Job Search

4 Ways to Improve Your Professional Skills On a Budget


I recently received a question from April, a member of my private Facebook group – the Career Success Circle – that really resonated with me.

She asked: "How can I focus on improving my professional skills, without going into debt?"

This is such a great question.

As a high achieving and ambitious woman, you may be at a point in your career where you're looking to level up. 

Maybe you're feeling stuck and like you want to make a switch, or you want to expand on your skill set, but 1) you're not sure where to start and/or 2) you're not sure where the coins are going to come from to make it happen.

I've spoken to many women over the years who share these sentiments and I'm a firm believer in the fact that money should never hinder you from going after personal and professional development opportunities.

Here are four ways you can work toward building and expanding your current skill set, without breaking the bank in the process.

1. Job Shadowing

Job shadowing is learning from someone who is actually doing a job or has a skill that you want. During a job shadow you'll sit with them and see what they do. They'll walk you through their process, answer questions and help clarify the nuances of their specific role. 

The great thing about job shadowing is that it doesn't have to be a formal process. You can literally find someone whose skills you want to learn (they can be from either inside or outside your company/industry) and ask if you can learn more about their processes and what they do. You can meet during work or after hours - it's completely up to you.

Your whole goal with job shadowing is to find new and creative ways to solve problems. Taking the time to look over someone's shoulder as they do their jobs will allow you to gain tremendous insight and improve your skills in the process.

2. use the internet

It is 2018 and in this day and age, there's absolutely no excuse to feel uninformed or uneducated. We literally have knowledge at our fingertips and the good thing is that most of this knowledge can be obtained for free (or just about free).

When you're on the hunt for skill boosting information, reading books and articles, listening to podcasts, watching training videos, etc. are great ways to improve skills.

Challenge yourself to focus on one topic for three to six months at a time. Start consuming knowledge on this specific topic and watch yourself become an expert with a deep understanding of the skill you're trying to develop. 

3. Get Your Job to Pay for Your Education

Shout out to the person who came up with the idea of tuition reimbursement! If you're not familiar, tuition reimbursement is the practice of employers providing financial assistance to employees who want to participate in professional and/or personal development opportunities. 

Tuition reimbursement programs can range from a monthly or annual stipend, to subsidizing a percentage of training costs, to paying for a whole graduate degree - as long as you maintain a certain GPA.

As someone who's been a recipient of tuition reimbursement during my career and attended various conferences and certification programs, I can tell you from first hand experience that this is one of my favorite ways to expand my skill set. 

4. DIY Education  

The face of education has made some huge shifts over the past few years. Traditional schools are no longer the only way to access education.

Online Courses: A vast majority of schools provide a set of online courses that even non-students can access - even the Ivy Leagues! Here's a link to over 250 online courses from Ivy League schools.

Online Schools: I'm sure you've heard of the many online schools out there - whether it's UdemySkill ShareMaster Class or the dozens of others. No matter what skill you're trying to learn, there's a class out there for you.

DIY MBA: I recently came across Tierra Wilson's website and she had a link to 18 free online courses that follow the curriculum of an MBA program. Yes, please!

As you can see, if you're serious about improving your skills, there are many ways for you to do so. It's a matter of getting clear on what you want to learn and then mapping out the most cost effective way for you to get there.

If you're interested in learning more about this topic, listen to episode 26 of my podcast, Deeper than Work, where I go into more detail on each of these cost effective ways to improve your skill set.

10 Job Search Terms Every Successful Job Seeker Should Know

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When it comes to your job search, the most successful job seekers are the ones that are the most informed. With all the moving parts that go into the process, it can be easy to get lost in a sea of terms and acronyms that recruiters and hiring managers throw around. My goal is to make sure you understand the most commonly used job search terms so you'll never be caught off guard again!

10 Job Search Terms Every Successful Career Girl Should Know

1: Job Satisfaction

This describes how happy and fulfilled you are with your current job. It encompasses many things, i.e. the actual work you’re doing, your contributions to you company, your impact, compensation, etc. Dissatisfaction with your job affects your physical, emotional and financial well being.

2. Career Portfolio 

Your career portfolio helps frame an employer’s view of you. It includes samples of your work, your experience, your education, your accomplishments and your skills. Your portfolio is much more than just a resume or cover letter.

3. Job Boards

These are sites where open jobs are posted for job seekers to apply. There are five main types of job boards: general job-search engines, industry-specific job boards, geographic-specific job boards, job-seeker specific “niche” boards and company career pages.

4. Information Interview

Not to be confused with a job interview, an information interview helps you leverage your network to get insider information about a target company, role and/or industry. Savvy job seekers use these types of interviews to help choose or refine a career path, learn how to break in and find out if you have what it takes to succeed.

5. Hidden Job Market

Only about 20% of all available jobs are ever posted on a job board. This means that most jobs in the market are “hidden”. In order to find out about these jobs, you’ll have to use tactics like information interviews and networking.

6. Employment Gaps

This describes any periods of time between jobs when you’re unemployed (whether it’s voluntary or involuntary). Generally, employment gaps aren’t an issue – it’s when they’re unexplained or too frequent that they become a red flag. There are numerous strategies for reducing the impact of these gaps on your job search.

7. Counter Offer

This is an amazing salary negotiation strategy used by savvy job-seekers when a job offer is not at an acceptable level. You should know that almost all aspects of a job offer are negotiable, including the salary, non-salary compensation, moving expenses, benefits, and work arrangement. You should ALWAYS have a counter offer.

8. Company Culture

This is the most important thing to consider when going through the interview process and is the collection of beliefs, expectations, and values shared by an organization’s members. The culture sets the rules that defines what behaviors are acceptable/normal. It’s crucial for job-seekers to understand the culture of an organization before accepting a job.

9. Compensation Package

This is more than just salary and includes a combination of salary, bonus, overtime, benefits and allowances an employer provides to an employee. When comparing competing job offers, you should consider the total compensation package, not just salary.

10. Applicant Tracking System (ATS)

This is a tool used by employers to collect, store and screen applicant data. In order to make it to the job interview phase, applicants must learn how to develop resumes that are ATS-friendly and is rich with key words employers use to search for job seekers.

10 Tips to Create a LinkedIn Profile That Gets You Job Offers

This past weekend I had the opportunity to conduct several coaching sessions on how to successfully use LinkedIn during the job search process. It was very eye-opening for me to see how so many of the hacks I've learned about LinkedIn over the years that seemed like no-brainers, weren't actually as obvious as I thought they were.

After my coaching sessions, I thought it'd be a great idea for me to compile my top ten strategies for using LinkedIn and share them with you.

These strategies are what have allowed countless recruiters to reach out to me practically begging me to check out their available positions and how I've gotten multiple job offers in 2016 alone.

A lot of people think of LinkedIn as "just another social media site - but for work." This couldn't be further from the truth.

LinkedIn is an amazing way for you to network and bring your professional experience to life for recruiters and hiring managers and to add more depth to who you are - way better than any resume can.

Mastering LinkedIn can transform your job search from a long, drawn out process with no leads to a fun and exciting process with your phone ringing off the hook with recruiters trying to get in contact with you.

Here are my top ten strategies to use LinkedIn for your job search.

1. Take a profile pic that's professional and personable

It should go without saying that you shouldn't have a picture with you laid out on the beach with a drink in your hand, but you also don't have to take a profile picture that's boring and stuffy either. The best profile pictures show you as a personable and warm person who is also capable of being taken seriously.

2. Use a headline that has the appropriate keywords for your desired field

97% of recruiters use LinkedIn to find qualified candidates for the roles they are trying to fill. Having a headline that says: Advertising Executive | Direct Response | Sales Team Member will get you much more attention than just writing: Ad Executive. You want to make sure your profile is searchable by recruiters. Take a look at the headlines of some of the influencers in your field and tailor one for yourself.

3. Create a summary that helps people understand and 'get' you

Unlike a resume, your LinkedIn profile summary can be a little more personal. It should be in first person and feel conversational. This is your opportunity to give a little bit of insight into who you are - not just what you do. The best summaries leave the reader with a sense of 'why' you're in the field you're in and 'why' you're interested in certain opportunities.

4. Be sure you are active on your profile

LinkedIn is not a platform for you to just 'set it and forget it'. It's important that you are actively sharing information, connecting with others and updating your profile as necessary.  Think of your profile as a constantly evolving space - especially if you are in the middle of an active job search.

5. Make sure you're visible to recruiters

Besides having a profile that is searchable, you also want to beef up your connections list with recruiters. They are always open to connecting with new people, so you'll hardly be turned down when asking to connect with them. Read through their profiles, take a look at jobs they are recruiting for and challenge yourself to invite a few of them for a quick chat to discuss your profile as it relates to open jobs they are working on filling.

6. Ask for compelling recommendations

When it comes to recommendations on LinkedIn, quality is definitely better than quantity.  Two or three strategically worded recommendations from the right people in your network can go a long way in positioning you as a viable candidate in the eyes of a recruiter or hiring manager.

7. Show relevant work experience

An important point I want to get across is that LinkedIn is NOT a resume. You shouldn't be copying and pasting from one to the other. Instead, use LinkedIn to summarize the parts of your experience that will be important for a recruiter to know as it relates to jobs you're interested in applying for. This is a fun opportunity to get creative with your explanations of your past jobs.

8. Participate in related groups

The group feature in LinkedIn is a great way to not only make new connections, but to also keep up to date with what's going on in your industry and keep track of what the recruiters and managers at companies you want to work for are talking about.

9. Take advantage of your network (but not in a creepy way)

Do you know someone who knows a recruiter or manager at your dream company? Well, go on and get yourself introduced. It's much easier to get in front of someone who you have a common connection with. Don't be afraid to use this to your advantage.

10. Position yourself as an influencer in your field

You know who gets job offers? People who know their stuff. One of the easiest (and quickest) ways to position yourself as an expert in your field is to write. LinkedIn has an amazing long post feature where you can publish blog posts directly from your profile. This is a great way to show recruiters that you are an influencer and strategic thinker.

The job search process doesn't have to be stressful and miserable. Once you master these techniques, it will only be a matter of time before you are well on your way to choosing between which jobs you want to interview for.

If you'd like to learn the step-by-step process to apply each of these strategies, grab the Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn today! This is the only guide you'll ever need to turn your LinkedIn profile to a job lead magnet.

And if you're on LinkedIn, I'd love to connect with you there.

Why You Haven't Found Your Perfect Career Yet (And What To Do About It)

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So, you want to know why you haven't found your absolutely, positively, PERFECT dream career, right? Well, the answer is actually quite simple.

It's because it doesn't exist... yet.

Ask anyone who's got the "perfect"job and they'll tell you 3 main things:

  1. They didn't find their perfect job, they created it
  2. No career is truly perfect, so there will always be good days and bad
  3. It doesn't happen overnight

I think it's important to note these things because a lot of us are out here searching far and wide hoping to finally find that magical career that we keep hearing about.  

You network til' you're blue in the face, apply to dozens and dozens of jobs and even try to make the best of where you currently are, but for some reason it always seems that what you're truly after - that perfect career - is always escaping your grasp.

Instead of giving up all hope that you'll ever be one of the "lucky" ones who get to enjoy what they do for work, I challenge you to just start looking at things from a totally new perspective.

Check out 3 tips you can start using right away to help you move closer to your ultimate goal.

Get clear on what you're really after 

When you think of your ideal career, what about it makes it so enticing.  Is it the pay, the hours, the people, the projects, all of the above?  Take some time to map out exactly what you want. You need to be specific here, because this is the only way you'll know what you're looking for and be able to assess when you've actually gotten there.

Figure out what it'll take for you to get from here to there  

OK, so now that you know what you want to do, it's time to research what you need to get there.  Do you need to get some sort of certification, expand your network, or move to another state (or country)?  You catch my drift, right?  Take this from some abstract idea to a well thought out process map.

Talk to someone who's already done it

Do your research and find people who have already succeeded at creating the ideal career for themselves.  Many of these people are just waiting to tell their stories to anyone who will listen. It's super important to surround yourself with people who are of the same mindset you are. This is how you will take your thinking to the next level.

Want to get started mapping out your ideal career right now and take the first step to switching into your ideal career? Click here to check out the Career Changers coaching program where you'll get the tools, strategies and accountability you need to reach your career goals.

Why Hiring Managers Don't Care About You


That's right. You read the title of this post correctly - HIRING MANAGERS DON'T CARE ABOUT YOU. There are a number of decisions that go into a HR recruiter or hiring manager's decision to call an applicant in for an interview and being a qualified employee is all the way at the bottom of the list.  If it were just a matter of the candidate being qualified, the job search process would be way easier than it currently is.  However, I'd be willing to bet thateach of you can think of at least one person in your circle (perhaps maybe even yourself) who is struggling to find a new job even though she can check off every qualification listed in the job description and has been nothing but a #boss employee for all of her professional life!

Please don't misunderstand my message here.  It is very important for you to KILL IT at work.  Your goal should absolutely be to execute every project and assignment flawlessly, but the track record of being an outstanding employee is not enough to get you your next gig.

So what then is the secret ingredient to landing an interview?  It's simple. WIFM.  What's. In. It. For. Me.  This is what the hiring manager is thinking when s/ he is skimming through your resume and it's what needs to be in your head before you hit the "apply now" button.

Instead of focusing your resume on summarizing how special you are and reiterating everything you've done since graduation, the focus should beon showing the hiring manager how your past experiences (professional, educational, and volunteer) will be an asset to the company.

What good is a 10 year run of outstanding career achievements if you aren't able to express (during the 6 seconds it takes to decide whether or not to pass on your resume) what you will do to help drive the department forward?

As you sit down to update your resume for your next job application, you should have one goal in mind as you go over your bullet points - What's in it for the hiring manager.