Story of the Month
This letter is very long time overdue. In fact, I actually owe you two thank you letters because you actually helped me twice!
Here's the first one:
Sometime in October of 2007. I went out to lunch with two of my former colleagues, who asked me about my new job. As I told them the story of my interview and how I landed the job, I said: "You know, truly I have Joellyn, my career coach to thank for this". My friend Cindy said, "A career coach? But you didn't really change careers." I agreed; then told Barb and Cindy my story:
I met Joellyn at the Lake Forest Career Resource Center [in Lake Forest, Illinois]. The Career Resource Center is a wonderful place to go when you find yourself in a job transition. One day, Joellyn came to the Center and gave a seminar. I was a little skeptical of how much she could help me, but thought "if you want something you never had before, you have to do something you've never done before" and set up my first appointment.
I established with Joellyn that my main concern was that while I was getting several interviews, I was getting almost no offers. The one offer I did receive would have entailed a long commute for less pay. I was starting to feel desperate enough to take the job. Joellyn led me into a discussion to discover what I wanted, what I was willing to do, and what was out of the question. I decided I was worth more than that one single job offer.
Joellyn had me work on some thought-provoking exercises. Once she told me to start listing the projects I worked on and tell the story explain the problem, what was done to resolve it, what I did to contribute, and how it concluded. As I worked on that, one project would remind me of another project I worked on, etc. I never realized how much I had accomplished until I "wrote my story"!
In another conversation, Joellyn had me describe my dream job and my dream boss. I told her about one of my previous bosses - a woman who was very hands-off. She didn't care how I got the job done, as long as I got it job, within the parameters of time, cost, quality, and morale. She would often give me praise for a job well done - whether as a bonus, or just a simple phone call. The more she recognized me, the more motivated I became to do even more. It was the most exciting and rewarding time of my career. I couldn't wait to get to work to see what new adventure would be!
When I went to my interview, I felt like I had totally nailed it! The interviewers kept asking me to "tell a story about the time when.." Thanks to Joellyn for making me think of all my projects, for every scenario, I had a "story" at the top of my head. Every project I had worked on - every problem or nuance was fresh in my head, and I answered every question confidently. Then Tim, my potential boss, asked me to describe my dream boss. Having just gone through this exercise with Joellyn, it was easy for me to retell everything I had described before. Then Tim said to be sure to ask my next set of interviewers to describe him to me. After sailing through the trio's questions, I asked them to describe Tim's management style to me. When they described him, I thought I had hit the jackpot! He was exactly like my former and favorite boss!
The NEXT DAY Tim called me and offered me the job. It was a 10% increase in my salary, plus the location was closer to home than even my old job! It's in a new industry, so I get to take all my skills and knowledge from my MBA program and learn a new industry. The people are nice, the culture is more relaxed, and the benefits are good. It's an absolute dream. Thank goodness I had faith in myself and turned down that other job offer! I owe many thanks to Joellyn, for helping me to make this happen.
As I concluded my story, Cindy said to me, "Wow, everything just fell into place for you." I said, "Once I got the right help, it sure did."
Here's the second one:
That job was a dream come true - until the office moved to a new location five months later. And while the job was still good, the 90-minute commute (sometimes three hours!) each way was becoming unbearable and was having an affect on me and my family.
After tolerating it for about 5 months I found myself going through old files. I found the files that I did back when Joellyn was my career coach. What did I want in a job? A long commute was definitely not in the picture. So I updated my resume and looked for a job again. But this time, I found and even better job for even more money only 6 miles away! This job is even better than the one I left! And it took me only 2 months to find it!
So now I have an interesting job, learning a new industry, with a good boss, nice people, decent benefits, minimal commute, fun atmosphere, and very good pay. Somebody please pinch me, I must be dreaming!
I encourage all my friends who are looking for new jobs to consider Joellyn. Whether you are looking for a new career, or just want to take yourself to the next level, Joellyn is great. She doesn't tell you what to do, or what job you should have. She asks the thought probing questions that guides you to your own journey.
Joellyn, thank you so much for all the help and guidance you gave me back in the Fall of 2007. I'll always be glad that I found you, and I would highly recommend you.
Eileen - Project Manager
Last month, my husband and I spent a weekend trip on Nantucket Island for our 5-year wedding anniversary. We stayed at a bed and breakfast inn and enjoyed being on "island time." As we explored Nantucket, we were in awe of its quaint atmosphere, plethora of old houses, and rich history. For nearly 100 years - from the mid-1700s to the late 1830s - Nantucket was the nation's whaling capital of the world. One of the last whaling ships (The Essex) outbound from Nantucket in 1869 - which never returned - was the story behind Herman Melville's American classic book: Moby Dick.
In this issue, I've included something new: The "Career Success Story of the Month." I'm very grateful to my client who provided this unsolicited testimonial and gave me permission to print it. Her letter describes in colorful detail what it's like to work with me -- and the results you can expect from my career coaching program -- when you do the work! You'll find this letter in the left-hand column of this newsletter.
I'm particularly excited to learn that four of my cover letter samples (along with those of my colleagues) have been accepted for inclusion in Cover Letters for Dummies, 3rd Edition, by Joyce Lain Kennedy. Anchored by the topic of cover letters, the book will include a spectrum of marketing/sales-oriented materials shown to be effective in a competitive job search. Scroll down for details!
Along with cover letters, you need a strong resume in your job search campaign to stand above the competition. If your resume isn't generating enough responses, perhaps you haven't included "accomplishment statements" which might appeal to hiring managers' Top 10 Hiring Motivators. In my article: "Resume ROI - Show Them the Money!" I give step-by-step guidelines for writing accomplishments to help bring your resume to the top of the pile!
If you've considered career opportunities in growth cities or industries, look to Expansionmanagement.com. You'll find up-to-date information about national and international corporate expansions as well as relocations to America's 50 hottest growth cities.
With fall approaching, this may be the perfect opportunity to revisit your desire to change jobs or careers. So, why struggle with this by yourself? A Career Action Planning (CAP) Session may be just what you need to get started. Feel fr*ee to complete the intake form on my website so I can learn more about your situation and we'll go from there.
Here's to your Career Success!
P.S.: A great big "Welcome!" to all the new readers who subscribed since last month! You're going to love the resources you'll find here to help you find greater career success...Enjoy!
| News from "The Office"
Cover Letter Samples Accepted for Publication in Cover Letters for Dummies, 3rd Edition
I'm excited to announce that four of my cover letter samples have been accepted for inclusion in Cover Letters for Dummies- 3rd Edition, written by veteran career columnist Joyce Lain Kennedy (Publisher: Wiley). Here are the categories of the types of samples you can expect to see, which can be used for print, online, or social networking:
*Job Ad Reply Letters
*Online Cover Notes
*Networking for Leads Letters
*Resume Combo Letters
*After-Interview Letters: Thank You and Follow- Up letters.
*Personal Branding Statements
This book will be in major bookstores by January 2009.
Resume ROI - Show Them the Money!by Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin
Want your resume to get noticed by hiring managers? In the words of actor Cuba Gooding's character in the hit movie Jerry McGuire: "Show them [me] the money!" Hiring managers are always looking for employees who can quickly contribute to their company's growth and deliver a solid return-on-investment (ROI) in exchange for salary and benefits. To get hiring managers' attention, you must communicate how well you did your job, by including 3 to 4 accomplishment statements under each job listing on your resume.
Appeal to Employers' Top 10 "Hiring Motivators"
Before you write about your accomplishments, you must first know what motivates employers to make hiring decisions. In the book Resume Magic, the author identifies these top 10 buying (hiring) motivators: specifically, hiring managers want candidates who can help their company:
· Make money
· Save money / reduce costs
· Save time
· Make work easier
· Solve a specific problem
· Be more competitive
· Build relationships
· Expand business
· Attract new customers
· Retain existing customers
Accomplishment Statements are Industry-Specific
Accomplishment statements will vary, depending on your profession and industry. Here are three examples where each candidate explains their value in tangible metrics, appealing to one or more of the top 10 motivators listed above:
1) Outside Sales Representative: "Increased $1 million territory by 25% ($250,000) in 6 months by reactivating 50 dormant accounts." (Made money)
2) Restaurant Manager: "Reduced annual food costs (target 31.5%/actual: 30.1%) on $3.8 million in food sales and labor costs (target: 15.5%/actual: 13.9%) on $5+ million in overall sales." (Saved money; reduced costs)
3) General Manager: "Successfully managed workflow during $100 million revenue growth period, without hiring additional staff." (Saved time; saved money)
Use the "Challenge-Action-Results Model" to Write Accomplishments
Write 3-4 stories of your greatest career accomplishments for each of your career positions; 1-3 brief paragraphs are sufficient. Then, choose one story at a time and break it down into three parts:
A) The challenge you inherited or encountered with the position (why were you hired); why this task was difficult important, timely, urgent or valuable.
B) The action you (or team members) took: what you did, how you did it, and what the roadblocks were.
C) The results: quantifiable results within the framework of employers' top 10 buying motivators - how you measure the result, what would have happened had you not taken this action, or what the situation was like before you took it over and what it is like now.
Let's apply the C-A-R model to the "Outside Sales Representative" example above.
1) Challenge: The sales person was expected to increase sales for her region, as sales had been stagnant for three years.
2) Action: She contacted all accounts in the region, and learned that many hadn't ordered products, because they found a competitor, offering a cheaper product; however, they weren't as happy with its performance. She then offered a 3-year service agreement with all new orders and many accounts expressed that they definitely would consider reordering from the company.
3) Result: After reviewing her sales figures over 6 months, she was pleased to discover that her efforts netted a $250,000 increase, evident by new sales in 50 accounts she had personally contacted. Thus, she was able to confidently write the achievement statement: "Increased $1 million territory by 25% ($250,000) in 6 months, by reactivating 50 dormant accounts."
Resumes with accomplishments get better responses
Taking the time to do the C-A-R exercises and add accomplishments to your resume will give you a substantial edge over otherwise mediocre resumes in the labor marketplace. I guarantee you'll notice an uptick of responses to resumes you either post online or mail out to prospective employers.
© Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, 2008
|Joellyn Recommends: ExpansionManagement.com
Are you looking for career possibilities within growth cities or industries, either nationally or internationally? A great resource to look at is Expansionmanagement.com which provides companies with factual comparison information on cities, states, regions and countries that will enhance their ability to make quality site location decisions. You'll find a plethora of information from corporate national and international expansions and relocations to America's 50 hottest growth cities. Here are three key links on this site:
1) State Spotlights: Detailed information on corporate expansions, relocations and mergers including contact decision maker names, listed by State.
2) USA Industry Spotlights: Information on expansions, relocations and mergers all organized by industry -- from Aerospace to Retail.
(Source: Adapted from CDI CareerBytes: 8-6-08)
Career Action Planning (CAP) Session
Are you stuck, stalled, or confused about your job search or career? Does it seem like you do a lot to change your situation - but get nowhere fast? If this sounds like you, consider scheduling a "Career Action Planning (CAP) Session" at your earliest opportunity. We will get to the root of your career problem and come up with a workable plan to solve it.
Feel fr*ee to complete the intake form on my website, so I can learn more about your situation. Otherwise please call me at 508.459.2854 (Eastern Time Zone) - I'd love to hear from you!
Quote of the Month: On "Risk"
"Everything you want is on the other side of fear." -- Jack Canfield (Co-Creator: Chicken Soup for the Soul Series)
| I really appreciate having you as a subscriber and I hope the content in this newsletter will help you be successful in your career.
See you in September!
Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin
Certified Career Management Coach
© 2008 All rights reserved.