Unwarranted Job Firings – A Cautionary Tale

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Very few people go their entire career without some kind of job transition. Hopefully it comes in the form of choosing to leave your current position for a new opportunity.

But unfortunately for many, the decision is made for them in the form of a layoff – or sometimes a firing.

Now, almost anyone who has ever been fired has “their side of the story.” But the truth is that people get unfairly fired all the time. Situations arise that lead to misinterpretations and/or misunderstandings that can prove fatal for employment – and often how you handle those situations (coupled with how you’ve handled yourself in the workplace prior to this situation arising) is what determines whether you get the benefit of the doubt – or the axe.

Writer Jeff Haden’s cautionary tale about this very topic was recently published on LinkedIn, and you can read it here. He tells his story in great detail, which I think is important because every situation like this has so many angles to it. He transparently admits where he could have done things differently to help the situation.

I recommend you read it, and consider how his learning might apply to your job and career.

How about you? Have you ever been unfairly fired? What were your takeaways from the experience? Share it in the comments!

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Is Being an Introvert Bad For Your Career?

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A friend recently sent me a Forbes article title, Introverts: There’s Nothing Wrong With You.

First things first: Why does an article like this need to be written? Are introverts way more sensitive than others? Do they have a disposition that is bad professionally? No! But introverts do face certain kinds of obstacles professionally that extroverts may not.

For example, networking is an inherently social thing that introverts have to work harder at (for more insight into this exact scenario, check out my previous blog post, Can Introverts Be Good Networkers?) Introverts may also have less confidence speaking their minds in front of others.

So how do introverts jump these initial hurdles to ultimately be a success in the workplace? Like so many other things, it’s primarily mental. By getting your mind in a positive, confident place, you position yourself to overcome stigmas that come with being an introvert and prepare to reach your goals.

The Forbes article I mentioned earlier specifically calls out three things an introvert MUST mentally believe:

  1. Introverts don’t fit their negative stereotype.
  2. Introverts are not anomalies.
  3. Introverts can be wildly successful.

Read the article for more insight, and share in the comments how being and/or working with an introvert has impacted your career!

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Good News For Small Businesses

Based on the latest ADP research, small business are looking up! Take a look at the infographic below for proof.

This means more jobs and more opportunities – something we all hope will be a trend that continues!

good news for small businesses

Image via ADP

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Tags: job news, small business
Posted in General News by David Hults. No Comments

Does Your Resume Make You Seem Old?

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As a Career Coach, I work a lot with Baby Boomers who are in the later stages of their careers, often looking for a new position in their late 50s or 60s.

One of the things that is almost always an issue is making sure they are positioned as a relevant, modern job candidate – and one of the ways to do just that is through one’s resume.

I’ve written before about how the resume is one of the last things that will actually get you the job, but more so something that will screen you out. And one of the main things that could screen you out is presenting information that is no longer relevant in the marketplace – or by continuing to subscribe to old school resume “essentials” like including your home address or still putting your “aol.com” email address in your header.

There are definitely little things that will raise a red flag in the eyes/minds of HR and hiring decision makers, suggesting you may be “too old” for the job.

I recently came across an article titled “5 Things On Your Resume That Make You Sound Too Old” that nails exactly the kinds of things I’m talking about. The article does a very nice job of giving you tangible examples of the things that could keep you from getting an interview.

But the resume is just the beginning. What is it about your entire job search strategy and/or personal brand that is outdated? This is where a Career Coach or mentor comes in, helping you look objectively at how you position yourself on paper, online and in person.

If you want to know more about how someone can help, feel free to reach out directly any time.


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One Question To Ask Yourself Before Starting a Job Search

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Whenever someone tells me they are beginning a new job search, I always make an analogy to fishing:

Before a fisherman ever gets in the boat, he prepares by asking himself a few questions. What kind of fish am I trying to catch? Do I have the right bait? The right hook?

A wise career seeker asks the same questions – and the first should indeed be what job you’re trying to land – the “fish” in the metaphor. Once you establish that, you can then identify what kind of “bait” and “hook” you need.

Here’s the thing, though – you don’t just want to say “IT analyst” or “accountant” like you would “trout” or “bass.” To really begin your job fishing trip successfully, you should identify three things:

  1. A specific job title/role
  2. A specific industry
  3. A geographic location

Do this, and you’ll be able to craft a statement that gives you job seeking purpose. I’ll give you an example statement from Richard Bolles’ The Job Hunter’s Survival Guide that sums up all three:

“I’m going to be an account manager in the advertising industry in either NYC or Chicago.”

If you’d like to learn more about this job search topic, check out my book, From Fish Story To Success Story.


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New STL Post-Dispatch Career Column: Choosing Your Words Wisely

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My most recent St. Louis Post-Dispatch Career Column discusses an issue too few professionals understand – how to choose your words wisely in a crucial workplace conversation. Below is an excerpt from the column. You can read the whole thing here.


I’ll cut to the chase: I believe the art of effective communication has been lost in the workplace — and I’m not alone.

ACCOR research recently showed 86% of managers think they are good communicators, but only 17% of employees said their managers communicate effectively. Another stat uncovered only 14% of people rated managers in their organization as “good” or “very good” at communicating.

So what should workplace managers do in order to turn these stats in the right direction? What do you do if there is a workplace conversation breakdown that impacts you and your career? What will you do in order to navigate your way back into effective, productive communication with your coworkers?

The answer to these questions starts with having a real conversation with the person whom communication is difficult. I have a four-pronged approach to ensuring there are no breakdowns in THAT conversation. Some of this thinking is inspired by Vital Smarts, a company known for providing excellent training in managing “Crucial Conversations” — conversations that help manage conflict in the workplace. I have partnered with them, applying their methodologies with some of my Career Coaching clients, and have seen impactful results.

Read the rest of this column here.

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How To Stay Up When Your Career Is Down

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The following is the opening excerpt to a guest blog post I wrote for Webster University School of Business. I am a regular contributor to the blog and a proud alumni of Webster, and I hope you’ll check out what else they are talking about!


If you’re feeling down and you think there is no end to life’s troubles, don’t be in distress! This month we’re going to give you a little breath of fresh air. When initially talking about a loss of a job, I always encourage people to give themselves time to react – feel the shock and devastation – then regroup and move forward. When you’ve been in the job hunt for an extended period of time, the same holds true. Give yourself time to take a deep breath, decompress, and begin again. While this can be easier said than done. So I’ve compiled several suggestions to help you stay up when you’re down.

What can I do to keep my mental health? Find out what drives you. What challenges you? What keeps your brain engaged? It could be reading a good book, or doing research on the Internet. Actually, doing research on companies of interest in the job search may be how you stay engaged mentally.

Stay mentally focused by keeping some sort of structure to your day. While you may not have to get up at 6 a.m. anymore, it’s important that you have a scheduled time to wake up, work, stop for lunch and call it a day. READ THE REST OF THIS ARTICLE AT THE WEBSTER BLOG.

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The Reality of the Resume

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Ah, the resume: the one written document that everyone fears will either make or break their chances for the job they want.

The truth everyone should know is your resume rarely gets you selected – it more often screens you out because you don’t have the right amount of years of experience, etc.

Yes, everyone needs a resume. But the focus must be on how you position yourself in this document. If your resume is done well, it will highlight what sets you apart, thus becoming a good tool to use when networking.

My Career Coaching clients and I work together on identifying and positioning their points-of-difference and experience on their resume. We make sure that every word, statement and message is clear and significant. We are not concerned about listing EVERY skill set in the resume, because it doesn’t position the applicant as focused.

We also leverage their skills in other documents to better describe their true value and why they will bring success wherever they go.

One of these documents is a special report that, in my experience, often outperforms resumes and other supporting documents in reaching a client’s target market. When completed, this special report will serve as a tool to position you not only as a candidate – but as a valuable contributor from the get-go.

If you’d like to know more about my process and how it can benefit your resume, reach out to me or check out my book, From Roadkill To Road Map.

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30 Reasons Your Job Search Isn’t Over

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One of the main reasons people turn to a Career Coach like me is because their job search is simply taking so long.

We work together to identify the precise reason this is the case – but that comes from a very long list of potential reasons. That’s why I want to make you aware of this article and list – 30 reasons Your Job Search is Taking So Long.

It’s a very comprehensive list, and if you’re one of the many who falls into the camp of “still looking for a job” one (and likely more) of the reasons why are on this list.

I’ve posted the first 10 reasons your job search is taking so long below. Check out the site to see all 30.

  1. Assuming that the Internet has made job search easier than it used to be (the opposite is true).
  2. Believing that every job posting – or every email seemingly from an employer – represents a real job for a real employer (rather than considering that wild goose chase you’re on is a scam).
  3. Waiting until the most competitive job markets of the year to job search – September and January.
  4. Looking for a job – any job! – rather than taking the time to determine the job you want and focusing on the employers where you really want to work.
  5. Not having a good, memorable answer to the question, “What are you looking for?” when someone is kind enough and interested enough to ask.
  6. Expecting strangers (and friends, too) to look at your resume or LinkedIn Profile for input and never-ending updates.
  7. Spending all your time online clicking on the “Apply” button for every job you find, whether or not you are qualified for it.
  8. Having one version of your resume that you submit for every job you find.
  9. Posting your resume on all the job boards and waiting for the job offers to roll in.
  10. Exaggerating your qualifications on your resume.


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More People Are Seeking Career Development Support From Employers

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I came across a recent UK study that I’m very confident would translate to the US. If you work in HR there’s one lesson here, and if you’re the employee looking for development help, you have a message, too! Here’s the research:

The latest Kelly Global Workforce Index (KGWI) has revealed that around a third of UK employees are frustrated with the career management resources offered by their current employer, while a worrying two thirds (67%) say their frustrations have left them determined to start looking for a new job in the next year. Skills development was seen as hugely important by those surveyed, in fact 59% of those surveyed said they would prefer to gain new skills to higher pay. Some had decided to take matters into their own hands, with 31% having looked for or paid for training themselves in the past year.

There’s more:

A recent study by the National Institute of Adult Continuing Education (NIACE) revealed a disconnect between what employers think they are offering in terms of skills training and what members of staff believe they are receiving. A large majority (85%) of employers polled claimed to have provided a form of training and development activity for their members of staff in the last 12 months, yet over a third (35%) of the UK employees who were surveyed denied having received this support. Career conversations are also proving elusive, according to the 230,000 people surveyed for the KGWI, with more than two thirds saying they haven’t had a career development discussion with their employer in the last year and 42% failing to see a clear career path available to them.

So what is the HR professional to learn here? First of all, you need to take a good, hard look at what kind of development services you are offering. Now, if you believe your company is doing a good job of offering development support, go confirm it! As the above stats suggest, just because you think the company is offering what development programs employees desire doesn’t mean that you are.

What’s the employee to learn? First off, you’re not alone. Ask around and find out if fellow coworkers feel the same way you do. Then speak with your manager or HR in a calm, proactive meeting in which you can voice your developmental desires. If they still aren’t listening at that point, then maybe it is time to seek employment elsewhere!

How have you experienced career development support in a positive or negative way? What was its impact on your career?

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