10 Books For Job Seekers

books for job seekers

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Looking for a little weekend reading?

I just came across this list of “10 Career Books Every Job Seeker Should Read”, and there are definitely some winners on the list!

Job seekers can’t get enough inspiration during this time period, and some expert advice and/or testimonials are sometimes just what you need.

Many I’ve read, but a few were new to me and I’m excited to dig in. Which ones have you read?

I’m looking forward to your reviews, and while we’re on the subject,can’t help but reco this  particular book…

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#FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview Hashtag Is Hilarious – And Insightful

ways to ruin a job interview

In a social media sea swimming with hashtags, it’s rare when one makes a viral wave worth watching.

And in my opinion, the #FiveWordsToRuinAJobInterview hashtag is on of the best in ages!

Search this hashtag on twitter and you’re sure to find a host of hilarious one-liners (in five words, of course). But what’s most interesting to me is that most of the tweets have some kind of insight with them.

For example, @edit_susan submitted Need To Take This Call”- something many people have no doubt done before in a job interview. They may think it shows they are busy and significant, but it really just says they’re rude.

Or @MelindaDC’s submission of You Mean ‘fewer’, not ‘less’.” NEVER correct someone who is interviewing you! You may think it makes you look smart, but it really just makes you look like a know-it-all whom no one will ever want to work with.

Check out this list of favorites curated by The Huffington Post. Which is your favorite?

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Career Column: 4 Questions To Ask Yourself in 2015

 St. Louis Post Dispatch career column

Every month I write a career-based column for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch featuring advice, insight and commentary on career and workplace trends.

This month’s column tackled four questions to ask yourself about your career in 2015:

  1. What has become painful?
  2. What routine can you realistically develop?
  3. What’s on your plate right now?
  4. What support system do you have in place?

Learn more about why these questions are so important over at the STLToday site!

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How To Deal With Workplace Bullies

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I think everyone would agree that bullies don’t go away when you grow up.

The world is filled with bullies, and the workplace is no exception. But why?

In a sophisticated day and age, complete with HR departments and review processes, how is it that bullies hold on to jobs, and often even get promoted?!

This BBC breakdown on “Surprising Reasons Bosses Keep Bullies Around” brings a lot of insight into these situations. Vanessa Edmonds writes:

Similar to hardy plants, office bullies (IE: mean girls, brown nosers, misogynist boys clubs and other varieties of trouble makers) may be winning [the boss’s] favour at the expense of positive, solid contributors. Workplace bullies regularly receive positive evaluations from supervisors and achieve high levels of career success. Researchers concluded that their social ability and political savvy enable them to exercise abuse — strategically — while being well-liked among those in higher ranks. It’s not that bosses purposely promote people they know are bullies. Rather, they might not be aware.

Is this discouraging? Sure. But the sooner you realize bullies are a reality in the workplace, the sooner you can proceed toward your goals. Focus on what you can control – and that’s the way you work with others. Don’t get pulled into workplace “bully drama”, and don’t let yourself become a victim.

In the article, Sonia McDonald wisely states:

Keep communications open. It is often uncomfortable to discuss just about anything with a demanding jerk in the workplace, but shutting down lines of communication is not the answer. When having to collaborate with such a personality, speak clearly and concisely about your topic. Be aware that a narcissist needs to feel in control, and that they may well try to drive the communication into a light that makes them look better. This is done by introducing red herrings into the conversation — don’t fall prey to dead end roads. Stick to the point at hand and move along.

Have you ever dealt with an office bully? What did you learn?

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The Case For Workplace Change Management

Change Management, Management Consultant, Career Change

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One of the primary things I do as a Career Coach is to consult companies and organizations going through changes.

Sometimes it’s changes in process, other times ownership or leadership. But the point is that when changes hit, people generally struggle embracing that change. I recently read an article that I feel articulates the need for actionable, intentional change management:

Think about a recent implementation you completed (or are the midst of completing). Did you install a new software system? Get a new coffee machine in the break room? Move your old fax system to cloud fax? Or initiate a new method for order management? In the workplace there is change all around us, and it’s not going away. The unfortunate side effect of change is the inevitable fact that some people just do not like it. These people can often create a huge barrier in the success of a project, by easily turning others against the situation representing the change. In turn, the project at hand [that is costing your company a lot of time and resources] has a higher likelihood of not performing to its greatest capabilities, all due to one person who was resistant to the change simply because they “have always done it this way.”

The thought is that organizations should identify a person who is accountable for managing the change. Maybe it’s someone who works there already, or perhaps it is a consultant like myself who can come in with no preconceived notions.

As the article explains, the next phase looks like this:

The idea of building and maintaining a coalition starts in the very early stages of a project/goal. Any new feat should always be handled and communicated appropriately to all of the stakeholders. Better yet, create a team comprised of those who know the goal and are interlaced into the strategy to move the goal/project forward. Keep this team engaged with the rest of your staff to ensure that all aspects of the project are known.

Have you ever dealt with change in your organization? How did you approach it? What worked and what would you change?


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Learn Why This Company Pays Employees To Quit

paying someone to quit their job

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Why would a company PAY their employees $5,000 to quit?!

I first heard of this concept being implemented at Zappos, where CEO Tony Hsieh offered employees who went through is rigorous training program major amounts of cash to quit right there on the spot.


The thought was that employees who weren’t really all that inspired to work at Zappos – people who in the long run would not be beneficial to the company and possibly actually cost Zappos money – would take the bait (the cash) and alleviate Mr. Hsieh and Zappos management of future problems. Plus, on the flip side, people who turn down the money to work there prove instantly that they are committed to the company’s vision and will be a valuable member of the team.

Amazon is the most recent company to embrace this idea, and this article goes in depth on why. I particularly found interesting this bit of data-driven rationale on why to pay employees to quit:

According to a recent infographic in Officevibe, 70 percent of U.S. workers are not engaged at work. A disengaged employee is a huge cost to any company. Disengaged employees can reduce the morale of the other employees, decrease productivity, produce lower quality and eventually lose customers or clients. But there is another cost to having a disengaged employee, the cost of not having an engaged worker. Officevibe also shared that companies with engaged employees have 2.5 times more revenue.

So, is this an initiative your company should initiate? Let me know your thoughts!



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Quotes That Will Inspire You Going Into 2015

quotes, workplace, creativity, inspiration

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I was looking for a blog topic to share that would inspire us all as we head into a new year – and I came across this article titled 15 Quotes To Spark Creativity in 2015.

What a find!

This list breaks from the same old cliches we always hear, and really inspired me as one year of goals ends and a new one begins. Which is your favorite?

  1. If you always do what you always did, you will always get what you always got. [Albert Einstein]
  2. Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there. [Will Rogers]
  3. When the rate of change outside is more than what is inside, be sure that the end is near. [Azim Premji]
  4. The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore all progress depends on the unreasonable man. [George Bernard Shaw]
  5. Minds are like parachutes; they work best when open. [T. Dewar]
  6. Stay hungry. Stay foolish. [Steve Jobs]
  7. You cannot discover new oceans unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore. [Andre Gide]
  8. Innovation is anything, but business as usual. [Anonymous]
  9. If at first the idea is not absurd, then there will be no hope for it. [A. Einstein]
  10. Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. [Dale Carnegie]
  11. Managers say yes to innovation when doing nothing is a bigger risk. [Gijs van Wulfen].
  12. Ideas are useless unless used. [T. Levitt]
  13. It is not how many ideas you have. It’s how many you make happen. [Advertisement of Accenture]
  14. Innovation is the ability to convert ideas into invoices. [L. Duncan]
  15. Everything is possible. The impossible just takes longer. [Dan Brown]
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What Recruiters Think About Staffing Via Social Media

finding a dream job through social networking

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We talk a lot about how networking has evolved with social media.

While I firmly believe you can’t beat a face-to-face networking meeting, the reality is that social media drives today’s connections, updates and, often, opportunities.

This is why I wanted to share an article titled How To Use Social Media To Expand Your Staffing Reach.

What’s interesting about the article is that it’s written for recruiters/HR execs/companies who are looking to use social media to bring in new talent and identify the right job candidates.

I find it very insightful to see how “the other half” of the job seeking process views this experience. It opens your mind to ideas and strategies on how to put yourself out there based on their social network approach.

So take a look and consider whether or not you are maximizing your chances of getting your dream job via social networks.

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Killing Your Job Search With Inept Networking

networking, job search

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From my recent blog post for Webster University about the impact of bad networking on a job search:

Did anyone ever ask you about openings in your company?  It’s painful to say “sorry” to these people, and it’s humiliating for them to ask.  Networking for openings doesn’t work.

Well, it was OK when you were just beginning your career.  Jack got his high school stock boy job by having a friend’s dad pull strings, and Steve got a job waiting tables by walking in and asking if they needed people.  But that only works for entry-level jobs.  Once you’ve got a career in mind, it’s unlikely that your friends and acquaintances know the right people to talk to.

Person-to-person job searching is the hands-down preferred method!  The problem with this is that most people think networking works all by itself.  They’ll go to association meetings (usually made up of 40 to 60 percent job-hunters and a handful of engaged workers) and ask about vacancies or openings.  They’ll pass out their resumes on the street like flyers.  They’ll collect business cards like baseball cards, hoard them, and wish they had some realistic good reason to talk to those people.  They hope they’ll be remembered when a vacancy or opening turns up.

Then there’s networking among “primary” contacts.  Friends, relatives and acquaintances don’t like being imposed on; besides, it’s just hit or miss when you ask everyone you know about jobs.  You can quickly burn up your network instead of cultivating it.

To avoid this random, billiard-ball-style networking, you need a written and researched plan of who you want to talk to, how you can make or save them money, a firm grasp on what is going on in their industry, and a thought out rationale and method to get in to see them face to face.  You need a clear agenda for each meeting.  You must know how to milk the meeting for further contacts by knowing—at least by key information point if not by name—who else you want to talk to.

Remember, your resume is not likely to entice anyone to see you.  To generate networking interviews, you need good telephone techniques, a brief and powerful personal profile to sell your future, and you’ll need to avoid the common mistakes that kill job campaigns.  These include being “open” to any kind of job; an unplanned, unfocused search; and doing it alone.  You’re going to need support and cheerleading from friends and family to get you through the discouraging times—and don’t be afraid to get professional help to assist you in getting beyond your limiting beliefs.

Poor networking is worse than no networking Meeting people is one thing, making the correct impression is another.  Just meeting a lot of people and talking with them doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting closer to a new job.  If people aren’t impressed or if they think you’re too arrogant, too pushy, too meek, too timid, too uninformed, not committed enough, too confused, or too anything, all that a hundred networking contacts will do is generate a hundred poor impressions.  You’ll end up burning bridges that you’ll have to rebuild later once you get your head on straight.

One client was very excited because he “knew everybody” in his industry.  When we did a candid reference check, we found out he was well-known, but for the wrong reasons.  He wasn’t famous, he was infamous!  He had to shape up in a number of areas, including going back to everyone he knew and revising the impression he’d made.

In some cases, you may not be able to repair the damage.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression.  Poorly conducted or ill-prepared networking will only make things worse every time, so it’s in your best interest to develop a strong plan for networking prior to engaging with potential contacts.

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Is True Balance of One’s Career and Life Even Possible?

advice for life and work balance

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This is a question every single professional ponders at some point, some of us more than others.

“Work life” has its demands – deadlines, heavy workloads, client/vendor relationships, managing expectations, etc.

“Regular” life has its demands – family life, friend life, grocery shopping, exercise, hobbies, etc.

So can these two lives ever live in perfect harmony? This is a tough one. It seems like whenever we are successfully committing to one of these lives, we are neglecting the other. As a Career Coach, part of my job is to help people strive for balance in the face of throwing themselves completely into their career or job search.

That’s why I’d like to share a Huffington Post piece titled The 12 Days of Work-Life Imbalance: Holiday Tips From 12 Women in Tech and Female Entrepreneurs From Silicon Valley by Caitlin Roberson and many others. In it, Roberson suggests that the problem is expecting balance in the first place, when we should all be embracing the imbalance of work and life. She writes of “The simple belief that the only predictable substance of life are shifts and fluctuating priorities.”

I highly recommend you read what these 12 women have to say about how they manage work and life in the context of the Holiday season. There are some very insightful ideas and thoughts that will appeal to women and men alike.

What about you? How have you seen challenges and successes in work/life balance? What tips or advice would you give?



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