Why Reading Your Resume and Contacting You for a Job is Driving Me Crazy
By Roger Lear, President, OrlandoJobs.com
I just hired four new people over the last month. This is great news. The bad news is over five hundred people applied to these positions and only four got hired. Out of 523 resumes; we phone screened 44, interviewed 23, and hired 4.
After reviewing all 523 resumes, I am able to tell you why job seekers didn’t get to the interview stage (which really is the main goal of the resume after all). The majority of the resumes were “unqualified” because I was unable to decipher what kind of skill sets the job seeker has that are relevant to the job I am hiring for. Sounds like that should be simple; but it is not. If I have to “decipher” anything on a resume, I can just move to the next one since I have plenty of inventory. What is sad is that I know there are some good candidates in this batch who were one resume writer away from getting an interview. If I’m thinking that, so are most employers and it is the main reason so many struggle in their job search.
“Your resume and how you respond to an interested employer has to be spot on if you want a great job. Unfortunately, out of over 500 resumes, only a handful got the memo. Hopefully we can help.”
Your resume is your golden ticket to the interview. Here is a list of resume and communication errors from this group of 523 resumes that drives me crazy:
- Different FONT styles and sizes in resume. If you start with Calibri (11), stick with Calibri (11) throughout the entire resume.
- Include your address in the header of your resume. If you don’t want the job, don’t put your address. Employers want to know where you live.
- Do not highlight your resume key points in color. It looks horrible.
- Next to phone number, no need to add the word “cell phone”. Everyone has a cell phone today.
- Don’t put references on the resume. Spend more time on making sure your skills match the job you are applying to.
- If attaching a resume document (.pdf or .docx) to an online application, name your resume file using your first and last name. Your resume document file name (SAVE AS) should be “John Smith Accounting Resume 2017”. Your resume file name is very important and should contain your name and a main skill set keyword. Also looks professional.
- Your cover letter sucks. 62 of the 523 resumes had cover letters that mentioned some other employer’s job, not mine. This just goes to show that many of you struggle with your job search because you apply to so many jobs, you forget to change your cover letter. You will be automatically disqualified if you do this.
- Voice mail. If you are in a job search, make sure you have a nice voice mail message. Also, make sure you check your voice mail and return calls promptly. I left so many messages for people and didn’t get many calls in return. I know it’s not cool to listen to voice mails (or return them), but for the better jobs out there internal recruiters leave messages all the time.
- Answering your phone during a job search. If you get a call and don’t recognize the number, please answer it professionally during a job search. Believe it or not, this is your FIRST impression with a possible employer. While most of my calls ended up in voicemail, those who did answer the phone did it in a way that made me feel like a bill collector. Once they established I was an employer, the tone of the phone call changed to normal. Start with normal in a job search.
- Know what jobs you applied for. If I hear “what company are you with again...” by another job seeker, I am going to lose my mind. When an employer calls, you should be expecting their call and know what position you applied to at their company.
- Don’t add your picture to the resume just yet. HR people still don’t like this.
Hope this all makes sense. This is real information and so many of you are making a few of these errors during your job search. For the best jobs, you can’t afford to do this. Get a professional resume writer!
Guest Blogger: Roger Lear, President, Orlando Jobs
View more local jobs online at https://www.orlandojobs.com
Break Time: Don't feel guilty about taking a break from your job search!
It has been said that looking for work is a full time job in itself. And many of us have found that to be true. In fact, we could work overtime looking for our next opportunity! Many of us do.
The job search becomes all encompassing, including the worry and stress partnered with such an important quest. But just like when we work overtime in employment, we get burned out and less effective when we overdo the job search. We start getting lazy and rushed in our applications. And we are prone to depression because of the constant state of uncertainty and rejection. This scenario is not going to make us any more hire-able.
When we are working, we usually have set hours, pre-determined tasks, and goals to meet as productive employees. And we usually have no problem taking a well deserved coffee break, walk around the block, or even a day off!
Why not take these good habits and apply them to the job search? Take the time to organize your searching methods and plan your days ahead with a calendar. For instance: list out the websites to check daily; make yourself goals to contact people in your network; and update your social media sites weekly to keep your network informed of your status. In keeping organized, you feel a sense of accomplishment as you search.
Then after your "work" is done, take a break. Go for a walk. Clean the silverware drawer. Meditate. Volunteer. Do something that is unrelated to your job search at least once a day, whether it be 20 minutes or 4 hours. Don't feel guilty about taking a break. It will keep your mind and your life balanced, better preparing you to start fresh the next day. And more importantly, start that next job with a healthy attitude!
Human Resources Consultant
Central Florida Employment Council
When did we become a society that values youth over experience? Just because someone has a few gray hairs, does that mean they are out of touch? Unfortunately, this is the growing mindset of much of today’s youth. Ageism is rampant in our society, especially in the working world. We cast off our elders as obsolete fools who cannot keep up with the times and advancing technologies. They are characterized as antiquated, unproductive citizens with nothing of worth to contribute. With the Baby Boomer Generation moving into their late fifties and early-to-mid-sixties, an increasingly large number of our population is feeling the effects of ageism.
Cutbacks and layoffs have become commonplace following the recession in 2009. Who are the first to go? Typically, the oldest members of the company. Senior workers are let go because they normally have the highest salaries and best benefits. In other words, the company saves the most money by getting rid of the most expensive employees regardless of their value. These workers are often forced into early retirement and are considered to be too old to work, but are, in reality, too young to retire. This leads to a buildup of massive debts where they are spending a good portion of their retirement while trying to survive unemployment. For businesses, these cutbacks are just a short-term fix for a long-term problem that create even more problems for the economy.
Ageism is most notably a factor when those laid-off begin searching for new employment. Most employers have a certain age in mind for the positions they have advertised. You can fall on either side of the spectrum, too young and inexperienced or too old and too expensive.
Your resume is often a dead giveaway of your age; all anyone has to do is look at your graduation date and they instantly have a rough estimate of your age. How do you get around this?
It’s simple. Scale back your resume. Start by removing dates; graduation dates are not essential. You can also limit your work experience to the last ten to fifteen years. Once you have garnered decades of experience, it is not pertinent to include jobs you had right out of college. If you are worried about this being seen as dishonest, you can even rename this section on your resume to state, “Recent Work Experience.” Let’s say that you have some very impressive experience that is relevant to the position you are applying for, but it falls outside the ten to fifteen year scope; generate another section on your resume for “Additional Experience,” again, without including dates.
Similarly, if computer skills are not listed on your resume, you’ll end up dating yourself. Consider enrolling in an online or night computer course to learn how to use such programs as PowerPoint, Excel, Word, and Outlook. Also, remember that with the prevalence of social media, privacy is a thing of the past and you will be “googled” by potential employers. Setup a LinkedIn profile reflecting your resume with a professional, modern looking picture. You want to show employers that you are up-to-date with today’s technology and not resistant of it.
With younger jobseekers fresh out of college, you may need to become more open to the idea of accepting lower wages than you once had to. Applicants with less experience will agree to lower wages so to compete, you may have to do the same. State on your resume that your pay requirements are “open.” Once you are offered the position, then it is time to negotiate.
Tweaking your resume should help to a least get you in the running for a face-to-face interview. Once you get your foot in the door, you’ll have the opportunity to sell yourself.
Remember that some, not all, hiring managers have narrow-minded opinions of older jobseekers. These include being set in their ways, difficult to train, less productive, frail, and technologically inept. So make a point to emphasize traits most valued in older workers, like vast experience, loyalty, excellent work ethic, reliability, exceptional decision making abilities, and self-confidence. In business, it is all about Return on Investment. You are the investment, so make sure the employer knows exactly what he/she will gain in hiring you.
As we have evolved to live longer, healthier, more productive lives, regrettably, our concept of age has not changed along with it. Until our minds catch up with our physiological state, we will never be able to overcome this bias. Instead, older jobseekers are forced to use creative tactics to overcome and find employment.
So, as bleak as it may seem out there in the job market, don’t give up just yet. Try out some of these tips and tricks—you might be surprised at the results.
CFEC Guest Blogger
Jessica Mattison is a freelance writer in Cary, NC. for JobFinderUSA.com
By Jessica Mattison
Make Looking For A Job Your Full Time
By Caroline Levchuck
Looking for a job is a challenge -- especially right now. And out-of-work job seekers face another challenge all their own: Managing their time wisely and resisting the temptations found at home, such as sleeping, watching television or simply slacking off.
Poor time management leads to poor job search results. So to keep your search moving, you need to treat it like a job itself.
Be Your Own Boss
Think you're unemployed? Think again. You've got a full-time job: Your job search. You've just become your own boss and your job is to land your next paid position.
Looking for work is serious work, so it's important to give it all the attention it deserves. First, decide what hours you'll devote to your search and commit to keeping that schedule just as though you were reporting to a "real" job.
Then, try tailoring your schedule even more. Allot time each day to specific tasks, such as networking, responding to job ads, and researching companies. Doing so will help you avoid distractions and stay on track throughout the day.
An organized job search can be crucial to your success.
Start with your office space. Even if you don't have an actual office, designate your work area, complete with computer, phone and filing space if you can. Every time you sit in your "office," you'll feel like you're on the job.
Next, create a system to keep track of your leads, the job ads to which you've responded and the companies you're interested in. Having this information at your fingertips is especially helpful if you've tailored your resume or cover letter to suit a certain position. When a recruiter calls, you'll know instantly and precisely how to respond.
The ultimate goal is to find the job of your dreams.
But until that happens -- and to help it happen -- set small weekly goals for yourself. Agree to send out a certain number of resumes each week. Promise to make five follow-up phone calls a week. Vow to set up at least one interview -- informational or otherwise -- every week.
Whatever your goals are, make sure they're realistic. That way, you'll be more likely to keep them. Write them down and keep the list where you can see it. Cross items off as you go for a feeling of instant accomplishment.
Also, if you need some support, ask for it. Find a friend in a similar situation and share your success at fulfilling your weekly job search goals.
Take a Day Off
All work and no job can make anyone cranky.
Take a day off. In fact, take two. You've earned it. And you might not get the chance again once you land your next job. See a movie. Sleep in. Visit an old friend. Clean out your closets. Or just relax.
You might even consider limiting your job search to four days a week -- or even three. Use the rest of your time to do the things you never had time to do. Exercise on a regular basis. Volunteer in your community. Spend more time with your family.
Do whatever makes you feel good because a positive outlook will sustain you as you're hard at work looking for work.
Caroline Levchuck has written an excellent article. If you apply these ideas to your job search you will get results!
Brand of You
by Renita Hunt, Guest Blogger
Dress for Success Greater Orlando President
Your mind is the center of creating your brand through your internal image! It’s not just about what is on the outside but what is on the inside. Your mind is your wealth ticket to creating your personal brand image.
Do you know you are a brand just like Apple, Google, and McDonald’s? Of course you are! It is imperative that you live and thrive in the core values of your brand everyday. How do I craft my own personal brand you might ask? Here are 3 awesome ways to be on your way to building a successful personal brand:
Knowing Your Why: Being aware of your life’s purpose sets the standard for the direction you want your life to go. Finding your why is being clear on what your dreams are for your professional self. Is your purpose and dream to lead people, but your current position is admin assistant? Sometimes your current situation is not aligned with your purpose but you have the power to change. Build your personal brand by volunteering or freelancing opportunities that are aligned with your purpose until it can become your full time gig. To find your “WHY” spend time to understand:
– Mission-What do I stand for?
– Passion-What do I love to do?
– Expertise-What do I do really well?
Becoming a Subject Expert: Now you know your purpose. It is time to expand your knowledge on the subject by learning all you can on a subject. We live in a time where information is at a touch of button. Stay current on trends, industry buzzwords, and network with thought leaders in your industry. After you increase your knowledge, showcase it and become an expert by:
– Starting a blog or guest blogging
– Writing for a company newsletter
– Writing for a nonprofit newsletter
– Volunteer for local speaking engagements
Investing in your Mind: Never stop learning is a common quote we hear people say about personal growth but many people don’t understand how to put it into action. Develop a yearly learning plan. Set a portion of funds each month to invest in attending conferences, buying books, meeting with a career coach, and attending workshops. Don't wait for your employer to make the investment for you; if it is value to your brand invest in it for the future. Other ways to invest in mind:
– Join local industry associations and attend national and regional meetings
– Obtain an accountability partner to help you achieve your goals and craft your brand
– Invest in additional education online or offline if needed to take your brand to the next level
So now you know three important keys to build and grow your personal brand. Always live and work so your personal brand can thrive after you have left the room. Next time on the blog, I will explore how to grow your brand on the outside with Dressing for Success.
About Renita Hunt:
Renita Hunt is a marketing communications consultant and motivational speaker. Renita Hunt is also the Board President of Dress for Success Greater Orlando. Renita has been with the organization for over 4 years and has held such roles as: Personal Shopper, Event Director, Vice President, and now President. She has been instrumental on re-launching the organization’s career development series, Next Level to Success Internship program, networking efforts, and individual donor giving.
Renita has a 16- year professional background in marketing communications. Through the course of her career, Renita has worked with such brands as: Home Depot, Ford, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s just to name a few. Renita is extremely passionate about giving back, women empowerment, diversity and inclusion, and all things fashion. In addition to Dress for Success, Renita is apart of many professional boards such as: Central Florida Employment Council, National Black MBA Association, and Orlando Museum of Art-Council of 101.
Renita holds a MBA from University of Phoenix and a BA in Public Relations from Clark Atlanta University.
It’s summer and the glowing sun outside coupled with the ocean breeze remind me of renewal and introspection. Are you with me?
New eating habits, a good workout regimen, and new favorite restaurant. New career may be? Many individuals I come in to contact with contemplate their career. They are satisfied with their existing role, and they are successful, their organization is successful and they have a sturdy title, relatively large staff and job security. Yet may be that’s the problem. Too much satisfaction is the enemy of innovation and growth. They tell me they have an aching within that desires change. They don’t feel challenged anymore. That feeling of confidence is making them feel almost bored. They yearn for excitement, intimidation and that adrenalin rush of sink or swim.
I tell them, your instincts are telling you its time to swim, so swim. To them and to you, who are even considering the possibility of a career change, or position change for that matter, I offer the following:
1. Are you ready to hit the waves?
Start by weighing the risks. Know that there always will be that. Family, your identity, and financial responsibilities will always be there, but so will fear. The fear of change and the fear of the unknown. At some point you would have to push away the fear and swim with the waves. Once you accept that reality, your mind and heart will unite and you will be ready to make the proper recourse to weight the real costs and benefits for your decision, without the common denominator of fear.
2. Go for the plunge!
At some point the weighting would need to stop. The decision must be made. Plan your course with plan B’s along the way and start what will undoubtedly feel like an uphill or upstream swim.
3. Enroll an Audience and Cheerleaders
You ‘re going to need all the emotional support you can get. Set yourself up to be around supportive, calm and clear people. Your network will help you get the position you want, but your support system is the one that will get you through this phase of the game. The AA mentality applies here. The buddy system is meant to create accountability. When you share what you are doing with an invested person, you are more likely to persevere. We all like to achieve and part of achievement is the reinforcements we get along the way. Stay on course and celebrate small wins.
4. Assess the Course and foresee Obstacles
Get a clear assessment of your knowledge, skills, abilities and network. It doesn’t mean you can’t expand on them, but you want to be realistic in setting your goals. Many people assume that because they like a type of job, they have to bend backwards to fit themselves within its walls. Think about industry, and organization type, the everyday nuances, and the type of people you want to be working with, the key players and whom you are already connected to. When I do career assessments with my clients, we do a lot of work together. It is deep. Often times, they themselves are shocked at how far they were from their vision, by the time we complete and interpret all the quantitative and qualitative data. The research is imperative. Let me say that again: the research is imperative. The reality is we are all born with certain traits that make us who we are, are family and upbringing solidify them as well. So I always recommend going after something you know you are good and knowledgeable at, rather than going after something you think you like. The other neat thing is that we get attracted to people whom we can relate to, so your network of people will serve you better being that you have built them through “connections” rather than ambiguity. At least that’s the network that we need to be making. Not random and without follow-up. Challenge is good, complication not so much.
5. Get on the Diving Board and Jump.
I like the analogy of the diving board because when you get on a diving board, it means three things: 1. You are making the conscious effort to jump and you know it’s going to be a high jump, 2. You are letting the world know you are jumping, and 3. When you are up in the air, there is no way going back. When you started this journey, you had internal conversations about it. May be you discussed it with a significant other, a colleague or a family member. But your paradigm is still the same. You are in comfort zone. You get the paycheck and the boss still assumes you will be at the next monthly meeting. If you stop here, you don’t have to fear. You are not committed to anything. You didn’t loose anything, but you also didn’t gain anything. Half the battle is the mental decision, but the other half is get on that diving board. You have to make the decision irrevocable. Our brains are trained to form habits. We are creatures of repetition. So unless the walls of the maze are reset, our brains will command us to repeat the past and to not rock the boat. Pull the anchor and let the ship sail where it needs to and don’t look back.
Fear is a defense mechanism to protect us in life. But it’s also there to motivate us and propel us forward. I am not saying live life in fear. But I am saying don’t expect fear to ever disappear. It’s through fear that your interests get peaked and you search for that truth and possibility. Fight fear and it will haunt you, look at it in the eye and it will guide you. Life is a raft, not a ship. Life of Pi was the perfect demonstration of that. Ships have navigation system, propellers, and radars. Your career is one aspect of your life, and just like any other, demands determination, patience and exploration. There are no guarantees, you have to do your due diligence, and take a leap of faith. Let the waves take you where they may.
Author and CFEC guest blogger:
“Employment Projections are forecasts of future employment levels for industries and occupations in Florida. The Long-term Employment Projections program provides estimates of current and projected employment by industry and occupation for eight years into the future. The projections also include rankings of the fast-growing industries and occupations in Florida. These data are produced for the state, Workforce Regions, and counties with employment greater than 100,000. Geographic Coverage: Statewide, Workforce Regions, and large counties. Frequency: Annually”
This information is provided by the Florida Department of Opportunity, and can be obtained by visiting http://www.floridajobs.org/labor-market-information/data-center/statistical-programs/employment-projections
Employment Projections Data
• 2015-2023 Projections Statewide or by Workforce Region
• 2015-2023 Projections for Largest & Single Counties
By Guest Blooger: Jessica Mattison, JobFinderUSA
Getting the Most Out of a Career Fair
The effectiveness of a career fair is often debated. Some paint them as a huge waste of time, while others swear by them. If you simply show up and expect to land a job based strictly upon your mere presence and winning personality, you’ll fall into the first group. Like most things in life, job fairs take hard work and a lot of preparation. If you are willing to put forth the effort, a career fair can become a truly valuable job finding tool.
Think of a career fair as one big interview. Just as you would if you were being called into a company’s office, you need to be prepared and do your research. Most often, a list of companies that will be in attendance can be obtained. Take this list and research any and all companies you are interested in. Look at their company website and social media pages. Make a list of notes and rank each company based upon which you would like to work for most. Your time is limited at a career fair and you want to make sure you visit with the right companies.
Take this time to customize your resume and cover letter to match with the culture of each company you plan to visit. Also, have some generic ones on hand in case you come across a company that you had not originally planned for. You might even want to have your own business cards printed. They should include your name, desired position, and contact information. They don’t need to be anything fancy, just make sure it looks clean and professional.
Compiling a list of questions you might want to ask each business is also a good idea. Include some blanket questions that can be asked of any industry as well as some more specific ones for companies you have taken the time to research.
You should also dress the part. Make sure you look neat, clean, and professional with your clothes pressed and stain-free. Your best bet is to wear a dress suit of some kind. As a general rule, it is better to be overdressed than underdressed.
While you’re there, don’t just network with the recruiters on hand, but also with your fellow job seekers. You will most likely be stuck waiting in more than a few lines, so take advantage of that time to exchange information—those business cards would come in handy here as well.
Following up is just as important after a job fair as it is after an interview. To make your life easier, ask each recruiter you meet for a business card. This way you’ll have their name, position, and all contact information at your fingertips; no worries about a bad memory or writing down something incorrectly. In return, give them one of your own cards to remember you.
Remember to send thank you notes or emails to each of the representatives you met with whether you liked their company or not. It is important to make good contacts with as many people as possible—you never know when you might run into them again.
After your initial contact thanking the recruiter, you’ll want to continue to follow up on the position you are seeking. You need to be persistent, but not annoying—there is a fine line. You want the employer to know how interested you are in the position, but you don’t want to come across as desperate and overly anxious.
Generally, no matter the position or form of contact, try to be overly polite and humble. As annoyed as you may be that your phone calls and/or emails have gone unanswered, don’t take out your frustrations on your potential employer. Stay away from statements like, “I still have not heard from you” or “you ignored my previous email.” Maintaining a polite tone throughout your email or phone message will keep the person interested, not angry.
Career fairs can be tough and some might not be as great as others, but generally, they’re a good time investment as long as you’re prepared to put the work in.
Article Reference URL: http://www.jobfinderusa.com/article/getting-the-most-out-of-a-career-fair/
How to Deal With Gaps in Your Employment History
Whether you have been out of work for some time due to an illness or a family situation or simply have not been able to find the right employment opportunity, at some point you will have to answer the dreaded question of what you did while you were out of work for so long. Don’t panic! Think of this time off as a positive rather than a negative. Consider the examples below:
I was out of work because I had kids.
I gave birth to two wonderful children in the span of 2 years and my family and I made the decision that I would stay at home to raise and nurture them during their younger years. I am now eager to jump back in the workforce and hit the ground running using the time management and conflict resolution skills that I sharpened during the time I spent with my children. I’m sure these skills will greatly benefit your bottom line.
My mother was sick so I had to take care of her.
I spent the last two years as the primary caregiver to my mother who was diagnosed with a terminal form of breast cancer. During my time off I attended many appointments, treatments, and support groups with her. I learned a great deal about the disease and truly developed empathy and understanding for those going through treatments. I’m eager to bring this experience to this position which will help me understand and relate to your customers in a genuine way.
My last job burned me out.
In my previous industry the status quo was an 80 hour work week. In the summer of last year I decided that for the sake of my health and well-being I would take a sabbatical. After taking time to get to reconnect to my family and friends a little better I found that I truly enjoy working with teens and young adults. I volunteered with Big Brothers Big Sisters and found my true calling.
Do you notice a pattern here? The negative examples all sound like they are excuses, as if you are blaming someone else for your situation. In the positive examples, you put yourself in the driver’s seat and you show what you learned and gained from taking time off. This will set you apart from the masses and ensure that an employer will remember you for your abilities and not your excuses.
Written by Guest Blogger and CFEC Board Member:
Employment Coordinator, Orlando Office
Brevard Achievement Center
Volunteer Employment Counselor
Founder, Empower Creative Services, LLC
Hope for the Hurting
I feel betrayed, beaten.
I draw into my shell for protection.
How easily I retreat
to stay untouched.
I wrap myself in pity.
With my body rolled into an
impenetrable ball, my muscles grow
weak, my mind dim.
Lord, untangle me, please.
You were rejected by many.
I know you understand.
Fill my drained body
with energy and courage,
Help me to try again.
Lois M. Ludwig, Seattle, Washington
I’m a wounded soldier. How silly of me! I didn’t expect to get hurt when I picked up the cross to follow my Commander. He warned me that I would have to suffer with Him to be raised; that I would have die before I could truly live.
I didn’t count the cost beforehand; death didn’t even occur to me. Totally disregarding the enemy’s strong arsenal and my orders, I failed to put on the protective armor. With reckless abandon feeling confident that my Commander was fortunate to have me in His troop, I grabbed my slingshot of sincerity and stones of child-like faith rushing headlong to the front-line of battle. Assuming that ministry was a picnic, I was engaged in spiritual civil war.
My first reaction to being “shot” was shock and denial. I ran a few feet before falling helpless and numb. The pain was not as intense as I would have expected. The danger of the wound seemed minimal; hardly life threatening. Besides, the location and cause were embarrassing— imagine telling a physician that you were dumb enough to go to war without your armor!
So, I picked myself up, put on a Band-Aid, and persisted. I managed to fight a few more battles feeling relief when my wound scabbed over a bit. But one day, rampant infection burned and festered refusing to be unheeded! I wanted to mask my emotions, but I was bleeding like someone who had been riddled with a virtual machine gun.
It’s much more difficult, for me, to receive ministry than it is to give it. Suddenly, I’m not in control, but vulnerable and dependent. I hate the trauma of transparency! I don’t like to bleed on the floor and make a mess for someone else to clean up. Even now, with healing well on the way, battle fatigue keeps me very sensitive. If someone inadvertently touches my wound, I burst into tears: it’s so embarrassing. I desire the hurt to disappear quietly and the ghastly scar to fade. Crying, however, is a normal part of healing which God allows for our benefit and considers priceless.
Chuck Swindoll, in his precious book, For Those Who Hurt, says this about tears: “A teardrop on earth summons the King of Heaven. Rather than being ashamed or disappointed, the Lord takes note of our inner friction when hard times are oiled by tears. He turns these situations into moments of tenderness; He never forgets those crises in our lives where tears are shed.” Such comfort!
I see myself as one still on a stretcher. The stretcher has four poles. One is prayer; the second is the healing Word of My Commander; the third is the leave of absence for rest and relaxation (although I want to be active); and the fourth is the love of the fellow soldiers.
The first handle is my prayer journal which I’ve been keeping since I got “shot”. Most of the entries are embarrassing to me now. (In my confusion, I actually turned and started fighting my own army. Some friends were hurt before I was stopped.) It is wonderful to know that I can be completely honest with my Commander and Chief, Jesus. Nothing I say will cause Him to turn His back on me. The prayers of others on my behalf have obviously been answered, also.
The Word, the second handle is probably the most helpful. Really, it was right there all the time; I should not have been surprised. In James 1:2 – 4, J. B. Phillips paraphrased: “When all kinds of trials crowd into your lives, my brothers, don’t resent them as intruders, but welcome them as friends! Realize that they have come to test your endurance. But let the process go on until that endurance is fully developed, and you will find you have become men (and women) of mature character . . .”
The third arm of R&R is very humbling. It’s hard to sit on the bench when you were once in the thick of battle. It seems like people are saying, “What’s wrong with you; are you lazy or backsliding?” But when I try to get up too soon, my wound reopens. So I sit and wait, not too patiently or gracefully, I’m afraid. Healing takes time and God gives us refreshment and room to mend our broken hearts.
This leads to the fourth pole, which is the love of my fellow soldiers. Oh, how I need acceptance and touch. I feel so unworthy and rejected, and as I said, my wound is still sensitive. I’m very thankful for faithful friends who are willing to overlook my grouchiness and self-pity and don’t take it personally when I bark and wince. One precious lesson they’ve taught me is what comfort and compassion are. I used to think that people wanted answers for the questions asked in crisis: “Why me?”, “Why now?”, “Why this?” But grief doesn’t respond to pious platitudes, however true they may be, except as healing makes its long procession. Joseph Bayly in “A View from a Hearse” said, “Don’t try to “prove” anything to a survivor. An arm around the shoulder, a firm grip of the hand, a kiss: these are the proofs grief needs, not logical reasoning.”
Hebrews 11, Faiths Hall of Fame is full of stories about real people like you and me who have experienced and, best of all, survived suffering, fear, temptation, loss of friends, family and support, failure and yes; even death. Hebrews 11:13 says they were all “controlled and sustained by their faith, but not having received the tangible fulfillment of [God’s] promises, only having seen it and greeted it form a great distance by faith, and all the while acknowledging and confessing that they were strangers and temporary residents and exiles upon the earth.”
I may not belong in that famous group yet, but I have learned that there is certainly no one with a better offer than the grace of God through Jesus Christ (whom I lean on desperately). Therefore, with Job I say, “Why should I take my flesh in my teeth and put my life in my own hands: though He slay me, yet shall I trust Him”. Although sometimes discouraged, I echo Simon Peter, “To whom shall I go? You alone have the Words of eternal life, and I believe and am sure that thou art the Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
Jesus Christ was offered to us not only as our Savior, but as a role model. Peter wrote, “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps.” (1 Peter 2:21). I think that must have been in the small print. If you are feeling that way now, you are not alone.
As C. S. Lewis said, “There is no safe investment. To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything, and your heart will certainly be wrung and possibly be broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact, you must give your heart to no one, not even to an animal. Wrap it carefully around with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements; lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket (safe, dark, motionless, airless) it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy or at least to the risk of tragedy is damnation. The only place outside Heaven where you can perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”
I believe that my needs were ignored, had a pity-party, questioned God, and blame-shifted. That didn’t bother my Commander-and-Chief at all; He wasn’t offended. Instead, He met me where I was and listened patiently. He spoke to me from His written Word and through fellow soldiers. He gave me room and time to adjust to the changes in my life. Like the man in the famous “Footprints” poem, I am so glad to say that when I have only seen one set of footprints in the sand of my life, I know that it is because He has carried me. I would not change the course He has for me because I trust my Savior with the life He has given me. Although still not thrilled with all my circumstances, my position on this Solid Rock is just fine.
What will the outcome of this situation be? Just what the Master promised in the beginning: first, there must be a crucifixion; then a resurrection. He first must bring His warriors to the place of realizing that we cannot accomplish this mission of salvation on our own… He does not share His glory with clay. A. W. Tozer said, “It is doubtful whether God can bless a man greatly until He has hurt him deeply.”
I want to encourage you not to waste your sorrows. Remember, above all, that God loves you and keeps His promises. He will never leave you or forsake you. He is there when the pain is too great for you to believe it. He will not even leave if you tell him to. “For He (god himself has said, I will not in any way fail you nor give you up, nor leave you without support [I will] not, [I will] not in any degree leave you helpless, nor forsake you nor let [you] down, (relax my hold on you). Assuredly not! So, we take comfort and are encouraged and confidently and boldly say, The Lord is my Helper, I will not be seized with alarm; I will not fear or dread or be terrified. What can man do to me?” (Hebrews 13:5:6, Amplified)
© Copyright 2015 Chris Hammett
If you have made a New Year’s resolution for 2015, you are part of the estimated 40% of Americans who have done so. In comparison, roughly 1/3 of Americans watch the Super Bowl. So more Americans make resolutions each year than watch the Super Bowl. Yet despite the good intentions, research conducted by the University of Scranton shows a mere 8% of people actually achieve their New Year’s goals.
Well…that’s a topic for another post.
But it might help to consider the most common New Year’s Resolutions. As documented by USA.gov, three of the most common resolutions among Americans are: losing weight, managing debt, and getting a better job.
If one of your New Year's resolutions is to find a job or earn a better position, let me help you become one of the elite 8% that actually achieves your 2015 goal.
Job seeking in the Digital Age requires you to discover, develop and deliver your personal brand to the world. Put simply, your personal brand is your unique promise of value. A strong personal brand can help you land your dream job, earn a promotion, or make a successful career transition. It is what allows you to stand out from all other candidates in the mind of the decision makers or those in your network.
While there is no shortage to personal branding tools to help you build your brand’s presence online and off, here are 3 of my favorite tools to help you build your personal brand in 2015.
Social media is not, I repeat, NOT a fad. Social media is not going away. Yes, the tools/ platforms of social media will change but the concept of connecting and building relationships online will never fade away. If Facebook falls, market demands will cultivate another platform to take its place. LinkedIn has managed to brand itself as THE professional social network in more than 200 countries. LinkedIn grew from 259 million users in Q3 2013 to 332 million users in Q3 2014. That is more than 28% growth in users in 1-year.
To help users develop personal brands on their social network, LinkedIn created the 9-a-Day tool. This tool makes creating your profile and building your network uber easy. It is designed to empower you by providing the insights and techniques to get ahead in your industry in just 9 minutes a day. You can customize your 9-a-day plan with the drag and drop features. Once you are satisfied, simply export your plan to your personal calendar (the tool is compatible with iCal, Outlook, and Google).
According to LinkedIn, they "consulted experts and professionals across the globe, and found that spending just 9 minutes a day, and no more, developing your ‘at work’ brand, could keep you better informed and make you better at what you do. 9-minutes can be slotted easily into your day, and it gives you complete focus."
Link to Tool: http://www.linkedin-9aday.com/
When making decisions, we use both rational and emotional thoughts, but research has shown that emotions play the primary role in final decisions. Antonio Damasio, M.D., heads the department of neurology at the University of Iowa College of Medicine. Antonio’s studies found that, “pure thought untainted by emotion and other "lower" mental functions is less useful than commonly supposed. The brain often "decides" among alternatives by "marking" one alternative as more emotionally salient than another.”
Storytelling is the best way to touch the emotional triggers that inspire someone to make a decision in your favor. Sure you could share statistics, job duties and data points with hiring managers but telling them your story will leave a lasting impression; one that allows you to stand out from the other qualified candidates.
SlideShare partnered with LinkedIn to bring professionals a visual storytelling application guaranteed to give job seeker’s a leg up on the competition. This new app allows even the most technologically inept job seeker to create a visually stimulating version of their career journey with a single click!
Make sure to update your LinkedIn profile completely before creating your visual career journey. Add as much information and multimedia pieces as possible and then create your masterpiece!
Link to Tool: https://www.slideshare.net/professional-journey
Long before an employer meets you in person, they will meet you online. First impressions in the 21st century consist of what I call “digital handshakes”. This is when a potential employer searches for you online before they meet you for an interview or networking event. Therefore, however Google sees you is exactly how your potential employer or professional contact will see you.
Say you share the same name as a convicted felon. His/her mug shot is now representing your name (your personal brand) online. Granted, this is an extreme example but this does happen. If you don’t show up in a Google search, then you don’t exist. Sad but true. Think about it – how many times have you searched for local restaurants on Google and went to the most favorable option that appeared? How many times did you patronize the restaurants that did not appear? Just like a business, your target audience needs to first know you exist and second believe you can add value to their lives in some way.
The perfect tool to help you proactively manage your personal brand online is the Reach Online ID Calculator. It is free to use and within 5 minutes you have a report that tells you just how strong or weak your online personal brand really is. It even gives you suggestions as to how to improve your online identity, which is rated by your brand’s Volume, Relevance, Purity, Diversity, and Validation within search engine results pages.
Link to Tool: http://www.onlineidcalculator.com/index.php
Although the tools listed above are incredibly powerful and can certainly help you build your personal brand in 2015, habit forming will inevitably decide whether or not you are successful in achieving your new year’s resolutions. I’ve found the studies to be true that indicate it takes 21 days to form a new habit, which is why I am recommending you use this tool to form habits that strengthen your online presence in 2015.
21Habit is a digital motivational coach that emails you each day to remind you of the habit you are trying to form. The email reminders are interactive such that you answer YES or NO to if you completed the habit that day. The tool records your answers and provides a calendar at the conclusion of 21 days that shows how well you stuck to your plan.
If you are really committed to improving your personal brand in 2015, I recommend using the “Committed Mode”, which is a brilliant concept. According to 21Habit, “you invest $21 towards your 21-day challenge. Each day you succeed you get $1 back. Each day you fail or do not check in you forfeit $1 which 21Habit donates to one of several charities.” Now that’s motivation!
Link to Tool: http://www.21habit.com/
What’s your New Year’s Resolution for 2015? Keep us posted on your progress. To a productive year ahead!
Author: Ryan Mickley, Career Advisor at DeVry University
Called to cultivate servant leaders, Ryan helps young professionals discover, define and deliver their gifts to the world. He is 1 of 20 Master Certified Personal Branding Strategists worldwide and is the youngest person to ever earn this status. Educational institutions have asked Ryan to speak on topics pertaining to professional development and content marketing, most notably DeVry University, Full Sail University, University of Central Florida and the Drop Back In Academy. With extensive experience in producing informative programs, Ryan has been practicing content marketing for over 5 years. Clients have expressed appreciation for his welcoming demeanor and ability to simplify and explain complex issues, which he attributes to the years he spent in the hospitality industry.
In 2014, Ryan joined the Career Services Team at DeVry University in Orlando, Florida. He serves students and graduates from the College of Business & Management and the College of Media Arts & Technology.