What’s on Your Voice Mail?

I just contacted a job seeker a few minutes ago. Her voice mail message said, “Hi this is ….. If this is Stacey, the answer is still no.” What the heck?

What if I’m an employer whose name is Stacey? Whether you’re looking for a job or not, your voice mail brands you. In this case, if I had an opening, would I reconnect with this person? NO.

On another voice mail I heard drinks clinking in the background and a message that said, “Hey, we’re not here right now, we’re out on the deck having margaritas.” How nice for you. Too bad you were having margaritas when you could be setting up a job interview.

Or how about the old machines? What do you hear? Beeeeeeep. Click. Guess there wasn’t any tape left or the digital chip went out. Now I can’t leave a message.

Or the very worst, and yes, two job seekers had this issue – no voice mail or answering machine! After several tries and finally connecting I asked what gives. One said he didn’t want to waste money. The other didn’t want the hassle. Hmmm. I guess they both got their wish. One’s not wasting money – but he’s not making more money either. The other won’t have to worry about being hassled — by potential employers. They more than likely won’t call back.

Challenge: Check your voice mail on your cell phone and your home phone. Is it professional? Can it be clearly understood?

Top Tips for a Great Career in 2007

Courtesy of Susan Guarneri, Career Assessment Goddess

1. Get FOCUSED – what specific type of occupational field, what level within that field, and industry are you targeting? Trying to be all things to all people in a “generic” resume just doesn’t work anymore. Resume keyword-sniffing technology mandates that the job seeker and career advancer identify exactly what they are going after and then crafting their marketing message around that.

2. Get BRANDED – differentiation is key to career and job search success. I know you will lots to say about that, Winnie!

3. Get UP-TO-DATE EDUCATION – don’t assume that Bachelor’s Degree you got 10 (or even 20) years ago suffices anymore. Employers want to see that you are actively engaged in learning about advancements in your field and acquiring new skills and knowledge. They don’t want to be the ones to have to train you on what you should already know!

4. BONUS: Keep track of your ACCOMPLISHMENTS – they are the “meat” that makes up the resume main course. Without relevant and convincing results, you may be perceived as just a “seat warmer” in your current (or past) jobs. That’s not exactly a stellar approach to securing a potential new employer’s interest. BUT, benefits are! And what better place to showcase the benefits of hiring you than by demonstrating what you’ve been able to accomplish for others.

Aloha – BYU students crank up their careers

Thanks BYU-Hawaii for iniviting me to present Power Up Your Career and Rock Your Network(R) programs to your students.

Here are a few more tips from the Power Up presentation:

1) When we talk about contact information, it must be in a readable font and contain a professional email address (unprofessional ones can land in the circular file – or worse – never reach an employer’s desk); 2) Bottom line achievements. They must be relevant to the career goal, bulleted under job descriptions, and most importantly, specify your value using numbers (dollars are best); 3) Using recruiters – the temp job helps you build connections inside a company where you wish to work – creating an inside network!

Getting a clear career focus seemed the hardest for students. It was for me when I was a student. Career Centers can help – and so can these assessment tools:

True Colors – FREE Assessment: “FollowYour True Colors to the Work You Love” by Carolyn Kalil. (The free assessment is in the upper lefthand corner.)

MAPP Assessment – FREE: The MAPP Assessment reveals the real you: your natural motivations, interests and talents for work.

Power Up Your Career Search – Hawaii style

Aloha. Just got back from a speaking gig at BYU – Hawaii. A beautiful campus with terrific people. The students had solid questions and one student wrote an article after the first presentation. I mean he must have written it during the presentation and popped it on the website ’cause it was there by the next day (at least that’s when I saw it).

We covered the Top 5 Tips for Resumes that Rock and the Top 5 Tips to Tap into the Hidden Job Market. Check out what the students said here. 

My favorite line? “At the end, when Terwelp asked the students how many learned some new strategies, almost all raised their hands.”

Terrific! That’s our goal! Thanks BYU for a great experience.