Career management

The Power of Networks: Starla Hart on The Open Door Interview

Do you have a full-circle career moment?

Starla Hart, Director of Community Initiatives at 16 Tech Community Corporation, does! She assumed the role of her undergraduate mentor that led her to the work she is doing today!

In this month's Open Door Interview, she shares how the strength of her network helped her overcome obstacles both personally and professionally and how taking a big risk has opened doors that changed everything for her.

🎧 Listen here.

Increase Email Replies with Two Words

Words we say and write matter. This is no surprise to me as a resume writer. But what about in our everyday humdrum email correspondence?

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Boomerang found in their analysis of over 300,000 emails that using certain greeting and closing words can influence the rate of reply.

How do you greet and close an email?

Before reading these research findings, my go-to's were to start with 'Hi <name>' and to close with 'Best, Meg'

Now I've made a change.

The study found the best success:

To start with:

'Hey' or 'Hi' for a 63-64% response rate. Ditch the 'Dear.'

To close with:

'Thanks in advance' or 'Thanks' boded the best with a 63-65.7% response rate. 'Best' came in 10% lower.

So whether you are exchanging emails with co-workers, seeking new connections or wanting to land a job, use the numbers in your favor! How do you greet and close your email reader?

One Simple Answer to Cure Networking Fatigue

As a jobseeker, networking is the number one way to land a job and for those who are gainfully employed, it is a great way to cultivate your network. How do you do it without burning out?

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The answer?

❖ BOUNDARIES ❖

Dr. Henry Cloud and Dr. James Townsend describe boundaries like property lines. Know where your backyard begins and ends. You are in control of what and who you let in your fenced backyard.

So when it comes to networking share your time and talent generously, but:

❖ Know your limits. Whether we like it or not, we are finite beings with a finite amount of time each day. Know the limits of your calendar and energy.

❖ Know your capacity. Everyone has a different capacity. Whether it is related to introversion or extraversion, your season of life or stress, know what lights you up and what drains you.

❖ Know your priorities. Your schedule may allow a phone call or coffee date but ensure it matches up with your current personal and professional priorities. Just because your calendar allows doesn't mean a yes is necessary. If you can't touch-base or share insights over coffee, be clear in your no. If possible, refer the requestor to others who may be helpful or beneficial resources.

How do boundaries play a role in your networking?

The Untold of Chaos and Career

How has chaos played a role in your career?

Often chaos underlies our career moves, job jumps, and growth steps. Yet, we don't talk about it. We want the clean action steps and plans, but in reality, even in those plans, it is messy!

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I was talking with a friend who is due to have her baby any time and who is also moving into a new house. Transitions usually come with other transitions. In pregnancy and career.

A few years ago, I found myself in the same situation. After the birth of my third child, we lost our daycare provider and my husband needed to make a career leap. All the cards were thrown into the air. <<CHAOS>>

It took reflecting on our priorities and values, research, investigation, networking, calculating and sorting through various options to decide what was best for our family in both our home and careers.

Chaos doesn't always induce career moves but can be used as a sorting tool, too. Author, Katherine Brooks, uses chaos theory to help liberal arts graduates make sense of their professional and academic experiences. She asserts that chaos can help uncover your priorities and purpose in what may seem on the surface to be wanderings.

Dress Like A Boss: One Simple Promotion Strategy

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Are your closet conundrums affecting your climb on the corporate ladder?

A recent Robert Half study reveals that 80% of managers feel clothing choice affects a person's chance of being promoted.

With office dress codes ranging from leggings to suit jackets, the question remains: WHAT TO WEAR?

But let's be honest, your clothes aren't the real issue here. It's the thing behind the thing. Your choice of wear is the visual representation of your credibility, trustworthiness and confidence.

If you feel like you are in the 'worst dressed' category at work, try:

✔︎ A fashion service: Check out Stitch Fix (an online personal styling service) or Armoire (a clothing rental service) to try new styles.

✔︎ A coach: If you are local to Indianapolis, connect with Nicole Blair Wear, a personal brand and stylist expert.

How do you see this play out in your professional world? What resources do you recommend?

Curiosity Opening Doors: Libby Baney on The Open Door Interview

Who was your childhood career hero/heroine?

My friend and recent Open Door Interview guest, Libby Baney admired and wanted to be THE Barbara Walters as a kid. So much so she contemplated dressing up as her for Halloween.

While far fetched at the time, Libby's dream of being like Barbara Walters really did come true! As a dynamic public policy advocate, strategist and facilitator, Libby makes a global impact on policies and issues confronting health stakeholders, particularly digital health (basically where the internet, technology and health meet).

Join our conversation to hear how Libby attributes her career success to staying curious and her willingness to grow even when she wasn't "ready."

Coherence over Balance: Work + Life

Do your career and life have coherence? Let's drop work/life balance from our vocabulary.

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co・her・ence [noun]: the quality of forming a unified whole.

According to the Barna Group, 50% of women are somewhat satisfied with their lives with 59% of all women (62% of moms) are dissatisfied with work/life balance. Women's priorities in the study didn't match their time commitments on their calendars. While some of this can't change, we can view our lives as a whole rather than segments to keep in balance.

Projects and tasks change in different sectors of our lives, but let's not lose the unifying threads that make you, YOU: friendship, hobbies, family, faith, etc. Instead of getting bogged down by logistics and perfection of balance, let's authentically show up without guilt or shame.

How does this play out practically?

✔︎ Use vacation time to do something you love.

✔︎ Share a meal with your neighbors. Pizza on the front lawn or backyard is easy!

✔︎ Take on the project that lights your heart on fire!

✔︎ Try something new at work or personally!

✔︎ Take your kids to soccer practice guilt-free (even if you have to leave work early!)

Show up only as you can! A unified, whole person. Coherence over a balancing act.

My BEST Tip in Hiring a Resume Writer

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How do you foster valuable relationships? By spending quality time, right? Sharing your inner longings, dreams, ambitions.

A valuable connection takes time to learn about you. Same goes with your resume writer.

My worthwhile friends understand the core of who I am and cheer me on in my personal and professional growth.

If you partner with a resume writer that spends little time getting to know you, your career goals and experiences - you'll gain little value from the relationship and modest momentum in your job search.

However, if you invest in a quality, collaborative resume writer who LISTENS, ASKS QUALITY QUESTIONS, LEARNS and UNDERSTANDS you and your career goals, just like a best friend - the relationship is PRICELESS. The movement is soaring.

Don't get by with cheap friendships in your personal life or a cheap resume writer to pursue your professional endeavors.

You'll get the value you invest.

Let’s unlock your next best opportunity together. Get started!

Don't Let Being Remote Work Against You

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You can't be in two places at once. A groundbreaking concept I know.

University of California-Santa Barbara researchers study found that office face time leads to greater career advancement due to perceived productivity and commitment. What does this mean for approximately 3.9 million U.S. remote workers?

According to a recent Business Insider article, remote workers prove their commitment by blurring work/life boundaries and work overtime to compensate for their lack of office presence.

Remote workers, how do you counteract this phenomenon without risking burn out? A few ideas:

▶︎ Ditch audio for video. Show your face in meetings. Choose video when available.

▶︎ Responsive e-presence. Whether it is email, Facetime, Slack, etc. Be available to chat for productivity-sake and just plain office banter. Choose the most personal presence for difficult conversations.

▶︎ Be proactive in team processes. Ensure you are well-looped into communication and business processes.

The Match of Self-Talk: How Inner Dialogue Matters for Endurance

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Self-talk is a thing. For better or worse. Your inner dialogue matters.

I was reminded of this when I was on the tennis court for the first time after 13+ year hiatus of match play. Prior to this break, tennis WAS LIFE. In the past on the court, I beat myself up with words when I missed a point or was down.

Coming back last week, I was determined not to fall into those negative mental traps, but just like years before, with the swing of my racquet, I was bullied by my thoughts. I was both physically and mentally out of shape!

But something happened. I needed the focus to move forward. Out of breath and tired, I had to reframe my self-talk for SURVIVAL - I had to talk myself into playing the very next point!

Job seeker, where do you need to talk yourself into taking the next step? Language matters so much that researchers in a 2014 study found talking to yourself in third-person is more effective than referring to yourself as 'me' or "I".

When you need endurance, train yourself with positive thoughts.

Instead of: I can't do this another day.

Say: You can take the very next step, Meg. One foot in front of the other.

Just a Monday morning PSA: Be kind to yourself.

Are you aware of how you talk to yourself? How has it helped or hurt you in your career success?