Break Free!

I teach a class that is designed to inform students of the latest employment trends and the up and coming small and large companies in Portland, OR.

Each term, I dutifully bring pages of data culled from various web sites that cite the latest employment news.

A funny thing happens about 1/3 of the way into the class.  The students begin to realize that they have no interest in, or affinity with, the growing industries.

Hallelujah!

I like to visualize my students instantly breaking free from the throngs of career-seekers who bet their future happiness on something as arbitrary as a need for more health-care workers to provide services to the aging baby-boomer population.

Because whenever enough people flock to a particular profession, the market becomes flooded with qualified applicants and suddenly the hot new career is now a bust.

And it’s back to the drawing board, which looks a lot like another unwanted career change.

It’s far better to do the inner-work of discovering your perfect career sooner, rather than later!

(This is an excerpt from my new book “Fire Your Resume…and Ignite Your Career!”  I’m accepting pre-orders right now. Due to be published in early October.  You can order here: http://careerepiphany.com/hire-jen/book/)

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Image: renjith krishnan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resume Reading Auto-Pilot

Have you ever been reading a book and suddenly realized that although your eyes have been moving the whole time, you haven’t really read any of the last two pages?  Somehow your brain went on reading “automatic pilot.”  If you care about what you’re reading, you’ll usually go back and re-read the section.

I’ve been told that if a human being is reviewing your resume, the same thing happens — they tend to only read the material in the first and last thirds of the resume.  The rest of the resume is viewed on automatic pilot – with little or no comprehension.

They act as if they’ve read the whole resume, though.  And then they move on to the next one.

Clearly this is not a great scenario for the hopeful job seeker.

(This is an excerpt from my new book “Fire Your Resume…and Ignite Your Career!”  I’m accepting pre-orders right now. Due to be published in early October.  You can order here: http://careerepiphany.com/hire-jen/book/

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Image: Stuart Miles / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

How’s Your Artist?

Feeling a little uninspired?  Not enough creative umph to get you through the day?

When’s the last time you took your inner artist on a date?

Years ago, I worked through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way.

Artist Dates are one of the tools she recommends to help keep your creativity flowing.

Simply choose a new place to explore or experience to try.  Right now, I have my eyes on a new glass-blowing place in downtown Tigard, OR

Once you’ve decided on your adventure, make a two-hour date with your inner artist and go.

Repeat weekly.

Watch your life get fired up right before your very eyes!

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Image: Bill Longshaw / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Is Your Resume Making You a Pest?

Do you ever think of yourself as being a pest?

A lot of human resources professionals do.

Does that sound harsh? Well, let me explain…

If it were your job to review 15,000 resumes a week – would you think resumes were a device for screening people into jobs or out of them?

Granted, most companies don’t receive that many resumes, but many of them do. Nike is a likely example – and I bet Microsoft gets even more.

These large companies use computers to fish around on your resume for what’s known as “keywords.” Keywords are specific words or phrases that are used by employers to find the best candidates for a job. If you don’t know the right keywords to put on your resume, guess what happens? Yes – like a pest – you are screened out!

It gets worse.

Have you ever been reading a book and suddenly realized that although your eyes have been moving the whole time, you haven’t really read any of the last two pages? Somehow your brain went on reading “automatic pilot.” If you care about what you’re reading, you’ll usually go back and re-read the section.

I’ve been told that if a human being is reviewing your resume, the same thing happens — they tend to only read the material in the first and last thirds of the resume. The rest of the resume is viewed on automatic pilot – with little or no comprehension.

They act as if they’ve read the whole resume, though. And then they move on to the next one.

Clearly this is not a great scenario for the hopeful job seeker…

(This is an excerpt from my new book “Fire Your Resume…and Ignite Your Career!”  I’m accepting pre-orders right now. Due to be published in early October.  You can order here: http://careerepiphany.com/hire-jen/book/

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Image: Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

My Career Epiphany

People have been asking me to share a bit about my own personal career epiphany. So here goes…

I like to tell people that I “escaped professional misery” in 1997.

But believe me, it was a long road getting there!

After graduating from college, I struggled to find a professional job. Eventually, through a temporary help service, I landed in a giant of a high tech company.

I rose through the ranks to a great job as a sales rep – making good money – but I wasn’t happy. I had no interest in the products I was selling (truthfully, I didn’t even understand them completely!) I never felt comfortable doing the things that were required for me to be successful. My boss was more interested in seeing my sales numbers than in seeing my face. So, thinking it might be just the company I worked for, I tried the same job in another company. And naturally, the situation wasn’t any better. So I tried again, and got the same results! Something just wasn’t working here…

I began reading all the career development books I could get my hands on. It took nearly 10 years of trying to figure it out on my own before I went to a career consultant.

And then…nirvana!

I was able to get a clear view of work that would be ideal for me.
After a little while of tweaking things, I discovered career coaching and knew immediately it was exactly what I’d been looking for.

I was fascinated with the kinds of discussions my work required. I could work from home, and that was the perfect situation given that I was the mother of two young children. The training I participated in fed my curiosity. The freedom of creating a business from scratch matched my independent nature.

In a very short time, I went from dreading Monday morning to feeling as though my professional life was effortless and fascinating.

It’s been 13 years, and every day I can honestly say that I’m happy in my work. Thus… I want the same thing for you. I just don’t want it to take you as long as it took me. And that’s why I’ve written this for you. And that’s why I run workshops and provide lots of other tools to help people just like you escape your version of professional misery. If I could do it – I know you can, too.

(This is an excerpt from my new book “Fire Your Resume…and Ignite Your Career!”  I’m accepting pre-orders right now. Due to be published in early October.  You can order here: http://careerepiphany.com/hire-jen/book/

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Image: worradmu / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

You can’t win a new game playing by the old rules

Time and time again, as I’m teaching classes, I hear the frustration and desperation of countless talented people who simply can’t find a job playing by the old rules of job searching.  Wallpapering the town with dozens of resumes seems to yield few, if any, actual job interviews.

It’s not that the work isn’t out there.  It’s that the old system of cattle-call resume drives based on stale job descriptions simply can’t keep up with the ever-increasing need for specialized employees.  Instead of encouraging people to stand out and really shine – the system forces people (as one of my clients so aptly describes it) to fit into uncomfortable boxes with no holes for air.

This is a system that definitely needs to be fixed.  Who can fix it?  You can!

You can find a way to stand out and shine all on your own…

You can take a stand for doing impressive work through using your talents and living up to your personal values…

You can do a great job of getting noticed…

You can do a great job of staying connected to like-minded, inspiring people…

You can Fire Your Resume…and Ignite Your Career!

(This is an excerpt from my new book Fire Your Resume…and Ignite Your Career!  I’m accepting pre-orders right now. Due to be published in early October.  You can order here: http://careerepiphany.com/hire-jen/book/

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Image: anankkml / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Putting Your Dreams on Hold

Please read this blog post by Matt Cheuvront the next time you say something along the lines of,
“Yeah, but, you have to be realistic!”

Dare to be Bold

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Complicated isn’t all it’s cracked up to be

Is it possible that you, like me, are a bit of a complication junkie?

Today I am considering the merits of simplification.

What would it be like to spend a few months making decisions based on this single criteria:

“What’s the simplest way to approach this?”

How much easier would your work and your life become?

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Image: digitalart / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Do-Be-Do-Be-Do

How much of your day is spent doing things you don’t want to be doing?

What would your life be like if you never again did anything you don’t want to do?

A couple of big questions, I know.

Most people tend to defend themselves by saying that there are always things we don’t want to do in life – but we have to do them anyway. I wonder about that.

Maybe the most important thing is to get to the heart of why you’re doing something, and then figure out if you truly are the only person who can do it. This might show you that you really do want to be doing it. For example — going to the dentist. No one can go to the dentist for you. And maybe you think you don’t want to go. But if you really do want healthy teeth, then you do want to go to the dentist.

The big idea here is that if there are things that you want and something needs to be done about it, but you don’t want to be the person doing it, figure out if someone else could be doing it and have them do it.

Repeat this process until you never again do anything you truly don’t want to do.

That was easy!

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Image: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Weakest Reason to Choose a Career

I was recently challenged to write about a strong belief, one that isn’t necessarily shared by the people closest to me, and talk about how I “walk the talk” of this belief.  Here goes…

I believe that creating financial security is the weakest reason to choose a job or a career.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m a fan of financial security — but I believe it should follow, not lead the way.
In the name of money, far too many people miss the opportunity to make THE difference they want to make in the world and to experience extreme satisfaction and personal fulfillment.
I believe we should plant ourselves where we will bloom, and then harvest the fruits of our loving labor.

Because I believe this so strongly, I personally spent years on the path to discovering my perfect work.  I wish I hadn’t taken so long to get help — because it was when I finally hired a career consultant that I had my epiphany.  After years of waking up each morning and dreading going to work, I’ve now spent the last 13 getting up effortlessly, diving into my workday and creating, creating, creating.

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Image: Grant Cochrane / FreeDigitalPhotos.net