you’re getting. Is there something you need to do more of, less of, start doing, or stop doing? Tell yourself the truth here – is the strategy not working because you aren’t working the strategy, or at least not with the proper energy? Do you need professional help to address an issue you are having around networking, or cultivating relationships on LI, or sticking with your plan? 5.    Finally – find the balance between staying the course and giving yourself a break. You might get sick. If you are working, you might have a huge deadline coming up. You might have family issues to attend to. It’s up to you to decide: Do I reschedule this job search time for another day? Do I genuinely need to take a week off? Do I forego today’s job search plan and pick it back up tomorrow? Your answers to the above should be informed in part by how quickly you want to land a new job. Happy job searching in 2023! Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
1/25/202313 minutes, 50 seconds
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257: Thinking of Hiring a Coach This Year? Here's What to Look For

Last week, I did an episode on setting a goal in your professional life – and how to make sure you achieve that goal. For some of you, you may want help with that goal. For others of you, you may want to make a job or even a career change this year. For still others, you may want to position yourself for success in your current role. These are all great reasons to hire a coach, so I wanted to dedicate an episode to helping you find the right coach for you.  Coaching vs. Therapy Let’s start with the difference between a coach and a therapist. Here’s a definition I really like:  A therapist is needed when you are performing below par for you. It is backward-facing, focusing on trauma in your past that is negatively affecting your present. A coach is for when you are performing at par and want to perform above par. It is present- and forward-facing, focusing on the thoughts, feelings, and actions that will get you where you want to go. I know people who started with therapy, then moved to coaching. I know others who started with coaching, but realized they needed to deal with past trauma to move forward. I know of at least one person who has a therapist and a coach presently.  What Kind of Coach?  As I’ve mentioned on this podcast before, I was successful in finding the perfect coach for me because I knew EXACTLY what I was looking for – and was able to articulate it as I spoke with potential coaches or people who knew coaches. If you are specifically looking for help in your career, what exactly do you want help with? For example, you might want to: -Improve your leadership skills-Learn how to step into your power and have greater influence-Become a more efficient decision-maker-Improve your interpersonal/communication/delegation skills-How to be more strategic in what you agree to do – and how to say no when you need to Notice that none of these goals are job search related. As I tell people, my primary coaching business is for those in job transition; the second rung of my coaching is career coaching for people who want to stay within their current employer and move up or perform at their optimal capacity.  Here are some of the reasons people come to me for job search-related coaching: -Improve their interview skills-Plan and execute a more strategic and effective job search-Learn how to be a better networker (also useful if you aren’t job searching)-Learn how to negotiate salary and benefits-They are thinking of a career pivot or reinvention but don’t know how to accomplish this on their own  Within the coaching world, as with many types of professionals, there are generalists and there are specialists. For example, you might hire a general life coach who can help you with your self-confidence, taking the necessary steps to finish your degree or get an advanced degree, or improve your marriage. Specialists should be clearly articulating their specialty in their marketing materials. There are interview coaches, salary negation coaches, coaches to help female executives step into their power, and coaches to help you take a strategic sabbatical. Identify exactly what kind of help you need and be able to articulate it to others. FYI – I would consider myself a semi-specialist. I operate primarily in the job search realm, which is an area of specialization. However, I don’t just coach on interviewing or job search strategy or salary negotiations, so I’m less specialized than some.  Which Format?  With a lot of nuances, there are basically three types of formats for coaching: 1:1GroupContinuity 1:1 offers the most individual attention, with virtually no one-size-fits-all solutions. The downside will be the cost: This is typically the most expensive option. Group coaching offers the community of the others in the program and the synergy that comes from working together towards the same goal; it can also be a more affordable option than 1:1. The downside can be the lack of individualized and customized attention and solutions. Continuity (or monthly) programs typically offer a low-cost option, either as a monthly pay-as-you-go or an annual subscription rate. You benefit from the community – and there may be hundreds, if not thousands, in that community. The downside is also the lack of individualized and customized attention and solutions, as well as the lack of accountability. It’s easy to scoot by unnoticed in a continuity program.  Now What?  Now that you have determined your goal for coaching and have an idea as to which format would best meet your needs, now it’s time to meet with potential coaches to get a feel for what it would be like to work with them and to see if there is chemistry there. Note that you likely won’t meet individually with someone for a continuity program – and possibly not for a group program, either. There may be a video for you to watch or a group introduction to attend. Here are some considerations as you interact with the coach, someone from his/her team, and/or materials you receive about the program: -Do I believe in this person’s ability to help me?-Is there anything about this person that would inhibit my ability to be helped by them?-Does the format they use work for me? What about dates and times?-Have they helped people like me, with a problem similar to mine? As for finding coaches, there are many “collectives” on the internet that have many coaches working for them – often with a wide range of specialties. You can also ask friends, post the question on social media, or do a LI search. I’m not a stickler about whether a coach has a coaching credential, although I prefer them to because then I know they understand what coaching is (and isn’t). Some people want ICF-certified coaches; I’m not one of them. My main concern is: Do I believe this person can help me?  A Word About Price Price shouldn’t be the driving factor in choosing a coach or coaching program. It is, however, a consideration. -Brand-new coaches may charge as little as $50/hour for a 1:1 coaching session, whereas more experienced and specialized coaches may charge over $1,000/hour. -Group programs MAY be less expensive than 1:1…but not always. -Continuity programs are generally the least-expensive option; I know of a great one that charges $297/month and another one that charges $597/year. Especially with continuity programs, make sure you understand the time commitment you are making, how payments will be made, and what, if any, consequences there are to leaving the program.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
1/18/202322 minutes, 53 seconds
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256: Make a Big Shift in One Area of Your Professional Life: Here's How

Greetings and Happy New Year! My wish for all of you in 2023 is that you experience lots of love and laughter, that a long-held dream becomes a reality, that you experience the discomfort of growth, and that you are able to look yourself in the mirror at the end of each day and honestly say “I did my very best today.” And when that “very best” isn’t up to your usual standards – you give yourself a break and love yourself anyway.  Let me start by saying I’m a planning geek. Goals and strategies excite me, and I love realizing the aggressive goals I set for myself. Today, I’m inviting you to pick an area of your professional life that you would like to see massive change in. Step 1 – Choose the general area Some possibilities: -Get a promotion -Get a substantial raise -Get a new job -Get a new certification -Complete a degree -Learn how to _____ -Get better at _____ -Stop _____ -Develop a better relationship with _____ -Win _____ award -Become a subject matter expert in _____ -Write an article for _____ publication Of course, there are many more possibilities than these, but hopefully this gets your brain moving.  Step 2 – Set a SMART goal As a review, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. Let’s do a few examples. If your area is to get a substantial raise, your SMART goal might be: -Ask boss for 20% raise at my performance evaluation in June. Specific: 20%Measurable: Did I, or did I not, ask?Achievable: I can absolutely make this askRealistic: Based on my salary and the market rate for what I do, a 20% raise is very realisticTime-Sensitive: I already have my performance review scheduled for June 19th; that’s when I will ask. Here’s another example: If your area is to get better at delegating, your SMART goal might be: -Delegate the annual report copyrighting to Dana and the QA for the annual report to James, which is due on 3/01/2023. Specific: Delegate the annual report copyrighting and QAMeasurable: Did I just supervise, rather than work hands on – yes or no?Achievable: Dana and James are both fully capable of doing this work and would enjoy the challenge.Realistic: It makes sense for Dana and James to be involved in this project for their professional development.Time-Sensitive: Project is due 3/01/2023  Step 3 - Write down all the ways this WON’T work.  Going back to the example of asking for a raise: -I’ll be too nervous to ask -My boss might get mad -My boss might fire me for asking -My boss will tell me I don’t deserve that much more money -My boss will laugh at me -My boss will counter with a much lower raise -My boss will tell me that it isn’t possible to give me that much  In the example of delegating the annual report: -Dana or James might refuse -Dana or James might not do a good job -I may spend more time supervising them than if I did it myself -I might end up having to do it all over again at the last minute -Dana or James might leave before the project is due, and I’ll be left picking up the pieces -Others on the team may be jealous of Dana or James because they got this important assignment  Step 4 - Use your list of problems to come up with action steps to solve. Going back to the example of asking for a raise: -I’ll be too nervous to ask – I will practice with my significant other or friend -My boss might get mad – I can’t control how my boss reacts, but I will deliver my request as politely and respectfully as I can while standing up for myself -My boss might fire me for asking - I can’t control how my boss reacts, but I will deliver my request as politely and respectfully as I can while standing up for myself -My boss will tell me I don’t deserve that much more money – I will have data to back up my request -My boss will laugh at me – I won’t make this mean anything about me -My boss will counter with a much lower raise – I will practice how to counteroffer -My boss will tell me that it isn’t possible to give me that much – I will have examples prepared that refute this if my boss brings it up  What if your goal is more long-term? If, for example, your area is to become a better leader, your goal might be: Attend 3 leadership seminars/events in 2023. The problems and solutions might be: -I don’t know where to find the best events – I’ll mark off time on my calendar in January to research upcoming events and vet them out -My boss might not want me gone that much – I’ll speak with him and get his support to attend -I don’t know if my company will pay for that much training in one year – I’ll check with my boss on this; I’ll pay out of pocket if I need to -I can’t take that much time off work – I will identify a 2nd in command for my function to be in control when I’m out; I will train that person prior to the first training I attend  Step 5 - Calendar in your steps to success If you need to research trainings, books to read, or how to set something up, block out times to do so. Give yourself sufficient time to complete the task – not too much or so little that you become frustrated. If you plan to return to school, block out time to attend classes, study, etc. If you want to improve a working relationship, schedule lunches or other out-of-office time with that person.  Step 6 - Choose an accountability partner – carefully I love mastermind groups for this purpose, because I know that in two weeks, they will ask if I did what I said I was going to do.  Step 7 - Check in on your progress at least weekly Create a system to keep track of what you’ve done and what you still need to do relative to your goal. Anything from notes in your calendar to an Excel spreadsheet to a formal project management tool will do the trick, as long as it is a) easy for you to use, b) accessible to you. Part of checking in is making mid-course corrections. Is there a new step you need to introduce into your process? Has the goal changed slightly as you have progressed? Do you need to adjust your timeline (ideally due to circumstances outside your control).  Step 8 - Celebrate the win This is the fun part – and the part so many people forget. This is your opportunity to give yourself a pat on the back, recognize the people who helped you achieve the win, and reflect on how you grew in achieving the goal. What if you weren’t successful? Then celebrate the growth and learning. Remember my saying: It isn’t winning or losing, it’s winning or learning. If you weren’t successful, do you want to go for the goal again? Are you satisfied with the movement you did have – and are ready to move on to a new goal?  Step 9 - Use the momentum to choose another goal One of the major benefits of setting, and achieving, goals is how you improve your relationship with yourself in doing so. You are learning to have your own back – “when I say I’m going to do something, I DO IT.” Leverage that improved relationship to select another goal right after you’ve had a moment to stop and enjoy the view from your previous goal.  One final note: I recommend starting with something small, if goal setting and goal-achieving is a new concept for you. You’re building muscle around your ability to do what you say you are going to do, so don’t try to life a 250 lb. dead weight right off the bat.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
1/11/202328 minutes, 3 seconds
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255: Strategies for Answering the Toughest Interview Question

Happy Holidays! Whatever you celebrate – and whoever you have the blessing of celebrating with – I wish you Peace, Joy, Love, Laughter…and lots of good eats! I wanted to revisit a topic I covered way back in episode #82 on how to answer the “Tell me about yourself” interview question. That episode aired on June 5th, 2019, so I thought it was time to go over how I coach my clients to answer this question. There’s a phenomenon call the primacy effect, which states that people remember whatever came first in a sequence. There’s also the recency effect – people remember whatever came last in the sequence. Because the “tell me about yourself” question is asked first if it is asked at all, it holds considerable weight in the interviewer’s mind. It also gives you the opportunity to start the interview off on the best possible foot. Here’s what a lot of coaches will tell you: Tell them your work history, your strengths, why you want to work for them…they want you to make this a full-on sales pitch. Here’s why I DON’T recommend this approach: I have interviewed hundreds of candidates over my years in higher education, and I had a structured interview process. Meaning: we asked every candidate the same questions and had a pre-determined scoring system to try to keep the evaluation process as fact-based and non-partial as possible. Not to mention: If you provide them with your life history, it’s likely to be loooong and you might find the interviewer nodding off. Not a great start. In a structured interview process, which most employers use (often for legal reasons), they will ask you about your strengths. They will ask you why you want to work for them. They will ask you why they should select you over the other candidates. If you answer ALL these questions in your response to “Tell me about yourself,” you will have thrown off the cadence of the entire interview. The interviewers will have to scramble to evaluate you on questions they haven’t yet asked you. Here’s why I ALWAYS ask the “Tell me about yourself” question: I want to see what will come out of your mouth when asked such a broad, non-specific question. I have had candidates tell me about their abusive ex-boyfriend, their three preschool kids, their spouse’s job, what’s going on in their family of origin. Oh – and my personal favorite – how they can’t come to work when they are tired. ALL THINGS I CAN’T ASK ABOUT. I also ask this question as a nice “soft pitch” before getting into the more technical or behavioral questions. I am surprised by how many are completely unprepared for this question. I’m also surprised by how many people answer in a way that puts the interviewer to sleep and/or overloads them with too much information. Here then, are my top 8 tips for developing your answer to the “tell me about yourself” question: 1.    Structure your answer in a past – present – future format.Give the interviewer a bit of information about where you came from, where you are now, and where you want to go.  2.    Stay at the 40,000-foot level.This is not the time to provide details about your accomplishments, work experience, or skills – they will ask questions about these things later.  3.    Keep it to 2-3 minutes.By staying at a 40,000-foot view and not getting into the weeds with specifics, it is easy to keep your answer to the “tell me about yourself” question to no more than 3 minutes. This will also help the interviewer keep on track with the questions he/she wants to ask without going over time and will keep the interviewer’s interest high.  4.    Introduce your brand, right up front.If you’ve done the personal branding work I’ve talked about on other podcast episodes, you should be very aware of your personal brand. Here’s your chance to introduce your personal brand right at the top of the interview…and reinforce it throughout the interview.  5.    Provide personal information.If the interviewer would be your new boss, he/she is going to want to get to know you as a total person. Even if the interviewer is from HR, giving the interviewer a sense of who you really are will help him/her to decide if you would be a good fit for the available position. The caveat here is that the personal information should be neutral or positive. Some examples: -A foreign language you are learning-A hobby you are passionate about (as long as it doesn’t scream death-defying danger)-A personal goal you are working towards (such as building a home or training to run a marathon)-A recent travel experience What constitutes negative personal information? Here are some I’ve been given in actual job interviews: -Number and ages of children-Health conditions-Marital status (recently divorced)-The fact of, and reasons for, being recently terminated  These tips apply to the “tell me about yourself” question as well as the entire interview: 6.    Pay attention to nonverbal cues.One of the best ways to make sure you are proceeding with your answer to any interview question in the proper way is to watch for nonverbal cues from the interviewer. Note that I’m not saying there is a “right” or “wrong” answer to an interview question. What I’m saying is that sometimes candidates misunderstand the interview question and aren’t providing the interviewer with the information he/she is looking for. It is perfectly acceptable to stop, ask the interviewer for clarification on the question or to verify that you are providing him/her with the desired information.  7.    Relax.You may think it is impossible to relax in an interview, but I promise it will serve you well to develop this ability. I’m not suggesting that you be so relaxed that you’re practically asleep, but rather that you aren’t so tense that you are struggling to communicate effectively and look like you are about to jump out of your own skin. This first question is a great opportunity to you to relax into the interview so you can put forth your best effort.  8.    Let your personality shine through.Many people I have interviewed over the years were stiff, all business, and showed no sense of humor. If you have a sense of humor – let it shine through, as long as you remain in good taste. If you love to do nice things for your co-workers to create camaraderie and a sense of team – tell the interviewer about this. If you are too buttoned up because you think this should be a serious affair – and you are naturally a fun and personable creature – the interviewer isn’t really getting to know you. In other words, there’s a bit of false advertising going on.  An ExampleI thought I’d end with my “Tell me about yourself answer.” We’ll pretend I’m applying for a job back in higher education as Director of Career Services. “One of the most important things to know about me is the breadth of experience, skills, and credentials I bring to the table. “As you’ve probably already seen on my resume, I spent 10 years as Director of the Career Center at Columbus State University, followed by 12 years in the same role at Truman State University. At Columbus State, I led efforts to separate career services from the Counseling Center and became the new entity’s first Director. In that capacity, I created the university’s cooperative education program, which was successful enough to be able to hire a full-time co-op coordinator the next year. “At Truman, I took a career center that was underutilized and underwhelming into a highlight of the university – touted in admissions material and to employers and donors. When I was hired, my boss told me that if I could turn the Career Center at Truman into a showpiece for the university, I would have worked a miracle. When he left Truman for another university, he told me I had worked a miracle. In 2012, I left higher education to work in my practice full-time. In this capacity, I have worked with clients on all continents except Antarctica on resume writing, LinkedIn profiles, job search strategy, interview techniques, salary negotiations, and career management. I am one of 23 Master Resume Writers in the world, and a Certified Job Search Strategist, Certified Executive and Leadership Development Coach, and Master Practitioner of the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. While I have loved owning my own business, I am excited about the prospect of leading a team again – and being part of a team as well. I am motivated to help each team member reach their full potential and create a team that is cohesive and engaged. On a personal note, I am an avid reader and love to listen to true crime podcasts. I have two hound dogs who love to take me for walks.” Time: 1:50  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2    
12/14/202226 minutes, 36 seconds
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254: Humanizing the Remote Work Experience (with Amy Mednick)

My guest today is Dr. Amy Mednick, a New York City psychiatrist who specializes in the overlap between the humanities in neuroscience. Today, Amy and I talk about Zoom fatigue – what is it, why is it so prevalent, and the warning signs you want to pay attention to. We also talk about how to make Zoom meetings more humanizing if you are in charge. You can check out Amy’s book, Humanizing the Remote Experience, at www.htre-book.com You can find Amy on Instagram or Facebook at amymednickmd, on Twitter @Amy Mednick, or on LinkedIn at linkedin.com/in/amy-m-794363174.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
12/7/202237 minutes, 32 seconds
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253: Are You a Good Fit for an Interim Executive Position? (with Robert Jordan)

This week, I have a return guest – Robert Jordan. Robert is CEO of Interim Execs, which matches interim, project, and fractional executives with opportunities. When I had Robert on the podcast back in episode #235, we talked about matching your leadership style to the right organization. Today, we’re talking about the role of an interim executive – and who is the right fit for these types of opportunities. Robert shares the characteristics he looks for in interim executives and how you can best present yourself for these roles. You can take a leadership assessment on Robert’s website at rightleader.com You can find Robert at:https://www.rightleader.com/ https://interimexecs.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertjjordan/https://twitter.com/interim_execshttps://www.youtube.com/user/interimexecs Here is the link to episode #235 with Robert, where we talk about how to make sure your leadership style meshes with the right organization: http://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2022-07-20-235-235-matching-your-leadership-style-to-the-right-organization-with-robert-jordan Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
11/30/202243 minutes, 19 seconds
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252: Five Unusual Things to Be Thankful For - 2022 Edition

Each year since the inception of this podcast in 2017, I have done a Five Unusual Things to Be Thankful For episode during Thanksgiving week. This episode is never one of my most-downloaded episodes, but it is one of my favorites. It is also one of my most personal and vulnerable episodes each year. The purpose is two-fold: To get you thinking about the things in your life that you could look at differently – and to show gratitude for those things that maybe didn’t feel so good at the time they were happening. I like to put it this way: Why is this happening for me? Not to me, but for me – for my benefit. The universe isn’t out to get me…I’m not a victim here. Here, then, is my 2022 list of unusual things to be thankful for: 5. A great Virtual Assistant (VA). This one’s maybe not so unusual, except that I had previously tried to find a VA with zero success. My VA, Robin, has been a game-changer for my business…and she’s an absolute delight to work with! I am so very thankful for Robin. My message for you: When we look backward and determine our future based on our past, we are missing the point. If I had decided Robin wouldn’t work out because the others hadn’t, I would have missed out on one of the most beneficial investments I make every month into my business. Circumstances will be different this time…people will be different this time…YOU will be different this time.  4. When there are no options. In my world of making dozens of decisions every day, it’s nice when there really is no decision to be made…when the path is clear and obvious. This year, this happened early on when I found out I had to have major surgery at the end of May and wouldn’t be able to walk my dogs for at least six weeks. I was living in an apartment at that time. I really had no option other than to move to a house with a fenced-in backyard. This also happened back in 2020 when my 12-year-old Honda Odyssey all but stopped working. I took it to my mechanic, who couldn’t find the electrical problem that was causing the battery to drain daily, back doors not to open and close…and don’t even get me started with the haunted interior lights. No option but to purchase a new vehicle. I’m really good at making decisions and having my own back about those decisions. HOWEVER, it’s nice to know exactly what you need to do. My message for you: Let easy things be easy. Don’t overcomplicate things. Don’t assume moving or making a major purchase is going to be hard…just maybe, it won’t be.  3. Growing pains. This has been a year of refining my systems and processes to take my business to the next level – along with the mindset needed to see myself differently as my role within the business changes. Of course, I could have kept on with “business as usual” – nothing wrong with that. Except that’s not how I roll. I want bigger…I want to serve more clients…I want to have more influence in the world. So these growing pains are absolutely necessary – and it won’t be the last time I experience them. My message for you: Don’t let yourself stagnate. Be brave and willing to experience the growing pains of seeking a promotion, a new job, a new relationship, new friendships…whatever you desire. Don’t expect it to be comfortable or easy or without a few hiccups. Know that the discomfort and difficulties are part of the deal…and that’s okay.  2. Reviving a past interest…and finding it’s still there. In the process of moving, I knew I wanted a new dining table – I’ve always hated the one I had. I ended up getting a high-quality table from a local thrift store for $75 that needed a lot of love. After putting about that much money into supplies and a lot of time and elbow grease, it is now my pride and joy. I was coaching a client this week about her job dissatisfaction. I encouraged her to have fun – try some new things, revisit some old things she used to enjoy, be willing to NOT have fun in an effort to have A LOT of fun. This will make her job dissatisfaction have less of an impact on her life. My message for you: Exactly what I coached my client to do. Have you always wanted to make cheese, or learn salsa dancing, or take a Japanese cooking class? DO IT. Did you used to love riding your bike, or horseback riding, or painting? DO IT AGAIN. Step outside your comfort zone. The further, the better.  1.                Listening to my gut. I find that my gut is always right. In this incident, I was considering a major purchase for my business. I had an initial sales call that I found difficult to follow…and then the follow-up he promised didn’t happen. Then I got a free trial but couldn’t utilize it. When I reached out to them for help, they never responded. Then I spoke with two people using the software and heard less-than-glowing reviews. Most recently, I am receiving multiple client referral emails from them every day despite the fact that I am NOT NOR HAVE EVER BEEN THEIR CUSTOMER. It’s taken three contacts to get these to stop. My message for you: Listen to your gut. If the facts line up with what your gut is telling you, great. If the facts don’t line up with what your gut is telling you, go with your gut. Stop with the rationalizations and accommodations. This works for people too: If someone is showing you who they are, BELIEVE THEM. Happy Thanksgiving! Here’s to another year of unusual things to be thankful for.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
11/23/202224 minutes, 15 seconds
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251: What Type of Job Search Should You Launch?

Let me start by saying that not all job searches should look alike – and the important thing is that you launch the type of job search that makes the most sense for you. When clients get coached by me on their job search, it is an Active job search. If they are employed, I require they spend a minimum of 5 hours per week in their job search; if they are unemployed, I suggest 30 hours per week – if they want to get employed as quickly as possible. If they have fewer than 5 hours per week they can devote to a job search, I suggest a Passive job search. Let’s break these terms down: An Active job search focuses on networking-based activities. A Passive job search focuses on job boards and company websites.  An Active job search can have Passive strategies in it. Here’s the ratio I recommend: If you are just out of college: 25% Active and 75% Passive If you have been out of college for a few years through mid-career: 50%/50% If you are at a more senior level: 75% Active and 25% Passive If you are at the C-level: 100% Active  A Passive job search might include some networking, but due to time constraints is almost completely job board- and company website-focused. I have covered specific Active and Passive strategies in previous episodes, so I’m not rehashing that here. One of the things I do with clients in one coaching session is create their customized job search strategy. They leave that session with a plan they can calendar in – that gives them their marching orders. The question we want to answer in this episode is: Which type of job search should I launch? Here are some considerations: Are you unemployed?If you are unemployed and want to become employed as quickly as possible, then an Active job search is your best option. I recommend 30 hours per week of job search. Using the ratios above, here’s how you would break out your time: Right out of college: 7.5 hours per week on networking; 22.5 hours per week on job boards and other passive strategies. Mid-career: 15 hours on each Senior: 22.5 hours per week networking; 7.5 hours on job boards  Are you currently employed, but want to change jobs relatively soon?To change jobs relatively quickly, you’ll need an Active job search. This will require you to carve out at least five hours each week for your job search. Here’s how you would break out your time: Right out of college: 1.25 hours per week on networking; 3.75 hours per week on job boards and other passive strategies. Mid-career: 2.5 hours on each Senior: 3.75 hours per week networking; 1.25 hours on job boards  Are you currently employed and want to change jobs, but you aren’t in a hurry?If you can carve out at least five hours each week for your job search, then an Active strategy is still your best option. If you don’t have the bandwidth to commit to at least five hours per week, then a Passive strategy is probably all you’ll be able to do – with the occasional networking meeting or event thrown in.  Are you not really looking to leave your current job, but want to be open to speaking with recruiters?This is what I call the ARFO strategy – Always Ready For Opportunity. I’ve spoken about this in other episodes – you have all your ducks in a row, such as an updated resume, current credentials, and an appropriate education level. In an ARFO job search, you are simply “opening the door” to recruiters – this is primarily through your LI profile. I strongly recommend having an expert like me write your LI profile for you so it is impactful to the reader AND has the right things in the right places to serve as “recruiter flypaper.”  In summary, the variables for this equation are Time and Urgency. If you have Time and Urgency = Active job search If you don’t have Time but do have Urgency = Passive job search with some networking in the mix if at all possible If you don’t have Time or Urgency = Passive job search If you don’t have Urgency = ARFO  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
11/16/202217 minutes, 5 seconds
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250: A Celebration Gift for You!

Okay…I’m determined not to get mushy here, but I do want to take a moment to congratulate myself. I don’t know the stats on how many podcasts make it to 250 episodes…or even how many make it to 20 episodes. I do, however, know it is a great accomplishment – and one I am exceedingly proud of myself for. I’ve told this story before, I’m sure, but before I started my podcast – way back in 2016 and early 2017 – I had it in my head that it would cost $5K to start a podcast. I had no facts to back that up, mind you…I just arbitrarily decided it was too expensive for me to become a podcaster. One of my earlier “coaches” suggested I do a teleseminar. You know – I talk on the phone, people sign up ahead of time to attend, and they listen on their phone. You had to attend live to get the content of the teleseminar. I had ZERO energy around this idea…in part because a group I was involved in disseminated their weekly content via teleseminars, and I hardly ever attended. I just wasn’t willing to commit an hour of my day at 9:00 every Wednesday morning. So I tried to make myself take steps toward producing a teleseminar series…but I never really made it out of the starting gate. Remember: I had ZERO energy around this idea. The thought in my head? Probably something like “Yuck. Teleseminars. Yuck.” The feeling that thought produced? Disengagement. Disinterest. Boredom. The actions those thoughts and feelings produced? Lesa, doing anything OTHER than working on a teleseminar series. Then, one fateful day, I was listening to…wait for it…a podcast. After all, I LOVED listening to podcasts. This particular podcaster was talking about challenging our assumptions. You know, those beliefs we have that hold us back from moving forward in our life. She could have been talking directly to me. She hit me right between the eyes. Her suggestion was to gather the FACTS, then make an informed decision about the best path forward. You mean, like the FACTS of how much it ACTUALLY costs to produce a podcast? What a novel idea. BTW – at the same time, I decided to challenge my belief that getting the undercarriage of my minivan fixed so it wouldn’t scrape the ground was going to cost a gazillion dollars. So I drove my Odyssey to the nearest body shop, they identified the problem and said they could order the necessary part and fix the problem the day after tomorrow. The cost? $50. And because of my faulty belief system, I waited for a full year to fix that minor problem. So…back to me and podcasting. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, so my first step was to find…wait for it…a podcast on podcasting. Back in early 2017, there were probably only a few options available, but I found a good one. He talked about the resources available on his website, so off I went. It told me what I needed and gave best options at three price points – entry-level, mid-level, and highest quality. I opted for the mid-level, because he said this may be all I would ever need. (I haven’t upgraded since then, so I guess he was right.) I needed a microphone, headphones, a podcast host, and an editing program. I took his mid-level recommendations on the microphone and headphones, then began researching his options for hosting and editing. (I’ve kept both of the options I chose for hosting and editing since then, so again – good advice from him.) What was the new thought in my head about podcasting? “I can do this. This is possible for me. I AM going to do this.” What feeling did that thought produce? Excitement. What actions did I take? I bought the necessary equipment, I came up with the topics for the first 12 or so episodes, determined my process (weekly, about 30 minutes or less most times, dropping on Wednesdays, no guests initially) and then I got after it. Result? I became a podcaster. A fact, BTW, that I’m still very proud to share with people. And when I tell them there are 250 episodes in my catalogue? They are super impressed. But more importantly, I am impressed with myself. Now that I’ve told you my podcasting genesis story, I invite you to think of something you have been putting off because you don’t think you have enough. Enough money.Enough education.Enough time.Enough knowledge.Enough youth/experience.Enough information. Take a hard look at where that “not enough” has gotten you. Most likely, as it did with me…not very far. And, like me, you may be frustrated with yourself for not moving forward. Or worse, you may be “bleeding.” There may be other areas of your life where your “not enough” is sabotaging you. If you believe you don’t have enough money to start a podcast, maybe you also don’t believe you don’t have enough money to go on that trip of a lifetime. If you don’t believe you have enough education to seek that promotion, you may also believe you don’t have enough education to seek other opportunities outside your current employer. If you believe you are too old to learn to ski, you may also believe you are too old to start dating again.What’s the solution? Here is a four-step process: 1.    Find something you have wanted to do in any area of your life, but have believed you don’t have enough money, education, time, knowledge, experience, youth, or information to do. 2.    Decide on a new thought that will serve you. For example, “I will explore what it actually costs to become a podcaster.” Make sure it is a thought you can fully believe – and begin practicing it regularly. Write it out on index cards; put it on your screen saver. 3.     Map out your first steps, then get after them. You may not yet know every step you need to take, but at least get started and the next steps will reveal themselves. 4.    DECIDE. Then decide you’ve made the right decision – in other words, have your own back. If, after all the steps above, you decide not to proceed with the thing, that’s okay. Just don’t waffle.  I would love to hear from you about the area of your life you looked at!  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2     
11/9/202217 minutes, 21 seconds
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249: How to Make Decision-Making Your Superpower

I have recently finished Jen Sincero’s book, You Are a Badass. One of the chapters in the book is on The Almighty Decision, and I wanted to dive into this topic for this episode. One of the things I talk with my clients about is the three-step process of decision-making. Those steps are:1)    Give yourself a limited amount of time to explore options. 2)    Make a decision based on the information you’ve gathered AND what your gut is telling you. If the two disagree, ALWAYS go with your gut. 3)    Decide you have made the right decision. No waffling, second-guessing, or changing your mind. Have your own back as to the decision you made.  Why does this matter? So many people take FOREVER to make a decision… sometimes, even over small, fairly inconsequential things. Decision-making is a muscle, and the more you exercise that muscle, the stronger and more dependable it will become. In my work as a career coach, job search coach, and Master Resume Writer, here are some of the indecisions I see clients grapple with: -Should I leave my current employer and go elsewhere, or should I stay? -Am I qualified to apply for this position? -Should I ask for a promotion and/or raise? -Is my dissatisfaction with my career path – or just my current employer? -Should I make a career pivot or completely reinvent my career?-Should I reach out to X for help with my job search? -Should I stay employed, or start my own business? -Should I fully retire, or just downshift to a less stressful, more rewarding job? Of course, there are hundreds of micro-decisions I help my clients with, but these are some of the big ones.  What are some of the decisions you might make in other areas of your life? -I WILL lose XXX pounds. -I WILL begin an exercise program. -I WILL eat healthier. -I WILL begin dating again. -I WILL buy a home. -I WILL stop smoking/drinking/doing drugs. -I WILL clean out the clutter in my home. -I WILL make new friends. -I WILL learn how to do XXX.  In her book, Jen Sincero tells the story of Henry Ford, who was determined to have all eight cylinders of the engine cast in one block. His engineers told him he was crazy – it couldn’t be done. They came back sometime later, with even more evidence that it couldn’t be done. Henry Ford rejected their “evidence,” and ordered them back to the drawing board. Of course, they eventually figured it out by creating the V-8 engine like the workhorse I had in my 1970 Ford Torino. (Let’s not talk about the gas mileage, but man could she GO.) Sincero’s point? “So often, we pretend we’ve made a decision, when what we’ve really done is signed up to try until it gets too uncomfortable.  What do you have to be willing to withstand in order to truly make a decision? -Family and friends laughing at you, questioning your decision, expecting you to fail -Deciding to avoid/minimize your interaction with others who don’t support your decision – at least for now -Avoiding social media, print, or other content that presents evidence that your decision is the wrong one, doomed to failure -Recognizing that your own doubts are merely your primitive brain, trying to protect you from the certain death you’ll face as a result of your decision (“nothing has gone wrong”)  What steps will you need to take to develop this muscle? -Deciding ahead of time what you will do each day towards making your decision a reality – then doing the things even when you REALLY, REALLY don’t want to -Willingness to be uncomfortable – sometimes VERY uncomfortable -Becoming comfortable with “failure,” and reframing it as “learning opportunities” that show you one more way NOT to achieve your goal-Training your brain to resist immediate pleasure in favor of your big picture  Here, then, are Jen Sincero’s tips for decision-making: 1.    Want it badYou have to want it more than the alternative. As she says, “You need to have a ten-ton gorilla of desire behind your decision or else you’ll wimp out the second things get hard.” This requires you to be honest with yourself about what you really want to do, not what you think you should do – and believe it is available to you regardless of any evidence to the contrary. 2.    Get good at itSo many people have terror around decision-making because they are so afraid of making the “wrong” decision. This is where waffling, making hasty decisions just to get it over with, and choosing to do nothing come into play. (By the way, choosing to do nothing IS a decision.) A good strategy is to begin practicing on small decisions…making them quickly and changing them slowly. We’re not talking about making hasty decisions here, but rather gathering the facts as quickly and efficiently as possible to be able to MOVE FORWARD. Also – give yourself a deadline for making the decision. Finally – quit telling people (and yourself) that you are terrible at making decisions. Talk about confusing the universe! 3.    Eliminate the negotiation processDecisions are simply not up for negotiation. Remember what I said at the outset – have your own back. The decision-making process is an excellent opportunity for you to improve your relationship with the most important person in your life – YOU. As you have your own back on decisions you make, you begin to trust yourself more and more. Not only that – others will notice that you are following through on your decisions, and THEY will begin to trust you, as well. Let’s say you have decided to buy a vacation home on the beach by a certain date. You know how much money you need in the bank…and a friend comes along with an invitation to go to Bali for two weeks. Of COURSE, Bali sounds wonderful – who wouldn’t want to go there? But you decided to buy a vacation home on the beach by a certain date. You KNOW that going to Bali will delay your ability to buy that home. SO…you have your own back about your vacation home-buying decision. You thank your friend profusely and tell her that you hope she’ll ask the next time she wants to travel. But this time…you have decided to become a vacation homeowner! 4.    Stick like glueIt takes tenacity…stick-to-it-iveness…to achieve your goals. I like the analogy of giving birth. I clearly remember, when I was in about hour 12 of trying to exit a 10-pound, 1 ounce, human out of my body, that I told my then-husband, “I can’t do this anymore.” His response? “You don’t have any choice, Lesa.” And he was right; I had no choice but to see this child-having decision through to the birth. Let’s have this same sense of “you don’t have any choice” with other decisions in our lives. Focus on the result you desire, recognize that the inevitable bumps and bruises along the way are supposed to happen, and STAY THE COURSE. I love this quote from Sincero: “In order to change your life and start living a new one that you’ve never lived before, your faith in miracles, and yourself, must be greater than your fear. However easy or rough your birthing process is, you have to be willing to fall down, get up, look stupid, cry, laugh, make a mess, clean it up, and not stop until you get there. NO MATTER WHAT.” 5.    Love yourselfBecause you can do ANYTHING. And it’s much easier to get there by loving on yourself along the way than by hating on yourself.  So, I invite you to make a decision TODAY. It can be a small one…or it can be you, finally getting off that non-existent fence and making a decision about something big. And congratulate yourself for changing your life forever. Because in the process of making that decision and going through the necessary steps to realize your goal, you will be forever changed. Way to go, you!  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2    
11/2/202221 minutes, 49 seconds
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248: Navigating Remote Work (with Marcelle Yeager)

This week my guest is Marcelle Yeager of Career Valet, and we’re talking about navigating remote work. Our focus is on managing and being managed in “the new world order” with in-office, remote, and hybrid employees all working together. We also cover how to ensure you are setting yourself up for success as a remote worker – and how, if you are a manager, you can set your employees up for success in a remote environment. Prior to starting Career Valet, Marcelle worked in strategic communications at APCO Worldwide, Booz Allen Hamilton, the Department of Defense, and the Department of State. She holds and MBA and is a former regular contributor to U.S. News and World Report’s On Careers blog and ClearanceJobs.com. She’s been featured in MONEY Magazine, Business Insider, and FlexJobs. You can download Marcelle’s free resume handbook, which covers the 10 items you need to change on your resume right now:Careervalet.com/cv-resume-handbook You can find Marcelle at:careervalet.comlinkedin.com/in/marcelleyeagerInstagram.com/career_valetFacebook.com/careervaletTwitter.com/careervalet  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
10/26/202238 minutes, 8 seconds
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247: Are You Ready for a Career Break? (with Katrina McGhee)

Our guest today is Katrina McGhee, and we are diving into the idea of taking a career break. NOT a run-away-as-fast-as-you-can because you hate your job, but a planned, strategic break with goals. Katrina tells us her career break story and how she has coached more than 50 clients to have successful career breaks. We also delve into how to successfully “re-enter” your career after your break. You can find Katrina at www.kmcgheecoaching.com She is offering a 3-part video series on her website to help you conquer your fear and stop waiting for “someday.” She walks you through the basics of taking a career break and just how possible it can be. Find this FREE series atwww.kmcgheecoaching.com/career-break-training  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
10/19/202241 minutes, 36 seconds
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246: Creating a 30/60/90-Day Plan for Your New Position

Hey – I have extended the Rate, Review, and Subscribe contest through 10/14 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern – so you still have a few days to enter if you are listening to then when it comes out. To participate: Rate (1 entry); Subscribe (2 entries); Review (4 entries) Winner will receive $250 Visa gift card Participants should notify me of their participation and what they did via [email protected]  I recently answered a question in a group I am a VIP in about 30/60/90-day plans, so I thought I would convey this information to you. These plans are fairly common at the director level and above. There are two possible scenarios for such a plan: When you are in the interviewing phase, and when you are new in the position. The purpose for a plan when you are in the interviewing phase is to show the hiring manager and other key decision-makers that you understand the priorities and have given considerable thought to how you will approach them. It also shows them how you will assimilate yourself into the company culture. You can’t know all the details about things like budget, staffing challenges, etc. before you’ve been hired, so the goal isn’t perfection. Rather, it is showing that you understand the broad-brush strokes and have a plan of attack. The purpose of a plan when you are new in the position is to make sure you and your boss are on the same page. This is an opportunity to lay out a plan and have your boss shoot holes in it, ask question, add content, etc. In either scenario, I recommend creating a PowerPoint presentation for your plan. Here is a suggestion of how to organize your PP: 1: Intro page with your contact information and possibly a quote or philosophy you operate by. Adjust this accordingly whether you are a candidate or the incumbent. 2: Your leadership philosophy with examples. 3: Your vision for your role in the company and your specific position. 4: High-level overview of your 30/60/90, such as: 30 - LearnMeet with partners, peers, internal stakeholders to learn the business and HR systems. The goal will be to accelerate my learning process to make an effective and expedient contribution. To have a seamless transition in the HR Role, from existing HR Manager to incumbent HR Manager, is to plan, stay on course while remaining agile! 60 - AssessAnalyze the existing key processes to understand the performance of core, short- and long-term initiatives by HR for operations. Identify opportunities for short term and long-term improvement, based on feedback from HR Director. 90 - OptimizeIdentify opportunities for improvement, potential process or program improvements. Use existing or begin building HR Scorecards to measure strategic alignment with business operations.5: Details of 30-day, with specific bullet points 6: Details of 60-day, with specific bullet points 7: Details of 90-day, with specific bullet points 8: Measurements of success at 30, 60, 90 days, such as: 30 Days - Learn -Begin relationship-building w/HR Dir., HR Staff, Executive, Line, & Union Leadership-Learn HRIS systems, Employee Handbook and Union Contract-Knowledge transfer, pending ER issues & actions-Benefits and Payroll learning-Understanding of ongoing HR projects, KP/Metric & Financial Analytic Knowledge-Talent Acquisition Process Review-Training and Development Process Review 9: Closing page, with a repeat of contact information if you are in the interview phase  You might also want one more page if you are in the interview phase. Here are some possibilities: -2-3 recommendations (could be pulled from LI profile or performance evals) -An embedded video you have created with appropriate text on the page -Links to publications and presentations; appropriate text on the page -Case study, with either actual pictures or stock artwork as appropriate -Something else you believe would be useful -A side-by-side comparison of what company stands for/is looking for and what you bring to the table One final note: If you are in the interviewing phase, you can create a template for your plans to keep from having to start from scratch each time. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
10/12/202213 minutes, 56 seconds
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245: Networking ABCs - What to Do if You Don't Know What to Do

Hey – I have extended the Rate, Review, and Subscribe contest through 10/14 at 5:00 p.m. Eastern – so what are you waiting for? To participate: Rate (1 entry); Subscribe (2 entries); Review (4 entries) Winner will receive a $250 Visa gift card Participants should notify me of their participation and what they did via [email protected]  Today, we’re talking about the basics of networking. This is especially for those of you who a) avoid networking like a root canal, b) describe your networking skills as “terrible;” and c) those of you who think networking is not necessary to land your dream job or advance your career. Here’s a quote I used on a previous podcast: “The opposite of networking is NOT working.” Keep in mind that your network doesn’t just consist of people you know…it consists of people who know you. Think about it…you may “know” Tom Cruise or Joe Biden…but do they know you? If they don’t, then they aren’t in your network. Through this podcast, I am networked to hundreds of people I’ve never met, but they are in my network. They reach out to me when they need the services and expertise I provide. They aren’t yet in my network until I meet them and get to know them. Here are some of the reasons networking is so important throughout your career: Internal networking: 1.    To advance within your current organization 2.    To get tapped for high-profile projects within your current organization 3.    To receive recognition for the work you are doing 4.    To become well known for your brand throughout your organization  External networking: 1.    To find out about, and get promoted for, job opportunities 2.    To collaborate and partner with people in your community, your profession, or your industry on mutually beneficial projects/opportunities 3.    To be selected for leadership roles within your community, your profession, or your industry 4.    To help others! Networking should never be a one-way street…all take and no give.  Now let’s talk about the ABC’s of networking. Remember, this is a primer…having said that, anyone would benefit from this refresher. Here we go, taking a reporter’s Who, What, When, Where, and Why approach:  Who.  I get a lot of questions about who people should be networking with, and that question tells me they don’t have a networking strategy. You develop a networking strategy by knowing where you want to work. You identify 10-12 companies that are a perfect match for your skills, the culture you work best in, your preferred work environment and geographic location, etc. Once you have identified your dream employers, work backwards using LinkedIn to figure out who you know relative to that employer. -Do you know someone who works there, or has worked there recently? -Do you know someone who knows the person who can make the decision to hire you? -If you can’t think of anyone for the previous prompts, who do you know who is well connected and might be able to point you in the right direction? You have to know how to use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search function to pull this off, so if you aren’t familiar with this functionality – listen to last week’s episode #244 for a step-by-step process.  Note: This is the more strategic approach to networking, but you can also start with what I call “low-hanging fruit,” the people you know well who you feel the most comfortable starting with. This gives you an opportunity to work the kinks out of your networking approach…and who knows where it might lead.  What.  We’re talking about networking here – meaning, as I define it, an exchange among equals. I make a clear distinction between networking and informational interviewing, which is you asking a series of questions of someone about their job, their employer, their career trajectory, etc. It is much more one-sided than networking.  When.  So many people mistakenly think networking is just for when you are looking for a job, and nothing is further from the truth. When done correctly, networking should be a career-long process. If you aren’t looking for a job, build a modest amount of time into your regular schedule for networking activities. For example: -15 minutes, 2X/week on LinkedIn to connect with people, comment on posts, and cultivate relationships with your connections -Attend 1 networking event every week, either 1:1 or a group event. -Connect on LinkedIn with everyone you meet at the networking events or otherwise. If you are looking for a job, here’s the formula I use for how to parse out your job search time: -If you are entry-level: at least 25% of your job search time should be spent on networking-based activities -If you are beyond entry level or at mid-career: at least 50% of your job search time should be spent on networking-based activities -If you are at a more senior level: at least 75% of your job search time should be spent on networking-based activities -If you are at the executive level: 100% of your job search time should be spent on networking-based activities Activities for job seekers might include: -1 hour, 5 days a week on LinkedIn – connecting, cultivating relationships, commenting on posts -2-3 networking events every week, with a combination of 1:1 and group events -Connecting on LinkedIn with everyone you meet at the networking events or otherwise.  Where.  I talked a lot about this in episode #179 of the podcast; I encourage you to listen to that episode for a more in-depth discussion of where to network. The suggestions I made in that episode include: -Meetup -Service clubs (i.e. Rotary, Kiwanis) -Chamber of Commerce -Facebook/community events -Your place of worship -Your university alumni association -Create your own networking group In addition to meeting in person, you can network via Zoom and Skype – so geography should not be a deterrent.  Why. Hopefully, I answered this question at the outset.  Let’s add one more: How. Here are eight tips for the logistics of 1:1 networking: -Don’t be too aggressive when you first reach out.-Don’t assume they will participate. -Make it 80% about them; 20% about you. -Be able to clearly articulate what you are looking for and what you bring to the table. -Have an ask planned – AND be open to other ideas your networking partner might have. -Follow-up and follow through is essential. -This should not be a one-time thing – have a plan for on-going communication. -Keep records!  If you are attending a networking event, here are eight tips: -Have a plan ahead of time. Is there someone specific you want to meet, or do you want to meet a certain number of people? This allows you to have a measure for success. -Stand near the beverage or food station – avoid the corners. -Be interested first, then interesting. -Don’t hesitate to leave a conversation and move on – it’s the nature of the beast. -Be able to clearly articulate what you are looking for and what you bring to the table. -Follow-up and follow through is essential. -Keep notes. -Periodically review the networking circles you are in and make changes as needed to maximize your effectiveness.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
10/5/202231 minutes, 47 seconds
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244: Mining Your Connections' Connections on LinkedIn

RATE, REVIEW, SUBSCRIBE CONTEST IN SEPTEMBER To participate: Rate (1 entry); Subscribe (2 entries); Review (4 entries) Winner will receive $250 Visa gift card Participants should notify me of their participation and what they did via [email protected] Winner will be selected on Friday, September 30th, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern  Recently, I was showing a client how to leverage her connections’ connections on LinkedIn, and she was blown away. She felt like she had found the holy grail, so I thought I would share this technique with you.  What we’re talking about.  Let’s begin with what I’m talking about. You have connections on LinkedIn – LinkedIn calls these 1st-level connections. The people you are already connected with. Each of your connections has connections – LinkedIn calls these 2nd-level connections. Think of them as one-offs. You have the ability to see all of your 2nd-level connections. Why would you want to do this? Because it significantly expands your network. And, because these people are connected to someone you may know, you can reach out to your mutual connection and ask them to introduce you. Conversely, because you are a 2nd-level connection, someone who may want to interview you for a position can reach out to your mutual connection to get the down low on you before they reach out to you. I have had multiple clients leverage my connections – their 2nd-level connections, to obtain jobs. Either they’ve asked me to introduce them or they’ve made the connection themselves. I have about 6,000 connections, so leveraging my connections significantly expanded those clients’ networking reach.  How to do it.  Hopefully, I’ve made a compelling case for leveraging your connections’ connections…now let’s talk about how to do it. You really need to master the Advanced Search function for this. As of this recording date in September of 2022, here are the steps to access your connections’ connections: 1.    Type “People” in the search bar. You’ll then get a series of options that pop up under the search bar. 2.    Click on “All Filters.” 3.    Let’s say you are trying to mine my connections. You would click “2nd connections” and put my name in the “Connections of” space. You’ll want to add additional filters; otherwise, you will get about 6,000 results. For example, maybe you aren’t connected to anyone who works at Amazon, so you choose “2nd connections” of Lesa Edwards, and in the “Current Company” box, you select Amazon. You will then see all my connections who currently work at Amazon. If this doesn’t yield results, you could then try 2nd connections of someone else you are connected to, or you could include people who previously worked at Amazon. You can also use the geographic filter – who works at Amazon in a particular city? Or maybe you are moving to Dallas and want to see who I’m connected to who lives there no matter the company they work for. See how this works?  What to do next.  Once you’ve identified some target people, you can either reach out to them directly for a connection or ask the mutual connection to introduce you. If you reach out directly, I recommend starting with something like this: “I see we’re both connected to Lesa Edwards – let’s connect!” Notice I am not trying to sell myself or ask for information up front; this can be a deterrent for many people if they think you are being too “salesy.” Once they have accepted your invitation to connect, I recommend thanking them with a message like this: “Thanks so much for connecting! Lesa said you really love working at ___ and she suggested I reach out to you with my questions about ___. Would you have a few minutes to jump on Zoom with me?” From here, your goal is to have specific questions to ask that should only take about 15 minutes of their time. Before you end the conversation, ask “Who else should I talk to about ___?” and ask them to introduce you to those people. -Follow up with a thank you email  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
9/28/202212 minutes, 47 seconds
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243: What is Your Reason for Being? Ikigai for Your Career

RATE, REVIEW, SUBSCRIBE CONTEST IN SEPTEMBER To participate: Rate (1 entry); Subscribe (2 entries); Review (4 entries) Winner will receive $250 Visa gift card Participants should notify me of their participation and what they did via [email protected] Winner will be selected on Friday, September 30th, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern  I came across this concept of Ikigai recently – the Japanese answer to a life of purpose. In practice, this concept of Ikigai is a lifestyle, which the Japanese live somewhat instinctively. To quote the ikigailiving.com website, “Your Ikigai wakes you up in the morning and leads you away from a mundane, status-quo lifestyle. It empowers you and drives your actions and purpose.”   Ikigai is the intersection of: -What I love -What the world needs -What I can be paid for -What I am good at  Let’s drill down on this a bit further. I recommend journaling your answers to these questions if you are seeking your professional purpose…thinking about a significant career shift but you aren’t sure to what…looking for your Ikigai.  What I love As you journal your responses to this prompt, I recommend avoiding the universal responses such as your significant other, family members, or children. Here are five responses for me: -Helping people navigate their careers -Coaching -Making presentations (including podcasting) -Writing resumes -Writing I recommend you fill up an entire page of paper, listing the things you love.  What the world needs Obviously, the world needs a lot of things, so I recommend you focus your responses on the things in your wheelhouse. For example, if I give the response of “cheaper gas prices,” I have responded with a need I have no control over. Here are five things I think the world needs, within my sphere of influence: -More people who love, and are fully engaged, with their jobs -A more effective way to connect employers with quality employees-Affordable coaching for people wanting help in navigating their careers -Job seekers need support and encouragement from other job seekers -Help for people needing to manage their minds around their job search, their careers, their marketability Fill up as much of a full page as you can on this prompt, remembering to keep your responses in your wheelhouse.  What I can be paid for Most of us need to make money following our purpose – unless we are trust fund babies who can go around being altruistic all day, every day. Take your previous list of “what the world needs,” and think about the job titles and opportunities you might have to get paid for delivering what the world needs. Here’s my list: -More people who love, and are fully engaged, with their jobs – I can use my writing talents and presentation skills to deliver this information to job seekers via newsletters, speaking engagements, podcasts, and coaching  -A more effective way to connect employers with quality employees – Not sure what this might look like, but I want to create something that is easy for employers to use AND more friendly for employees – while also being highly effective -Affordable coaching for people wanting help in navigating their careers – Offer group programs that keep the cost more affordable without sacrificing any of the quality -Job seekers need support and encouragement from other job seekers – This can be baked into the group programs I offer. I could also create a FB group and a LI group for job seekers.  -Help for people needing to manage their minds around their job search, their careers, their marketability – Whether I’m leading a group or working with a client 1:1, I can use the Thought Model and other tools to help my clients manage their thoughts during their job search.   What I am good at This should be specific skills you bring to the table. Here are five of mine: -Establishing rapport with prospective clients and others I come in contact with -Asking incisive questions that give me the information I need to work effectively with clients -Writing – whether resumes, LI profiles, newsletters, or podcast show notes, I am a great writer -Using humor in the coaching process to lighten the intensity while also getting the point across -Influencing others – whether I am selling them on a package of my services or selling them on a strategy I want them to try out, I am very influential  Bringing it all together  Remember, Ikigai is the intersection of: -What I love -What the world needs -What I can be paid for -What I am good atAgain – journaling really helps here. Bring your answers to these four prompts into a single focus and come up with a page full of possibilities. Initially, don’t edit your responses – just come up with as many as possible, even if they sound crazy to you, impractical, or if you find yourself coming up with ways it wouldn’t work. Once you’ve created your initial list, begin to cross out ideas for legitimate reasons. In other words, don’t shy away from the impractical or crazy, but rather discriminate based on what really appeals and excites you. You may want the help of a trusted friend or even a career coach for this phase – to help you see what you may be too enmeshed in to see for yourself. There are many possible steps after this, which will vary depending on the paths you’re considering. But hopefully, Ikigai has gotten you thinking about what you were put on this earth to do. Your answer to living a life of purpose.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
9/21/202218 minutes, 22 seconds
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242: How to Ask for Interview Feedback

Happy September! Happy college football season! Happy almost fall!  RATE, REVIEW, SUBSCRIBE CONTEST IN SEPTEMBER To participate: Rate (1 entry); Subscribe (2 entries); Review (4 entries) Winner will receive $250 Visa gift card Participants should notify me of their participation and what they did via [email protected] Winner will be selected on Friday, September 30th, at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Today’s episode is on how to ask for interview feedback, and I sourced this information from the Harvard Business Review article from Marlo Lyons. I hear from you about your frustration in not getting feedback from your job interviews. Without concrete information, you are left to make assumptions – and for some of you, that means you beat yourself up for your “failure.” The message I intend for you to hear in this episode is this: Waiting until after you’ve been eliminated as a candidate is too late to ask for feedback. You want to engage with your interviewers throughout the process – not only so you can make mid-course corrections in how you are approaching the interviews with that company, but also so you can improve your approach for future companies you interview with. To be clear, not all recruiters and hiring managers will provide you with feedback – often because they are fearful of saying something that could be construed as discriminatory or non-inclusive. Others won’t provide feedback because of time constraints. It doesn’t hurt to ask, however, and these are three touchpoints at which you might want to give it a try.  At the end of the recruiter screening interview These initial interviews are often short screening events – meant to screen out as many candidates as possible so the recruiter can go more in-depth with the remaining candidates. At the end of this conversation, ask the recruiter, “Based on our conversation, how do you think my experience matches the requirements for this role?” If the recruiter has already told you that you are through to the next round, ask “Is there anything specific I should highlight in upcoming interviews, based on the job description or any intangibles that aren’t listed?” This type of question can surface valuable information that may not have come up in the initial conversation. It will also give the recruiter an opportunity to reveal the hiring manager’s perspective on the job.If the recruiter is noncommittal about next steps, with comments such as “we’re just starting the interview process” or “we have more candidates to talk to,” you most likely aren’t a top candidate. In this case, ask, “What additional information can I provide you with for you to feel comfortable championing my candidacy for this role?” If the recruiter engages, you may have a few minutes to provide more information, or you may receive feedback that can help you when interviewing with the next company.  Ask for feedback after every roundOnce you make it past the recruiter screen, you’ll likely interview with the hiring manager and then potentially numerous people on panel interviews. At the end of your interview with the hiring manager, ask, “How do you think my skills can be leveraged to bring value to your team and the company?” The answer will reveal whether your message was clear - or whether you need to hone it further.After each interview, write thank-you emails, not just to the people you interviewed with, but also to the recruiter, whom you can ask for time to discuss subsequent interviews. During that conversation, ask, “Is there any feedback, specific focus areas, or anything I can do to improve my interviewing technique?” You’ll receive more feedback when you’re in the middle of the interview process than after you’re eliminated from it. Recruiters want to keep you fully engaged and interested in the job and they want you to be successful in every round of interviews until they’re informed you’re no longer a viable candidate or you receive an offer.  Ask culture-fit questions at the end of the processCulture fit is about your demeanor, energy, presence, and how you approach your work. If you didn’t get the job, ask the recruiter, “Do you think, based on the feedback, I would be a culture fit for future opportunities? I wouldn’t want to waste my time or yours if it’s not a match.” You may not receive a transparent answer, but it’s worth a try.If you receive any feedback, do the following three things to put what you learn into practice.  Listen with curiosity.Take notes and deeply understand the context behind the feedback. This isn’t a time to argue, refute what’s being said, or try to explain your experience further. This is the time to take away some insights to use for future interviews.But keep in mind that the feedback you get is one person’s or group’s perspective. Some feedback may not be applicable to future jobs — for example, “We really needed someone who is more hands-on.” Another company may love that you focus more on strategy. Use every answer you get to fuel questions for future recruiters — for example, “Are you seeking someone more hands-on, someone who can provide higher-level strategy, or both?” or “What percentage would you say is hands-on and what percentage of the work is strategy development?” Analyze feedback holistically.Recruiters don’t know how you will receive feedback, so expect it to be sanitized to not hurt your feelings. Take it at face value, and don’t overanalyze one sentence or one phrase as the reason you didn’t receive an offer. Review the feedback holistically to either pivot if you’re still in the interview process, or to change your interview strategy and approach with the next company if you’ve been rejected from continuing in the process. Adjust your approach, not yourself. Feedback is not personal — no one is asking you to change your personality, and you wouldn’t want to anyway. You can pivot where doing so is comfortable and makes sense, but not where you would be compromising your authenticity. If you’re putting on a show and not being your true self, then you won’t know if you’ll be a culture fit for the team, function, or company. Therefore, use the feedback to develop your interviewing skills and executive presence for future roles. In the end, if you’re rejected from a role and no one will give you feedback, don’t take it personally. Many times, it’s not about you! There could be internal politics, a management change, or the need for someone with different skills than you have at play, or the job posting could’ve been cancelled and no one told you…the list goes on.The most important thing to remember is you will get the right role at the right time. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
9/14/202221 minutes, 42 seconds
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241: What's Tripping Job Seekers Up in 2022

Let’s face it: we’re navigating uncharted waters when it comes to the job search these days. So much has changed, and I am seeing clients struggle to be successful in their job search. I thought I would present this information in a Problem/Solution format – what’s tripping job seekers up and my recommendations for how to address.  The Interview Process Problem: Candidates are faced with video interviews, virtual interviews, phone interviews, and in-person interviews. I have clients who’ve gone through as many as 10 rounds of interviews – only to be passed over for an internal candidate. Solution: Preparation! It is so important to practice your responses to questions like “tell me about yourself” and behavioral interview questions. Not with a friend or family member, but rather a professional such as an interview coach (of which I am one). Also – practice with the technology you’ll be using ahead of time if possible. Ask the interviewer what the platform will be if you aren’t sure. Nothing detracts from your professionalism right off the bat like futzing with your tech or not being able to conduct the interview at all. Finally – Ask! What type of interview will this be, who can I expect to be in the interview, what else should I know? KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.  Is this Job Remote, In-House, or Virtual?  Problem: Some job announcements will tell you this; others don’t. For my clients who have a specific requirement (for most, it is to work remotely), they don’t always know whether the job they are applying for is a fit in this regard. Solution: Apply anyway, if it is a job you are extremely excited about and feel well qualified (notice I didn’t say 100% qualified – my rule of thumb is at least 75%-80%). It is quite possible that there is room for negotiation with this once they are excited about hiring you. If you DO end up needing to negotiate this aspect, plan out three reasons why you want to work remotely or in a hybrid arrangement. Make sure the reasons you state speak to the benefit to the organization, rather than your personal reasons (they don’t care that Fido gets separation anxiety).  Why is it Taking So Long?  Problem: Job searches in general are taking longer than candidates expect – and the timeline from application to receiving a job offer is taking longer, as well. Solution: The answer here is a mindset shift because you have arbitrarily decided how long this process should take…and it’s taking longer than that. You can’t compare your job search or hiring timeline to anyone else’s – so patience is key. Make sure you aren’t making the delays and protracted timelines mean anything about you, your marketability, or the job market.  Job Boards are STILL Broken Problem: Clients are coming to me because the way they’ve always gotten jobs in the past – via job boards – isn’t yielding the results they were expecting. They need to do things differently…they just don’t know how. Solution: Networking, of course, is the solution to job boards. I’ve talked about this extensively on the podcast, including my +1 approach. Step 1: Identify 10-12 companies that are ideal matches with your non-negotiables Step 2: Identify people you know who work in those companies and/or know the decision maker Step 3: Meet with those people, either virtually or in person – and have a specific ask Step 4: Provide as much value as you give Step 5: Follow-up and follow-through Step 6: Lather, rinse, repeat For the +1 Approach: Step 1: Apply only to jobs online that you are extremely interested in and at least 75% qualified for Step 2: Leverage your network to have someone put in a good word for you, make an introduction, or otherwise advocate on your behalf Step 3: If step 2 fails, PROFESSIONAL STALKING  Is My Resume Even Making It Through the Company’s System?  Problem: If you haven’t had your resume written by a qualified resume professional, you may be submitting a document that can’t be properly read by the Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Solution: I provide my clients with two versions of their resume: one I call the “pretty” version that is fully formatted, and one for ATS upload. In addition to the ATS not being able to read things like bullets (unless they are found on your computer keyboard), tables, text boxes, and underlining, the ATS needs to be able to find certain information in certain places. -Use standard resume headings, such as Education and Professional Experience -Spell out words and use the acronyms, such as Bachelor of Science and BS -Review the job description for keywords that aren’t already present in your resume, and include them if applicable -Don’t keyword stuff -Don’t stack jobs -Translate your job titles, if needed Finally, reach out to the employer whenever possible to verify they have received your materials. It’s easy to experience a glitch, forget to hit the send button, or otherwise cancel out your application.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
8/31/202216 minutes, 57 seconds
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240: 9 Leadership Styles and Their Strengths

The information for this week’s podcast comes from an online article by businessnewsdaily.com. Step 1: Identify your leadership style. Each leadership style has its strengths, although some are seen as more desirable. It’s important to understand and harness the strengths of your leadership style so you can communicate effectively and motivate your team. The 9 most common types of leadership: Autocratic leadership: This is one of the strictest types. Autocratic leaders tend to have complete control over the decision-making process. This leadership style can be effective when decision-making is urgent, or workmanship is routine. Bureaucratic leadership: Although not as strict as autocratic leaders, bureaucratic leaders also tend to strictly enforce regulations and statuses in the hierarchy. This leadership style can be effective in healthcare and safety environments. Charismatic leadership: Charismatic leaders have an infectious presence that motivates their team to follow their lead. Their likability helps them and their teams achieve success in business. This leadership style can be effective in high-energy work environments that need a lot of positive morale.  Democratic leadership: Unlike autocratic or bureaucratic leaders, a democratic leader often welcomes subordinate participation in decision-making. This leadership style is often admired and can be effective in creative work environments that don’t require quick decisions. Laissez-faire leadership: Laissez-faire leaders have a hands-off approach and let their employees assume responsibility in the decision-making process, although they must still set employee expectations and monitor performance. This leadership style can be effective when working with highly experienced and confident employees. Servant leadership: Servant leaders share power and decision-making with their subordinates and often direct the organization based on the team’s interests. This leadership style can be effective for humanitarian organizations, nonprofits, and teams that need to create diversity, inclusion, and morale. Situational leadership: Situational leaders implement a range of leadership types and modify their style based on the needs of their employees and the environment. Because of its versatility, this type of leadership is effective in most organizations.  Transactional leadership: A transactional leader uses a reward/consequence system to motivate employees toward success and discourage them from failure. This leadership style can be effective for teams that are motivated by rewards. Transformational leadership: Like charismatic leaders, transformational leaders use their inspiring energy and personality to create an engaged workplace. This style is often more effective than charismatic leadership, as it also motivates teams to build confidence and accountability. It can be effective in organizations with intellectual team members who thrive in interactive environments.How to identify your leadership style Let’s figure out which leadership style feels most authentic to you. Here are some questions: To do this, ask yourself these questions:  What do I value more – goals or relationships?Do I believe in structure or freedom of choice?Would I rather make decisions on my own or collectively?Do I focus on short- or long-term goals?Does motivation come from empowerment or direction?What does a healthy team dynamic look like to me?There is no right or wrong answer to these questions; many individuals find their leadership style through trial and error. Experiment with different approaches to see which one works best for you and your team. You can also seek a leadership mentor who can offer advice on how they developed their style. Solicit feedback from people you trust as well. Most importantly, be authentic. Try to pick a leadership style that feels natural to use and is aligned with your strengths.  Why it is important to understand your leadership styleSelf-awareness is the foundation of a good leader. When you understand what leadership style works best for you and your team, it’s easier to be an effective leader.“It’s important to know what type of leader you are (or are not) in order to show up effectively in an organization. Knowing your leadership style also helps you decide which organizations might be a better cultural fit.”It’s important that you maintain transparency about what you’re focused on as a leader, and to help create alignment around your vision and objectives. It’s also important to create a culture where people understand the strengths they collectively bring to the team.Effective leaders are able to set a vision, align people with that perspective, and show them how they can achieve that intent together. However, you must play to the strengths of your leadership style to achieve that goal. “If you can better understand your leadership strengths and harness them, you will continue to grow and succeed.” Daily leadership behaviors that motivate employeesRegardless of your leadership style, there are leadership behaviors you can exhibit to inspire employee motivation and success. A prime example is to be a positive role model for your team. Showing your people that you are constantly focusing on improving your own skill set – leadership, industry knowledge, technical skills – is critical to good leadership. You can encourage them to explore new skills to make sure they know you’re committed to their growth.When you set a good example for your employees and show interest in their success, they are more likely to follow your lead and respect your authority. You can also display daily acts of authenticity, compassion, and inclusion to inspire employees. You can build trust in your employees if you exhibit genuine actions and are willing to work alongside your team when necessary.The Leading with Courage Academy has a leadership self-assessment tool you can find at this URL: https://lwca116.typeform.com/to/Oj2zpq?typeform-source=lee116.typeform.com Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
8/24/202223 minutes, 28 seconds
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239: Prepping for the Final Hiring Push of the Year

The usual cadence of hiring is this: The biggest push of the year occurs mid-January through March; the second-biggest push occurs after Labor Day until early- to mid-November. Of course, COVID and the current job market has affected the hiring practices of many employers, but let’s go with there being one more chance to get hired in 2022.  If You’ve Already Been Searching.  If you’ve been looking for a few months with no results, it’s time to up your game – especially if all you have been doing is looking at job boards (which, as I’ve said many times before on this podcast, isn’t really a job search, in my opinion). It’s time to add 1-2 active job search strategies to your arsenal, which I’m going to talk about in a few minutes. One more thing: how’s your mindset? You haven’t had the success you were hoping for yet – what are you making that mean? It’s so important to do the “mental hygiene” at this point so you can get different results than you’ve gotten so far.  If You’re Just Getting Started.  If your resume isn’t prepared and your LI profile updated – get on that immediately. Also – give some thought to your non-negotiables in an employer and job. After all, if you don’t know what you are looking for, how will you know if you’ve found it? This process also helps with avoiding “shiny object syndrome” – going after a job for the wrong reasons. One more suggestion – do a Google search on yourself. Is there anything there that would cause a potential employer to skip over you? In addition to the absence of negative, is positive content related to you out there? Whether you’ve been looking for some time or are just getting started, here are some active job search strategies you can consider adding to the passive activities of looking at job boards and company websites. Pick 1 or 2 – don’t try to do them all. Here are some options: -Begin (or increase) connecting and cultivating relationships via LinkedIn -Set up 1-2, 1:1 networking meetings, either via technology or in person each week -Check out virtual or live career fairs in your area – either sponsored by the city, a local university, an industry (such as healthcare), or an individual employer -Attend a virtual or in-person event for your professional association -Attend in-person networking events, such as those put on by your local Chamber of Commerce, BNI, etc. -Attend in-person events where networking can occur (the music isn’t too loud and the people aren’t too drunk) -Check out Meet-Up and the Events tab on Facebook for affinity groups you could join – and network with the participants -Look into your university alumni association -Let people at your place of worship know you are looking for a job  Happy job searching!  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2    
8/18/202213 minutes, 19 seconds
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238: Developing an Exceptional Work Team

This week, I’m talking about the stages of group development – what is necessary (and inevitable) for a team to grow, face up to challenges, tackle problems, find solutions, plan work, and deliver results. This work is based on the research of Bruce Tuckman from 1965, who hypothesized that, along with these factors, interpersonal relationships would create an effective group function. The four stages Tuckman identified in his research are forming, storming, norming, and performing.  FormingIn this phase, the team meets and learns about the opportunities and challenges, and then agrees on goals and begins to tackle the tasks. Team members tend to behave quite independently. They may be motivated but are usually relatively uninformed of the issues and objectives of the team. Team members are usually on their best behavior, but very focused on themselves. Mature team members begin to model appropriate behavior even at this early phase.  The meeting environment also plays an important role. Members attempt to become oriented to the tasks as well as to one another. This is also the stage in which group members test boundaries, create ground rules, and define organizational standards.  Discussion centers on defining the scope of the task, how to approach it, and similar concerns. To grow from this stage to the next, each member must relinquish the comfort of non-threatening topics and risk the possibility of conflict. StormingThis is the second stage of team development, where the group starts to gain each other’s trust. This stage often starts when they voice their opinions; conflict may arise between team members as power and status are assigned. When group members start to work with each other they start to learn about individual working styles and what it is like to work with each other as a team; it also identifies the hierarchy of positions in the group.  At this stage there is often a positive and polite atmosphere, people are pleasant to each other, and they may have feelings of excitement, eagerness, and positivity. Others may have feelings of suspicion, fear, and anxiety. The leader of the team will then describe the tasks to the group, describe the different behaviors to the group, and how to deal and handle complaints.  In this stage "...participants form opinions about the character and integrity of the other participants and feel compelled to voice these opinions if they find someone shirking responsibility or attempting to dominate. Sometimes participants question the actions or decision of the leader as the process grows harder..."  Disagreements and personality clashes must be resolved before the team can progress out of this stage, and so some teams may never emerge from "storming" or re-enter that phase if new challenges or disputes arise.  In Tuckman's 1965 paper, only 50% of the studies identified a stage of intragroup conflict, and some of the remaining studies jumped directly from stage 1 to stage 3. Some groups may avoid this phase altogether, but for those who do not, the duration, intensity, and destructiveness of the "storms" can be varied.  Tolerance of each team member and their differences must be emphasized in this phase; without tolerance and patience the team will fail. This phase can become destructive to the team and will lower motivation if allowed to get out of control.  Some teams will never develop past this stage; however, disagreements within the team can make members stronger, more versatile, and able to work more effectively together. Supervisors during this phase may be more accessible but tend to remain directive in their guidance of decision-making and professional behavior.  The team members will ideally resolve their differences and members will be able to participate with one another more comfortably. The ideal is that they will not feel that they are being judged and will therefore share their opinions and views. Normally tension, struggle, and sometimes arguments occur.  Norming"Resolved disagreements and personality clashes result in greater intimacy, and a spirit of cooperation emerges." This happens when the team is aware of competition and they share a common goal. In this stage, all team members take responsibility and have the ambition to work for the success of the team's goals.  They start tolerating the whims of the other team members. They accept others as they are and make an effort to move on. The danger here is that members may be so focused on preventing conflict that they are reluctant to share controversial ideas. Performing"With group norms and roles established, group members focus on achieving common goals, often reaching an unexpectedly high level of success." By this time, they are motivated and knowledgeable. The team members are now competent, autonomous, and able to handle the decision-making process without supervision. Dissent is expected and allowed as long as it is channeled through means acceptable to the team. Supervisors of the team during this phase are almost always participating. The team will make most of the necessary decisions. Even the most high-performing teams will revert to earlier stages in certain circumstances. Many long-standing teams go through these cycles many times as they react to changing circumstances. For example, a change in leadership may cause the team to revert to storming as the new people challenge the existing norms and dynamics of the team. In 1977, Tuckman added a fifth stage: adjourning. Adjourning This stage involves completing the task and breaking up the team (also sometimes referred to as mourning). Tuckman’s research concluded that an important step in the small group lifecycle was the ultimate separation at the end of this cycle.   As a leader of small groups, how can you facilitate this lifecycle?  In the forming phase, a leader should engage their coordinating behaviors, which include:  -Purposefully picking the team -Facilitating goal identification -Ensuring a shared mental model – a cohesive approach to thinking about the problem or task at hand  In the storming phase, a leader should engage their coaching behaviors, which include:  -Serving as a resource person for the team -Developing mutual trust -Calming the work environment  In the norming and performing phases, a leader should engage their empowering behaviors, which include:  -Getting feedback from team members -Facilitating the transfer of leadership to the group -Setting aside time for planning and engaging the team  In the adjourning phase, a leader should engage their supporting behaviors, which may include:  -Redefining roles -Creating future leadership opportunities  You’re probably thinking that leaders in these various phases need to have a wide range of competencies – and you’re right. I wanted to take a few minutes to outline three leadership strategies to help with these groups:  Group diversity is everything…if you can manage it.  From a personality perspective, research has shown that, while homogeneous groups get along better with less conflict, heterogeneous groups achieve better results…IF they learn to work together.  Understanding personality type, and subsequently bringing together a diverse group in terms of the way they take in information, make decisions, structure themselves, and orient themselves to the outer world will ultimately help you get the best possible result.   Striking a balance between decisiveness and inclusivity.  Your team will run you over if you aren’t decisive enough…but if you are dictatorial, they will rebel like teenagers. Your challenge, then, is to find the ideal balance between getting input so all members feel heard and their opinions valued - AND making the necessary decisions that move the group forward.  Personality type plays a role here, as well – make sure your introverts are heard. Giving them the agenda ahead of time, with specific questions or issues you’ll be bringing up during the next meeting, will help get the best out of your quieter members.  If a lack of decisiveness is one of your weaknesses, establish a timeframe for decision-making. For example, set a timer in the meeting for discussion, then when the alarm goes off, DECIDE. Then move on to the next decision…no second-guessing or re-evaluating.   Continue to step back, gradually. As the team becomes more cohesive, roles and responsibilities clearly defined, and forward progress accelerates, your leadership role will change. An important skill set is to know when to step back to more of a facilitation/support role.  Ego can sometimes get in the way here, so keep in mind that this isn’t about you. You have an amazing opportunity to develop emerging leaders, help group members develop skills, and watch synergy between people who perhaps didn’t even know one another a short time ago.   Here’s a bonus: Evaluate your leadership.  This is a growth opportunity for you as a leader, so it is important that you assess your leadership strengths at each phase. Where could you have handled situations better? Where were you too slow/too fast to address a problem? Internally, where did you find yourself resisting a change that would require a different set of skills from you?  Make sure you do this evaluation from a place of curiosity and personal development – not judgment and condemnation. Remember, there is a learning curve here for you, as well – even if you have led other groups, you haven’t led this group with this purpose before. Be kind to yourself!   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2            
8/10/202225 minutes, 33 seconds
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237: How to Manage Difficult Employees

Today, I’m talking about how to manage difficult employees. My sources for this episode include Northeastern University Graduate Programs blog, lumapps.com, and indeed.com  Let’s start with the definition of a difficult employee: A difficult employee is a term used to describe a person who acts in a careless, unprofessional, or irresponsible manner in the workplace. Difficult employees may challenge the authority of their leaders, create a negative or disruptive work environment for their peers, or struggle to meet personal performance expectations.  Specific characteristics of a difficult employee may include: Attendance issuesFailure to meet expectationsDistracting others from their workLack of motivation, energy, enthusiasm, or pride in their own workDifficulty accepting accountability for their actionsArgumentative, rude, violent, or disruptive behaviorBehavior that intimidates, threatens, or humiliates othersLack of respect or tolerance for the opinions, skills, or talents of othersDifficulty building positive work relationships or working on a teamTaking part in workplace gossipIgnoring established rules or procedures What are some of the causes? -Professional relationships -Jealousy of the success of others-Issues within their home or family-Physical or mental health concerns-Stress resulting from a heavy workload-Poor work-life balance Difficult employees often have the potential to be valuable contributors to an organization. The actions and behaviors of these employees also impact the culture and morale of the overall workplace. It is important to understand that difficult employees often are not intentionally being difficult, but instead are responding to challenges in their personal or professional lives that are impacting their ability to perform or behave appropriately. I think it is easy to get into a victim/villain mode with a difficult employee – thinking that they are intentionally doing the things they are doing to “get you” as the boss. This type of thinking puts you as the supervisor in a helpless, disempowering position with the difficult employee having power over you.  So, how do we manage difficult employees?  1.    Acknowledge and identify the problemThe first step is an acknowledgment that there is a problem - and identifying exactly what the problem is. Documentation helps here, along with specific examples of each issue.  2.    Find the positivesAlthough sometimes we may find this difficult, it is important to identify the employee’s positive characteristics. By identifying several positive traits or achievements to discuss with the employee along with your concerns, you minimize the risk that the meeting will become confrontational and unproductive. The employee will likely respond better when they feel their value is being recognized.  3.    Ask for the employee’s feedbackGet the employee’s feedback about their performance, behavior, and concerns. Begin by asking the employee if they are aware of how their performance or behavior is impacting the company. Then ask them if there are any concerns they have or if there is anything they want to discuss. Listen closely to what the employee has to say. Your primary goal for the meeting is to discover the root causes of the issues with your employee’s performance or behavior, and to find solutions you can work on together.  4.    Create an action plan and document itThe next step is to work with the employee to create an action plan to address the concerns. Make sure your expectations, the process for measuring progress, and the consequences for failing to meet expectations are clearly laid out. Identify the specific actions they need to take to help them achieve their goals and identify any tools or resources they will need for success. Establish appropriate time frames for completing each section of the action plan. Finally, be sure to document everything in writing and provide the employee with a copy.  5.    Follow up consistentlyMonitor the employee’s progress throughout the given timeframe. Establish a schedule for check-ins with the employee to discuss progress and provide additional progress. Recognize progress of goal achievement and address any areas in which they are struggling.  With these steps, you can maximize the chances of turning around the difficult employee so they can:-Understand how their behavior or performance impacts the organization-Overcome the personal or professional circumstances that are affecting their behavior or contributing to their performance issues-Build positive work relationships with their managers and colleagues-Make adjustments to their behavior that helps create a positive work environment-Improve their work performance and achieve their maximum potential and greater job satisfaction  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
8/3/202212 minutes, 58 seconds
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236: Hopefulness - A Necessary Ingredient in Your Job Search

I recently read “The Gifts of Imperfection” by Brené Brown, and her section on Hope and Powerlessness really resonated with me. I wanted to translate her concepts to the job search and give my take on her concepts. Hey - I wanted to let you know that the next Land Your Dream Job group coaching program starts on September 13th and goes through November 1st. This is an opportunity for you to get the same great content I offer in 1:1 coaching sessions at a much more affordable price. Topics include: -Identifying your “non-negotiables” – the qualities you are looking for in your ideal next job and employer -Leveraging your existing network – no matter how small or niched you think it is – to get your foot in the door at your target employers -How to utilize my #1 strategy for making your online applications more effective -Building out a multi-pronged job search strategy customized to your career goals and timeline -Recognizing and addressing the negative thoughts that will hold you back from job search success There will be 8 weekly group coaching sessions You get all of this for just $795! And, if you bring a friend, the second registration is half off – just $395.  If you would like to get your name on the waiting list to be notified when registration opens, here’s the link: https://landyourdreamjob.carrd.co/  Getting back to Brené Brown and Hope, her research revealed that hope isn’t an emotion, but rather a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Hope, then, is a thought process made up of a trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency. Hope happens when: -We have the ability to set realistic goals -We are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes AND -We believe in ourselves.  Here’s my translation: -We know what we want -We know how to get there AND -We believe we can do it.  According to Brené, hope can be learned. Children most often learn hope from their parents. We may have learned hope from other significant role models in our lives, such as extended family, teachers, coaches, or clergy. Let’s translate all of this into the job search. If we think of Brené’s trilogy of hope, our job search will be successful if: -We set SMART goals – realistic, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-sensitive. In other words, we aren’t just out there REACTING to job boards – applying to jobs with the mindset of “that doesn’t sound bad,” or “I could do that.” We are being proactive with our job search. -We have a plan to achieve those goals – what will we do each day towards landing our dream job. At the same time, we are open to mid-course corrections as we gather data on what is – and isn’t – working for us. We are willing to be disappointed as many times as needed to get that great job. -We believe we are qualified for, and deserving of, a great job with great pay, benefits, and working conditions. We don’t downplay our qualifications and skill set, nor do we settle for “good enough.” Brené talks about children needing boundaries, consistency, and support to develop their hopefulness. As job seekers, we need the same things: -Boundaries – this is what I am willing to do/not do and what I am/am not willing to sacrifice for my job search. Further, boundaries need to be set around what is most important to us in our next employer and job – and be unwilling to compromise on those non-negotiables. -Consistency – job seekers who occasionally network, stop and start their job search when other things in their life get complicated, or don’t follow through on their plan lack the consistency to be successful in their search. I require my clients to dedicate a consistent minimum of 5 hours per week on their job search if they are currently employed – with considerably more time required of those who are unemployed. -Support – job seekers need the right kind of support. In addition to supportive family and friends who sign on with your goals, you need professional support. This can include a professional resume writer, career coach, and job search group. It is so important to have help with both your mindset, job search strategy, and execution to be successful. Your job search isn’t going to be fun, fast, or easy – and one of the biggest mistakes I see job seekers make is deciding arbitrarily that “this is taking too long,” “This is too difficult,” or “they aren’t hiring me because of _____.” These beliefs are hope killers. Hopeful self-talk might include: -“This is hard, and I can do hard things” -“I am patient with myself as I learn new skills” -“I am becoming better at _____.”   This is not to say that your entire job search will be a drudge. Find ways to infuse fun into your job search! For example: -Reward yourself each day after achieving that day’s job search goals -Make your networking meetings as fun as possible, while still achieving your goals. Laughter is great medicine. -Allow yourself to get excited about the possibilities you are finding! Not from a place of “if I don’t get THIS job, I’m a failure,” but rather, from a place of “It’s so exciting to learn about what this company is doing.”  Finally, you’ll need to cultivate a tolerance for disappointment in your job search. You’ll inevitably hear lots of no’s or get no response at all many times before you get to your coveted “yes.”  Thoughts such as these can help you through those no’s: “I thought that was the job for me, but I was mistaken.” “Something even better is coming for me.” “They were simply mistaken when they didn’t hire me. The right company will recognize and reward my genius.” Here’s a quote from Brené’s book: “Powerlessness is dangerous. For most of us, the inability to effect change is a desperate feeling. We need resilience and hope and a spirit that can carry us through the doubt and fear.” Your job search is a tremendous opportunity to cultivate hopefulness and a feeling of power. YOU are in control of your job search; YOU can effect change in any area of your job search that isn’t working for you. YOU can weather – even grow from – the disappointments and setbacks in your job search. YOU’VE got this.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
7/27/202217 minutes, 25 seconds
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235: Matching Your Leadership Style to the Right Organization (with Robert Jordan)

My guest this week is Robert Jordan, and we’re talking about the four leadership styles his team has identified. Robert shares how to make sure you land in a “leadership match” position – and how best to leverage your leadership style once you are in your new role. Robert Jordan of Interim Execs, has launched companies and helped others build companies for more than 25 years. Jordan is the author of “How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America.” You can find Robert at:https://www.rightleader.com/ https://interimexecs.com/https://www.linkedin.com/in/robertjjordan/https://twitter.com/interim_execshttps://www.youtube.com/user/interimexecs  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
7/20/202235 minutes, 24 seconds
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234: Words to Use and Lose in Your Next Job Interview (with Tracy Hooper)

My guest this week is Tracy Hooper, and we’re talking about words to use and words to lose in your next job interview. Tracy gives us techniques for identifying the less-than-ideal words we may be using and how to replace them with better word choices. Tracy Hooper is the Founder of The Confidence Project, working with executives and high-performing teams in a variety of industries to elevate their presence, communicate more clearly, and work together better. She has been a TV news reporter, anchor, producer, and voice-over professional with a client roster that includes Disney, Marriott, and NFL Films. Find Tracy at:www.ConfidenceProject.comInstagram: theconfidence_projectLinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/tracyhooper/  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2     
7/13/202239 minutes, 19 seconds
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233: The 3 Things You MUST Do in an Informational Interview (with Mac Prichard)

Mac Prichard, of Mac’s List, is a third-time guest on the podcast!Mac and I have talked on previous episodes about informational interviews. Today, we do a deep dive on how to conduct an informational interview, including the three things you MUST do during this conversation. Mac shares the things he sees job seekers doing wrong in their informational interviews, how to set up the meeting, how to end the meeting, and how to follow up afterward. You can find Mac Prichard at macslist.org, and you can follow his podcast Find Your Dream Job wherever you get your podcasts.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
7/6/202243 minutes, 20 seconds
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232: Why You Should Change Jobs Every 2-3 Years (with Sonja Price)

This week, my guest is Sonja Price. Our parents and grandparents often worked for the same company their entire career – many times, even in the same position. This model doesn’t serve most of us today, and there are financial, developmental, and other reasons to change jobs every few years. Sonja Price and I talk about how to create short- and long-term career goals that will serve as our guideposts for making decisions about career changes, when to look inside your organization and when to look outside, and the indications that it is time to leave your current job.  Sonja Price of Dynamo Careers is a career strategist, salary advisor, and leadership coach and the author of two books. She has worked with Tony Robbins, trained with Al Gore to become a Climate Reality Leader, and won an Honorable Award from the Women’s Economic Forum. Sonja’s mission is to support professional to have greater meaning, better work-life balance, and significantly higher pay.  Check out Sonja’s “Increase Your Income” masterclass to increase your income by $20K to $100K or more per year: www.dynamoincome.com You can find Sonja on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/sonjaprice  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
6/28/202239 minutes, 47 seconds
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231: Best of The Exclusive Career Coach: Are You Ready to Downshift Your Career? How to Make a Successful Transition (with Mark Danaher)

This week I'm excited to share a "Best of the Exclusive Career Coach podcast" episode — I speak with Mark Danaher, founder of Mark Danaher Training and Coaching. Mark and I discuss the seismic shift in people’s work because of the pandemic – especially the large number of people who are rethinking their career direction.Mark gives us the signs that you may be ready to make a career shift, as well as strategies to help you make that shift.Mark helps professionals make a career change from work they hate to the work they will love. Mark has been a career counselor and coach for over 25 years, helping professionals connect the dots to reduce stress, regain balance, and thrive in their life and career.Mark is offering a free e-book, “How to Make a Career Change in Seven Simple Steps: Seven Lunchtime Activities to Get You in Action and Moving Forward.” Find it at www.markdanaher.com/Lesa
6/15/202234 minutes, 45 seconds
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230: Best of The Exclusive Career Coach: 7 Raise Rules for Women Who Want to Make More Money (with guest Laura Browne)

This week I'm excited to share a "Best of the Exclusive Career Coach podcast" episode — I speak with Laura Browne on the 7 Raise Rules for Women Who Want to Make More Money.Men and women approach salary issues very differently, and Laura and I dive into these differences and how women can ask for what they want.Laura provides us with some of her best tips for asking for a raise and negotiating a salary and compensation package.Laura Browne helps women to make more money at work. She is the author of 10 books, including her newest, Increase Your Income: 7 Rules for Women Who Want to Make More Money at Work.She is a contributor to Forbes and has been quoted as a business expert in major publications including Cosmopolitan, Family Circle and USA Today.She has trained high-potential female leaders from Fortune 1000 companies to be more successful through WOMEN Unlimited. She also has experience in leadership and management development for global tech companies. Laura is a High-Performance Business Coach with certification from Columbia University.To find out more about her programs and to see a free video on How to Get A Raise at Work, go to https://learn.careertipsforwomen.comFor a list of 15 Common Raise Mistakes and How to Fix Or Avoid them go to https://www.careertipsforwomen.com/You can contact Laura at [email protected]
6/8/202227 minutes, 45 seconds
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229: Best of The Exclusive Career Coach: 5 Ways Mind Drama Can Creep into Your Job Search (with guest Jane Springer)

This week I'm excited to share a "Best of the Exclusive Career Coach podcast" episode — I speak with life coach Jane Springer on the types of mind drama I hear from clients related to the current job market, their qualifications, themselves as human beings, their job search strategy, and their career focus.This mind drama is causing people to stop job searching or put in minimal effort – which, of course, solidifies their opinion of the job market and themselves.Step 1 is recognizing when you are engaging in mind drama; Step 2 is acknowledging which type(s) of mind drama you’re in.We tackle each of these areas of mind drama and provide concrete action steps to overcome.1. The job market“There are no jobs out there.”“No one’s hiring.”“There’s so much competition for every position.”2. Your qualifications and credentials“I don’t have the proper education.”“I’m over (or under) qualified.”“I don’t have ____(fill in the blank with whatever certification or credential you think you need).3. You as a human being“I’m too…” (old, young…whatever)“I’m not confident.”“I’m not good enough.”4. Your job search skills / strategy“I don’t know how to…” (interview, plan a job search, network…)“I’m not a good interviewer.”“I’m too shy to network.”5. Your focus“Maybe I need to take my career in a different direction.”“There are no jobs in my field, I’m thinking of changing to…”“I don’t know what I want to do next.”Jane is a life and wellness coach, specializing in helping women aged 50+ get unstuck. If you want to lose weight, begin dating again, update your style, or improve your relationships with yourself and others, Jane is a tremendous resources.Check out Jane Springer at janespringer.comYou can find her “Divinely Inspired Weight Loss Guide” on her website; you can also schedule a complimentary strategy session with her.
6/1/202252 minutes, 23 seconds
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228: How to Write an Outstanding LinkedIn Profile

Increasingly, LinkedIn is a crucial part of the hiring process. Whether employers are vetting you for a position you’ve applied for or seeking out candidates with the credentials they require, they ARE most definitely looking at your LI profile. Today, we’re specifically covering strategies for writing an outstanding LI headline. This is the “tag line” that goes directly underneath your name at the top of your profile – and it is prime real estate.  A reminder that I offer a monthly job search Masterclass, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com1.    Don’t use the default.One of the biggest errors you can make on your LI headline is allowing LI to default to your current job title and employer. You have 220 characters to create a compelling headline; don’t waste it. I’ll be going over how best to leverage these 220 characters in this episode.  2.    What are we trying to communicate in the headline? Your LI headline should communicate the following: -Who you are (your current or aspirational title, or the essence of your work) -What you do (How you add value to an organization)-Results you’ve produced (The results of the value you’ve added)-Credibility or proof (Evidence of what you’ve said about yourself)   3.    Have a headline strategy in mind. For example: -If your current job title is the same job title you are job searching for, then start with that title | Your value proposition or keywords Example:Human Resources Manager | Delivering transformational leadership as a strategic partner | Proactively addressing issues and developing processes that solve complex business problems and enhance bottom-line results (213 characters) With Keywords:Human Resources Director | Professional in Human Resources (PHR) | Professional Certified Coach (PCC) | Strong international HR leadership | Experience with M&A, Spinoffs, Startups (180 characters)   -If you are not actively job searching and want to leverage your LI profile for sales or other business, then start with your job title and company name | Your value proposition or keywords Example:Sales Leader, ABC Supply | Driving excellence in customer satisfaction with exceptional products, superior service after the sale, and generous referral incentives (163 characters) ORSales Director, ABC Supply | Value-Added Reseller (VAR) of commercial and residential kitchen and bath products from Kitchenaid, Whirlpool, Kenmore, Maytag, Bosch, Jacuzzi | Serving the greater Chicagoland area (210 characters)  -If you are overtly job searching, then include your target job title as much as you legitimately can | Your value proposition or keywords (but never include Looking for Work or Seeking Opportunities) – divorce yourself from your current employer Example:Transformational Leader in Human Resources & Talent Acquisition | Delivering human capital and talent acquisition efforts that improve retention rates, reduce hiring costs, and increase profitability (199 characters) ORTransformational Human Resources & Talent Acquisition Leader | Workforce Planning | Pipeline Development | HRIS | Streamlining TA processes, improving retention rates, and reducing hiring costs (193 characters)   -If you are unemployed, you can (and should) be overt. You don’t have a current job title, so you want to make sure your target job title is included in your headline. Example:Mechanical Engineer | Extensive technical background, strong problem-solving skills, and the ability to see around corners | Streamlining processes | Educating and empowering team members (188 characters) OR:Mechanical Engineer | Advanced Thermodynamics | Advanced Fluid Mechanics | Human Robotic Systems | Optical Engineering | Metamaterials | Extreme Materials | Analytics & Statistical Learning | Engineering Finance (211 characters)   -If you are looking to make a career pivot and are doing so covertly, massage your current job title towards what you are looking for | Include keywords for your new career as much as possible Example: (currently in marketing; wants to move into sales)Sales & Marketing Leader | Delivering exceptional sales support with marketing strategy and collateral | Experience with Salesforce | Strong business development skills | Competitive drive to succeed (199 characters) ORSales & Marketing Leader, B2B and B2C | Salesforce | Sales Support | Business Development | Social Media Marketing | Marketing Collateral | Lead-Generation | Account Management (176 characters) In summary, your LinkedIn headline should NOT be your current job title and employer. Think like a recruiter who would be searching on LI for someone like you – what would cause them to stop searching and spend time on your profile? If you are job searching, include your aspirational job title as closely as you can. Finally, don’t try to cover too much real estate with your headline. Rather than appearing capable of a lot of things, it will likely make you look unfocused.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2    
5/25/202222 minutes, 7 seconds
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227: Do You Need Additional Education or Credentials to Be Marketable? How to Know and What to Do

The pendulum is swinging in terms of education and credentials - because employers are finding it difficult to fill many positions, they are increasingly looking more broadly for candidates.
5/18/202214 minutes, 57 seconds
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226: How to Prepare for a Difficult Work Conversation

When you are having a difficult conversation with someone, you are the only person in that equation that you have any control over. What you think, what you feel, what you say, and what you do. Here's how to show up for these conversations in a way that serves you.
5/11/202214 minutes, 30 seconds
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225: Solutions-Focused Questions to Ask Your Direct Reports

Today I wanted to give you some tools to help you with your direct reports. I utilized “Quiet Leadership” from David Rock for this episode.   A reminder that I offer a monthly job search Masterclass, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com  The idea of solutions-focused questions is that you are focusing not on the problem, but on the solution to the problem. There is no upside to placing blame; rather, you want to help your employee understand how they can do better next time. Focusing on problems is focusing on the past – leading us to try to change what can’t be changed. Focusing on problems leads to blame, excuses, and justifications. Focusing on solutions creates energy in our minds. We address problems by analyzing the way forward, instead of their causes. Here are examples of questions: Why didn’t you hit your targets? VS.What do you need to do next time to hit your targets? Why did this happen? VS.Why do you want to achieve here? Where did it all start to go wrong? VS.What do you need to do to move this forward? Why do you think you’re not good at this? VS.How can you develop strength in this area? What’s wrong with your team? VS.What does your team need to do to win? Why did you do that? VS.What do you want to do next? Who is responsible for this? VS.Who can achieve this? Why isn’t this working? VS.What do we need to do to make this work?  Notice how often I used the word “why” in the problem-focused questions – removing this work from our conversations with employees can be a great first step to focusing on solutions. Here’s a quote from The Solutions Focus: “It is often easier to start something new than to stop something. Anything that is a habit is by definition difficult to stop. And, if change is encouraged by positive reinforcement, it is much easier to be aware of when you are taking the reinforceable action than to know when you are not doing whatever it is that you want to give up.” In a nutshell: Problems fade into the background as solutions develop. According to Quiet Leadership: “If you’re worried that this sounds too easy, consider that being solutions-focused means taking responsibility for outcomes and taking action. It doesn’t mean being lazy with the facts; in fact, it requires significant discipline and focus.” Here’s your assignment: When you go into a conversation with someone, notice the number of times you choose to focus on problems versus the number of times you choose to focus on solutions, and keep a tally of your ratio. Do this for a week, and see if, simply by awareness, your ratio begins to change towards a solutions focus.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
5/4/202210 minutes, 5 seconds
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224: How to Leverage Coaching Competencies if You Aren't a Certified Coach

The reason I’m doing this episode today is because of the horror stories I have heard about bosses who are supposed to be “coaching” their employees but are doing something else entirely. As a Certified Executive and Leadership Development Coach (CELDC), I wanted to talk about a few of the coaching competencies as laid out by the International Coaching Federation or ICF. ICF is considered the premier coaching credential organization in the world. Many people in leadership positions have gotten a coaching certification, but it may not be appropriate for everyone. So here’s a crash course on eight coaching competencies you can put to use today without a coaching certification.   A reminder that I offer a monthly job search Masterclass, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com  1.    Cultivates Trust and Safety.  The first competency I want to talk about is cultivating trust and safety. As a manager of people, you want to create safe and supportive environments that will facilitate your employees’ opening up and sharing freely. There needs to be mutual respect and trust to develop this trust.    2.    Maintains Presence.  It is so important to be present with your employees at all times – and especially when you are coaching them.  Minimize or eliminate the potential for disruption, and make sure you can eliminate mental distractions before you coach an employee.  Here are some of the tools for maintaining presence in the coaching relationship:  -Be flexible with your agenda (but do have an agenda) -Trust your intuition -Be open to not knowing and taking risks -Use humor to lighten the mood when necessary -Avoid being overwhelmed by your employees’ emotions   3.    Listens Actively.  You want to hear what your employee is saying and not saying to fully understand what is going on with your employee. A great coach will do far less talking and far more listening.    4.    Powerful Questioning to Evoke Awareness.  This is where many “coaches” go wrong – they tell their employee what to do and how to do it, rather than creating an environment where the employee accesses her own wisdom and knowledge. Powerful questions are ones that encourage your employee to investigate new insights about themselves. These questions also focus on the future rather than the past.  Tools you can use to evoke awareness include silence (allowing for quiet as the employee processes their thoughts or questions) and metaphor or analogy (utilizing different ways of communicating concepts).    5.    Facilitates Growth. The purpose of coaching should be to promote your employees’ autonomy and ability to transform their book knowledge, experience, and insights into actions.    6.    Goal-Setting It is important to enter into a coaching relationship with specific goals, which should be revisited and revised periodically throughout coaching. The goals set should: -Be SMART goals (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-specific) -Address the employee’s specific concerns and desired areas for learning and development   7.    Designing Actions.  The employee should drive the actions she takes as a result of the coaching. While you can suggest actions, the employee has to buy in.  The employee’s actions should: -Enable the employee to demonstrate, practice, and deepen new learning; -Help the employee to further explore concerns and goals that they outlined themselves; -Encourage the employee to further explore ideas, solutions, and actions that will lead them towards their goals;  -Promote active experimentation and self-discovery;  -Allow the employee to apply what has been discussed and learned during coaching sessions; -Encourage the employee to challenge the existing beliefs and assumptions about the world around them;   -Help the employee to notice and celebrate successes and capabilities for future growth; -Encourage the employee to stretch and challenge themselves, albeit at a comfortable pace.  In a nutshell:  There should be visible, positive change and growth as a result of the coaching experience.   8.    Managing progress and accountability As the coach, you want to encourage your employees to define their own methods of holding themselves accountable, with you playing a supporting role in this accountability. You should never chastise the employee for not staying accountable, but rather approach them directly from a place of support and concern.  To hold an employee accountable: -Clarify the agreed-upon actions with the employee -Ask the employee about their progress with the actions they committed to during previous sessions -Acknowledge the employee’s progress – or lack of progress – since the previous coaching sessions -Keep the employee on track with the coaching plan, intended outcomes, agreed-upon courses of action, and topics for future sessions -Remain open to adjusting the coaching plan based on shifts in direction during coaching sessions -Allow the employee to develop their own ability to make decisions, address key concerns, and improve themselves – while lending a helping hand if needed -Positively confront the employee if he does not take agreed-upon actions  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
4/27/202217 minutes, 26 seconds
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223: Leadership 101: What You MUST Know to Be a Successful Leader

A LOT is written about how to be a great leader. In today’s podcast, I wanted to distill this information down to the top 10 things you MUST know to be a successful leader. A reminder that I offer a monthly job search Masterclass, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com  For this episode, I used an article on businessnewsdaily.com.  1.    Engage in open, honest communication.  Great leaders are able to customize their interactions and communication styles based on the situation and each team member. They take the time to figure out which communication mode is preferred by each team member, and they are great listeners who are authentically interested in their team members.  The key word here is Authenticity. It is important to be genuine and real above all else.   2.    Connect with your team members.  Building a real, personal connection with your teammates is vital to developing the shared trust necessary to build a strong culture of accountability and exceptional performance. To build a connection with each of your team members, focus on getting to know their personality, interests, strengths, weaknesses, hobbies, and preferences. This can give you insight into their goals and motivations.  3.    Encourage personal and professional growth.  Acting as your team's cheerleader is an important part of being an effective leader. You should be invested in their success and growth.A great leader invests financially and emotionally in his employees’ growth. In addition to providing funds for professional development, great leaders empower their employees by giving them challenging opportunities and guidance.  4.   Keep a positive attitude. The way you handle situations – big and small – says a lot about your leadership skills. Robert Mann, author of The Measure of a Leader (iUniverse, 2013), recommended focusing on the good in any set of circumstances. "Look at three positive things about a problem before you identify what makes it dissatisfying. The more you look at the positives in a problem, the more positively people react with one another." If you or a team member notices a particular course of action you've taken that just isn't working, figure out some things you've done in the past that have worked.  5.    Teach employees instead of giving orders.An effective leader knows how to show others what is required, rather than simply telling them. If you are trying to control people to do certain things in certain ways, you're not going to get the level of engagement that you're looking for. Help the people you lead recognize the choices they have in front of them. People will then take a great deal of ownership over the direction of the project.Leaders should be teaching so they can grow new leaders to take their place. 6.    Set clear goals and expectations. When setting goals and objectives for your team members, encourage questions and feedback. Including them in the process can increase engagement.For a leader to motivate and inspire, she needs to keep her team in the know about her vision," he said. This helps employees understand the result they're working towards as a unit. Don't let team member goals go static. Periodically revisit goals to modify or rearrange them as needed. This will let your team members know that you are present and aware of what they are working on.  7.    Give direct feedback about performance.  If you're not direct, people won't know what you truly think about their work, and they will never be able to improve. If you don't know the precise direction your company is headed, no matter how much you've communicated to your employees and leadership team regarding their individual performance, they will struggle when making decisions and taking action. In addition to providing constructive feedback and performance reviews, highlight employee accomplishments. If a team member does something great, let them know. Celebrate their wins and thank them for their hard work.Acknowledging successes by outlining how it impacts the business, rather than with vague pats on the back, is not only encouraging but also helps a person work better in the long run.  8.    Ask for feedback on your leadership. In addition to feedback from your direct reports, mentors and colleagues can help you evaluate your effectiveness. Leadership coaching can also help you discover your areas for improvement and assist you in developing a plan to achieve your leadership goals.   9.    Be open to new ideas. Good leaders have the emotional intelligence to understand and accept that change is inevitable. Instead of trying to maintain a status quo just for the sake of consistency, embrace change and innovation. Be open to new ideas and alternative ways of thinking. Everyone brings a unique perspective to the table, and that is something to take advantage of, not discourage.When solving a problem, encourage team members to provide their insights. When employees feel like they can openly bring new ideas to the table, true innovation, engagement, and success can prevail.  10.Understand your own motivation. If you view your leadership role as "just a job," it's going to show. To be an effective leader, you need the right motivation. Is it the money or the prestige you care about, or do you sincerely want to inspire people to do their best?In addition to what motivates you, it is important to know what decreases your energy. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you diversify your team and get a well-rounded portfolio of skills. It helps you not hire carbon copies of yourself and surround yourself with others who are not like you.Your leadership style plays a role in how you interact with employees and should be evaluated as well. The best leaders can adapt each style to their situations and employees. Remember that being a good leader takes time. Although some individuals are naturally inclined to have good leadership skills, it is something anyone can learn and improve upon. With hard work, dedication, and strategic planning, you can lead your team to success.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
4/20/202218 minutes, 29 seconds
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222: How to Deal with Unsupportive Family & Friends During Your Job Search (with Jane Springer)

Today, I am speaking with returning guest Jane Springer on how to deal with family and friends who may not encourage you during your job search…who may actively discourage you, in fact.  A reminder that I offer a monthly job search Masterclass, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com  In this episode, we cover family and friends’ reactions to your thoughts about changing jobs and/or careers, what the people in your life may say about your job search, and what to do when people seemingly resent your new job.  Jane Springer is a health and wellness coach, specializing in helping women in mid-life navigate the challenges they face – divorce, dating, remarriage, weight gain, health issues, and self-image. You can find her at: [email protected] https://janespringer.com https://www.facebook.com/janespringercoach/?fref=ts https://www.instagram.com/springer_jane/  To access the gift Jane mentions in the podcast, click here: 7 Faith-Filled Steps to Reaching Your Ideal Weight   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
4/13/202239 minutes, 59 seconds
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221: How to Get Noticed & Promoted While Working Remotely

Today, we’re talking about the unique challenges so many of you are facing as a direct result of the pandemic. Some of you continue to work from home, while others have returned 100% to the office. Still others have devised a hybrid model that combines the two. Specifically, I want to address the challenges of getting acknowledged for your contributions when you aren’t in the office every day – and how to set yourself up for promotions and new opportunities as a remote worker.  A reminder that I offer a monthly job search Masterclass, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com  I have 10 recommendations for getting noticed and setting yourself up for promotions when you work from home. Here we go:   1.    Boost internal communication  This goes beyond the myriad of virtual meetings that most work-from-home employees are burdened with. Rather, this speaks to discussing your work progress and challenges, informing those who need to know of your progress, and making your contributions known in a professional manner.  This can also include in-person or virtual social gatherings. Can you go to lunch with a colleague? Meet a few after work for drinks? Schedule a virtual happy hour?   2.    Volunteer Just as you would volunteer – in some cases, literally raise your hand – for a project or initiative that interests you, you should do the same thing when working virtually. Don’t wait to be asked – or for the plum assignments to go to colleagues who are in-office.  In most organizations, there are also opportunities to volunteer outside your department or team – find out how to get connected with these opportunities as a WFH employee.  Finally, you can – and should – volunteer to help your coworkers with projects or tasks. This keeps you top-of-mind and allows you to demonstrate your value.   3.    Treat it like a real job (because it is)  Appearances have gotten very slack in the age of COVID. Here’s the thing I have found to be true after working from home for more than a decade: Dressing up for work makes ME feel better about ME. About my work product, my professionalism, my drive and initiative.  If you are working from home, you are saving commute time. Use some of that saved time to dress professionally, fix your hair, and put some makeup on.  The adage of dressing for the job you WANT rather than the job you have still holds true.   4.    Be on time and be professional  If you have a Zoom call scheduled at 4:00, be there. There’s nothing that calls your professionalism into question like being consistently late for meetings.  Make sure the kids won’t be crying nearby, the dogs aren’t barking at the mailman, and your phone won’t ring. Of course, you can’t eliminate all possible distractions – but you can minimize the chances that they will disrupt your meeting.   5.    Let your boss know If you see evidence that your boss is leaving you out of important conversations or cutting your input off, have a conversation with him. There is, however, a caveat here: You have to be willing to listen to what the boss says in return.  Perhaps he has noticed that you don’t speak up as much in meetings as you did when you were in the office. Maybe he questions why you chose to continue to work from home once people started coming back to the office — and thinks this is a sign you aren’t as committed as others are.  Logical or not, it is important to have a conversation with your boss to assure him of your commitment to the work, him, and your team. If you find you are being left out of important meetings held by other staff members, let your boss know about this, as well.   6.    Seek quality over quantity The way many people are approaching WFH equates to burnout – 24/7 access 7 days a week and constant video meetings are not sustainable.  This is your opportunity to hone your time management and boundary-setting skills to create the work-life blend you desire. Done correctly, your quantity of work WILL increase, and your quality will improve dramatically. Know when you are most productive for the various types of tasks you do. Tell your friends and family that you are unavailable during work hours except in an emergency. Create a work environment that is comfortable and conducive. Recognize your particular forms of distraction – i.e. Netflix, laundry – and give them their proper place outside of work hours.   7.    Meet with your boss You need regular meetings with your boss even more when you are working remotely. I highly recommend listening to episode #171 of The Exclusive Career Coach podcast for a deep dive on how to do effective and productive meetings with your supervisor.  Beyond keeping your boss current with your projects and progress, these meetings allow you to tune into your boss’s goals and priorities – which you can then volunteer to help with in a way that best utilizes your talents and passions.  https://exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-03-31-171-how-to-have-a-successful-11-with-your-boss  8.    Be there in person, when (and if) possible Are you able to travel to the home office occasionally? Can you meet with colleagues and/or direct reports at their worksite or in a neutral location such as a coffee shop? Can you work in the office sporadically?  A little bit of in-person contact goes a long way.   9.    Forward glowing recognition to your boss Be sure to let your boss know about favorable comments from clients, vendors, co-workers, and others in your organization. You could send the information in an email with a comment such as, Dave, I wanted to let you know how happy ABC Company is with our products and service – here’s a note from the Director of Purchasing!   10. Network outside your department.  Set up lunch dates or virtual coffee meetings with people throughout your organization who would be beneficial to get to know. Keep the relationships you already have in your company going.  Focus on building the relationship, staying present, and finding ways to help so you’re top of mind for recognition and promotion. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
4/6/202223 minutes, 6 seconds
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220: How to Work with a Difficult Co-Worker

We’ve all had to work with difficult co-workers. Of course, what makes a co-worker difficult to work with for one person may not be an issue at all for another person – maybe they even view that co-worker’s idiosyncrasies as a strength.   Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co  The most important thing to understand here is that YOU CAN’T CONTROL ANYONE ELSE. Only yourself. The only person you can change is you.  Your co-worker has the right to talk too loudly, gossip about other co-workers, even steal from the company. They may well have to pay for the consequences of their actions, and you may choose to report their unethical or illegal behavior, but you can’t actually change them.  That is not to say that you can’t make requests of the difficult co-worker or have a conversation about your concerns. It DOES mean that you have to own your feelings about the situation and the toll those feelings are taking on you.  My source for this episode is indeed.com.   So, if the only person you CAN change in this equation is           YOU, what steps can you take to live with this unlivable human being in the next cubicle?  1.    Get to know them. Sometimes, just opening up the lines of communication to understand the co-worker makes all the difference. For example, you may perceive that your co-worker is unfriendly towards you in the mornings. You say a bright and cheery “hello!” and they seemingly ignore you. After a conversation, you find out that they are a) not a morning person AT ALL, and b) they schlepp a lot of stuff to work, which they want to unload before communicating with others. Now that you understand, perhaps you can have some grace about their preferences and wait for their friendliness to thaw in the mornings.  2.    Focus on the relationships at work you enjoy. From a brain science perspective, that which we focus on expands. By focusing on the positive relationships you’ve cultivated at work, your issues with your difficult co-worker will take a back seat and seem less critical.  3.    Talk to your boss. If your co-worker’s behavior has crossed the line into unethical, illegal, or immoral behavior, it’s time to speak with your boss. If he or she is unresponsive or, worse, defends the co-worker’s behavior, go to Human Resources.  4.    Accept them as they are. Accept that you may just not like the co-worker’s personality…and be okay with that.  5.    Stay neutral. No matter what, don’t engage in gossip about this co-worker in the office. Not only does gossip feel bad to the gossiper, it can come back to bite you.  6.    Limit your interactions. To the degree that it is possible, avoid being around this person.  7.    Be the better person. Continue to treat others with kindness and respect, and deal with any conflicts in private rather than bringing coworkers into it.  8.    Know your trigger points. Once you can identify the behaviors your coworker displays that you find the most challenging, you can immediately remove yourself from situations where he or she is exhibiting those behaviors.  9.    Focus on the positive.What do you love about your job? What about other aspects of your employment, such as the hours or the benefits? By adopting an attitude of gratitude, you can minimize the impact of the co-worker on your life.  10.Reflect on your own actions. Think about how you act around this co-worker…how you respond to them. How can you change your behavior in relation to this co-worker?  In summary, recognize your thoughts about your difficult co-worker – and decide if those thoughts are serving you. Notice the question isn’t “Are those thoughts true?” but rather, “Do I like how those thoughts make me feel?” “Do I like the results I am experiencing from the way I am currently thinking about this situation?” If you decide you want to think different thoughts, understand that the old thoughts will continue to rear their head – they are neural pathways in your brain, created to make thinking more efficient. In other words, those negative thoughts are playing on a loop in your brain. After you decide you want to think differently, don’t beat yourself up when the old thoughts come up – just recognize that they are there and that they don’t serve you any longer. Practice thinking the new thoughts – say them out loud, write them down, speak of them with family and co-workers. Then notice how you feel – and contrast that to how you felt when you were obsessing over your co-worker.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
3/30/202217 minutes, 42 seconds
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219: Ten Symptoms of Job Burnout - and What to Do About Them

Today, we’re talking about the signs of job burnout and what to do. The first thing I want to say about this topic is that there is the job burnout you can recover from without leaving your current job, and there is the job burnout that will require you to move on.  My sources for today’s episode include Forbes.com and Greater Good Magazine.  Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co Some of you KNOW you are burned out. For others of you, it may be like lightbulbs burning out one by one – you don’t realize the room is dimming until the last bulb goes out and you are in complete darkness.   Causes of the symptoms of job burnout include: 1.    Lack of job control and or resources to effectively do your job.  Ask yourself: Do I feel in control of my job? Do I have the necessary resources to succeed in my job?  The cure: Talk to your boss about exactly what you need to be effective and what is getting in the way of that. If your boss balks or is part of the problem, this is a job burnout factor that might only be resolved by moving on.   2.    Work overload.  Ask yourself: Does the company culture reward results, or time spent at work? Would I be penalized for working less, even if I still achieved the same results?  The cure: Meet with your boss about lower-priority assignments so you have his/her help and support in rearranging your workload. If the company culture is such that you are penalized for leaving at a reasonable hour or keeping your weekends open, look elsewhere.   3.    Unclear job expectations.  Ask yourself: Do I clearly understand my boss’s expectations of what I need to accomplish?  The cure: If you don’t have a written job description, make a stab at one and meet with your boss about it. Get clarification from him or her on the priorities and expectations – and how your success will be evaluated.   4.    Work environment that leads to increased stress levels.  Ask yourself: Does the office culture and dynamics foster a positive working environment?  The cure: Do what you can to improve your personal work environment, such as plants, pictures, occasionally closing your door. Foster relationships with co-workers through lunches, drinks after work, etc.  If you are working remotely, what can you do to alleviate the isolation? How can you schedule your day and your work environment to alleviate stress?   5.    Lack of physical activity.  Ask yourself: Am I getting enough physical activity to feel good about myself and remain healthy?  The cure: Find micro-opportunities for physical activity throughout your day, such as taking a break every hour to walk up and down a flight of stairs or parking as far away from the building as possible. What do you enjoy doing for activity? Schedule time for a tennis match, run, or yoga class – this should be a top priority.   6.    Too much work and too little play.  Ask yourself: Am I scheduling enough “me” time and time with friends and family?  The cure: I like to think of this as work/life blend, rather than work/life balance. If you don’t feel you have the proper blend, what small ingredients can you add? What quick wins can you have to get more time for yourself and/or with friends and family?   7.    Lack of reward or recognition. Ask yourself: Is there evidence that this company and my boss truly value my contributions?  The cure: If this is a systemic issue with your employer – and rewards and recognition are extremely important to you – it may be time to move on. If the issue lies more with your boss, can you volunteer to lead an employee recognition program with some co-workers?   8.    Lack of fairness and equity.  Ask yourself: Are assignments doled out equitably? Is praise and recognition consistent and in balance with the achievement? Are there “favorites” in the office?  The cure: This may be a time to cut your losses, especially if the boss’s favoritism is hurting your career. If you choose to hang in there, decide that your boss’s favoritism and inequity is no reflection on you or your performance – it’s his or her issue.   9.    Values mismatch. Ask yourself: Do the values of your employer and your boss align with your values?  The cure: If your company makes a product or provides a service you don’t believe in, you’re better off leaving. The same is true if your company operates in a way that is incongruous with your values.    10.Lack of friendships at work. Ask yourself: Do I have close friends at work with whom I can share my successes and frustrations? If I am working remotely, have I accommodated those friendships in this new environment?  The cure: Make friendships a priority – schedule time for lunches, coffee dates, etc. Ask your coworkers about their personal lives. You can do this even if you are working remotely – and it’s all the more important that you do.  According to Jill Suttie, in Six Causes of Burnout at Work: “While organizations can do much to prevent burnout by setting kind, considerate workplace policies and improving workplace culture, individuals have a role to play, too. Understanding what burns you out and trying to alleviate it is important to keeping you happy on the job.“Some people with particular personality traits or career paths may suffer burnout more easily, writes Moss. For example, those who have higher levels of neuroticism (over-worry), conscientiousness (especially if it leads to perfectionism—a potential problem), and introversion (in a highly social office) may be particularly susceptible. “To help individuals do what they can to reduce burnout in themselves, say no to things that are not necessary to do your job, without fear of “missing out” or disappointing others. Do more of what you’re good at and less of the stuff that drains you—perhaps skipping the Zoom meeting with multiple people and phoning a person you need to talk to instead. Lastly, it is important to have friends—at work and outside of it—whom you can lean on when times are hard.” Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2     
3/25/202216 minutes, 56 seconds
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218: A Dozen Career Management Tips for 2022

Today, I’m sharing my 12 top career management tips for 2022. For this episode, I pulled information from Workitdaily.com and monstergulf.com. Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co 1.    Keep your resume up to date. Whether you are looking for a job or completely happy where you are, having an up-to-date resume says to the universe, “I am open and willing to speak with recruiters.” Another benefit: If you frequently update your resume, there’s less chance that you’ll forget important achievements.  2.    Polish your LinkedIn profile. Much like keeping your resume up to date, keeping your LI profile current is a must. I like to think of your profile as “recruiter flypaper,” meaning your content is attracting the recruiters you want to speak with.  3.    Keep a win list. I recommend both paper and computer files of your performance evaluations; kudos from colleagues, your boss, customers, or vendors; details of successful projects you managed or initiatives you introduced; performance metrics such as sales reports. This win list will make your life much easier when it’s time to update your resume or prepare for a job interview. 4.    Get a mentor.I did an episode on the four times in your career when a mentor is especially important; you can find it at https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-04-07-172-four-times-when-you-need-a-mentor Mentors can be extremely beneficial in guiding you through the challenges of your job, your profession, your industry, or your company. Choose wisely – and make sure you both are on the same page as to expectations and time commitment.  5.    Become a mentor.Unless you are a still-wet-behind-the-ears recent college graduate, you have something to offer someone. As a rule of thumb, I think you are qualified to mentor someone who is two steps behind you in that area of their professional life. Be open to employees who might be on the search for a mentor – and offer to help others who you are confident would benefit from your expertise and experience.  6.    Make time for networking. For many of my clients, making networking a priority is difficult for them. If they aren’t actively job searching, it is easy to think of work responsibilities as more important than networking. Here’s how I think of this: Noah didn’t wait until it started raining to build the ark. If you make small efforts on a regular basis, your network will remain active and even grow. Then, when you want to look for a new job, that network is there for you to leverage – no need to start from scratch, in the rain.  7.    Join a professional association. Professional associations hold many potential benefits including networking for career advancement, partnership opportunities with colleagues, professional development, and leadership opportunities. Find one that suits your career goals and strengths and go deep in that organization – this is far preferable to joining several groups but not really participating in any of them.  8.    Schedule time for regular meetings with your boss.Last year, I did an episode on how to have productive one-on-ones with your boss: https://www.exclusivecareercoaching.com/posts/2021-03-31-171-how-to-have-a-successful-1-1-with-your-boss This episode points out how to make sure these meetings aren’t cancelled by your boss, what to do when they are, and how to structure them so both of you are excited and energized by the meetings.  9.    Take advantage of professional development opportunities…or create your own.If your company offers courses or provides funds toward continuing your education, take advantage! If they don’t, look for opportunities that will help you do your current job better and position you for the next rung in your career ladder. I find it helpful to look at job descriptions of the position I want next; what are those employers looking for in a qualified candidate?  10.Set a SMART goal.As a reminder, SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. Here is an example:“I will begin my MBA in the fall of 2022.” I love the saying, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” It is important to establish a plan to achieve your SMART goal. Your plan to begin your MBA might include the following, with specific dates to achieve: -Take the GMAT -Research online MBA programs -Apply to 3-5 schools -Make adjustments to work schedule and home commitments to allow time for attending online classes and doing homework Your goal could be around additional education or certification, a skill you want to improve on, a technology you want to learn, or a person you want to work closely with.  11.Tackle a gap. In addition to engaging in professional development to position yourself for your next role, what else do you need to be competitive? What experience do you need to have – or have more of? This gap may very well inform your choice for a SMART goal.  12.Google yourself. Not only to find if there is anything negative about you out there, but also to see what positive content is out there. Are you positioned as a thought leader in your field? A subject matter expert? At the pinnacle of your profession? Along these lines, take a look at your credit score and make sure there’s nothing there that could bite you if a future employer wants to do a credit check. Which ones resonated with you? Remember, a goal without a plan is just a wish…so get busy planning to make your career management goals happen. Let me know if I can help!   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
3/16/202218 minutes, 46 seconds
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217: How to Position Yourself as a Star Performer

Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co This week, we’re talking about how to position yourself as a star performer. According to the book The Emotionally Intelligent Workplace by Cherniss and Goleman, there are several key competencies of Star Performers. A Star Performer is defined as someone who is in the top 10% of performance. Those competency clusters are: Self-Awareness – Understanding yourselfSelf-Management – Managing yourselfSocial Awareness – Understanding othersRelationship Management – Managing others The goal is not to be a Star in every competency in each of these clusters, but to have a good balance of competencies across the four clusters. It’s also important to define a derailer – a behavior or attitude that curtails an individual’s performance or advancement. Because of the person’s visibility or impact on others, one derailer can undermine or trump a whole set of Emotional Intelligence competencies. If you haven’t listened to last week’s episode on Your Emotional Intelligence Profile, I highly recommend it, as we define and discuss the facets of Emotional Intelligence in that episode. These facets form the basis for your Star Performer Action Plan, which we are creating today. Briefly, here are the competencies: Under Self-Awareness:-Emotional Self-Awareness-Accurate Self-Assessment-Confidence Under Self-Management: -Emotional Self-Control-Trustworthiness-Adaptability-Conscientiousness-Achievement Orientation-Initiative Under Social Awareness: -Empathy-Organizational Awareness-Service Orientation Under Relationship Management: -Developing Others-Inspirational Leadership-Influence-Change Catalyst-Communication-Building Bonds-Conflict Management-Teamwork and Collaboration  Here are the steps to creating an action plan to become a Star Performer. Step I: What are the competencies that you currently identify as strengths that you would like to improve even more? Step 2: Do you have any critical derailers? Step 3: How can you leverage your strengths to help mitigate your derailers? Step 4: What resources do you need to make this happen, such as training, feedback, etc.)? Step 5: Who can support you and hold you accountable, and what can they specifically do to help you? Step 6: How might you sabotage your efforts and best intentions? Step 7: What will your first 3 steps be to begin executing your plan?  I like examples, and I think you do, too. Let’s call our person Casey, who works as the assistant purchasing manager at a large manufacturing company. Step I: Casey identifies these three strengths that she would like to develop even further: -Emotional Self-Awareness – Casey recognizes her feelings and how they are affecting her work. She would like to improve on owning those emotions in a male-dominated workplace without feeling guilty about having those emotions. -Adaptability – Casey is great at “going with the flow.” She would like to improve on seeing the opportunities for new challenges proactively, instead of just being reactive to what is already in front of her. -Building Bonds – Casey has a strong network at work. She would like to improve her network in her community and in her profession.  Step 2: Casey identifies her critical derailers. -Confidence – This is, by far, Casey’s biggest derailer. She hesitates to speak up in meetings and doesn’t always express her opinion on matters she is very familiar with. -Organizational Awareness – Casey considers herself to be “apolitical,” and resists the idea of “playing politics” at work. -Inspirational Leadership – Casey wants to move up into greater leadership roles within her profession and company, and she recognizes that her “worker bee” approach will not serve her in leadership roles.  Step 3: How Casey can leverage her strengths to help mitigate these derailers. -To improve on her Confidence, Casey is going to leverage her extensive internal network to identify 2-3 mentors who are confident women and would be willing to help her. -To improve on her Organizational Awareness, Casey is going to establish this as a goal with her immediate supervisor, who is strong in this area. -To improve on becoming an Inspirational Leader, Casey is going to check out TEDx talks and look for YouTube videos and books on becoming an inspirational leader.  Step 4: Casey has identified the following needs: -Mostly, Casey needs time to achieve all of her goals, so she is going to reorganize her work schedule to accommodate meetings with potential mentors and her boss. She will learn about Inspirational Leadership on her own time, so she is going to set aside time for that, as well.  Step 5: Casey has identified her best friend, who works at the same company in another department, as her accountability partner.  Step 6: Casey recognizes that her biggest challenge in making these improvements is her lack of self-confidence – she is concerned that she won’t have her own back about taking the time and showing the courage she needs to do these things. Her best friend is very self-confident and assertive, so she is specifically asking her for help with this.  Step 7: Casey has identified these first three steps in reaching her goals: 1.    Reach out to 2 internal contacts each week to schedule a lunch date, coffee date, or some other way to meet with them to discuss becoming a confidence mentor for her. 2.    Establish a meeting with her direct supervisor to discuss strategies to improve Casey’s Organizational Awareness. 3.    Set aside 2, 1-hour blocks each week to find and view TEDx talks and YouTube videos and read books on Inspirational Leadership.  It is important with any big goals such as these to share them with people who will support you and hold you accountable – who will be your cheerleaders when you succeed and your friend when you stumble.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
3/9/202214 minutes, 16 seconds
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216: Your Emotional Intelligence Profile

Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co Emotional Intelligence has been a hot topic for some time now. To my mind, this focus on emotional intelligence is recognition that it isn’t just what you can do for your employer that is valuable, but rather how you do it. How you show up for your coworkers, your boss, your direct reports, your customers, your vendors. I’m pulling heavily today from “Leading with Emotional Intelligence” by Reldan S. Nadler, Psy.D. Let’s start with the difference between IQ (Intellectual Quotient) and EI (Emotional Intelligence). We’ll also introduce Technical Expertise into the mix – and how each of these play out as we progress through our chosen careers. Here’s a definition of each: IQ “A number used to express the apparent relative intelligence of a person.” Harvard Health Publishing defines EI as follows: “Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and regulate our own emotions, to recognize the emotions of other people and feel empathy toward them, and to use these abilities to communicate effectively and build healthy, productive relationships with others.” Technical Expertise is “The capability to perform the duties of one's profession generally, or to perform a particular professional task, with skill of an acceptable quality.” Research shows that as performers move up in their organizations, more of their success comes from leadership skills and EI than their IQ or technical acumen. We all know of people who were great at their lower-level jobs and so were promoted to a leadership role for which they had no experience, training, or natural ability. This often times is a source of job dissatisfaction. In the book, “Leading with Emotional Intelligence,” the author provides an EI assessment. This assessment can be used on yourself, your direct reports, in 360 evaluations, and in establishing goals with your direct supervisor. Here’s how I want to use this profile: As I describe the 20 facets of emotional intelligence, identify the 10 that are most important in your career and industry. Next, think about how often you display that competency, on a scale of 1-10. 1 means you display that competency 10% of the time; a 5 would mean you display that competency 50% of the time, and so on. Feel free to stop and start the podcast so you can give some thought to each, or listen to this list multiple times. Finally, identify just 1 of the competencies that you want to give particular attention to over the next 30 days. It could be one of your weaker ones that is very important to your career; it could be one you rated yourself fairly high on but want to display even more frequently. Set some specific goals as to how you will improve that competency. Who do you need to speak to? What do you need to do? How will you measure success? Note that these competencies are important to develop throughout your career. It is never too early to being consciously working on competencies…and it is never too late. Here are those competencies (note that other experts will have a slightly different list): The first three competencies fall under the general category of Self Awareness. 1.    Emotional Self-Awareness: Recognizing your feelings and how those feelings affect you in your job 2.    Accurate Self-Assessment: Recognizing your strengths and shortcomings and focusing on how to improve your shortcomings 3.    Confidence: Presenting yourself in an assured, forceful, impressive, and unhesitating manner  The next general category is Self-Management.  4.    Emotional Self-Control: Staying calm, unflappable, and clear-headed in high-stress situations 5.    Trustworthiness: Openly admitting your faults or mistakes and confronting unethical behavior 6.    Adaptability: Being comfortable with ambiguities and adapting to new challenges and situations 7.    Conscientiousness: Taking personal responsibility to make sure tasks are completed 8.    Achievement Orientation: Working through obstacles and taking risks to meet challenging goals and continually improving 9.    Initiative: Seizing or creating opportunities for the future  Next we have Social Awareness.  10.Empathy: Understanding others’ perspectives; being open to diversity 11.Organizational Awareness: Understanding the political forces and unspoken rules of work 12.Service Orientation: Being proactive about customer satisfaction and addressing underlying customer needs The final category is Relationship Management.  13.Developing Others: Giving timely and constructive feedback and mentoring 14.Inspirational Leadership: Communicating a compelling vision and inspiring others to follow 15.Influence: Finding the right approach to build buy-in; developing a network of influential people 16.Change Catalyst: Leading change efforts and championing new initiatives 17.Communication: Effectively giving-and-taking with others; continually fine-tuning your messaging and delivery 18.Building Bonds: Building strong networks and using them for answers and support 19.Conflict Management: Understanding all sides and finding common ideals to endorse 20.Teamwork and Collaboration: Being encouraging; drawing others into an active commitment for the collective effort  In the spirit of full disclosure, I decided to take this assessment myself. Here are the 10 I believe are most important in my career as an entrepreneur and subject matter expert: 1.    Emotional Self-Awareness: Sometimes people say something negative about me or are critical of my work. It is important for me to give those comments the proper place without derailing me. 7 2.    Accurate Self-Assessment: This one goes hand-in-hand with Emotional Self-Awareness. Can I take feedback and make improvements? Am I in continuous improvement mode? 6 3.    Confidence: Confidence is essential as an entrepreneur. If I don’t believe in myself, how can I expect anyone else to? 9 4.    Emotional Self-Control: I live my business life on deadlines and manage multiple projects simultaneously. I have to remain calm and level-headed no matter what. 5 5.    Trustworthiness: I’m not perfect, and my clients need to know when I missed something or messed something up. 8 6.    Conscientiousness: This one is a particular challenge as I build my team; everything is still my responsibility, even if I’m not the one personally doing the task. 6 7.    Achievement Orientation: No matter what obstacles are in my way, I have to meet my goals. 9 8.    Empathy: I have to be able to listen to my clients and understand their concerns – while still relying on my expertise. It’s a delicate balance. 6 9.    Service Orientation: My clients know they can trust me to do what I say I’m going to do, when I say I’m going to do it. 8 10.Communication: As my team and clientele is growing, I am continually evolving my communication methods and tools. 7 Conscientiousness is the one I plan to work on for the next 30 days – and for the rest of 2022. As I grow my team and expand my business, I will keep a close eye on making sure all the systems and process I have in place or put in place serve a purpose of creating a delightful experience for my clients and my team members.   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
3/2/202224 minutes, 25 seconds
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215: How to Work Around a Debilitating Boss

Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co  Today’s topic is How to Work Around a Debilitating Boss. Notice that I didn’t call it a Toxic Boss. I believe we are using the term “toxic” far too frequently these days. If we are to believe everyone who says their workplace or boss is toxic, the American workplace would be in shambles. (Some would argue that it is in shambles.) I also think many people are using the term “toxic” as a way to absolve themselves of any responsibility for creating, or fostering, the difficult situation. Here’s the definition of Debilitating: “Causing serious impairment of strength or ability to function.” In essence, the word indicates a temporary impairment or a condition of weakness and helplessness. Dictionary.com defines toxic as “Causing unpleasant feelings; harmful or malicious.” Here’s what I take away from these two definitions: Toxic is often malicious in nature, which indicates the boss is doing things on purpose. The results are often harmful.  Debilitating, on the other hand, means your boss is somehow impairing your ability to do your job. You are in a weak and helpless position.  Clearly, there’s a fair amount of overlap between what we might call toxic and debilitating. Rather than focus on whether your boss’s behavior is toxic or debilitating, let’s instead focus on bad boss behavior and what to do about it.  One thing I learned from my years in the workforce, both as an employee and as the boss: Most bosses aren’t intentionally terrible at their job. In many cases, they haven’t been trained for their role as a boss. In other cases, they were outstanding at whatever they did before, so were promoted to a role they are ill-fitted for, and possibly not interested in doing.  I’m sure you are aware of the benefits of being on a cohesive, engaged team that enjoys coming to work every day and can operate at maximum efficiency. Among those benefits: -Reduced stress -Reduced chance of illness -Increased work satisfaction -Improved work relationships -Increased productivity -Improved potential to advance at work  What are some signs you have a bad boss?  -Instructions are given as orders, rather than a conversation among professionals -Your boss constantly offers to show you the door if you don’t like her decisions -Your boss won’t listen to fresh, new ideas because “this is how it’s always been done”  -Your boss tells you that you are lucky to have a job -Your boss, either overtly or covertly, discourages you from having a life outside of work  -Your boss creates an atmosphere of fear…employees are afraid to innovate or be creative -Your boss issues assignments, reorganizes workload or makes decisions without explaining the thought process or reasons -The boss keeps team members out of the loop – you don’t have the information you need to do your job effectively -The boss gossips about employees with other employees -The boss makes what should be private conversations or information public -The boss “punishes” employees by taking juicy assignments away and replacing them with assignments no one else wants, or gives “busywork”   What strategies can you use to work around a debilitating boss? -Determine your boss’s motivations -Identify your boss’s triggers so you can avoid them -Don’t gossip with other employees about your boss -Anticipate your boss’s requests so you can stay one step ahead -Focus on your boss’s good qualities -Stop assuming your boss knows – or should know – everything -When your boss gives you an assignment, repeat back what you heard to ensure clarity -Focus on what you can do, rather than what is out of your control -Understand why you’re so upset -Set boundaries with your boss -Set up time to have a frank conversation with your boss – plan what you are going to say and practice with a trusted friend or colleague  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
2/23/202223 minutes, 3 seconds
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214: What Should I Include - and Leave Off - My Resume?

Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co I get a lot of questions about what should, and shouldn’t, be included in a resume. I also see a lot of resumes that include information that shouldn’t be there. Keep in mind that your resume should be a marketing document. You are selling a product, and that product is YOU. You want the reader to know your features and benefits. What will they get if they buy you? Why should they choose you over all the other candidates? If you keep this concept of a marketing document in mind as you write your resume, you should be able to look at the things on your resume to determine if they add value to your candidacy or not. Here are six things that should ALWAYS be on your resume: 1.    Your name 2.    Your contact information (phone number and email address) 3.    Your education (list degrees both as abbreviations and spelled out) 4.    Your relevant work experience, with achievements 5.    A clearly articulated, differentiating branding statement 6.    Relevant and current credentials, certifications, courses, etc.  Here are eight things that should NEVER be on your resume (specific to North America): 1.    Your street address 2.    Your marital status 3.    A picture (unless you are an actor or model) 4.    Information about children, your health 5.    Unrelated personal hobbies 6.    Salary expectations/salary history 7.    Reason(s) for leaving previous jobs 8.    Exact days of beginning and ending jobs (month and year is sufficient)   Here are nine things that MIGHT go on your resume: 1.    Professional affiliations 2.    Relevant personal interests 3.    Your city, state, and zip 4.    Faith-based volunteering 5.    Unrelated jobs 6.    Your LinkedIn URL 7.    Community engagement 8.    Board service 9.    A list of relevant keywords As you can see, much of what should or shouldn’t go on your resume is dependent on what your career goal is and/or how you will be using your resume. Continually ask the question: “Does this thing add value to my candidacy?” If so, include as space permits. One final reminder: Your resume is not a C.V. – meaning it is not meant to be an exhaustive record of your professional history and achievements. Rather, it is a carefully curated marketing document that should present you in the best possible light.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
2/16/202217 minutes, 57 seconds
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213: Should I Give Personal Information in My Job Interview?

Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co  Let’s talk about this topic of providing personal information during a job interview. Different so-called “experts” will have differing opinions about this, but here’s my stance: In short, my answer is YES. But with conditions. The interviewer, particularly if he or she would-be your direct supervisor, is evaluating your fit with the organization as much as your fit with the job. Will you be able to work well with the other members of the team? Does your prospective supervisor think you will be easy to lead? I remember so clearly interviewing a candidate for a coordinator job at Columbus State University. I knew that, shortly after the candidate I selected started to work, we were going to take a rather long road trip from Columbus, GA to Clearwater, FL. (Don’t ask me why we weren’t flying – I don’t remember.) As I was interviewing candidates, I was, in part, filtering those candidates through the lens of “Would I want to spend 14 hours roundtrip in a car with this individual?” The hiring manager is likely thinking of you in a similar way. Perhaps he has a difficult-to-get-along-with personality in his department; how will you fit in with that person? Perhaps she is thinking of how you will get along with another employee you would have to work closely with. Perhaps the team is heavily tilted toward one decision-making style or work style, and she is looking for diversity. While some of these issues can be addressed by asking traditional interview questions, sometimes your personal life can shed further light. Keep in mind that the employer cannot legally ask questions about your family life, marital status, or upbringing – only questions that have to do with your ability to perform the job. This doesn’t mean you can’t volunteer this information. Here’s my rule of thumb: You can provide personal information, as long as it is neutral or positive. What does this mean? Feel free to tell the interviewer about your recent marriage (tends to promote stability), your efforts to learn Mediterranean cooking (you’re trying to eat healthy), or your attempts with learning Japanese. Things you don’t want to share with the interviewer would include a recent divorce (you may be bitter or emotionally fragile), children (this is especially true for women, unfortunately), or recent/upcoming medical issues you or a close family member are facing (may mean extended absences from work). I also STRONGLY discourage divulging any personal medical information unless you need accommodation for the interview. You want the hiring manager to see your positives before you bring up any potential negatives, such as a mental illness or chronic medical condition. Most frequently, this personal information shows up in your answer to the “Tell me about yourself” question. While 95%+ of your answer should be professional-focused, you can give them a little look into your life with the last 5%. For example: “…and outside of work, I am an active runner and biker – I competed in 2 half-marathons last year.” “…and when I’m not working, I really enjoy oil painting and I’m learning how to use my new air fryer.” “…and in my free time, I am learning conversational Italian, which I plan to put to good use when I visit Italy next year.” Here is one example of what not to say; this is from an interview I did when I worked at Truman State University: “I am a single mother with three preschool-aged children, and I’m in the National Guard.”  Other examples: “I moved back to town after breaking up with my boyfriend.” “I really enjoy high-risk activities, including sky diving and mountain climbing.” “My elderly mother recently moved in with us after my dad died.” In summary: let the interviewer get to know you as a total person. BUT remember – this is like a first date, so keep it neutral or positive so you don’t scare them off. You want that second date!  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
2/9/202216 minutes, 54 seconds
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212: The +1 Approach to Job Boards

Hey – if you haven’t checked out my FREE monthly webinars, now’s the time! On the third Thursday of each month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern, I offer a 1-hour webinar on a job search topic. To see this month’s topic and to register: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co  Today, I want to zero in on something I have mentioned in other podcasts. I call this my +1 approach to job boards. In my work with clients, I differentiate between active job search strategies and passive job search strategies. Active job search strategies put you in the driver’s seat of your job search. They revolve around networking. Meeting people 1:1, attending group networking functions, connecting with people on LinkedIn, networking through professional associations, and networking with your university’s alumni or your church’s members are all active job search strategies. Passive job search strategies put you in the passenger’s seat of your job search. Looking for jobs via sites like LinkedIn or Indeed or going directly to company websites are all passive job search strategies. Of course, I want my clients to focus their efforts on active job search strategies. Here’s why: 1.    Active job search strategies allow you to focus on landing your dream job with your dream employer – not just respond to what’s been posted on a job board. You are in the driver’s seat. 2.    Active job search strategies often mean you are the only one competing for the job – you aren’t being compared to hundreds of other applicants OR a laundry list of supposed “must have’s” in a job description. Having said all of this, there is a way to make your passive job search a bit more active, using my +1 approach. Here is how this works: -When you are applying to a job online, think of one more thing you can do to increase your chances of getting noticed by the hiring manager. This could be asking someone you know who also knows the hiring manager to put in a good word for you, make an introduction, write a letter of recommendation specific to that position, or leveraging a high-profile person to recommend you even if they don’t know the hiring manager. What you decide to do for your +1 is very situational. Here are your considerations: -Who do I know who knows this hiring manager? -Who do I know who knows a senior executive in the hiring company? -Who do I know who works at the hiring company? -Who do I know who is well-known and well-respected in the community? -How can I personally intersect with the hiring manager or a senior executive of the hiring company? This last point falls under what I call “professional stalking.” Figuring out where the hiring manager or a senior executive will be on a certain date and time, and “accidentally” running into them. You can often figure out certain behaviors from someone’s social media posts, groups they follow on LinkedIn, or organizations they post about being affiliated with. Just be sure not to let the object of your stalking know you are stalking them! Finally – I’ve talked about the percentage of time I recommend you spend on active vs. passive strategies before, but let’s review again: If you are just out of college: 25% active / 75% passive If you have been out of college for a few years: 50% / 50% If you are in middle management or above, but not yet in the executive ranks: 75% active / 25% passive If you are seeking an executive-level job: 100% active                         Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
2/2/202214 minutes, 32 seconds
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211: Do These Five Things Before You Negotiate a Salary or Raise

I’ve talked in previous podcasts about the three numbers you need to know before you enter into salary negotiations. Today, I want to talk about what you should do BEFORE you get to the negotiation phase. 1.    Research your local job market.The salary numbers you bring into the negotiation should not be pulled out of a hat, but rather based on careful research of the local job market. What does this job command in your local area? If you would have to move for the job, what is the salary band for your job in that geographic area?  2.    Determine where you fit within that salary band.Advanced degrees, certifications, and experience can move you up within the salary band – especially if you possess most or all of the preferred qualifications of the job. If you are asking for a raise, where are you currently within that salary band? Objectively, where should you be?  3.    Write out 3-5 facts you want to talk about, and practice them. In addition to any of the things I talked about in the last point – advanced degree, certifications, and experience – what projects have you managed with great success? What stretch assignments have you been placed on? What committees or initiatives have you participated in?  4.    Clean up your mindset. Central to all these steps is being confident in what you bring to the table. Believing firmly, and without wavering, in your deserving-ness. Insidious thoughts like “They’ll never offer me that much money,” or “They’ll pass me over for a raise just like last time” will absolutely sabotage your efforts. I recommend you take a legal pad and fill a page with positive thoughts you can believe and start practicing. For example, “I am the best person in my department for___.” “My client praised me for____.” “I am so ready to take on this new challenge.”  5.    Assume the position. I’m talking about Wonder Woman here. (Pick your favorite superhero if WW doesn’t do it for you.) Stand in front of a mirror with your legs far apart, hands on hips, shoulders squared. Smile at yourself, state your positive thoughts out loud, and feel the strength and power you are harnessing. Bonus points if you play an uplifting, encouraging up-tempo song while you are posing! Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
1/26/202211 minutes, 45 seconds
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210: How to Conduct a Job Search When You Have a Full-Time Job

Starting on January 25th, I am offering a group coaching program called Land Your Dream Job. This is an 8-week small group coaching program for a maximum of 15 participants – focused on planning and executing a targeted, proactive job search that will support you in landing your dream job. Land Your Dream Job will help you:  ü Identify exactly what you are looking for in your dream job and ideal employer ü Develop a comprehensive job search strategy, customized to you ü Learn how to network in a targeted, proactive way (I call it Bow-and-Arrow networking) ü Overcome mental blocks that are holding you back from realizing your career goals ü Get the support and expertise you need to help you through the inevitable lows of a job search – and celebrate your highs!   What do you get with the Land Your Dream Job group coaching program? ü Eight weekly, 1-hour Zoom sessions – they will be recorded if you can’t be there live ü A maximum of 15 participants – you’ll get the attention you need ü A designated accountability partner ü Facebook group for questions, encouragement, and sharing job leads ü A member vault with session recordings, handouts, and supplemental materials  To register:https://lydjjoin.carrd.co/ For a 15-minute call to ask questions:https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/15-minute-call  Today, I wanted to share strategies for those of you who will be conducting a job search this year while working full-time. You’ve probably heard the expression that looking for a job IS a full-time job. But what if you already have a full-time job? The biggest issue I see for people in this situation is the tendency to put their job search on the back burner because they have so many priorities going on at work. This is especially prevalent in people who aren’t unhappy in their current job. To be clear, this is a job search that is targeted and proactive – not just passively looking at job boards or waiting for recruiters to contact you. There’s nothing wrong with a passive job search; however, today I want to talk about how to conduct a job search that is focused and active. I’m not going to talk about the obvious things you need to do in any job search, like update your resume and LI profile. Here, then, are my top six strategies: 1.    Set a SMART goal.I love the quote, “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. You can set a SMART goal for the desired result, such as “I will be in a new position by September 1st of this year.” You can also set SMART goals for the steps along the way, such as “I will reach out to Bob Jones at XYZ company by January 15th.” Here’s why this is important: goals keep us focused and on-task. They keep us from blowing off our job search plans in favor of something more pressing at work.  2.    Establish your WHY. I encourage you to write down your why – essentially, it is a manifest for why you want a new position. It has to be compelling and meaningful to you. You can choose whether to share your WHY with anyone else. You WHY could center around a new skill you want to develop, a new industry you want to enter, the contribution you want to make in the world. It can be a financial WHY, especially if is paired with another WHY. Here’s an example:“I want a new position because, now that I’ve earned the PMP designation, I want to grow that skill set into a strength.” Another example:“I want to work in the non-profit sector because I am committed to ___”(whatever the non-profit does). Here’s why this is important: We humans tend to lack commitment to something when we don’t know why we are doing it. The busyness of life and our many obligations tend to get in the way.  3.    Block off time – and get specific. This is a big one – again, work obligations can easily usurp our intentions if we don’t calendar in time to conduct our job search. Perhaps you block off time for one networking lunch a week, or to attend one networking function every month. Maybe you allot 15 minutes per day, as I do, to networking activities on LI. Just as important as blocking off the time is to set specific goals for that time. For example, your 15 minutes on LI might involve reaching out to a certain number of people to connect with or posting/commenting in the groups you belong to. Make sure you are realistic in blocking off time – don’t set an unrealistic goal for yourself. Here’s why this is important: Work obligations can seem more important – more urgent – in the moment. When I know this is how I planned to spend this time, it allows me to relax into the activity, rather than feel stressed that I’m not doing something else. And by listing exactly what you will do during that time, you won’t waste part of the time figuring out what to do.  4.    Mindset matters.Mindset matters in every area of your life – and your job search is certainly no exception. I’ve done plenty of podcasts on mindset, so I won’t go deep here. Here are a few tips: -Be aware of what you are thinking – about your job search, the job market, your qualifications, how long it is taking to find a new job. Don’t beat yourself up for having negative thoughts – just notice them. -Decide what you want to think – on purpose. Practice your new thoughts so they become like “muscle memory” – creating new neural pathways in your brain. When you find yourself avoiding your job search activities, revisit your thoughts. It always starts there. Here’s why this is important: It is impossible to change our behavior without a corresponding change in our beliefs. Either we’ll avoid the activities that will lead to a new job, or we will go through the motions with the wrong energy.  5.    Weekly rewards.If you have blocked off time for your job search this week and did the things you decided ahead of time to do towards your job search in that time, then you deserve a reward. Many people make the mistake of waiting until they get their new job to give themselves a reward. THE NEW JOB IS THE REWARD. You need encouragement along the way. Perhaps it is treating yourself to a round of golf or a new outfit. Whatever is rewarding to you. You could also reward yourself each day. For example, if you love going to the gym or having a glass of wine, you require yourself to do the job search work first. Here’s why this is important: You are improving your relationship with yourself – having your own back in terms of following through on your commitments to yourself. This is a skill set that will serve you in every area of your life.  6.    Remember that networking should be a two-way street. As I teach networking, it is an equal exchange of energy. Meaning: you give as much value as you get. For example, you are meeting with an old colleague. When you get together, you begin by asking about them – what they think of their new employer, what challenges they are facing, where their frustrations lie. During this conversation, you are providing value. Whether it is a listening ear, a best practice, or a referral, you are helping that person out. This is happening BEFORE you ask for anything. Why this is important: Most people don’t like the feeling of “all take and no give” in networking, so this approach feels better to you AND you are much more likely to get the assistace YOU need by providing value FIRST.    
1/19/202226 minutes, 45 seconds
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209: Developing Your Elevator Pitch

Starting on January 25th, I am offering a group coaching program called Land Your Dream Job. This is an 8-week small group coaching program for a maximum of 15 participants – focused on planning and executing a targeted, proactive job search that will support you in landing your dream job. Land Your Dream Job will help you:  ü Identify exactly what you are looking for in your dream job and ideal employer ü Develop a comprehensive job search strategy, customized to you ü Learn how to network in a targeted, proactive way (I call it Bow-and-Arrow networking) ü Overcome mental blocks that are holding you back from realizing your career goals ü Get the support and expertise you need to help you through the inevitable lows of a job search – and celebrate your highs!   What do you get with the Land Your Dream Job group coaching program? ü Eight weekly, 1-hour Zoom sessions – they will be recorded if you can’t be there live ü A maximum of 15 participants – you’ll get the attention you need ü A designated accountability partner ü Facebook group for questions, encouragement, and sharing job leads ü A member vault with session recordings, handouts, and supplemental materials To register:https://lydjjoin.carrd.co/ For a 15-minute call to ask questions:https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/15-minute-call Happy New Year! Let’s talk about how to develop the perfect elevator pitch. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, an elevator pitch is your 30-second commercial. The idea is that you could say it going from one floor to the next on an elevator. Your elevator pitch can be used as you introduce yourself at networking events, when you meet people by happenstance, and of course when you are on the elevator. Here’s the formula: I help_____ (this is who you serve) Do/know/understand_____ (this is how you serve them) So they can_____. (this is the result the people you serve can expect)  This is my elevator pitch: I help high-achieving, college-educated professionals plan and execute a targeted, proactive job search so they can land their dream job.  Here’s an example for a mid-level learning & development professional: I help employees develop the soft skills they need to get promoted and have greater career satisfaction.  Here’s an example for an IT professional: I help companies become more efficient so they can increase profitability and streamline processes.  Here’s one for a senior HR professional: I help companies attract, train, and retain top-notch employees so they can reduce turnover.  The bottom line is that you are, at best, piquing the other person’s interest so they will want to know more about you. At worst, you aren’t boring them with more information than they need or want. Your assignment is to take this formula and come up with five variations of your elevator pitch. Practice them, out loud, in front of a mirror. You may even want to practice with a friend or colleague. Then select the one that feels the best to you – that you will feel most comfortable saying to a stranger. Here’s the formula again: I help_____ (this is who you serve) Do/know/understand_____ (this is how you serve them) So they can_____. (this is the result the people you serve can expect)  
1/13/202214 minutes, 49 seconds
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208: Use Your V.O.I.C.E. to Become a Fearless Speaker (with Carissa Karner)

Be sure to sign up for the special webinar in January – The 3 Things You Haven’t Thought About For Your Next Job Search.  Here’s what you’ll gain from this webinar: ü Clarity around EXACTLY what you are looking for in an employer – after all, how will you know if you have found IT if you don’t even know what IT is? ü Awareness of your values and skills, so you can make sure an employer meshes with your values and appreciates your skills ü Deep understanding of your professional purpose – what contributions you are uniquely designed to make  This is a hands-on workshop (no passive lurkers allowed!) where you’ll be asked to think about what you really want in your next job. You’ll do solo work, followed by small group time to share your insights and intentions with other participants. Guaranteed: You’ll know yourself infinitely better at the end of this hour. You’ll know what you want and why you want it. You’ll have focus and direction. Here’s the link: https://3thingswebinar.carrd.co/   Carissa and I speak about how to become a fearless speaker. This topic is especially important for women, and Carissa tells us why. Carissa talks specifically about becoming a fearless speaker during job interviews, when giving presentations, and when you are having one-on-one, difficult conversations. She explains how to bring down our anxiety, boost our self-confidence, and be extremely prepared for these conversations. Carissa Karner is a certified World Class Speaking Coach, a certified Clini-Coach, a licensed psychotherapist, a TEDx presenter, and an actress. She pulls together an arsenal of tools to help you get confident about speaking in public, knowing what to say and how to say it effectively, and how to create mic-dropping speeches that can change lives. To learn the framework Carissa outlines in this episode, download her FREE Use Your V.O.I.C.E. workbook here:https://fearlessspeak.com/useyourvoice You can find Carissa at: fearlessspeak.comInstagram: @carissakarnerLinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/carissakarnerFacebook: facebook.com/groups/fearlessspeakers  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
1/6/202230 minutes, 23 seconds
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207: Six Simple Career-Advancing Steps to Take Over the Holidays

Be sure to sign up for the special webinar in January – The 3 Things You Haven’t Thought About For Your Next Job Search.  Here’s what you’ll gain from this webinar: -Clarity around EXACTLY what you are looking for in an employer – after all, how will you know if you have found IT if you don’t even know what IT is? -Awareness of your values and skills, so you can make sure an employer meshes with your values and appreciates your skills -Deep understanding of your professional purpose – what contributions you are uniquely designed to make  This is a hands-on workshop (no passive lurkers allowed!) where you’ll be asked to think about what you really want in your next job. You’ll do solo work, followed by small group time to share your insights and intentions with other participants. Guaranteed: You’ll know yourself infinitely better at the end of this hour. You’ll know what you want and why you want it. You’ll have focus and direction. Here’s the link: https://3thingswebinar.carrd.co/   The holidays are a time for family, rest, good food…a time to unplug from the hustle and grind that, for many of us, defines our work life the rest of the year. In the midst of that family time and relaxation, you have an opportunity to reflect and journal on your professional life. Review 2021 and set intentions for 2022. Here are six simple ways to help your career during the holidays.   1.    Give yourself credit.  Where did you slay it in 2021? Where did you exceed expectations? What are you most proud of? WRITE IT DOWN. And then practice gratitude for your achievements in 2021. Give yourself a huge pat on the back!  2.    Write down the not-so-great.  It’s also important to journal where you missed the mark – not from a place of judgment or condemnation, but from a place of observation. Like you are a dispassionate observer of your year. In addition to where you missed the mark, answer WHY you missed the mark. Was it in your control or out of your control? Did you change your mind or revise the goal during the year so that it served you better? As part of this journaling process, ask yourself these three questions: What do I want to STOP doing?What do I want to START doing?What do I want to CONTINUE doing?  3.    Get one big professional goal for 2022.  Remember: goals need to be SMART – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-Sensitive. As part of this step, break that year-long goal into 90-day increments: What will you have accomplished by March 30th? June 30th? September 30th? Keep this goal in the forefront of your mind throughout the year and check in every 3 months to measure your progress.  4.    Set a big personal goal too.  Life is all about balance, so make sure you’re moving forward in your personal life as well. Use the same process to set, create 90-day benchmarks for, and evaluate your personal goal.   5.    Eliminate 2-3 tolerations in your life.  Think about the things in your work or personal life that really drive you nuts – and yet, in many cases, you’ve never really thought about how to change that annoyance. These things are creating low-level stress in your life – or maybe not low-level at all. You are diverting precious energy into these areas of your life. Start by writing down as many things as you can think of at home and work that make you nuts. Step two is to categorize each in the following way: C=Continue to tolerate for now R=Resolve this annoyance entirely H=Get help to minimize or eliminate Example of C:-My suitcase is breaking down and it doesn’t roll very well anymore. I’m going to keep an eye out for a really good sale on the brand I want and purchase new luggage before my next trip. Example of R: -My closet is so disorganized that it stresses me out. I’m going to dedicate 2 hours this Saturday to fixing this problem myself, and I’ll buy some storage solutions to really up level my closet. Example of H: I can’t stand that my kitchen sink is constantly dripping. I’m going to hire a plumber or handyman THIS WEEK to get this fixed.  Here are some additional annoyances you could consider: -Taking time out of your precious weekend to clean the house, mow the lawn, etc. -Anything about your transportation that is causing you stress -Anything that is disorganized and consequently requires extra time to navigate -Anything you are overdue on – doctor’s appointments, oil change, filing taxes -Any important conversations you have been putting off – with your boss, a co-worker, a family member  6.    Drop into your future self.  It is December 31, 2022, and you’ve achieved your big personal and professional goal. You removed several annoyances from your life. You are firing on all cylinders. Drop into this space – I recommend journaling, but you can also say it out loud or meditate on it. Picture the best possible scenario for how your 2022 has gone – and bask in your achievements. You’ve got this!   Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
12/15/202117 minutes, 20 seconds
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206: It’s Time for Your Annual LinkedIn Review and Update: Where to Focus Your Efforts

I encourage everyone to update their LinkedIn profiles at least once a year. Even ifyou are not actively job searching, most of you would be open to having aconversation with a recruiter if the opportunity was right – and those recruitersare looking for you primarily on LinkedIn.Here are the areas of your profile I want you to audit before the end of the year:1. Your headline.This is the content that shows directly below your name and picture. Most peopledefault to their current job title, which is an incredible waste of the 220 characters you are allotted for this section.Make sure your headline markets you effectively. Whether you take the valueproposition approach or the keyword approach, make sure your headline drawsrecruiters in.2. Your Skills section.You can have up to 50 skills listed in this section, which is very important forkeyword searches. I recommend you use all 50.-Eliminate skills you no longer use or no longer want to use.-As you add skills, think in terms of what a recruiter would be searching on.-Be sure to select one of the drop-down options.-Duplicate these skills in your About section, starting with “Specialties.”3. Add any new jobs or achievements to your current job.This is an excellent opportunity to add your new job, or recent achievements toyour current job.Are there older jobs that need to be deleted? I recommend going back about 20years. I regularly see mid-career professional who still have college internships ontheir profile.4. Update your About section.Look at this section with fresh eyes – what doesn’t it say about you? Have youpresented a clear and compelling reason for a recruiter to reach out to you?Of course, if this is not your strength, I recommend hiring a LI profile writer likeme to do this for you – it’s well worth the money.5. Your photo and background photo.If the picture on your profile is more than a couple years old, has animals orpeople other than you in the picture, or isn’t of a decent quality, it’s time for anew photo. It doesn’t have to be professionally done, but it does need to beprofessional quality.Your background photo is a way to differentiate yourself from your competition.Find a royalty-free, on-brand picture. When I do this work for my clients, I select 4options, try each one on the client’s profile, then select the one I like the best.I recommend pixabay.com; there are many others offering royalty-free images.Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
12/8/202114 minutes, 9 seconds
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205: Your Resume: How to Find the Balance Between Flash and Substance

Be sure to sign up for the special webinar in January – The 3 Things You Haven’t Thought About For Your Next Job Search.  Here’s what you’ll gain from this webinar: ü Clarity around EXACTLY what you are looking for in an employer – after all, how will you know if you have found IT if you don’t even know what IT is? ü Awareness of your values and skills, so you can make sure an employer meshes with your values and appreciates your skills ü Deep understanding of your professional purpose – what contributions you are uniquely designed to make  This is a hands-on workshop (no passive lurkers allowed!) where you’ll be asked to think about what you really want in your next job. You’ll do solo work, followed by small group time to share your insights and intentions with other participants. Guaranteed: You’ll know yourself infinitely better at the end of this hour. You’ll know what you want and why you want it. You’ll have focus and direction. Here’s the link:    I want to begin today’s podcast by saying that the perspective I am presenting in this episode is mine, and mine alone. Having said that, I AM one of fewer than 25 Master Resume Writers in the world, so my perspective carries a fair amount of weight. On various social media accounts I follow of resume writing groups and individuals, I am seeing a disturbing trend of flash over substance. At first glance, these resumes LOOK good, but when you actually read the documents, there’s no depth. No metrics. Here are five specific concerns I have about these resumes.  1.    Measuring your opinion of your soft skills.  I’m seeing graphs where the candidate has ranked his or her communication skills, emotional intelligence, etc. SEEING THIS ON A RESUME MAKES ME CRAZY. Here’s why: There’s no attribution – did you take a survey? Did someone say these things about you? Did you just decide you were great in these areas? The second thing that makes me crazy about these graphs is that they are almost always divorced from the rest of the resume. Where are you showing evidence of your strengths in these areas, and how are you spoon-feeding the reader as to the connection? You absolutely cannot expect the reader to make those connections on their own in the approximately 10 seconds they take for an initial pass on your resume.  2.    Little, if any, content under each job you’ve held.  And, if you do have some content, it is a sentence or bullet about your job duties, rather than your achievements. This hurts you in two ways: There are few, if any, keywords in this section to help you score well with the ATS. Secondly, if this keyword-shy resume actually gets seen by a human, there’s very little there to compel them to reach out to schedule an interview.  3.    Adding things that STILL aren’t considered acceptable on resumes.  If you are in North America, there is no reason for you to have a picture on your resume unless you are an actor or model. We don’t care that you like to snow ski, unless you are applying for a job as a ski instructor (in which case the love of skiing should be obvious). We CERTAINLY don’t want to know your family situation, number of children, age, or height. When these things show on a resume, I am left feeling that this is a candidate who is either a) trying to be different, but not doing it in a positive way, or b) clueless about how to present themselves as a viable candidate. Either way, I’m left cold.  4.    Symbols next to your phone number, email, etc.  You have a series of 10 numbers at the top of your resume: 3 numbers, followed by 3 more numbers, followed by 4 numbers. Gee – I wonder what that could be? Real mystery. You have [email protected] – what could that mean? Don’t insult the reader’s intelligence by using these symbols.  5.    A layout that is confusing.  I’ve seen far too many resumes that have three columns, or the specific information I am looking for isn’t easy to find, or the graphics take up incredibly valuable real estate. Margins that are too small to effectively print the document, or so large that you need multiple pages to fit everything in. You simply didn’t use the real estate in a way that serves you. Finally, you’ve created a document that cannot be used for submission to an ATS, so you’ll either need a parallel document that is unformatted, or it will take you five times as long to apply to each position.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
12/1/202113 minutes, 31 seconds
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204: Five Unusual Things to Be Thankful for in 2021

Don’t forget to sign up for “The 3 Things You HAVEN’T Thought About For Your Next Job Search” webinar on January 11, 2022. Here’s what you’ll get: ü Clarity around EXACTLY what you are looking for in an employer – after all, how will you know if you have found IT if you don’t even know what IT is?ü Awareness of your values and skills, so you can make sure an employer meshes with your values and appreciates your skillsü Deep understanding of your professional purpose – what contribution you are uniquely designed to make Link to register: https://3thingswebinar.carrd.co/ Each year at Thanksgiving in the U.S., I do an episode on the five unusual things I am thankful for that year. These are things that might, on the surface, not seem like blessings – but have been. And I show parallels to how this, or something similar, might show up in your life. Here is my list for 2021: 1.    I am thankful for friends who weren’t. This year, I completed relationships with a couple who I thought were two of my best friends. The reason for completing these relationships isn’t important, but here’s what I learned: a.    Not everyone is meant to stay in your life for the rest of your life. b.    Completing a relationship with close friends forces you to own your part in the relationship’s “failure” – and let the rest of it go. c.     In my particular situation, it forced me to focus on what I think of me – what other people think of me is none of my business. d.    Completing a relationship opens you up to room for new friendships. You can’t effectively navigate a lifetime of relationships if you only ever add people – never subtract. Do any of these points resonate with you? Are there people in your life with whom it is time to complete the relationship? Are you owning more than your share of the breakdown of a relationship? This is a saying I’ve often repeated:“There are people who come into your life for a reason…a season…a lifetime.” It’s so important to recognize which is which.  2.    I am thankful for being in pain throughout my vacation.For three years now, I have had a fair amount of medical issues around a fall I took at a local grocery store. In September, I took a vacation to St. Lucia with my daughter and daughter-in-law. If you’ve never been there, St. Lucia is a volcanic island that is very hilly. Our villa was literally built into the side of a mountain. I really struggled with all the stairs and steep inclines and declines. So the Monday after I got back from vacation, I switched up my diet, talked to my chiropractor and got a referral to a physical therapist I adore, and started with a new massage therapist. It was good for me to come face-to-face with my physical limitations – it spurred me to become aggressive in doing something about it. Maybe your limitation isn’t physical – do you struggle with a perceived mental or emotional limitation? Think you need more education or credentials to be successful? Here are your options: -Decide, today, to make some necessary changes that will move you in the right direction. Doesn’t have to be drastic; doesn’t have to be all the changes at once. Just start. -Decide you are okay - really okay – with your limitation. It’s okay if you don’t have a bachelor’s degree or are 40 lbs overweight – it’s up to you to believe you are still worthy and fully capable – and you’re going to live your fullest life anyway. If you choose this option, NO COMPLAINING. (By the way – it’s good to believe you are really okay AS you proceed to make changes in your life. It will help you get there more easily and even quicker.)  3.    I am thankful for extreme discomfort in my personal life.Throughout the year, in addition to my physical pain, I’ve experienced a lot of discomfort in my personal life. I’m thrilled with where my business is, but the other areas of my life…not so much. So I’m working with a life coach and doing work on my own to create the life I want. Here’s what I think has happened: I have had to evolve to a new version of myself in order to achieve the business success I’ve had. This new version of Lesa wants to also evolve the other areas of my life. I want to be as satisfied with my social life, how I spend my free time, and my living situation as I am with my career. I love this dissatisfaction and what it teaches me. Here’s what it can teach you: You are supposed to evolve throughout your life – and it will be extremely uncomfortable to do so. -If you don’t evolve, you’ll be extremely uncomfortable as you resist the universe’s direction for your life. So – uncomfortable either way; pick your discomfort. -Don’t let success in one area of your life overshadow the importance of the other areas of your life. They should all be evolving. -Set goals in each of the areas of your life, along with specific strategies to reach those goals.  4.    I am thankful for spending a lot of money on a coach. Here’s why: I wouldn’t have evolved to where I am in my business without investing that money in a coach. I had to be serious and committed, I had to ask a lot of myself to get my money’s worth, and I had to learn to think differently. Bonus: I’ve made a lifelong friend in my coach, who I adore beyond words. This was an unexpected, wonderful bonus. Where are you unwilling to invest in yourself? What are you thinking that is causing you to be unwilling to invest in yourself? What do you need to think to become willing to invest in yourself? It could be coaching, like me, or it could be a weight-loss program. Or a professional resume writer. Or learning ballroom dancing or how to play the piano. Learning a foreign language. Here’s what I know: It’s almost never about the money. It’s about your thoughts. About your beliefs in yourself. About your beliefs in the investment. About your ability to get the results you want.  5.    I am thankful for opportunities I said “no” to. As my practice has become more successful, I’ve had to let go of some sub-contracting work and say no to some other opportunities that were presented to me. Was it scary to, essentially, say “no” to money? Yes. What I focused on, however, was the opportunity cost of saying “yes.” Because, in each instance, these opportunities would take away from my ability to build my own business. Essentially trading in unlimited potential income for a semi-dependable $50 or $60 an hour. Just as with friendships, saying “no” to some opportunities keeps you open for others that are a better fit for you. You are keeping space open for what you REALLY want, rather than filling space with what happens to come along. As my daughter’s softball tee-shirt said: Good is the enemy of Great. Choose to wait for Great.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
11/24/202120 minutes, 22 seconds
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203: Different Types of Job Interviews and How to Prepare for Each

Be sure to sign up for the special webinar in January – The 3 Things You Haven’t Thought About For Your Next Job Search.  Here’s the link: https://3thingswebinar.carrd.co/ Last week, I talked about how to prepare for the interview as an internal candidate. Today, I’m talking about the different types of interviews you might encounter – and how to prepare for each. I like to give attribution where it’s due, and I got much of this content from thebalancecareers.com. Many companies will tell you what type of interview you’ll be having; if they don’t, you should ask what to expect. As I think you’ll see as I go through these types of interviews, you may experience a combination of two or more types of interviews for the same job – even in the same interview.  Types of Interviews Behavioral InterviewsInterviewers use behavioral interviews to determine how you’ve handled various job situations in the past. The idea is that your past behavior predicts how you’ll act in the new job. You won’t get many easy “yes” or “no” questions, and in most cases, you’ll need to answer with an anecdote about a previous experience. Case InterviewsInterviews that include the interviewer giving you a business scenario and asking you to manage the situation are called case interviews. They’re most often used in management consulting and investment banking interviews and require you to show off your analytical ability and problem-solving skills.For example, you may be asked how to determine how big the market might be for a new type of tennis ball. That’s not much information so you’d need to ask questions such as who the target consumer is—professional tennis players or weekend tennis enthusiasts. Another question might be about how much the new tennis balls cost and how or where they are sold: in stores or online.Remember that answering a case interview question like this really isn’t about being right or wrong. The interviewer is more interested in how the applicant arrives at his or her solution.As such, a case interview is back and forth dialogue. The interviewee is expected to interact with the interviewer and ask clarifying questions in a logical, sequential order to solve the given problem. Competency-Based InterviewsInterviews that require you to give examples of specific skills are called competency-based interviews or job-specific interviews. The interviewer will ask questions that will help them determine if you have the knowledge and skills required for the specific job.Competency-based interview questions can be posed as behavioral questions, especially to evaluate things like conflict management, critical thinking, and flexibility. Some competency-based interviews will ask you to complete a timed assignment. Tips for preparing for a competency-based interview: Check the job listing for examples of required skills and abilities. For example: accountability, ambition, approachability, compliance, conflict management, critical thinking, delegation, flexibility, inclusiveness, influencing, initiative, resourcefulness, risk-taking, etc. Next, list situations in which you have demonstrated each of these competencies. Once you have prepared a list of situations, review it. By thinking of examples before the interview, you will be able to answer questions quickly and concisely.  For each skill, write down the situation, the actions you took to handle the problem, and the ultimate results. This is a modified version of the STAR interview response technique. Using this technique will help you give a brief, coherent, and structured response to interview questions.  Final InterviewsThe final interview is the last step in the interview process, and the last interview before you find out whether or not you’ll get a job offer. This type of interview is usually conducted by the CEO or other members of upper management. The key to a final interview is to take it as seriously as all the preliminary interviews—just because you were asked in for a final interview doesn’t mean you got the job yet. Group InterviewsEmployers may hold group interviews because they’re often more efficient than one-on-one interviews. There are two types of group interviews: one involves an applicant being interviewed by a group (or panel) of interviewers; the other involves one interviewer and a group of applicants.Jobs involving high-stress, fast-paced work, or customer interaction also commonly require group interviews. If you perform well during a stressful interview, you may be more apt to perform well in a challenging job. Informal InterviewsHiring managers may begin the screening process with a relaxed, informal conversation instead of a formal interview. This is more of a casual discussion than a typical job interview. On a similar note, a chat over a cupt of coffee is another less formal type of job interview.Off-Site InterviewsEmployers sometimes schedule job interviews in a public place, like a coffee shop or restaurant. Perhaps there is no local office or maybe they don’t want current employees to know about the possibility of a new hire. In any case, it’s good to be prepared for off-site interviews. Panel Job InterviewsA panel job interview takes place when you’re interviewed by a panel of interviewers. You may meet with each panel member separately or all together. And sometimes there will be a panel of interviewers and a group of candidates all in one room. Phone InterviewsWhile you're actively job searching, you may need to be prepared for a phone interview at a moment's notice. Companies often start with an unscheduled phone call, or maybe you’ll get to schedule your call. Restaurant InterviewsOne of the reasons employers take job candidates out to lunch or dinner is to evaluate their social skills and to see if they can handle themselves gracefully under pressure. Remember you’re still being observed when you participate in a job interview at a restaurant, so use your best table manners, choose foods that aren’t too messy. Second InterviewsYou passed your first interview, and you just got an email or call to schedule a second interview. This interview will be more detailed and may be several hours long. The interviewer will delve into your experience in more detail than the first round, as well as how you would fit in with the company culture. Structured InterviewsA structured interview is typically used when an employer wants to assess and compare you with candidates in an impartial way. Essentially, the interviewer asks all the candidates the same questions. If the position requires specific skills and experience, the employer will draft interview questions focusing exactly on the abilities the company is seeking. Semi-Structured InterviewA semi-structured interview is a job interview in which the interviewer does not strictly follow a list of questions. Instead, the interviewer will ask open-ended questions, allowing for a conversation rather than a straightforward question and answer format. Unstructured Job InterviewsAn unstructured interview is a job interview in which questions may be changed based on the interviewee's responses. While the interviewer may have a few set questions prepared in advance, the direction of the interview is rather casual, and questions flow based on the direction of the conversation. Unstructured interviews are often seen as less intimidating than formal interviews. Video InterviewsPerhaps you’ve applied for a remote job, or you’re interviewing for a position in another state (or country). Software programs such as Skype, Zoom, and FaceTime make video calling easy, and video interviews are becoming common. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
11/17/202122 minutes
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202: How to Prepare for the Interview as an Internal Candidate

To register for “The 3 Things You HAVEN’T Thought About For Your Next Job Search” on January 11th, 2022, click here: https://3thingswebinar.carrd.co/  I’ve talked extensively about interviews on this podcast – and it’s one of my absolute favorite topics to coach my clients on. Several of my interview podcasts made it on my recent “Best of” podcast on episode #200, so it seems you listeners really want this content. This week I’m talking about how to prepare for the interview as an internal candidate; next week I’m covering the different types of job interviews and how to prepare for each. Let’s start with what you should do, if possible, before you even submit your application for an internal position. Ideally, you want to have an honest conversation with someone who can advise you as to whether you will be a serious candidate. Your boss, someone in HR, or the person who would become your boss are all viable options, and there may be others. The important thing here is to get clear direction to apply or not to apply. The downside of being an internal candidate is that sometimes you will get a courtesy interview even though they have no intention of moving forward with you – this will only cause hard feelings if you think you are a serious candidate. So they’ve said you would be a great candidate – or perhaps one of the people I mentioned before actually encourages you to apply. Now what? -Make sure your application materials are top-notch – if you think that, because you are an internal candidate, you automatically have a distinct advantage, you might cut corners. DON’T DO THIS. -Follow the same courtesies as external candidates should – send thank you notes, keep in touch throughout the process, respond quickly to any requests for additional information. -Be aware that the decision-makers will be heavily focused on your work record and recommendations from other employers they trust. So now you are in the interview. Here are strategies for acing an internal interview: 1.    “Tell me about yourself.” You HAVE to approach this question differently as an internal candidate. -If you know the person or people who are interviewing you, you don’t have to state your name – they already know it. -If you don’t know the person or at least one of the people who are interviewing you, include your name and current job title. You might also want to include your direct supervisor’s name and the department you work in…or other job titles you’ve held with the company. -Tell them things they probably don’t already know about you. -You are an insider – use that to your advantage. Use company lingo and assume your interviewers may have at least some knowledge of the projects you’ve worked on, company initiatives you’ve had a role in, and other things going on in the company.  2.    Behavioral questions. -You want to prepare for these as you would an external candidate – just be extra careful to give credit where credit is due and don’t exaggerate your role in projects.  3.    Questions to ask the interviewer. -Here, too, use your internal company knowledge to ask well-thought-out questions. You CANNOT be canned or generic with your questions as an internal candidate! This quote is from Indeed.com: “When applying within a company where you already work, you should be prepared to talk about what motivated your change, particularly if the move would not be a promotion. The person questioning you will be aware that you are already familiar with the ins and outs of the company or they may already be aware of interdepartmental differences. Be prepared to answer in-depth questions.”Here are some internal candidate-specific questions you should be prepared to answer:Why did you decide to apply for a new position with the company?What experience within our company has prepared you to assume a new role?What would you do to help your replacement should you move on to this position?Should you not be selected for this role, how would it affect your current job?What is your proudest accomplishment with the company and how does it demonstrate your readiness for this new role?Tell me about a time with the company where you received a special commendation for your work.What is the first change you would make to the way this position is currently being carried out, based on your experience at the company?·     Have you spoken about the position with your current manager? If so, what did they say?  Prepare yourself for criticism. Here’s a quote from Deakinco.com: No employee has a perfect employment record, so be prepared for some of your mistakes to come to light during the interview. Perhaps you lost a client or you billed the wrong person. Maybe you missed a deadline or you posted something you shouldn’t have on social media. These things happen, so take ownership of your mistakes and use them to talk about what you’ve learned since joining the company. Explain what happened, what went wrong, and how you can avoid making the same mistake again. Whatever you do, don’t become defensive and start blaming others. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
11/10/202120 minutes, 5 seconds
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201: How to Position Yourself as a Freelancer...and Why You Should (with Matthew Mottola)

Freelancing…The Freelance Economy…Side Hustles…Entrepreneurship. As a result of COVID, many people have opted out of their corporate, non-profit, and education jobs in favor of doing their own thing. Still others are continuing to work in their previous profession, while building a side business.  Still others are contemplating a shift to self-employment.  My guest today is Matthew Mottola, author of The Human Cloud. We talk about The Freelance Economy, what it means to be a freelancer, and the good and bad reasons for entering The Freelance Economy. Matthew also gives tips for ways to start working as a freelancer – and how to make yourself indispensable as a freelancer. Matthew Mottola is a Forbes contributor who previously worked for Microsoft and has started numerous businesses. At Microsoft, in joint partnership with Upwork, he built the Microsoft 365 freelance toolkit, a tech stack for companies to spend up to $100M on remote freelancers. He has been named a Top 50 remote work expert to follow.  You can find Matt on: LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/matthewmottolaPersonal website: matthewrmottola.comThe Human Cloud Book: humancloudbook.comTwitter: twitter.com/matthewrmottola If you would like a free leadership deck on why to invest in the Human Cloud: humancloudbook/com/why-invest-in-the-human-cloud  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more:  https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
11/3/202138 minutes, 7 seconds
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200: Episode 200: Celebrating the Best of the Best

For this special episode, I've pulled snippets of wisdom from the top 10 most-listened-to episodes of The Exclusive Career Coach podcast.
10/27/202125 minutes, 12 seconds
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199: Strategies to Alleviate Work-Related Stress and Fatigue (with Marina Kirik)

My guest today is Marina Kirik, and we’re talking about stress and fatigue around the changes to our work environments due to the pandemic. Marina explains some of the unique challenges of work-from-home, work-in-office, and hybrid arrangements, and gives us strategies for coping with the stress around each. Marina also shares ideas for keeping the healthy habits many of us have adopted during the pandemic as we return to work or see other changes in our work situations. Marina Kirik is a stress buster, joy finder, and holistic wellness coach who focuses on stress and burnout prevention in high achievers and entrepreneurs. She left a successful career in HR technology to pursue her passion of helping people feel happier and healthier through realistic and sustainable health habits. She coaches individuals and works with companies all over the world while traveling full-time.  Schedule a FREE 45-minute Stress Breakthrough call with Marina, valued at $150, by booking through her website at www.sumofallpositive.com. She will dive deep into your current stress level, the way stress affects you, and uncover quick wins you can start implementing right away to overcome the impact of stress on your mind and body. You can connect with Marina at https://linkin.bio/sumofallpositive  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.  If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
10/20/202143 minutes, 46 seconds
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198: Career Clarity - What Are Your Non-Negotiables? (with Jeff Perry)

A lot of people – maybe more than ever before – are re-thinking their career path. In this episode with guest Jeff Perry, we talk about making an intentional, rather than reactive, career transition. Everyone has heard of the “Great Resignation” and knows the effects the pandemic has had on certain industries and many careers. We discuss what is going on in the employment landscape in 2021 – and what all of this means for you. Jeff describes career clarity for us, how to determine our non-negotiables (what MUST be present in our career and job for satisfaction), and tools you can use to help find your own career clarity. Jeff Perry is a leadership and career coach who specializes in working with purpose-driven engineers on intentional career transitions. You can get Jeff’s Career Clarity Checklist FREE at:www.engineeringcareeraccelerator.com/career-clarity Find Jeff at:www.linkedin.com/in/jeffcperry His website is: https://morethan-engineering.comCheck out his free masterclass at: www.engineeringcareeraccelerator.comListen to his podcast at:https://engineeringmanagement institute.org/the-podcast/  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2   
10/13/202143 minutes, 59 seconds
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197: How to Manage People You Don't Manage (with Mark Herschberg)

My guest this week is Mark Herschberg, and we’re talking about How to Manage People You Don’t Manage.This is a particularly important topic in light of the changes we’re seeing as corporations respond to COVID. Learning how to manage people via influence before you have the position can help show your boss what you are capable of and open the door to a managerial position.Mark talks about the unique challenges of managing people you don’t manage and gives us tips for leading by influence.Mark is the author of The Career Toolkit, Essential Skills for Success That No One Taught You. Educated at MIT, Mark has spent his career launching and fixing new ventures at startups, Fortune 500s, and academia. He’s developed new software languages, online marketplaces, new authentication systems, and tracked criminals and terrorists on the dark web. Mark helped create the Undergraduate Practice Opportunities Program, MIT’s Career Success Accelerator, where he has taught for 20 years. Mark also serves on the boards of non-profits Techie Youth and Plant a Million Corals.Download the free app for Apple and Android that can help you develop the skills Mark teaches in his book: www.thecareertoolkitbook.comFor a free download on how to create peer learning groups (and other resources): www.thecareertoolkitbook/com/resourcesYou can reach out to Mark in these ways:www.linkedin.com/in/hersheytwitter.com/CareerToolkitBkwww.facebook.com/TheCareerToolkitBookwww.instagram.com/thecareertoolkitAre you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
10/6/202141 minutes, 9 seconds
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196: Are You Ready to Downshift Your Career? How to Make a Successful Transition (with Mark Danaher)

My guest this week is Mark Danaher, founder of Mark Danaher Training and Coaching. Mark and I discuss the seismic shift in people’s work because of the pandemic – especially the large number of people who are rethinking their career direction.
9/22/202133 minutes, 4 seconds
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195: How to Turn Yourself into a Blue-Chip Stock (with Dave Perry)

My guest today is Dave Perry and we’re talking about the concept of a blue-chip stock as it applies to being a standout employee. We talk about how to position yourself as a blue-chip stock during the interview process and once you’ve gotten the job. Dave gives us action steps we can take to begin positioning ourselves as a blue-chip stock.  Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2#careermanagement #careers #careercoach #careercoaching #jobsearch
9/15/202145 minutes, 23 seconds
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194: Startups Are a Different Breed. What to Expect if You Work at One (with Dave Fano)

My guest this week is Dave Fano, Founder and CEO of Teal, which provides people with tools, resources, and community for career management. We are talking about startups – how they are different, what to expect if you work at one, and how to transition back into a corporate environment. We also talk about the red flags – and “green flags” – to look for in evaluating a startup as a potential employer. Dave Fano is an entrepreneur with more than 20 years’ experience building products and services to help people leverage technology to achieve more with less. The former Chief Growth Officer of WeWork, Dave is now focused on empowering people with tools and resources to grow their careers.Check out Teal’s FREE job tracker at https://www.tealhq.com/job-trackerConnect with Dave at:www.tealhq.comtwitter.com/teal_hq twitter.com/davidfanolinkedin.com/in/davidfano Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
9/8/202139 minutes, 32 seconds
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193: Why You Don't Need to Look for a New Job the Moment You Feel Underchallenged and Overlooked (with Dr. Nicole Tschierske)

My guest this week is Dr. Nicole Tschierske, and we are talking about how to infuse your current position with passion, excitement, and creativity - no matter what is happening in your company, with your boss, or in your personal life. We talk about the “grass is greener” concept that is so prevalent as we come out of the pandemic, how to decide if “hanging in there” a bit longer is the right move for you, and specific action steps you can take to stay motivated, productive, and challenged in your current role. Even if you choose to start looking elsewhere, this episode will help you create the best possible environment in your current job until the day you leave. Nicole Tschierske is passionate about helping overlooked women in STEM become influential so they can confidently unlock new opportunities for themselves, get their employers saying “we need you on this job!” and make a bigger impact. As a scientist and positive psychology coach, Nicole helps her clients strategically turn their career frustrations into a renewed love for their work. Dr. Tschierske is offering a free masterclass starting September 20th; learn more at https://womeninstem-reimagined.com/You can reach Dr. Tschierske at [email protected] visit her website at https://intoactioncoaching.deOr connect with her on LinkedIn at https://linkedin.com/in/drnicoletschierske Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
9/1/202133 minutes, 38 seconds
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192: What's REALLY Going On With the Job Market

A reminder that I’ve moved to a once-a-month webinar format, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co We’re hearing a lot about “The Great Resignation” of 2021 and the volatile job market. I wanted to personally do a deep dive on this topic, and decided to share what I uncovered with you guys. According to the Labor Department, a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April 2021, starting what is called the “Great Resignation” period. People began to see their lives differently. While some realized how much time they were spending commuting and want to continue working remotely, others felt the exhaustion of digital overload and lack of connections. At the same time, companies like Apple are delaying its return to the office to October as the Delta variant surges.Employees are claiming more flexibility, defining hybrid work as the best alternative in the post-pandemic workplace to adapt to the VUCA context. A report by TINYpulse shows that 62.8% of HR leaders say that hybrid work optimizes employee performance in their organization Here are some statistics to set the stage: -According to Monster, 95% of workers are currently considering changing jobs -Microsoft Research found 41% of the global workforce is considering changing jobs -HR executives expect only 8% of employees to quit once COVID restrictions are lifted. -According to Global Workplace Analytics, the hybrid work model is here to stay; 25%-30% of the U.S. workforce will be working partially from home by the end of 2021. According to rainmakerthinking’s report, “Winning the Talent Wars,” they found the following: -Voluntary unplanned turnover – the “quit rate” - is increasing -Pent-up departure demand – the “want to quit rate” is also increasing -Early voluntary departure of new hires – employed for less than 18 months – is increasing What is going on? -Workforce burnout and depression -Fear of infection, resulting in fear of returning to the workplace -Extended unemployment and other benefits – effectively de-incentivizing the workforce -Increased family care needs -Location disruption -Changes in certain industries, such as healthcare, education, and public safety -Hastened retirements and career-pausing -Postponed schooling/training/graduation, causing delayed workforce entry What are the costs? -Sales are missed, orders can’t be fulfilled, services can’t be delivered -Current staff members are burnt out from overcommitment -Overtime costs are increasing -Perpetual understaffing causes bad habits as employees see cutting corners as the only solution -New hires are getting the on-boarding and initial training they need to be fully engaged and productive According to “Winning the Talent Wars,” these are the top four causes of early departures: -Buyer’s remorse – the employer oversold the job and made promises they can’t keep out of desperation to staff their vacant positions -Inadequate on-boarding and initial training -Hand-off to an unsupportive manager -Limited flexibility “When employees, whether new hires or longer-term, decide to quit when the time is right, we call this ‘leaving in your head,” or ‘leaving without leaving.” This phenomenon is sometimes the explanation for diminished performance or bad attitude from a previously good employee.” These are the top five causes of mid-stage departures: -Overcommitment syndrome for an extended period of time – creating “siege mentality” that feels like an assault. -Disengaged or unsupportive manager -Limited flexibility -Lack of career path -Relationship conflict “As hiring soars to record levels in the post-pandemic era, quit rates are also soaring as pent-up departure demand is released.” Where are the most vacancies? Construction, manufacturing, warehousing and pharmacy jobs are now in ample supply, the firm's data shows. "The economy is still all about the pandemic," said Jed Kolko, chief economist at the Indeed Hiring Lab. "The biggest increase in job postings are those that either help get us through the pandemic or help us get out of the pandemic." The hottest jobs sectors are those that "make and move things," Kolko added. E-commerce, warehouse and delivery jobs, all of which surged during the pandemic, are now growing at an even faster clip. The number of warehouse jobs listed on Indeed as of early April was 57% above what they were before the virus struck. The broader logistics field could add as many as 4.5 million new jobs over the next five years, according to Burning Glass, a labor market analytics firm. Along with frontline jobs, like truck drivers, that includes data analysts, software engineers, project managers and other positions required to maintain supply chains, Burning Glass predicted. Factories that make goods are going through their own labor pains. Manufacturers laid off fewer workers during the first wave of COVID-19 compared with service industries. Meanwhile, consumer demand for everything from personal protective equipment to vehicles has surged, putting a squeeze on the sector.  The drive to vaccinate people against COVID-19 is also spawning job opportunities in pharmacies and other health care organizations. Across the U.S, more than 1 in 5 job openings at the end of February was in health care and social assistance, according to Labor Department data.  Which industries are still hurting? -Education -IT -Beauty & Wellness -Hospitality & Tourism Here are seven trends that the Microsoft report highlighted leaders need to know when planning a return to the office.1. Flexible work is here to stay. 73 percent of workers surveyed want flexible remote work options to continue, while at the same time, 67 percent are craving more in-person time with their teams. Companies should consider re-designing physical spaces to accommodate hybrid work environments better2. Leaders are out of touch with their employees.People expect their employers and leaders to empathize with their unique challenges. More one-on-one meetings and informal conversations are required, especially for remote workers. If working in hybrid work environments, face-to-face meetings can enhance the connection even more. 3. High productivity is masking an exhausted workforce.54% feel overworked. Microsoft discovered that apart from an increase in time spent in meetings, the average Teams meeting is 10 minutes longer (up from 35 to 45 minutes). In addition, the average Teams user sends 45% more chats per week and 42% more chats per person after hours, with 62% of meetings not planned. 4. Gen Z is at risk and will need to be re-energized. Employees ages 18-25 reported that they were more likely to struggle balancing work with life (+8 percentage points) and to feel exhausted after a typical day of work (+8 percentage points) when compared to older generations. For Gen Z’s, feeling a sense of purpose and connection is essential to feel satisfied at work, but remote work makes this more challenging, especially for those new to the workforce. 5. Shrinking networks are endangering innovation. Respondents who reported weaker workplace relationships were less likely to report thriving at activities that lead to innovation. “When you lose connections, you stop innovating” said Dr. Nancy Baym, Senior Principal Researcher at Microsoft. 6. Authenticity will spur productivity and well-being. At the same time that networks shrank, a good trend that started last year was increasing authentic relations with those closest to us. The research shows that 39% of people in the study said they are more likely to be their whole selves at work compared to one year ago. These more personal interactions can increase inclusion, productivity, innovation and psychological safety.7. Talent is everywhere in a hybrid work world.Together with an increase in resignations, the marketplace is broader as companies are more eager to hire employees living on the other side of the planet. It is also more accessible for minorities, women with children, and talent residing in smaller cities that prefer remote work. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
8/25/202125 minutes, 57 seconds
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191: Why Having a Coach is So Important

Today I have several guests on the podcast. Alycia Grenesko, Reese Kerlin, and Kristin Kerlin talk with me about why they reached out to me for coaching, what shifted for them during coaching, and what advice they have for others who may be thinking of hiring a coach.I also speak with my coach, Mimi Bishop, who also holds dual roles as a coach and a coachee. The message here is clear: even experienced coaches need coaches to help see themselves objectively, recognize the thoughts and behaviors that are holding them back, and help them set (and achieve) ambitious goals. Mimi and I also talk about the different kinds of coaches we have sought out for different stages of our lives and businesses.Whether you are thinking of hiring a career coach (like me), a business coach (like Mimi) or a life coach to help you with relationships, weight loss, or finding a partner, coaches can make a huge difference in your life. Enjoy! Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level by working with a highly experienced professional with a track record of client success, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 
8/18/20211 hour, 14 minutes, 53 seconds
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190: Should You Hire a Professional Resume Writer or Go it On Your Own? How to Decide

A reminder that I’ve moved to a once-a-month webinar format, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.co Today, I’m talking about whether you should hire a professional resume writer or DIY it. A disclaimer here: I believe EVERYONE would benefit from a professional resume writer. The question then becomes, is the cost worth it? Are the stakes high enough that I need a professional to help me be competitive? Here are the considerations:1.    Where is the bar? How competitive will the positions I am applying for be?2.    What is my timeline to be in a new position?If you are expecting a salary of $150K, every week you are unemployed is costing you $2,885. Even if you subtract unemployment benefits, you are still losing money every week you are unemployed. If a professional resume writer can help you shorten that timeline by even 1-2 weeks, it has paid for itself. 3.    Is this a strength I possess, or will I be starting from scratch? Do I have the time to do this – and do I want to use my time this way? Let’s say you’ve decided to use a professional resume writer. How do you choose?I’ve created a document, How to Assess Resume Writers, that you can download from my LinkedIn profile. I’m going to hit a few highpoints from that document here:1.    Review their website and LinkedIn profile – are they professional? Do they work with people in similar situations to yours? Look for examples of their work – do you like what you see?2.    Review their credentials. While credentials aren’t everything, there are a lot of people out there calling themselves resume writers who have absolutely no formal training. It is not at all uncommon for me to review a resume that has been “professionally written,” only to find 25+ errors in the document.Look for writers with the ACRW (Academy of Certified Resume Writers) or MRW (Master Resume Writer) designations, as these are the gold standards in resume writing.3.    Evaluate your interactions with prospective resume writers. How responsive have they been? Are they friendly and understanding – or short and distant? Do you feel a connection with them?4.    Find out about their process. Do they want you to fill out worksheets or do they get the information via phone or Zoom calls? What is the expected timeline? If a resume writer doesn’t offer any direct conversation with you, move on to the next option.5.    Ask about price. Price isn’t everything, but it should be a consideration. As a general rule of thumb, you want a resume writer whose fees reflect approximately ½% - 1% of your annual expected salary for the resume only. For example, if you are seeking a $100K salary, expect a resume writer to charge $500-$1000, + extra for LinkedIn profile, cover letter, or other documents. Be very wary about services promoting a $99 or $199 fee; if the price seems too good to be true, it probably is.6.    Determine if this provider also offers job search coaching – it can be a great benefit to go to a “one-stop shop.” Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.If you’re ready to take your job search to the next level, schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
8/11/202113 minutes, 26 seconds
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189: 3 Areas of Your LinkedIn Profile That Can Make All the Difference

A reminder that I’ve moved to a once-a-month webinar format, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content.To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.coToday, I’m talking about 3 areas of your LinkedIn profile that are often overlooked – and that can have an outsized effect on your results if done correctly.Those 3 areas are:1. Your Headline2. Your Skills3. RecommendationsYour Headline (220-character limit)The first thing I want to say about your headline is this: Don’t use the default of your current job title and employer name. These things may be a part of your headline, but you want to say much more than just those two things.Your headline is a high-profile, highly searchable section of your profile. How you approach your headline depends on your specific situation, but here are some guidelines: If you are unemployed and job searching:You can be transparent about the job title you want – this should go in your headline. For example:Accounting Manager | Delivering accurate and timely financial results with the utmost in professionalism and ethics | Experienced in AP/AR, presentations, and Quickbooks (169 characters) If you are employed and job searching:You will probably want to include your current job title, and perhaps your employer in your heading. Unless you have notified the company you are leaving or been asked to leave, you don’t want to broadcast your intentions. For example:Director of Marketing, ABC Company | Delivering digital marketing expertise and strong team leadership | Leveraging analytics to drive marketing decisions | Experienced in financial services, consumer goods, & education (219 characters)If you are currently in one field but want to change fields:You will also probably want to include your current job title and/or employer. For example:Nonprofit Administrator | Leveraging financial and business acumen to minimize expenses, increase revenue, and garner community support and buy-in | Exceptional fundraising and grant writing skills (197 characters)Skills SectionThis section is no longer about getting endorsements – it is about the keywords you pack into this section.I recommend an annual audit of this section – remove obsolete skills or those you no longer want to feature and add new skills you’ve recently developed.When auditing this section, always think in terms of what a potential employer would be searching on to find you. For example, I love dogs – but my LI profile is no place to feature my dog-related skills.Once you start typing in a skill, be sure to select one from the drop-down menu, because these are the terms recruiters will be searching on.Also, duplicate your skills at the bottom of your About section. Label this paragraph “Specialties,” and list the same skills here.RecommendationsI LOVE this section and very few people utilize it. Here’s what I love it for: this is where you can ask people to say things about you that you really can’t say about yourself. Soft skills and certain strengths are best talked about by someone other than you.LI recommends a minimum of 3 recommendations and there is no upper limit. Here’s how to approach:1. Write out 3-4 characteristics you want people to write about.2. Think of 2 people who could write about each of those characteristics (this way, hopefully, you’ll get at least 1).3. Make sure you are connected to the person you want to write a recommendation for you.4. Go to the person’s LI page and click on the “More” button in the top box where their picture is. Select “Request a Recommendation” and follow the prompts.5. Write a customized note to each person, specifically asking them to write about the characteristic.6. Their recommendation will come to your inbox. You have three options: reject, accept as-is, or request changes.7. Keep in mind that you can repurpose recommendations from LI, but you can repurpose a recommendation from elsewhere into LI. Because of this, LI makes a nice repository for your recommendations.Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring document and coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
8/4/202117 minutes, 58 seconds
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188: Is Your Work Environment REALLY Toxic? How to Know and What to Do

A reminder that I’ve moved to a once-a-month webinar format, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.coThrough various groups I belong to and sites I visit regularly, there is a lot of talk about being in a “toxic work environment.” Today, I want to drill down on what actually constitutes a toxic work environment and what to do if you are in one. I also want to talk about what isn’t a toxic work environment and how to manage these situations.Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about a toxic workplace: It is marked by significant infighting, where personal battles often harm productivity. Here’s a quote: “It is reasonable to conclude that an organization can be considered toxic if it is ineffective as well as destructive to its employees.”Here’s what monster.com has to say about a toxic work environment:A toxic work environment is one wherein dysfunction and drama reign, whether it’s the result of a narcissistic boss, vindictive co-workers, absence of order, et cetera.In addition to harming your morale, this kind of climate can also be damaging to your health, says Paul White, co-author of Rising Above a Toxic Workplace. “Stress takes a toll on your body,” White says. Health problems stemming from a hostile workplace include hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and decreased mental health, and can lead to fatal conditions, research from Stanford and Harvard Universities found.“A toxic environment keeps people in a fight or flight mindset—the constant pump of cortisol, testosterone, and norepinephrine generates physical, emotional, and mental stress,” says Cheri Torres, an Asheville, North Carolina-based business leadership coach and author of Conversations Worth Having: Using Appreciative Inquiry to Fuel Productive and Meaningful Engagement. She says you can’t do your best work when you work in a toxic workplace, and your health and well-being is at risk.As I was researching for this episode, I saw a lot of things credited as contributing to workplace toxicity that simply aren’t. No boss, coworker, or CEO is perfect – and a boss who isn’t organized or a coworker who is chronically late doesn’t make a workplace toxic.Here are the signs Monster gives for a toxic workplace:1.    You are chronically stressed out. Take this quiz to find out how stressed you are: https://www.stress.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Workplace-Stress-Survey.pdf2.    You’re being overworked.3.    You’re being bullied.The Workplace Bullying Institute defines bullying as “repeated mistreatment of an employee by one or more employees; abusive conduct that is threatening, humiliating, or intimidating; work sabotage; or verbal abuse.”While 61% of bullies are bosses, 33% of bullies are peers with the same rank as their targets, and a surprising 6% of bullies are subordinates, a survey by the Workplace Bullying Institute found.4.    You’re a contributor to – or recipient of – office gossip.5.    Your boss is a hothead.6.    Communication is poor/nonexistent, and it is affecting your ability to do your job.Here are additional signs from Bustle.com:1.    An absence of work/life balance (or, as I like to call it, work/life blend)2.    You are constantly getting sick.3.    Family and friends are noticing a difference in your character.4.    Your employer culture is “competitive conflict.”5.    Your time boundaries are not being respected. (Think “Two Weeks’ Notice”)6.    Your boss encourages bad/unprofessional/unethical behavior7.    Your gut-check tells you that your ethics and morals are eroding the longer you work there – you are losing yourself. Here are clear-cut situations of workplace toxicity:1. Sexual harassment2. Bullying3. Illegal behaviors (stealing, cheating, misrepresenting results)4. Being asked to participate in or look the other way with illegal/unethical behaviors5. Workplace safety or environmental issues that aren’t addressed6. Lies/undermining that are affecting your ability to do your job or get the results you are expected to achieve So what are your options when you find yourself in a toxic work environment? There are at least three:1.    Approach the perpetrator directly.A quote from Monster: “You should be able to resolve many interpersonal problems without intervention. “Generally, your best first step is to have a gentle backstage conversation with the person who’s causing you harm,” says Sutton. But, rather than focusing on how someone’s behavior makes you feel, focus on the negative consequences of the person’s actions.”2.    Confront with a team and go up the chain of command.According to Monster: “If the direct approach is futile, you may have to get help from your superiors (assuming they’re not the problem) to resolve serious issues with co-workers. But before you request a meeting, there are a couple measures you should take.“First, figure out if any of your peers are having similar problems. “The more fellow victims you have, the more power you have,” Sutton says. Obviously, you don’t want to bombard your co-worker; one or two representatives in addition to yourself should suffice.“Second, gather hard evidence to prove your case. For example, if your colleague is frequently trying to sabotage your work by turning their assignments in late, compile emails that show times when this has happened and present what you have in the meeting.”3.    Plan your exit strategy.“Some companies simply have a culture of dysfunction. If the toxicity is coming from the top down, you may be better off coming up with an exit strategy,” according to Monster.Finally, let’s talk about what doesn’t constitute workplace toxicity. These are all contextual, because if one of these non-toxic things is happening and, as a result, your health is suffering or your friends and family are noticing a negative change in you, then there is evidence that that thin is toxic FOR YOU.What I want to make clear with these four things is that you have within your power the ability to shift your mindset around these things so that your experience at work is more positive.This DOES NOT mean you have to stay in that job…it simply means that, while you’re still there, you can have a better experience.1.    You don’t want to go to work.2.    You aren’t as happy as work as you used to be.3.    You don’t feel respected.4.    Your point of view and ideas aren’t being heard.What can you do in these situations? Here are my suggestions:1.    Do a pros/cons exercise – what reasons do you have for not wanting to go to work? Why don’t you feel as happy about work as you once did? In what ways DO you feel respected at work? When have your POV and ideas been heard at work?2.    Take a careful look at your cons – what shifts can you make to move some of these items out of this column? Maybe they won’t end up in the pros column, but at least you can neutralize them.For example, if one of the reasons you don’t want to go to work is a particular co-worker’s attitude towards you, what can YOU do about that? You could schedule a time to speak one-on-one with this co-worker. If one of the reasons you aren’t as happy at work as you used to be is because you’ve been passed over for a promotion, perhaps you could meet with your boss about why you weren’t chosen and what you could do to increase your chances of success next time around.3.    Engage in a gratitude practice – Every morning, I write down three things I am truly grateful for, and I really FEEL that gratitude.4.    Mindfulness – Become more aware of when the negative thoughts are creeping in and choose to think something more positive instead. For example, if you find yourself sitting in your car in the parking lot every morning not wanting to enter the building, this is likely because you are thinking something like “I hate my job.” Once you realize this thought, you can shift your thinking to something like “I like _____ about my job.” A slight shift that can make all the difference.5.    Focus on what you CAN control – nothing exacerbates a feeling of powerlessness more than putting yourself in the role of victim. If you don’t feel your POV is being heard at work, how can YOU show up to meetings differently to increase your chances of being heard?6.    Engage in a bit of perspective-adjusting. We tend to think the grass is always greener over there…but it often isn’t. If you choose to go elsewhere, keep in mind that there may be similar problems there…or even worse ones. Is what you have REALLY that bad? Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
7/28/202127 minutes, 23 seconds
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187: How to Promote Yourself as a Subject Matter Expert on LinkedIn

A reminder that I’ve moved to a once-a-month webinar format, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com Today, I want to drill down on ways to promote yourself as a SME on LinkedIn. Let’s start with why this is important: 1. If you are job searching, putting content on LI in your area of expertise will show potential employers that you are a thought leader in your field. 2. This can be a great tool for your company – instead of a hard sell on why you should buy a particular product or service, your expertise is much more interesting to others in your field, potential buyers, and potential future employees. You can really differentiate your company from the competition this way. 3. As you become known as a SME, recruiters will increasingly reach out to you. The optimal state is that you never go “in” and “out” of job search mode, but rather you are always having those conversations. I call it ARFO – Always Ready For Opportunity. 4. Your expertise can be repurposed for your employer – they may want to use it on the website, in videos, or social media posts. This is a win/win/win situation. Now that I’ve hopefully persuaded you of the reasons to position yourself as a SME, why LinkedIn? Here are three reasons: 1. It’s the most professional of the SM sites 2. LI is set up to also be your de facto blog 3. People will engage with professional content on LI – it’s one of the main reasons people use LI Finally, let’s get to the meat of this episode – how to promote yourself as a SME on LI. Here are my suggested steps: 1. Decide on your “why” – if you don’t know why you are doing this or your reason isn’t very strong, you’ll likely put it on the back burner when other things in your professional or personal life become more urgent. 2. Create a strategy. How often will you post? What will you post each time? Here’s an example for someone in HR: Mondays – Original content around a basic concept in Human Resources Wednesdays – Share someone else’s article and comment on it Fridays – Create engagement around a question or idea and ask other HR professionals to give input 3. Calendar everything.You’ll need time to create the posts and associated artwork, time to post (I would recommend Hootsuite’s free version). Although you can’t really calendar in time to respond to comments on your posts, you’ll want to keep an eye on this so you keep the conversations going. 4. Periodically shake things up. I do this in my business once a quarter. I look at a) what kind of content I’m putting out on my various channels, and b) what days I’m putting that content out. By shaking things up every three months, I am hopefully doing the same thing grocery stores do when they move product to another part of the store. The shoppers now have to actually look for what they want…and who knows what they might find along the way. Also, you may find that some kinds of posts get far more engagement than others, so either eliminate the less effective or think of a way to tweak it to get more eyes on your content. Here are some specific types of posts you may want to consider: 1. Share expertise around a hot topic in your field 2. Pose thought-provoking questions 3. Share a problem you’ve solved and how you solved it 4. Share what your company is doing to address a problem 5. Post thought-provoking statistics relevant to your field or industry 6. Post relevant quotes from industry leaders 7. Share upcoming trainings, certifications, or other professional development opportunities 8. Align yourself with thought leaders in your field by posting a quote and expanding on it 9. Post about an award your company, a leader in your company, or you have received Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2 #careermanagement #LinkedIntips #careercoach #careercoaching #SME  
7/21/202114 minutes, 44 seconds
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186: 9 High-Impact Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Own Success (with Ed Evarts)

Today my guest is Ed Evarts, author of “Driving Your Career.” We talk about ways to take responsibility for your own career success. Ed is a leadership coach, business strategist, and podcaster with Excellius Leadership Development (excellius.com). Reach out to Ed at [email protected] or find him on LinkedIn. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2#careermanagement #careercoach #careercoaching #careers
7/14/202133 minutes, 19 seconds
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185: Borrowing from Brene Brown's FFTs to Reframe Your Job Situation

I wanted to let you know that I’ve moved to a once-a-month webinar format, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content.To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.comI’m a huge fan of Brené Brown’s work, and I love her concept of FFTs. If you’ve been listening to this podcast for a while, you know that I don’t say anything that wouldn’t be suitable for all audiences, so I’ll start by saying that FFTs stands for “F’ing First Time.”Brené talks about FFTs in the framework of doing something new. Of challenging ourselves…of evolving to the next level in our development as a human.Which got me thinking…what do FFTs look like in the framework of our jobs? When we are given a new task…asked to work in a new way…learn a new skill?Here are her five steps for FFTs; I want to break each down for you:1.    Name it2. Develop perspective3. Adjust expectations4. Build in rest & recovery5. Get in top FFT shape1. Name itLet’s say you have been given a huge new assignment at work with gigantic implications. You feel completely unprepared for this level of responsibility – you have, after all, only managed small teams and small budgets before. For the Name It phase, it is important to name the “newness” of this new responsibility. Your list might look something like this:-There will be 15 people on my team, and I’ve never managed more than 2 people before-This budget is 4X larger than the most I’ve ever managed-There is so much riding on the success of this project-I don’t know why they thought I could do this-I’m afraid I’ll fail and lose my jobThe important thing here is that you are bringing the monsters out into the light. The first step in neutralizing fear is to recognize the source of that fear.2. Develop perspectiveIf you have never done something before, it’s natural to believe you aren’t qualified and may fail. The point in this step is to think through things like:-Worst-case scenario-Taking stock of what you do bring to the table-Recognizing the faith someone has put in you by assigning this task to youIt’s a very useful exercise to think about “what if I do fail and get fired?” Not because you are planning to fail and get fired, but because you’ll see that this worst-case scenario isn’t the end of the world.By taking stock in what you bring to this project, you are hopefully focusing on your strengths rather than what you DON’T have. This should help you reinforce your self-belief.If you don’t believe in yourself at this moment, it can be helpful to “borrow” the faith of the person who has entrusted you with this project. For that matter, who are your cheerleaders – those who believe in you no matter what? Spend time around those people so you can siphon off some of their belief in you.3. Adjust expectations. Is 100% success, with no hiccups, a realistic expectation for this project? Probably not.It is important to find the perfect balance between believing in yourself and being realistic about what you are being asked to do.Perhaps setting a goal to complete the projects within 10% of budget is reasonable. Sure, you’d like perfection – but at what cost? The project might actually be better – and stay on time – by allowing for some errors and mistakes.You may also need to adjust expectations with your boss. If you have realistically assessed the project scope and know you can’t do it without 2 more project members, then ASK for what you need.You will also want to adjust expectations with the other project members. How will success be measured? When should they come to you for help? How will you support them? Make sure everyone involved is reading off the same sheet of music.4. Build in rest & recovery.FFTs wear us out. We’re using new muscles, our brain is working in new ways, we’re interacting with new people, and making new kinds of decisions daily.FFTs require rest & recovery. Depending on the FFT, this could mean daily R&R, time off mid-project, or a vacation afterward.Don’t ignore your needs…this is a marathon, not a sprint. Be kind to yourself. 5. Get into top FFT shape. There are things you can do right before you begin something new, such as reading up on how to do the new task, rearranging your schedule so everything else in your life is under control, asking for help at home or at work, or simply getting a good night’s sleep.Other ways of getting into top FFT shape might take longer and will require you to anticipate your needs. If, for example, you want to start managing projects, what class or certification can you start now to be better prepared?A good way to anticipate your FFT needs is to meet with your boss on another, more senior person in your company. Tell them your professional goals and ask for their input into how you can begin preparing to take on new roles, responsibilities, and leadership now.If you are mid-project and realize you aren’t in top FFT shape, there are strategies to address this as well. For example, if you realize there’s a skill gap in your team, you might choose to read up on that skill, ask others about that skill, or ask your boss for a SME to step in to help with that skill. There will always been unanticipated “hiccups” in FFTs, so your ability to make mid-course corrections will be essential.Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
7/7/202118 minutes, 10 seconds
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184: 7 Rules for Women Who Want to Make More Money (with Laura Browne)

Our topic today is 7 Raise Rules for Women Who Want to Make More Money, with Laura Browne. Men and women approach salary issues very differently, and Laura and I dive into these differences and how women can ask for what they want. Laura provides us with some of her best tips for asking for a raise and negotiating a salary and compensation package. Laura Browne helps women to make more money at work. She is the author of 10 books, including her newest, Increase Your Income: 7 Rules for Women Who Want to Make More Money at Work.She is a contributor to Forbes and has been quoted as a business expert in major publications including Cosmopolitan, Family Circle and USA Today.She has trained high-potential female leaders from Fortune 1000 companies to be more successful through WOMEN Unlimited. She also has experience in leadership and management development for global tech companies. Laura is a High-Performance Business Coach with certification from Columbia University.To find out more about her programs and to see a free video on How to Get A Raise at Work, go to https://learn.careertipsforwomen.comFor a list of 15 Common Raise Mistakes and How to Fix Or Avoid them go to https://www.careertipsforwomen.com/You can contact Laura at [email protected] Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2#jobsearch #jobsearchcoach #jobsearchcoaching #career #salarynegotiation #careermanagement #careercoach #careercoaching
6/30/202126 minutes, 4 seconds
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183: Closing the Job Interview and Following Up

I wanted to let you know that I’ve moved to a once-a-month webinar format, held on the third Thursday of the month at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. The topic is different each month, and I jam-pack them full of content. To learn about the next webinar: https://mastercoachwebinars.carrd.com This week, I want to talk about how to wrap up a job interview and what you’ll want to do after the interview to increase your chances of getting the job.At the close of the interviewHere are the three things you must do at the close of each interview:1. Thank them for their time2.    Re-state your interest in the position, if applicable3.    Determine the next step(s) in the hiring processWithin 24 hours after the interview1. Send thank you emails2.    Send any additional information requested by the interviewer, or that you mentioned during the interview3.    Send any supplemental information that might assist with the hiring decision, such as work samples, document, etc.4.    Connect with the interviewer(s) on LinkedIn if you haven’t alreadyOngoing contactIt can sometimes be weeks, or even months, before a final decision is made. In the meantime, how do you stay in contact with companies you’ve interviewed with and are very interested in? 1. Periodically check in with your primary contact – depending on the circumstance, weekly or every other week is appropriate. 2.    Send information about the company or the contact when you can – but don’t overdo it.3.    Let them know of any new achievements, credentials, etc.4.    Let them know if you receive another offer so they have the opportunity to counter.Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
6/23/202121 minutes, 47 seconds
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182: Are You Undermining Your Relationships with Co-workers? (with Carson Tate)

Today, my guest is Carson Tate of workingsimply.com, and we’re talking about our work relationships. Carson is an employee engagement expert, and we talk about why relationships at work are so important. She also gives us tips for re-engaging with our coworkers now that many of us are going back in the office. She shares with us the “Platinum Rule” and how that applies to our work relationships and the indicators that our relationships at work are suffering. Carson walks us through SCARF threats – all of which, when triggered, can send us into fight or flight.“According to Gallup, people who have a friend at work are happier, more productive, and more engaged,” says Carson Tate. Carson serves as a consultant, coach, and trainer to executives at Fortune 500 companies including AbbVie, Deloitte, FedEx and Wells Fargo. The author of Work Simply: Embracing the Power of Your Personal Productivity Style (Penguin Portfolio, 2015), her views have been included in top-tier business media including Bloomberg Businessweek, Business Insider, CBS Money Watch, Fast Company, Forbes, Harvard Business Review blog, The New York Times, USA Today, Working Mother and more. Reach out to Carson at workingsimply.com or on connect with her on LinkedIn. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
6/16/202135 minutes, 37 seconds
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181: Conquering COVID-Related Fatigue (with Jane Springer)

 We’d love to think that everything is back to “normal,” and all our pandemic-related stresses and frustrations are behind us. THIS ISN’T TRUE.Whether we are dealing with returning to work, navigating a return to normal with our significant others or children, or rethinking our career path, many of use are still dealing with COVID-related fatigue. My return guest, Jane Springer, is a life and wellness coach. She and I discuss what we’re seeing with our clients and how we are helping them navigate the world in 2021. Jane is a Certified Life and Wellness Coach focusing on empowering women who are 50+ years of age to move beyond their challenges to live life on their own terms. Jane uses her own experiences with divorce, remarriage, and overcoming chronic fatigue to create strategies that guide women to fulfilling relationships, improved health, increased happiness, and enhanced self-confidence. Check out Jane’s website and take her “Are You a Woman of Faith Ready for Love?” quiz at www.janespringer.com/lovequizIf you’re struggling to return to normal, Jane offers “Feel Better, Look Good, & Gain Confidence in Seven Steps” www.janespringer.com/feelbetterAre you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2  
6/9/202147 minutes, 49 seconds
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180: If You Want to Lead Others, Lead Yourself First (with Heather Younger)

Today, my guest is Heather Younger, author of The Art of Caring Leadership. In addition to being a best-selling author, Heather is an international speaker, consultant, and facilitator. She is the CEO and founder of Employee Fanatix, an employee engagement, leadership development, and DEI consulting firm.Heather Younger is the host of the Leadership with Heart podcast, and has been featured in Forbes, Huffpost, and SHRM’s All Things Work Podcast. Check out Heather’s website: www.theartofcaringleadership.comIn this episode, Heather and I talk about the six areas of self-leadership from her book and why it is so important to lead yourself before you can effectively lead others. Are you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
6/2/202130 minutes, 33 seconds
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179: Seven Strategies for Jumpstarting Your Networking

In episode #177, I talked about overcoming your fear of networking. Today’s podcast will be strategies that you may not have thought of to either jumpstart your networking, or to take what you are already doing to the next level. Before I dive into the seven strategies, there are three points I want to make for the one millionth time: 1. Networking is how jobs are gotten2. There is the Tommy Gun approach and the Bow-and-Arrow approach – I teach my clients the Bow-and-Arrow approach3. Your goal with any networking is to give at least as much value as you getStrategy #1: LinkedIn (the obvious choice) Set a goal of messaging X# of your contacts in LinkedIn each day Move to a Zoom meeting when appropriate Have a specific ask AND be open to ideas the other person hasStrategy #2: Meetup Find a few groups on Meetup that are active right now, and give them a try Join groups based on hobbies, passions, beliefs, etc. Let the other members know of your job search – in specific terms Meet 1:1 outside of Meetup as appropriate Strategy #3: Rotary, Kiwanis, Chamber meetings, etc. Google “Rotary chapters near me” or “Chamber of Commerce” Attend a few meetings to determine if you would like to join Take advantage of any opportunity to introduce yourself and let them know about your job search Move to 1:1 meetings as appropriateStrategy #4: FB Events tab, Eventbrite Most things are still virtual, but there may be some live events in your area that you would feel safe attending Take advantage of any opportunity to introduce yourself and let them know of your job search Schedule 1:1 meetings as appropriateStrategy #5: Your place of worship Determine your best opportunity for interacting with people – is it prior to the service? In small group meetings? Sunday school? Take advantage of any opportunity to let them know you are job searching Schedule 1:1 meetings as appropriate Strategy #6: Your university alumni association Do your homework to find out what your alma mater offers as a member of the alumni association Get involved in ways that are appropriate and meaningful for you Take advantage of any opportunity to introduce yourself and let the others know of your job search Schedule 1:1 meetings as appropriateStrategy #7: Create your own networking group! Decide how to proceed, based on your network and SM reach Make sure you have the proper technology, i.e. paid Zoom account or external camera Be very clear in your messaging – if this is not your strength, who could help you with this? Be consistent, follow up and follow through – everything you do in this regard will be a reflection of your professionalism and work ethicAre you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth. Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2
5/26/202120 minutes, 4 seconds
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178: Sorry Not Sorry! How to stop apologizing at work and adopt a leadership communication style (with Jen Ngozi)

My guest today is Jen Ngozi, founder of NetWerk®, a global women in leadership organization and movement on a mission to help everyday women worldwide build the community, confidence, and skills needed to become leaders. Since their launch, Jen has grown NetWerk® from her basement to a global community of instructors, members and over 20,000 NetWerkHERS worldwide.Jen has spoken at events with the United Nations, Vogue and Create & Cultivate. She has been seen in HuffPost, Weight Watchers, Thrive Global, ABC, NBC, Fox News and more.In today’s episode, Jen provides the listeners with invaluable tips to STOP apologizing for everything and how to communicate like a leader.Check out NetWerk at netwerkmovement.comAre you in the wrong job that chips away at you every day? The CareerSpring coaching program will help you find a job that uses your zone of genius, recognizes your value, and pays you what you’re worth.Schedule a complimentary consult to learn more: https://calendly.com/lesaedwards/zoom-meetings2