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Monthly Archives: September 2011

New In Town: Building Your Business Tip #1

So I was talking to a woman yesterday who is new to Asheville, she moved to the area because a few years ago she saw a special on Good Morning America about what a great place to live it was. When her mom passed away this past year she decided to pack up and move. Courageous for sure! She is at do it yourself, build your own network type of person but she has fears just as strong as the rest of us.

She is a massage therapist, artist and muralist who is later on in her career and can’t see herself in a salon or punching a clock. Many can relate.

Earlier this week she went in to a restaurant and sat at the bar, she says it’s a great way to meet people. Typically she gets talked to because she is alone, but not on this particular day. On this day there was a woman at the other end and she was surrounded by a swarm of people all talking and laughing and carrying on. Come to find out this woman is getting married this weekend. So what does my new “friend” do, she offers the soon to be newlywed a free 1/2 our massage as a gift to her. The pre-bride came in for her massage, had a wonderful experience and took a stack of cards and said, “I know a lot of people, so prepare to be busy!”

The morale, sometimes you have to give just a bit away to reap some big potential returns. Oh yeah, and don’t be afraid to take some risks!

Your Phone Rings, It’s a Recruiter; Are You Prepared to Pass a Phone Screen? TIPS YOU CAN’T MISS

Whether your resume is out on one of the job boards or you have applied to a position directly your resume has your phone number on it. What this means is at any given moment in the day from 7am to 9pm you could be receiving a call regarding a potential job opportunity, but are you prepared?

This call is more than just a first impression, this is a phone screen for the person on the other end and whether or not they use the right approach does not matter at that very moment because time is money and they are trying to determine if you are potential candidate for the particular job they are sourcing for and that is it. It does not matter if it is a corporate recruiter or agency recruiter, both are guilty of trying to move very quickly to determining one thing, should we move forward on this person or not? I know it sounds harsh but they have a job to do, they have several different openings they are working on and are under the gun just like in any other job to move as efficiently and effectively as possible to get to the end result.

So how can you prepare?

  • Smile, they can hear it in your voice
  • Don’t be put off by lack of detail and not having all of the information of the job up front
  • Do be in a quiet area free from distractions. If you are not, ask if you can call them back in short order (meaning 10-15 minutes if possible)
  • Do leave a copy of your resume in a folder in your car. If you are out shopping or out to eat, your car is your office. Seriously, if you were a sales person waiting to close a multi million dollar deal would you ask if you could call the customer back later on that day? Let me tell you the answer, NO
  • Don’t push for more detail on the job before you answer any questions on your resume. This is not a give in take call where they ask a question and you ask one back.
  • Do give specific examples to questions regarding your performance and success. HOW? Write down or have printed out in your folder and next to your computer 3 strong quantitative success stories (but have them be more bullets than story like)
  • Don’t ramble or go on and on about your old employer, good or bad.
  • Do talk about lessons learned and opportunities achieved that are specific to you and your expertise.
  • Don’t be too formal or too personal; be yourself but don’t try to make friends. A balance can be tough so practice.
  • Do ask a great open ended question, “I did want to mention that not all of my skills and expertise are listed on my resume, it is accurate and detailed however it is hard to put my entire career on to one page; are their specific focus areas or experiences whether  in (name something you are proficient in whether it is working with C level managers or designing a specific type of window) or a specific technology or software  this job is looking for?”
  • Don’t take it personally if you are prepared and still not offered an interview, they know the company and culture as well as the demands of the job; trust that this is the best thing for you.
  • Do ask “what your background or career goals were missing for this particular opportunity, maybe you could refer a colleague.” This helps you and them out and gives you some needed closer and feedback.
This should help you be better prepared and set you up for an invitation for an interview.

Oh Crap Someone Took My Dream! *well maybe not my dream, but still

Oh Crap Someone Took My Dream! *well maybe not my dream, but still

Most of you have seen them, the self serve yogurt shops where you can add all kinds of toppings of fruit and candy. You select your favorite yogurt flavor(s) and add as much to it as you want, stick it on the scale and poof you are done. This is one of the hottest ideas in retail food right now and when we moved to Asheville just under a year ago there wasn’t a single one. So I took my tail to the small business counsel and met with some advisors, wrote a quick plan and started looking at space.

When we were window shopping for space there was a great spot downtown that was perfect, not too big, lots and lots of foot traffic, positioned nicely between a number of different restaurants and shops. When I met with the advisors from the small business counsel, first of all they had no idea what I was talking about and I couldn’t really get it in their minds that it wasn’t ice cream and it wasn’t TCBY or those other already existing ideas so they kept warning me about all these different places that had failed. It was really interesting actually because as I was sitting between them they were bantering back and forth on a who’s who list of out of business places (and a few successful ones), “hey remember…” DO YOUR RESEARCH was what they kept instilling in my brain, and they were right, you have to do research but it can’t be the only positive or negative in your plan.

BE PASSIONATE about your dream because your dream can turn in to a job rather quickly and you have to be prepared for it. Yogurt is not my passion so this is step two of where I wobbled a bit and started to put road blocks up from being successful.

THE MONEY HAS TO COME FROM SOMEWHERE: Whether you are looking for business funding or are out of work the statement holds true. I don’t think I trusted in my abilities to be successful and ask for money to back that success. Where I failed myself is that I didn’t apply my own rules to my life by GETTING CREATIVE with how you “earn” the money. JEESH, I chalk this up to letting fear and other peoples questions sound more like doubt in my mind when really they were just questions.

I admit it I didn’t take most of my advice, I stood in the way of my own success and I will not let it happen again!

PS: Guess where there is a yogurt shop with a line down the block? You guessed it, in the exact space I looked. There are also 2 others in spots around town with similar turn out.





Recruiters & Managers Working Together: It is Possible, You Have the Same Goal… well, you should

Recruiters & Managers Working Together: It is Possible, You Have the Same Goal… well, you should

Whether corporate or agency there are times during the recruitment process where a recruiter and a manager are not always communicating clearly. These should only be mere blips on the communication radar screen rather than long gaps of silence and disconnect. Unfortunately, these 2 professionals can sometimes appear as if they are standing on opposite sides of a very tall fence with barbed wire on the top. This is something I never understood as neither should be looked at as necessary evils to an end result (making an offer to a new hire).

Let’s talk about the frustrations of each side and through this confrontation maybe you can draw some conclusions. Each organization is different in the way the approach their solution, I happen to have some of my own.

Managers issues with Recruiters:

  1. they ask too many questions (read not the right type of questions or in the right format)
  2. they don’t react quickly enough (read no clear expectations were defined)
  3. they try to sell me on candidates (read push back or scrambling – there is a difference)
  4. they waste my time (read complete communication breakdown need to start with and continue to tweak and share the recruitment plan)
  5.  they don’t understand the intricacies of my department (read lack of trust)
Recruiters issues with Managers
  1. they are too tight-lipped; I can’t get any more information (read you are asking the wrong questions or you have no trust)
  2. the description keeps changing every time I give them a resume (read you didn’t qualify the job description)
  3. they won’t make time to interview (read no set boundaries & expectations of the process)
  4. I can’t get any detailed feedback (read ask better questions & set up a system)
  5. they have no idea how much time this takes (read- it is your job and they don’t need to… BUT they do need to see the value)
I know you are scratching your head right now and had more ah ha moments than you thought you might. This happens in most relationships between a recruiter and a manager and it typically has less to do with the skills on either side than the systems and set up of the relationship. Email me d e powers at g mail . c om if I can help shed some light and share some of my systems with you and your team. I created them because, as usual, I was tired of stating the obvious but seeing the same result: frustrated recruiters and managers. It is painful for me to watch and I knew that if I could put things down in black and white and work with people on how to communicate throughout the process the frustration would dissipate.

Have You Automated Your Job Search Too Much

Have You Automated Your Job Search Too Much

We have the ability to get all kinds of jobs emailed to us daily or weekly from places like Careerbuilder, Monster, Flip Dog, and Indeed, but my question is are you even looking at these and responding appropriately?



Why? Because completing the application is only 1 part of the process. Let me refresh your memory:

  1. Find a job you are interested in applying for.
  2. Research via LinkedIn & the web more information about the company, department & HR
  3. Review your resume against the job description and be sure that at least 4-5 of the key points of the description match your resume. If not add them in (if you have the skills & experience)
  4. Be sure that you have the minimum qualifications that they are asking for
  5. Take the key points & any qualifications you have above the minimum and compose a cover letter that includes one or 2 fast facts from the research you did as to why this is a good fit for you & vice versa.
  6. Send resume & cover letter per their request method
  7. Follow up in one week with a voicemail or email stating the date you sent your application/resume, your x years experience and that fast fact you included in your resume. Keep your voicemail to under 60 seconds and include your phone number.
  8. Connect with the hiring manager or HR professional on LinkedIn and be sure to point out that they can get a sneak peak at your references on LinkedIn if they would like.
Phew… See, I kept it under 10 but it is a lot of work. This is for every job that you are truly interested in getting an interview with. I know it is overwhelming and you are tired of getting your hopes up just to loose out in the final interview stages to another candidate. If you are getting calls for interviews and making it that far it is purely a matter of fit for that particular company which you cannot take personally. If you are making it to second round, you are doing all the right things, I promise or they wouldn’t have called you back after they saw your resume or after the phone interview or after the first face2face.
Don’t just rely on exchanging emails with your Smartphone, one out of 1,000 jobs are most likely gotten this way (I just made that number up but I really think it is true).

Motivate! How to Escape the Cycle of the Slacker? (I am not a slacker!)

I am not sure about you, but I have been working a ton and feeling so unmotivated when it comes to “me” and the worst part is I am mad about it! I am not sure who I am mad at exactly but feelings of resentment are definitely creeping in on me and I hate that.

Things I am slacking on or am not having fun with are the things I typically enjoy in my personal life:

  • sitting down and enjoying either breakfast or lunch (eating standing up or at my desk does not count)
  • making dinner – this isn’t a joy for everyone but it is for me and I am resenting it
  • complete loss of creativity when it comes to food and menu planning (this is my outlet)
  • zero interest in running, yoga, zumba (even though I have no coordination) or any physical activity
  • sitting outside and relaxing – i feel stressed and overwhelmed
I am sure the list continues and you have your own list, but how do we get out of this cycle?
  • make a list and include your “me” items on it (“me” = those things that make you happy)
  • follow through and complete the list, make sure that the size of the list is doable
  • do not check your email at all hours of the day, shut your computer completely off and do not look at your phone first thing in the morning and after dinner at night NO EXCEPTIONS
  • skip the TV and turn on some music, music is such a bright light for so many of us yet we forget about how good it makes us feel
  • practice your hobby, seriously, just because you aren’t a kid in music or art class doesn’t mean you don’t need to make time to practice for yourself and your own well being
  • eat every meal sitting down and on a plate – NO EXCEPTIONS
  • prioritize your work day in 2 hour increments of what you plan on working on, is it feasible to meet your goals based on the hours you have dedicated to it? If not let your manager know, confirm with yourself that this is ok.
  • Too many conference calls? Create a list of them all and work on a plan to consolidate them, not just for you but for your entire team/group and present a plan and ask for a trial period.
  • RE: Conf calls: Create a document that will help streamline the conversation once you are all on the call to make things go more quickly. Suggest it but let someone else implement if appropriate.
  • learn how to say NO – future blog I am sure
Hopefully you are feeling better already and a bit more in line with what you can and will accomplish for you and your company today!

Going Back for Your Degree? Have You Done Your Homework?

Going Back for Your Degree? Have You Done Your Homework?

It’s interesting that in the past 3 months I have talked to over a dozen people whom I know that have asked me questions about going back to college because they just aren’t sure what to do. Several are currently unemployed, others are in the under employed category looking for a new challenge and the last category is those looking for a safety net should something happen to their current position or company. In my mind, unless your current company is footing the bill, the first thing I look at is Return on Investment both in time and money.

ROI: what is the total cost going to be if I finish on time? if I finish a semester later than I had planned? What am I currently making and how many hours am I working? What do I expect to make based on current open jobs in my geographic area? Take these figures and understand that they are reality. How long will it take you to make that money back?

It’s not all about the money: Quality of life is a big reason why people consider going back to school. So let’s analyze and define quality of life by answering some questions: What are the top 5 things that have me looking for a new opportunity (relate these back to your current job and what it is not allowing or giving you)? What are the top 5 things you get out of your job that are positive? List 8-10 things you are looking to gain from completing your degree. List the top 5 things you are looking to gain from a new career?

2nd Step: Put these away and look at them again within the week. Do these issues and goals truly mirror your thoughts and feelings? Are the goals and outcomes feasible? IF YES: are there other necessary achievments or steps needed to take beyond you schooling to meet your list? Are there any that can be attained without it? Great! start with those, you still have to select a program and register.

Determining the program/degree/certificate: What is the difference between a degree and a certificate? What will you need for your career choice? Are there jobs in your field of choice? Have you talked to people in the field? What do the academic advisors have to say re: salary expectations, career growth, hours? YOU CAREER COUNSELOR is not a fortune teller and cannot tell how long it will take for you to get a job. It truly depends on the work you do in and out of the classroom, you have to put the extra time in.

I am, by no means, bashing continuing your education and growing your knowledge base, actually I am all for it. I just want to be sure that your don’t go in to this thinking it will be a cure all or come with out work beyond just homework.

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