Hi everyone! I’ve had so much fun over the past couple of months Skyping/Zooming with you all and answering your questions. I’m so glad I decided to take on some new projects in 2018 – they have been so fun and rewarding because I’ve gotten to help all of you as well as learn more about myself. My personal goal is to always be growing – I know I’m never done. I want to share some of my personal favorite tips/resources with you all, because I get questions about them frequently!
Q1) I’m overwhelmed with work OR overwhelmed with personal/family issues – how do I bring more balance to myself so that so much focus isn’t on one aspect? Similarly, I’m spending time on things that don’t bring happiness and fulfillment to my life, what do I do?
A1) My first and foremost tip here is to prioritize and plan! Prioritizing is different for everyone – you may not be able to spend so much time on the things you WANT to do, but rather what you need to do. Whether it’s taking care of that elderly relative, finishing your degree program etc. (I guess there isn’t anything you have to do in life if you don’t want to, but you get what I’m saying) Saturdays and Sundays is when I prioritize time for friends and family. On one of these days, I make my schedule for the coming week. Sometimes, I’m making my schedule for the following 2 or 3 weeks. I budget in time for my job (sourcing/interview candidates, meeting with my clients), blogging, reading articles on my Feedly, volunteering/speaking events, engaging with my LinkedIn and Twitter communities, and Skype/Zoom appointments. You won’t have time for everything, and that’s okay – prioritize! (Since January, the gym has fallen lower on my priority list – but that’s okay. I’m being more conscious of my food choices and walking when I get a free couple of minutes)
Some helpful exercises/resources:
- Make a values list. It’s helpful to see what you really value vs. what you are spending your time on. This can help you make some adjustments to your schedule. You may need to re-do this exercise every couple of months and that’s okay! A great values list is on page 11 of this document.
- I learned about the value list exercise through my Women’s Leadership Group I was a part of during 2017. We read Standing at the Crossroads which had some great insight into being your authentic self and living a wholesome life. I highly recommend it.
- Make a vision board! For those of us that are a little crafty and like to be hands on, I love this exercise. I didn’t include pictures or magazine cut outs on mine, but just cut up different colored square pieces of paper and wrote something I wanted to do or that was important to me on each square and taped it to a piece of foam board. I love looking at it every morning to remind myself to take a step towards those goals each day. Here’s an article to help you get started with this.
Q2) I feel unbalanced, (whether it be a stressful relationship, a negative relationship with food, a toxic work environment) where do I start?
A2) One of my favorite humans is Julie Montagu – she is a yoga instructor and advocate for self-care. I have one of her cook books. You can find her on Instagram. Her newest book, Recharge, a Year of Self Care is one of my favorites. It has some great nuggets that can help you readjust certain aspects of your life. My personal advice for this is to evaluate what in your life doesn’t serve you, and what actions/people/etc would bring you closer to your goals and achieving happiness. This evaluation process may also lead to you to re-prioritize your time so that you can do activities that you enjoy and practice self-care (whatever they may be to you – yoga, reading, going for a walk, ME TIME). It may also lead you to decide it’s time to consider a different job. Trust yourself – you know what you need. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Surround yourself with a network of supportive people whether it be family, friends, coworkers, LinkedIn/Twitter connections, etc. Have people you can be open with that care about you.
Q3) Let’s talk about resumes! Will you write mine for me? Will you review mine? What should/shouldn’t I do?
A3) I love this question. I am more than happy to review your resume and give candid feedback. However, I am not a resume writer. (at least not at this point in my life! 😊) What I will say is that there is a huge misconception out there that your resume is the biggest factor you should be concerned with when looking for a job. Your resume is just a part of the process. (See Q4/A4 for more details on this) Here are my biggest resume tips – these have worked for me!
- Objective statement. I love how much controversy there is over this. Do not put an objective statement on the top of your resume if it’s going to say “To use my skills and experience to benefit the company.” I can’t tell you how many times I see this. It doesn’t make you stand out if everyone uses it! Also, don’t put that your objective is to obtain a job. Obviously.. that’s why you’re applying and sending in your resume!
- The top of your resume is your chance to grab the recruiter’s attention – as they only skim your resume quickly. I recently did a LinkedIn video on resume tips and touched on this. Instead of an objective statement – try a personal mission statement! Here is a great article that talks about the importance of one and how to write one. Going through the exercise of writing a personal mission statement can really help you clarify your purpose and passions in life. My personal mission statement is – I use my HR expertise, positive outlook, and passion to help, to motivate others to be their best selves and assist them in finding meaningful employment.
- In my LinkedIn video I also talk about task based bullets. A lot of resumes I see just list tasks and do not show value or impact. If you want to set yourself apart, quantify your tasks and focus on value and achievements! If you need help crafting these statements let me know. For example:
- Trained new hires (Okay great, doesn’t really capture my attention)
- Trained 8 new hires a month, which resulted in a fully staffed workforce to meet business and customer needs. (This shows me that you realize how your tasks effect the business)
- Maintained employee files (Again, awesome. But why is this important?)
- Maintained and audited employee files which lead to compliance and adherence with all local and federal employment laws (This shows that you understand the importance of employee files – which you should as someone in HR/looking to get into HR!)
- There are many different formats of resumes – and you may need to try something new! A lot of resumes I see list every single experience the individual has ever had and I find myself searching for the information I’m looking for/ trying to figure out why they applied.
- On my resume, under each company I’ve worked for, the header is “selected accomplishments” I keep on there what is relevant for the job I’m interested in!
- Another way you can do this: For example, you’ve held temporary/contract HR roles in the past, but right now you are in a customer service role and trying to get back into HR. Your top employment section can be called “Relevant Experience” where you put the HR experience at the top so that the recruiter can quickly see you are relevant to the role you’re applying for. You can do a second section called “Other Experience” underneath that to list your current customer service role and any other past positions that would be worth having on there.
- What about education? You can put it at the top (under the personal mission statement and above the experience) OR bottom of your resume. In my opinion, again, it’s all about relevancy! If your degree is in the field you’re applying for, but you don’t have a lot of relevant experience, I would probably put education at the top. If you’re confident in your experience and want the recruiter to see that first, or if your education is unrelated, you can put it at the bottom. It’s all up to you! There is no right or wrong answer. Also… every recruiter has their own preferences.. so it’s not worth spending TOO much time on the format. Do what you feel represents you best.
Q4) I’ve been sending in my resume to a bunch of places online and haven’t gotten any calls, what do I do now?
A4) For one, do not lose hope or give up! Do not get upset or resentful towards the recruiter or company if you do not hear back or are not selected for an opportunity. A great opportunity will come along for you, but you may need to change your approach! Stay positive. Applying online is great, but what else are you doing? Some of my tips that WORK:
- After you’ve applied online, Google or LinkedIn search people who work at that company. Call to follow up about the status of your application. Companies can get hundreds of online applications per position, do the little extra that will set yourself a part. (Use your discretion here – do not call multiple people every single day. This will hurt, not help your chances)
- As mentioned above, your resume isn’t the only factor you should be considering in your job search. When I get this question, I ask people how active they are on LinkedIn. Usually the answer is not so much. LinkedIn is such a great tool to get yourself noticed, and build lasting connections. My favorite tips can be found here, in a video by Goldie Chan from LinkedIn Local Dallas! (In summary – make yourself find-able by potential employers and recruiters by adding skills/keywords to your profile. Have a picture! Make your summary a personal story with a call to action. Humans are wired for connection – people connect with your picture, and with your story. You will be more memorable!)
- Other favorite LinkedIn tips: connect with people in your industry, or in the industry you’re trying to get in to, whatever it may be. Who is your target audience? Who are the people you want to be connected with so you can see/learn from their content? Seek these people out. Add a thoughtful note with the connection request. Don’t make the person wonder why you are connecting with them. Add the note. For example – “Hi first name! I see you work in HR technology and that area really interests me. I look forward to learning from you and adding you to my professional network!” Once they’ve accepted your request – engage with thoughtful comments on their content. Send a genuine direct message to them if you have a question or want to ask their advice. People can tell right away if you are actually looking to learn/connect, or just “get something out of it.” You are creating your personal brand by the way you interact with people. Remember this.
- Another great tip is to be active in your community. Find some sort of volunteer activity that you enjoy and get involved! It doesn’t have to be related to your work. I am active with both of my alma maters, and love going to networking events such as LinkedIn Local Buffalo. I’m also on the planning committee for Disrupt HR Buffalo. Meeting people and adding them to your network allows you to make a lasting impression on someone. Through others you can also expand your knowledge and come across resources you otherwise may have never heard of. AND, this WILL help you when the time comes to job search. At a Disrupt HR Buffalo planning committee meeting, I was told about the Women in Leadership Group, which I joined and made so many good friends INCLUDING my now current boss! By being involved in my community and networking events, opportunities found me! This can happen for you too, and you may not even need your resume at all 😊
- Remember – networking is a life skill, not a job search skill! You should be doing it all the time.
Thank you all for letting me share my time and insights with you. Every day I’m having a blast and working towards fulfilling my purpose – let’s keep going together! Have a great week ahead!