I know it may seem like I spend most of time thinking about my LinkedIn persona, but this isn’t actually the case. Between self-directed LinkedIn tutorials, I have also been taking a career planning workshop to help me figure out what my dream career(s) is(are). I have to say that we’ve only had two sessions and so far it’s amazing. In preparation for session one and two, we’ve been asked to write short (two paragraphs) stories on times in our lives where we were happiest and/or accomplishments that we have been proudest of. These are stories that make you feel proud or happy not, necessarily, stories that you would tell in a job interview. We then read the stories in small groups and the other group members pull out skills that they heard you use in your story. Hope that’s clear. Anyway. What I have found most interesting is which stories I am choosing to tell, rather than the skills that are identified.
In our last session we began digging into our values. I know that once I understand my values I will have a much stronger grasp of who I am and this will help choose a career. I am nervous though because I have worked on my values before and it isn’t small task, especially because this time I am not taking the “go with your gut” approach. This time I am evaluating each value and seeing if it is really important to me. This second approach seemed like it would be a lot of work, given that a Google search of “life values list” results in lists with 400+ values. Thankfully I came across this handy slide show. The music is pretty distracting, but, if you can get past that, which is hard, I know, then the most useful part is where she asks you to write about three times you’ve been happy and three times you’ve been angry. Essentially, what makes you happy is in tune with your values and what makes you angry goes against your values.
I took her advice and wrote out some of my happiest times and some of my moments of anger and then followed her instruction to go through her list and select values that I thought were mine. Once I had my list I then went through each one and thought “could I live without this value”? It some time, and definitely some soul searching, but I have identified my work values as:
- Creative Expression
and my life values as:
I know that these may need some tweaking, but, for now, a job well done I think! (Ahhh, there’s that recognition value )
First things first – HAPPY SPRING (at least officially )!
Earlier this week I got back to working on my LinkedIn Summary which feels like a pretty huge undertaking. I think this is mainly because I’m still not yet 100% clear on the career I’m pursuing. How do I summarize me without knowing why I am summarizing me? The door just feels too wide open.
So late yesterday afternoon I left my summary behind and decided to see if I could find a job that did appeal to me and perhaps apply to that. I did find something interesting at a great company. (It might not be a perfect fit, but really, at this stage, I just want to get back into writing applications and there’s no time like the present to start.)
I wrote my first draft of my cover letter and, wow, was it dry. (And if I felt that way about my own cover letter what would a swamped hiring manager think?!) So, I decided to go online and see if I could find some help. I just have one word to describe what I found – JACKPOT! Alison Green is awesome. To discover for yourself just go to Ask a Manager. First I found this fabulous article on how to write a cover letter that actually gets noticed. I immediately started rewriting mine and I feel like my revised letter does a much better job at “painting a picture” of me. It’s not finished yet though, I feel I can create a stronger case forwhy I would be great in the job. (Will get back to it as soon as this post is done )
I also wanted to mention another article I found by Alison Green aboutwhat hiring managers wish we knew. She recommends that our resume answer one key question: “What did you accomplish in this job that someone else wouldn’t have?” What a great insight – a resume isn’t about job descriptions, it’s about what we did really well at! I think I knew this all along, but the way she puts it makes it easier to act on.As soon as I read that I went back to my resume and went through the points I have listed for each job and made sure they answered that question.
Needless to say I am feeling really motivated and excited. It feels great to know how to improve a cover letter and resume – to be given concrete suggestions to work with.
So happy to have found askamanager.org and Alison Green!
Hmm. I wonder what she has to say about LinkedIn Summaries…will keep you posted
I signed into LinkedIn yesterday and felt my stomach sink to my toes when I read ”Happy Anniversary” from LinkedIn for being at my previous job for one year. I felt even worse when I noticed one of my contacts “like” this update. ‘Uh oh’, I thought. See, even though I was let go in January, I haven’t updated my profile yet…’Well,’ I thought to myself ‘guess it’s time to at least change my LinkedIn Headline’. A few weeks ago I had read a few articles on what to say on LinkedIn when you’ve been laid off, but, at the time, I wasn’t ready to make any changes. Yesterday I no longer felt like I had a choice so I reread the articles and did some brainstorming.
I appreciated the messaging of the first article – “What To Say On LinkedIn When You’ve Been Laid Off” – there’s nothing to be ashamed of in being laid off – it happens. And if, or when, it does, LinkedIn can be a really useful resource in helping you find another job.
Once I finished reading, I brainstormed about 15 different headlines. Here are a few samples:
- Experienced (or collaborative) marketing professional with excellent project management skills
- Experienced marketing professional looking to work with a passionate team
- MBA | Collaborative Brand Strategist | Local Food and Artist Enthusiast | Seeking New Opportunities
- Marketing Manager actively Seeking New Opportunities
And some notes:
- I used “experienced” in the first couple because I had heard this was a key word that would get found by recruiters.
- Most of what I had read suggested clearly stating that you are looking for new opportunities.
Eventually, I settled on: Brand Marketing Strategist.
- The word “experienced” seems silly as it seems to go without saying. For the time being I am okay not having this keyword in my headline.
- I omitted “seeking new opportunities” because I don’t feel 100% ready to put myself out there yet. (Also, I changed my “current” position to a “past” position so people will see that I am currently unemployed.)
- I listed the three things I think I am interested in. (More on that in future blogs )
Now I’m just curious to see if any of my LinkedIn contacts say anything about the update…Will keep you posted
I finally began reading a book (THE book?) about Mindfulness Meditation called Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zin. I’ve wanted to read it ever since I did a Mindfulness course a few years ago, but kept psyching myself out – it’s an intimidating book – big, little print and I wanted to get something from it, which would mean committing everyday to reading and ‘practicing’ it until it was finished.
I didn’t expect today would be the day, but, I woke up pretty anxious about money and applying for jobs and Mike went off to visit his godson and while I was making muffins, CBC’s Tapestry was doing a piece on anxiety and brought up how mindfulness is the key to managing anxiety and it is the first day of spring weather so the sun on the deck was beautiful making it a great place to go and read. So. Essentially. The stars aligned and today was the day.
As I read the first chapter, I decided – and yes, you are right, deciding and reading isn’t very mindful – should’ve just been concentrating on reading – but I digress, I decided to read for thirty to sixty minutes each morning and then meditate for fifteen to thirty minutes afterwards. So that’s the plan and I’ll keep you posted on the progress and any big revelations.
Before I go, I just want to record a few quotes from the first chapter of Full Catastrophe Living:
Meditation is “the process of observing the body and mind intentionally, of letting your experiences unfold from moment to moment and accepting them as they are. It does not involve rejecting your thoughts nor trying to clamp down on them or suppress them, nor trying to control anything at all other than the focus and direction of your attention.” p23
The essence of mindfulness practice is “knowing what you are doing while you are doing it.” p28
“…paying attention to your experience from moment to moment…leads directly to new ways of seeing and being in your life because the present moment, whenever it is recognized and honoured, reveals a very special, indeed magical power: it is the only time any of us ever has…It is the only time we have to perceive, to learn, to act, to change to heal…It makes our experiences more vivid and our lives more real.” p29
Kabat-Zinn, Jon. (2005). Full Catastrophe Living. New York: Bantam Dell.