Search

Career Coach, Bethany Wallace

Let's get to work

Month

June 2016

Networking karma: Good stuff will come to you

17870_508613757652_958389_n
Bethany in college (left), circa 2000, wearing pajama pants, of course

As a pajama-clad college student, I never thought I’d be sitting in the office of the Vice President of Student Affairs discussing budget items and making decisions about the future of the college. But that’s what happened four years after I graduated.

Had I acted a total fool as a college student, I’m pretty sure that never would have happened. Since I minded my manners pretty well, made good grades, participated in campus activities, and networked with staff, faculty, and fellow students during my time on campus, it was easy for me to transition from student to employee after spending a few years working in entry-level positions.

Networking came pretty naturally.

One of the tricky things about networking I’ve learned over the years is that I’m constantly building relationships with people and continually making impressions on those around me. Those impressions have a lot to do with choices I make about how I communicate with others. From the non-verbal cues I give off by my facial expressions and hairstyles, to the clothes I select in the morning, to the way I cross my arms or put my hands in my pockets, I send silent—though often times very loud—messages to those around me. Combine this with the words I speak, my tone of voice, and how loudly or quietly I choose to speak, and you’ve got one complicated communication creature.

Many times, particularly in the workplace or in various social settings, I have limited choices about which people I’m around. I might not feel drawn to someone or like someone very much, but my desk might be located in the cubicle next to hers. This isn’t my choice, but it is what it is.

What does this have to do with networking?

career coach networking blog post
Photo courtesy of Pixabay.com

Everything.

With very few exceptions, I’ve managed to remain on great terms with everyone I’ve encountered in life. This has benefited me in multiple ways. If I need to ask for help—whether with a job search or to simply ask for information in a particular area of expertise—I don’t cringe because it requires calling someone I might dislike. I don’t fear a negative response because I know I have done my part in the relationship to maintain positive vibes.

If you burn bridges throughout life, you’ll find it difficult to navigate eventually.

Think carefully about how you treat people in your life on a daily basis. The time to treat people well is in the present moment, not when you need a favor in the future. You just never know who—and what—you’ll need, but if you treat people well, you’ll generally be treated well in return.

Do you struggle with networking, branding, and selling yourself during interviews? Do you want to improve your own networking skills?

Contact me, and I’ll help you become a pro.

Is a portfolio career right for you?

I’ll be honest. Until recently, I’d never even heard the term “portfolio career.” I’d heard of people working multiple jobs to make ends meet. This isn’t quite the same thing as a portfolio career, though.

A portfolio career carries a bit more intention and weight behind it; each venture is selected carefully and scrutinized. Does it contribute to my ultimate career goals? If not, I must decline, thank you very much.

As a portfolio careerist myself, I decided to stop working my full-time job on purpose. I wasn’t laid off or fired. I requested to transition to part-time status in order to pursue my interest in teaching college again. About this time, a long-time dream of mine (to pursue career coaching and owning my own business) came to fruition through the encouragement of my career mentor, Samantha Hartley, owner of Enlightened Marketing. There’s no such thing as perfect timing when it comes to taking a leap of faith as an entrepreneur; at some point, you simply have to do the best research you can, concoct some sort of back-up plan, and then leap forward and hope for the best.

I recently had the good fortune of being interviewed by Dr. Steven Lindner, a talent acquisition, assessment, and hiring process expert at The WorkPlace Group. We discussed the rise of portfolio careers among Millennials, reasons for this trend, and my own career journey.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The article Dr. Lindner wrote mentions multiple benefits to working as a portfolio careerist, and I can vouch for many of them. In just a few months, I already believe that the greatest benefit for me is flexibility and work-life balance. As the mother of a young child, spending time with my daughter is of utmost importance. However, it comes at a price. I have to manage my time more carefully and strategically than ever before. Starting a business and managing content for a company while taking care of a three year-old little girl (with only part-time childcare assistance) is pretty tricky at times. At the end of the day, though, it’s worth it.

I won’t list all the benefits to working as a portfolio careerist, but here’s one more. I have always had so many interests that I’ve found it difficult to remain focused at times. I’ve felt like a kid in Baskin-Robbins when taking interest and skill inventories. Should I pursue a career as a writer? Oh yes. But what about a physician? I love biology and science. Oh wait–what about philosophy? I could discuss Plato’s dialogues all day long. As a portfolio careerist, I allow myself the license to explore a few of my favorite things simultaneously: teaching, career coaching, and writing/content management. The result? I’m fulfilled and am able to use multiple abilities/talents rather than just one teeny tiny skill set. For college students and recent grads (or rambling adults, for that matter) who make all A’s and can’t ever make up their minds about which direction to turn, a portfolio career might be a great fit.

Is a portfolio career right for everyone? Absolutely not. Is it a great fit for many Millennials? Certainly. For people who match the descriptions laid out in Dr. Steven Lindner’s article, it’s worth considering whether pursuing a portfolio career is right for you.

Need help figuring out your next career move? Contact me for assistance. 

 

 

Resume templates: Just say no (and why)

I recently read an article explaining why using resume templates is a bad idea. At the end of the article, the expert quoted in the article admits that most resume writers use templates themselves and that “they’re not starting with a blank sheet of paper every time.”

This depends on the resume writer, I suppose, but I must protest!

resume blog for career coach bethany
Photo by Pixabay.com

Let me explain my own resume writing process and the rationale behind the old school approach I take to resume writing.

First of all, I believe in helping people write resumes. I do not write resumes for people—I write resumes with clients. As a career coach and as a former faculty member and career development director, I believe in helping clients create documents they can send to employers as honest representations of themselves. If I do all the work and 100% of the writing myself, I don’t believe the end products (resumes and cover letters) are honest representations of my clients. For this reason, I work closely with clients to create well-written documents (that’s where my expertise as a professional writer comes in). The end products reflect my clients, featuring their own unique voice and tone. I probably spend more time with clients than the average resume writer or career coach during the resume writing process, and that’s okay with me.

When you need help with your resume, you contact me. Most of you already have a draft of a resume or an existing resume on hand. You send it to me to review, and we begin working to create something much better together. In this case we’re not starting with a blank page, but we’re not starting with a template either.

Let’s say you have absolutely nothing created and that you’ve never drafted a resume in your life. We would literally start with a blank page, but I’d ask you to gather documentation to help me understand your work history, your educational background, and other key components to help us create a killer resume.

I want to be clear that when I say “killer resume,” I’m referring to the CONTENT of your resume, not to any fancy design elements. Resumes are not meant to be pretty or graphically impressive. They should be streamlined and easy for recruiters and hiring managers to read. After all, the average recruiter spends about six seconds reviewing your resume. Your resume layout should be ATS (applicant tracking system) compatible. If it’s not, you will not likely receive many interview offers.

At no point in time would I suggest that any job seeker—whether a college student, entry-level candidate, or executive-level candidate—use a resume template. Not only will templates reduce the likelihood of ATS compatibility, but they will also reduce the odds of your resume standing out from the stack of resumes on the recruiter’s desk. How many candidates do you think used the same template, including the same suggestions for wording? In addition, editing resumes created in templates is almost always clunky and time-consuming.

Your resume is the key which opens the door to potential job opportunities. If you’re using the wrong key, you can try as many doors as you like, but you won’t make it into the lobby for the next phase of the process—job interviews—if recruiters don’t respond well to your resume.

Let’s get to work on your first step toward success.

Need help editing or creating your own resume or cover letter? Reach out to Bethany for assistance or to ask questions about how career coaching might help you.

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: